Back in the fall, I started seeing discussion of a new kind of knitting needle set from Addi: Flexiflips. They’re like a cross between double-pointed knitting needles and circular needles. There’s three in a set, designed for knitting items in a small circumference, like mitts or socks, or toys.
I was instantly intrigued. I like my double-pointed needles, but sometimes I do get frustrated with them (most notably when they break or when I pull one out of my knitting by accident).
I like circular needles for things that fit on the circular needle exactly, but I don’t like the fussiness of the Magic Loop method, and because I usually knit without looking, the two circular needle method tends to result in both halves of the knitting on one needle in the form of a pretzel while the other needle suddenly has no stitches on it. I also don’t like having needles tip dangling down as far as happens with two circs.
One of my LYS has a really good needle selection, so I contacted them to see if they’d be getting the Flexiflips. They had ordered one set to try them out and for customers to test, so I went into the shop in November to see. The Flexiflips seemed to suit my hands, so I settled in to wait until I could buy some. Between one thing and another, that time finally came last week, and I decided I should write a review for the blog.
Summary: I like them a lot, but I seriously recommend trying before you buy unless you can return them easily. I’ve spoken to several people who’ve tried them, and other needle preferences do not predict whether people like Flexiflips.
So far I have knit a small tube (16 stitches around) and a big tube (60 stitches around). I’ve handed the needles to two other people to try, and they both liked them.
How they work: half the stitches go on one needle, the other half of the stitches go on the second needle, and new stitches are worked with the third needle. The stitches on the front needle get squished together while the other stitches are spread along the back needle, which is bent. The whole process feels very like working with bendy double-pointed needles.
One of my concerns was laddering at the gap between two needles, but I had no trouble with that.
Something to keep in mind: One end of each Flexiflip is blunt, while the other is pointier. I like blunter tips with some yarns, and pointier tips for most. I like having the choice, but it was too easy to get the wrong end until I found myself flipping up the end at the far side of my left hand, like this:
This meant that I’d consistently be knitting with the same end each time and wouldn’t have to remember to look each and every time I switched needles.
- I like the way they feel.
- I don’t have to switch needles as often as with DPNs while knitting.
- It’s easier to work really small circumferences than with DPNs – it’s easier to keep things from flopping around in an uncomfortable way.
- It’s harder to pull out a needle by accident (or to have one fall out, if you’re a loose knitter).
- They come in a really nice case (at least in the US).
- A set is expensive. This is reasonable: buying a set is like buying three circular needles at once, and the price reflects that. But just because it’s reasonable doesn’t mean I can afford to go out and buy all the sizes at once.
- They’re too short to knit a hat, so I’ll still need regular circular needles for the bottoms of hats. I know the Skacel website says they can be used for hats, but I can’t see how the number of stitches for an adult’s hat would fit comfortably on two of these needles without falling off. A newborn-size baby hat, yes, but not a hat for my 24 inch head.