Crafty Woman

The Peacoat Project is coming along. But how about a wee digression? Mostly because I’m kind of tired of semi-couture tailoring! And I do mean a “wee” digression. See?

ChiaoGoo TWIST Shorties

Apparently ChiaoGoo means “crafty woman” in Chinese and this is a really small set of interchangeable knitting needles. I heard all you going “Wait! What?” But I’ll show them to you first before I give you my reasoning behind this purchase. They are absolutely adorable!

All this is packed into that little red pouch: 6 sets of needle tips from 2mm-3.25mm in two lengths (2” and 3”) in their own little case, a needle gauge, 4 keys, 6 resin stitch markers, 3 cables (5”, 6” and 8”) 2 teensy-tiny little cable connectors, and 2 end stoppers. The TWIST connectors are the “mini” size, the smallest anyone makes and all are compatible with ChiaoGoo’s other mini items. Don’t believe me when I say how small these are? Evidence!

Mini connections

And I have really small hands too. They are beautifully machined from surgical stainless steel and the cables are flexible coated woven wire. I’m going to have to be careful with the tiny connectors so they don’t get lost but luckily replacements are also available separately. Also stoppers, tips, cables, etc. The connections are quite secure when you use the keys that look suspiciously like T-pins and the transitions all seem smooth.

Which leads me to the “why” of this needle set. As you might know I have a pretty full set of Addi Lace Clicks as my go-to interchangeable needles. But they only go down to 3.25mm needle tips and the shortest cable/needle combo is 16”. Good sizes for hats but not for sleeves or socks. I found this helpful chart online for the Shorties set:

Source: fiberific.com.au

It shows how many different lengths you can obtain by combining tips and cables. There was some talk about the company increasing the available tip sizes but that doesn’t seem to have happened. That would have made these more useful for sleeves in larger gauges. I don’t know what the hold-up is but it could be that the wee connections are just too small to support heavier tips. ChiaoGoo does also have a mini set with 5” tips from 1.5mm-2.5mm and 3 longer cables plus pieces are available separately too so smaller obviously works fine! And there’s a small-cable to large-tip adapter so if they could come out with a mini-small adapter you could add heavier tips that way. I’ll wait and see how it goes. Anyway, I thought this Shorties set would cover an empty space in my rather vast knitting needle collection. Life is too short to put up with crappy tools, amirite?

I generally knit socks on 2mm dpns (my favourite being the Knitter’s Pride Cubics) and I don’t enjoy Magic Loop at all. So the smallest size of these would be perfect. I also knit on 2 socks at the same time so I can either use the stoppers when I switch to the second sock or if the circumference is wide enough, use a differential (one of each tip length). We’ll see how it works in practice though, huh?

All that said, I wouldn’t recommend the Shorties for just any knitter! As I’ve mentioned, my hands are very small so the tiny sizes of these needles aren’t really a problem for me. I often work in fine yarns and small gauges so the tip sizes are in my ballpark. But your hands may cramp up trying to grip tiny needles or you might prefer knitting with heavier weight yarns so these would not be for you at all. They also seem to be rather scarce so you might have trouble finding a vendor. I went through Amazon.ca and it took about a month to come. From Germany! Go figure. Though since then I’ve discovered a more local source for the stoppers and connectors and such. They don’t have the Shorties kit though.

Anyway I’m looking forward to casting on something and trying them out! However, I still have 2 knitting projects to finish first. And let us not forget, The Peacoat! Today’s progress:

Handmade shoulder pads

Cotton muslin cover over 4 layers of cotton quilt batting. I made them slightly asymmetrical and with the longer side to the back, they fit well. Next step – getting the sleeves in. And a plethora of catch-stitching inside.

“It’s the coat that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends!”

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3 thoughts on “Crafty Woman”

  1. I am very fond of the brand myself even though I prefer bamboo DPs over all else for sock knitting! Since I stuff my socks in a bag all the time & take them riding in the car, I’ve switched to ChiaoGoo circs. That all being said, I just can’t manage those tiny ends!!! And I WILL NOT use interchangeables for socks or lace!!! Doesn’t matter how often or how tight you make them, they will come apart in the middle of the heel unless you have swivel joints at the needle. And I can’t afford a set of those yet. Other than that – they’re cute, I love the selection, I love the size of the kit – not the tips, I love the portability & wish I could have a set!

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    1. Seems every knitter has different tastes and needs and styles in needles! We are so lucky to have so many options to choose from now. I remember when circulars had stiff plastic cords that stayed kinked no matter what you did. As a matter of fact I still have some old aluminum Aeros! Vintage.

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