My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.



Yup. I’ve got Addi Naturas. They are not quite as pointy as the Crystal Palace Bamboos, though the join is slightly better.

The Crystal Palace bamboo needle I was using before I swtiched to the Holz & Stein rosewoods is new, so it’s not likely to have been one of a faulty batch.

The trouble is that the Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca is extremely fine, so it will snag in any join of a circular needle. The Holz & Stein join is the easiest one to deal with. Too bad they are so bloody hard to find in the U.S. I’ve got some, but I don’t have them in every size I use.


I actually pulled out some of my straight needles to see how they’d work with this yarn. I’ve got straights in the right size (U.S. 3) in Inox, Aero, and Susan Bates. But I did not try any of them out. They are 14-inch straights, and it would not do to take those on the train. There’s not nearly enough room to be flailing straights around.

I did find an online shop in Canada that sells Aero circulars, so I placed an order last week. (Can you tell that I’m on a quest?) I’ll see how they are when they get here.

I’ve not tried the Denise needles. For some reason, I have a prejudice against them. Wait, I remember why. Because they come in sizes U.S. 5 — 15. I do a great deal of knitting on sizes smaller than a 5. The Inky Dinky Spider Stole is knitted on a size 3. So Denise wouldn’t do for this.

So, I knit along on my Holz & Stein rosewood.


For those of you keeping score at home, kindly note that the Inky Dinky Stole is not yet one-half completed, but it is more than one-third completed.

If I were ever to find the Holy Grail of lace knitting needles, it would go much faster!

Lucy is surprisingly unconcerned.



  1. I love, love, love the points on my Novi dpn’s, but haven’t tried them in circular form yet. Perhaps would be worth adding to your “quest shopping list”.

  2. I think you will be happy with the AEROs.
    I tried to knit lace with ADDIS, but had to get my Aero circular out.
    The new ones’ plastic cords are much more flexible than the old, the joins are smoother and much cheaper than Addis. Also not as slippery as Addis.
    Have to admit though, I haven’t tried any other brands, except these two.

  3. I love my Denises, but they are TERRIBLE for fine yarns. TERRIBLE. I’ve swapped to straights to avoid them for my current project on Malabrigo laceweight.

    What you should look for are the old Susan Bates nylon circulars – they’re all one piece with no join at all and a super pointy tip. No longer made, of course – I have mine from a hand-me-down box from my MiL, they show up on eBay from time to time.

  4. Ok, now you’ve done it. I too am on a quest. Where did you buy the Holtz & Stein that you do have? I’m Googling like crazy and everything is a dead end. ๐Ÿ™

  5. You would probably love the new Bryspun circular needles, they come in sizes 3-17 in 16″, 24″ and 29″. We’ve shipped hundreds of them after a comment was posted on some lace knitters board. Sorry to sound like an advertisement – I read your blog a lot and I think you may like them.

  6. I actually received a Denise set last week and had some trouble initially getting the cords to stay together. Then last night, in the middle of a row of a sweater, the cord came undone. Very stressful! Does this happen to anyone else?

  7. Your manicure is fabulous! Wish I could grow em like that.

    Your lace is gorgeous by the way.

  8. We are all waiting anxiously to hear what you deem to be the best lace knitting needle. Or at least I’m wainting anxiously…

  9. I’m waiting, too! I did try knitting on straight needles, one a slippery metal for the knit rows, then a bamboo to hold stitches in place for the psso stitches. The two types worked well, I just didn’t like how long the needles were. I’m back to the circular bamboos just because they’re compact.

    Love your spider shawl’s colorway. So lovely and of course the lace is fabulous, too.

  10. I love the Denise, for any project of a size 7, the evil blue cord is almost the same thickness as a 5 or 6 and makes it difficult to move the yarn around on. Doing my first project with Addi’s and love them.

  11. I gave up on Crystal Palace because I hate the join and I had three different circs come apart in the middle of a project.

    Have you tried Clover bamboo circs? I love the join on those. The smallest is US#3, though.

  12. I tried the Bryspun circulars for knitting lace, but the join is awful–so abrupt the laceweight doesn’t have a chance to slip up on to the needle, so it just sticks there, helpless, until it can be dislodged with a fingernail. I switched to Susan Bates straights and returned the Bryspuns to the shop.

  13. I also love Denise for their interchangeability but also didn’t invest in it due to the size range. I commonly knit from sizes US#3-6. The largest I’ve ever used was US#11 *once* (wrists hurt for days after) for darling Sharky’s kitty blanket.
    Currently, I’m doing a pullover for my 3XL (local size) hubby in US#4. After this, I guess I’ll feel #6 are giant needles! :O Yikes!

  14. I quite like Aero circs. They are nice and pointy (the much-lauded Addis are too blunt for me) and the join isn’t too bad at all. Plus Aeros are mucho cheaper and easier to get here in Canada. I also like Clover Takumi bamboo circs. Haven’t had a join come loose yet. I’m with you on the Denise set not being sized small enough for most of my knitting, but finally succumbed when I started using some heavier yarns and needed too many different sizes to go out and buy a bunch of new needles. They are convenient for some things. I haven’t found the tips pop off unless I’m really twisting them as I work. However I do knit loosely most of the time so take my comments with a grain of salt (or your condiment of choice!)

