Mystery interchangeable needles
January 1, 2019 12:44 PM   Subscribe

My mother gave me a mystery set of interchangeable knitting needles a while back and I've never been able to get them to work. What am I missing?

This is the set. The cover is totally blank on both sides. The only tag says "made in U.S.A. #39".

The smallest needles will screw into the cables, but I've found no way to make the larger ones stay on. I've never used interchangeable needles before. Am I correct in thinking this set is missing connectors? If so, would these work, or would they really need to be from the same brand? I've no idea what brand these needles are, but I did find this which seems... close? I can't find just the connectors for that brand, though.

Asking for a brook horse who just snapped the cable off her 6mm bamboo circular in the middle of her partner's birthday present...
posted by brook horse to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The colour makes me think those are Boyes knitting needles.

Is there a whole in the connector that screws into the knitting needle? My interchangeable need to be tightened with a T pin or they will come loose while I knit.
posted by five_cents at 12:47 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]

I think you're right that they're Boye! There aren't any connectors at all--there's just the cables (which do have a hole in them) and the needles. I can't find anywhere selling just the Boye connectors, though--would another brand work as well? Or not so much since these are likely an older set, designs may have changed?
posted by brook horse at 12:58 PM on January 1

Is there a hole in the bottom of the tips? You should be able to screw the tips into the cables that way.

I don’t know about Boye, but usually, cable connectors like the ones you linked to are for connecting cables to cables in order to create really long cables (nice for trying on sweaters in progress). I’ve never seen an interchangeable set that required a separate connector between the needle tips and the cables.
posted by liet at 1:12 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

Whoops, I missed the whole point of your question. Yeah, I agree with the first poster that you probably need a t-pin. This video shows how to use one.
posted by liet at 1:15 PM on January 1

Connectors are only for making your circular needles longer, in my experience. I have used Addy Turbo, Denise, and Lykke interchangeable systems, and none of them needed a connector so the larger sized needles could work, and they all went up to 15, I believe. Using the pin and rubber mat, all of my needles have attached without any additional pieces.
posted by greermahoney at 1:18 PM on January 1

Your picture doesn’t show the pin in that right pocket where I would expect to see it. If you don’t have one, try using that sewing needle or a safety or dress pin to tighten the needle head on the cable. Hope that solves the problem!
posted by greermahoney at 1:22 PM on January 1

Hmm, okay, I see I was wrong about the connectors.

The problem is, other than the first couple of needle sizes they don't screw on... at all. It's not a case of coming loose when I knit, it just seems like the cable screw is too small for the opening in the larger needles. It spins freely and doesn't tighten at all. If I turn it upside down, the needle falls right off the cable, no matter how many times I turn it. I have tried using a sewing needle as a cable key but it doesn't do anything--it's always loose enough that I can easily spin it with my fingers, and never gets any tighter. Up to US 5 they screw on as I would expect, but 7+ don't screw at all.
posted by brook horse at 1:27 PM on January 1

Quick demonstration video, in case my technique is wrong in some way.
posted by brook horse at 1:35 PM on January 1

That is so weird. I’ve never seen one do that before. Hopefully someone else will have experience with that particular set, and be able to help you. Sorry.
posted by greermahoney at 1:41 PM on January 1

(Your technique looked spot on to me.)
posted by greermahoney at 1:43 PM on January 1

Could that possibly not be the original cable? Might
it have come from a different set which had differently-threaded needles?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:59 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]

So, my Chiaogoo IC set has two different sets of cables with two different sized screws: smaller for the smaller needles, larger for the larger needles. Perhaps your set is designed the same way and missing the larger cables.
posted by mollymayhem at 2:29 PM on January 1 [7 favorites]

I have a Chiaogoo interchangeable set as well and I think mollymayhem has it - your set is probably missing the larger cables. From your video, it looks like the needle should sit flush with the end of the threading, where I marked it with an arrow in this screenshot.
posted by kiripin at 3:11 PM on January 1

I think mollymayhem is probably right about what's going on here! Which leads me to what is probably a silly question, but just on the off-chance… you have tried your needles with all of the included cables, right? It looks like there are four cables in that set, but I can't tell from your photo if they all have the same threading or not. I've certainly committed more glaring oversights myself…
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:14 PM on January 1

I believe that may be the same older set I had at one point, and if so, it's missing pieces. Mine had multiple of the white cable lengths, some short, some long.
posted by stormyteal at 7:29 PM on January 1

They are Boye, and the older sets included adaptors that would allow use of the larger tips with the cables. Boye currently makes adapters to use their tips with the cables from other manufacturers, but I don't know if they are identical to those old adaptors. BTW, I have an old Boye set that I never use, if you would like it.
posted by Saccade at 9:12 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

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