In November at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle, I came across a new DPN style by Addi called FlexiFlips. These are similar to the Neko Strickespiel curved DPNs that I reviewed early last year in that there are only three needles in a set. The difference is that instead of being in a fixed angled shape, the FlexiFlips have a short cord between two metal needles. This means they can go from straight to a tight angle and back as needed. They are pretty spendy– around $24 from most retailers for a single set of three needles– so I purchased a single set of size 1 needles for hand knitting socks.
I’m about half way through making my second sock with the needles and I can say that I will definitely use them again for another pair. Their flexibility gives them a distinct advantage over the Neko needles. I am having little to no problems with laddering and the flexible shape of the needles makes them easier to adjust as you work. Like the Magic Loop method, these needles only require two changes in a round, rather than the three or four you’d have with regular DPNs. Unlike Magic Loop, you won’t need to manage a long cable and these are very easy to tuck into a purse or pocket. You may have to adjust the directions to you pattern a bit if it’s not needle agnostic, but if you are used to doing this for Magic Loop already, it shouldn’t be a problem. Patterns that are designed for Magic Loop can easily be completed with the FlexiFlips.
For the fastest speed on the leg and foot of a sock, I like using a very small eight or nine inch circular because there’s no needle changes at all, but the small circulars have very short needle lengths and they can fatigue my hands more quickly than DPNs. The FlexiFlips have a longer needle length overall so they are easier on my hands and I don’t have to carry an extra set of DPN’s for heel flaps or toes as I do with the small circular.
My one criticism of the FlexiFlips are the needle tips. They have the design of one blunt needle and one sharper point. Each time you have worked all the stitches off a needle you have to consciously think about how the empty needle goes back into your right hand so that the preferred tip is ready to use. I prefer pointier tips in general, and especially can’t think why I would want a blunt tip in a needles sized for sock knitting. Sadly, when working back and forth for short rows, that means one tip is going to be blunt and the other sharp if you’ve be orienting the needles the same way each time. Either that, or you have to slip the stitches so that you have the pointy tip going in the right direction for both needles as you do your short rows or think ahead during the last round before the short rows. Many patterned stitches use both needle tips to manipulate the yarn, and again, I find having to always have the left hand tip be my non-preferred style to be a nuisance. If I could get a set with sharp tips on both ends of the needles, I’d be a much happier knitter!
Overall, I’d recommend these needles. They combine the ease of the Magic Loop method with the compact feel of a small circular or DPNs. If you do a lot of complex patterning on socks, they might not be the best choice because of the tips, and they won’t work for larger circumferences like that of an adult hat. They are comfortable to use and work well for socks or close fitting sleeves.