Knitting and Crochet Forum banner
  • Wondering how to use different site features? Please visit our FAQ. Still have questions? Post to our Community Help section for a speedy response.
1 - 20 of 133 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,994 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I made a discovery a little over a month ago that has proven to be the long-awaited answer to the problem of the Boye Needlemaster interchangeable circular needle sets. If you own one of these sets, you know what I mean. Most of the following information I have previously posted in other threads, but as it is rather scattered and I am receiving quite a few inquiries, I thought I would consolidate it here for everyone's convenience.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
In short, the problem is this: Boye tips are great (really, I love them), but the cables are awful. They are very thick and stiff, which is fine for normal circular knitting or flat knitting, but a disaster for magic loop. To add insult to injury, the cables in the older sets have a bend in the join at each end of the cable. Again, this is not a real problem when knitting flat or doing regular circular knitting. For Magic Loop, however, it is necessary to join two or more cables together to get the sufficient length to execute the technique. Now, instead of just a bend where the cables join to the tips, you also have a double-bend (basically a zig-zag) in the middle of your long cable where your stitches get hung up and nothing will slide smoothly. I would rather poke my eyes out with my needle tips than do Magic Loop this way.

Some clever woman engineered a solution to this problem by making her own cables from assorted supplies you can get from your local hardware store. Genius. I had every intention of doing this myself, but just had not gotten around to it yet. Then I made a discovery, purely by accident. (Here is where it gets exciting!)

I got a complete set of ChiaoGoo Twist Red Lace interchangeables for Christmas to replace my Boyes. I thought that they looked to be about the same size as the Boyes and the fact that both sets go down to a US size 2 struck me as an interesting coincidence since not many interchangeable circulars go that small. I just started playing around and...voila! I almost passed out from the excitement.

What I discovered is that you can use the wonderful ChiaoGoo "small" (fabulously flexible and curl-free) Red Twist cords with the Boye tips. All you have to do is put one of the ChiaoGoo "small" connectors between the tip and the cable. You need to get the "small" diameter cables. (ChiaoGoo cables come in two thicknesses. The "small" size fits their needle tips 2-8, and the "large" size fits tips 9-15. With the Boye tips, "small" fits everything.) They have lengths from 8" up to 50" which gives you circular lengths from 16" to 58" with the Boye 4" tips. (In other words, you'll never need to join two cables to get a longer length ever again! Woo hooo!) You also need to get a set (or several, if you're prone to losing things like I am) of the "small" cable connectors because ChiaoGoo and Boye have the threading reversed on the components (Boye puts the threads on the cables and ChiaoGoo puts them on the tips). The connector is used to convert the male/female aspect of the connection. Each connector adds a mere 1/8 inch to the total length of your circular. I am using the Twist Red Lace cable, size Small, with the size Small Cable Connectors. The join between the cable, connector and Boye tip is smooth as silk. It's almost like they were made for each other!

I bought my cables online from Handsome Fibers. When I got mine they had different prices based on the length, but now it looks like they are all $6 each. They also give you a tightening key with every cable. Connectors are $2 for a pair. Orders of $20 or more ship for free in the US, so get a couple of cables and a few connectors and you have a brand new set of fabulous, flexible interchangeable circular needles for way less than you could buy a replacement set of one of the better needle brands.

Here is a link to the Handsome Fibers site for the ChiaoGoo Red Twist cables: ChiaoGoo TWIST (S) and (L) Interchangeable Cables (Remember: Choose any length, and join size "small." )

Here are the connectors: ChiaoGoo IC Cord Connectors (Again: Join size "small." )

There are other online sources, so if Handsome Fibers has sold out by the time you get around to looking into it you should be able to do a search and find a few more options. My original ChiaoGoo interchangeable set came from Amazon and I have a fixed length ChiaoGoo circular and a few of the cables that I got from eBay, so I don't think it should be too hard to find more places with these cables for sale. You can also find ChiaoGoo needles and accessories in some local yarn shops, so if you prefer to patronize your LYS, by all means, check there first.