  15. A late thank you for the insight into ‘picking up’ stitches. I’m thinking my next lace project may have a edging that I will have to do that on. Your lace is almost as lovely as Lucy. Kisses from Luna.

  16. I have a ton of the Aero circulars because they had a ton at GoodWill when I started knitting, but they are not really good in my opinion though the joins are good. I mostly knit with INOX circs (I think), or Pony Pearls, they have good tips also for lace knitting. I tried using a Holz and Stein needle for lace but the joins just annoyed me to no end. I’m currently knitting the “Seascape” shawl on a pair of Inox’es (#4) and they are just blunt enough to not split the yarn at all times and sharp enough for a k2tog.
    However, I do like to do all of my other knitting on Holz and Stein needles – rosewood sock needles, ebony sock needles, rosewood circs – and feel bad for you because you can’t get them anywhere. I can get them everwhere here in Denmark/Germany (I even bought my first on the Faroe Islands(Klaksvik)! How’s that for a wellstocked yarn shop!

  17. margaret says:

    Wendy – I have a source for H&S, but I personally love my Inox greys for their points – I noticed someone discussed Novis – I’ve got a complete set of those circs and am not crazy about the points. the only really true seamless joins on circs are the old Susan Bates circlons – and their points are pretty spectacular as well … just my two cents,

  18. Brigitte says:

    I love my Denise’s as well (though never use the big sizes). When you click it in, you need to give it an extra “push” to lock it in place. Then wiggle it around to make sure it’s correctly locked! They really are a smooth ride, and I have never had an issue with them. But they do stink with lace weight…

  19. Wendy, Why are you preferring H&S over Addi Naturas? I love H&S too but they are so had to find. Just curious. Sue

  20. Patty Bolgiano says:

    I noticed that you used London Tweed to knit a vest and aran sweater. I recently got two patterns from Elann calling for this yarn. It appears that it was rather a bulk yarn, 4.5 to 4 stitches to the inch. Would it be equalivalent to say Brown Sheep Lambs Pride worsted and/or Tahki Donegal Tweed? I am itching to do these sweaters and thought you might give me a bit of guidance.

  21. Favorite bamboo needles to date: Inox. The points are finer than Clover bamboos and the join won’t catch the yarn. I’ve quickly discovered that Crystal Palace, in a word, suck. I’ve got a whole collection of them that I won’t use!

    Now, my first thought: Dang, Wendy. Your nails look great. If we ever meet in person, I’ll be the one wearing gloves.

  22. First off, I don’t do much lace knitting so I can’t really speak to the best needles for that. I generally use my Addi circs whenever possible. I do have a set of Denise needles that I originally bought after 9/11 so that I could knit on the airplane. Much of what I knit is on needles smaller than size 5, so they don’t work for most of my projects anyway. For the other commentor who asked if anyone else was having problems, I did have one connector that was either faulty or just became worn, that did separate from the needle several times in a the course of one project, which was very annoying. I mostly use them if I find I don’t have the right size needle and want to start a new project. This invariably occurrs at a time the LYS is not open.

  23. I just go some Inox grey circs because I’m working on 1’s and Crystal palace was going to take me to the loony bin and the Addi Bamboos weren’t pointy enough. I love the Inox – very pointy and the joins are much better.
    Just my 3 cents – inflation you know.


  24. I can’t wait to see what your final fave needle decision is. I’m off on vacation on the 11th and I am taking Inky Dinky with me, with some Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in Iris. And I agree, I am quite jealous of your nails ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Ah, the quest for the perfect needle. I believe it to be somewhat similar to the quest for the perfect purse. No such animal exists. If anyone out there knows of a source for Holz & Stein needles, I love to have the info. My google abilities are not up to the task (nor is my German).

  26. I don’t like crystal palace at all either, but I love my plymouth bamboo circs, lovely smooth join and come in small sizes – the double pointed are also really nice and come in sets of 5 – I hate getting only 4 needles. Here is a link

  27. Have you tried the ebony needles Suzanne’s (with the panda on the lable) – they have them on the Webs site –

    I had a size 4 that I used for several years – until the cable broke off of the end. I loved them so much that I glued beads on the ends and still use them for scarves.

  28. I’m knitting the Peace shawl from Fiber Trends with some Louet Linen on those funny Bryspuns – my pair isn’t catching at all – I called the manufacturer and he said that they were actually drilled and the cord is screwed in and that this is how they are all made. I did go down a size somaybe the stitches were looser. Aahhh … the quest for a perfect needle.

  29. Aero circs seem to be the same as Inox, so if a local shop sells Inox, you’ll be good to go.

    I know 99% sure that they’re the same, since I picked up a few aeros while at Beehive Wool in Victoria, BC and then ran to LYS Uncommon Threads to get a matching circ for socks. After bugging the ladies, they agreed that the needles look the same to them. Also saw the Inox at Village Yarns and Tea in Seattle, if you’re looking for them. Canadian shipping to USA can be expensive… but the Aero needles are cheaper in Canada than Inox in USA. Still, at ~$6, they’re a good deal compared to Addi Turbos.