One more point: Having an interchangeable tip separate from the cable is always a possibility (we've all been there), and if you are going to go this route of mixing and matching you must keep in mind that you are adding one more component between the tip and cable, so that's one more place at each end with the potential to come apart. I make it a habit of checking the tips every time I begin a new round, row or side of Magic Loop. If you are knitting flat, you are turning your work anyway, so it's a natural stopping point. If you are using Magic Loop then you are repositioning a new group of stitches onto your left needle tip to work them, so that's an ideal time to give the tips a tiny twist to make sure they're secure. If you are simply knitting in the round you will be slipping a Beginning of Round marker on a regular basis, so use that as your reminder to check the tips. Those extra 2 seconds (and that's literally all it takes once you get into the groove) are well worth it if you can avert the disaster of having the cable separate mid-row. (Trust me. I had it happen on a lace project once. I was far from pleased.)

Joins between 2 cables make me nervous, too. They are harder to keep track of as they are generally always hidden by stitches. You usually don't even realize that they are coming apart until the stitches start to snag, and sometimes not at all until it's too late. That's why I purchased a couple of 50" ChiaoGoo cables to go with my ChiaoGoo set and my Boye set. That gives me 58" with the Boye tips (60 with ChiaoGoo), so I should rarely, if ever, need to join two cables at all. The last time I checked Boye doesn't even make cables that long.

That being said, I do have one important final note. Be very careful when tightening your Boye tips to the ChiaoGoo connector if using the key. The Boye tips are very easily stripped if too much force is applied. I have managed to strip one of my size 11s doing this. It will still attach securely to the Boye cable, but will no longer tighten on the ChiaoGoo.

Following are photos in case anyone is having difficulty picturing how the components work together.
Writing implement Cosmetics Office supplies Wood Writing instrument accessory
Musical instrument Wood Font Office supplies Ball pen
Office supplies Cosmetics Wood Font Writing implement
Office supplies Wood Writing instrument accessory Writing implement Font
Writing implement Cosmetics Office supplies Wood Writing instrument accessory
Writing implement Office supplies Pen Writing instrument accessory Cosmetics
Office supplies Writing implement Wood Ball pen Line
Cartoon Happy Organism Gesture Interaction
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Tammy, thanks for the great info. Great tutorial! Are you a teacher? I also love my Boyes, but get irritated at the stiffness of the cables. Will be looking into this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
612 Posts
The best part is they really work! Thanks TammyK. I got my shipment yesterday. IT WORKS. So much better than the boye cables. I only ordered 3 sizes but I am going back and ordering all lengths. Handsome fibers is great to order from! I got them 2 days after order. THANKS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
You all must have better Boye tips than I do. Most of mine have mushed (for lack of a better term, sorry!) bottom ends from tightening. It seems as if the metal is soft and where the bottoms mushed, it caused burrs that snag the yarn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Thank you sooo much for this information. I bought an older set of Boyle interchangebles at a garage sale for $5.00. Couldn't get over the stiffness of the cables. I was going to go about the other way with stuff from the hardware store but your way is much easier.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,994 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
socksaholic said:
You all must have better Boye tips than I do. Most of mine have mushed (for lack of a better term, sorry!) bottom ends from tightening. It seems as if the metal is soft and where the bottoms mushed, it caused burrs that snag the yarn.
Boye Needlemaster tips are aluminum as opposed to the stainless steel tips that you can get with some other brands. This makes them very light and comfortable to use, but the trade off is that they are more fragile at the join where the metal is very thin, so it's very easy to bend the rim at the opening of the join on the tip. It's easy to let yourself believe that since the tips are metal they are therefore indestructible, and that really is not the case. The aluminum will crumple like a soda can if it is subjected to too much force or is not screwed into the cable perfectly straight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,955 Posts
Thank you so much Tammy, I would like to try it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,766 Posts
Sorry, Tammy. Can't vote for you for woman of the year. But I will vote for you for woman of the millennium! :) This is fantastic info. I've had a set of Boye's for over 40 years and love the needles but hate the cables. I'm off to order some Chiao Goo cables and connectors. Thank you VERY much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
466 Posts
TammyK said:
LOL! Don't they call that putting the cart before the horse? :lol:
Yes, but I'm not worried, I know I'll wake up in the middle of the night and remember where I put them. When the order comes in, I'm going to tear my room apart till I find it, because I'll have to try it out.
 
1 - 20 of 133 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top Bottom