My new needles arrived the day after I ordered them, so I began again on the Debbie Bliss shrug. I've knitted the back and the left front, but stopped an inch or so short of the top of the shoulders - it might be better to knit the sleeve, then have a look at how all the pieces are fitting before starting the shoulder shaping. This time it's going to fit.
I kept track of every row, so as to make sure the pieces line up exactly AND I've been keeping an eye on my tension. As I got going on the sleeves, it did seem to slacken slightly, so I'm making an effort to tension the yarn and not 'let go' as I race up the sleeves.
I have make a mistake though - of course! This time I knitted too far on the back before starting the armhole shaping - about an inch. It's amazing what tiny little pieces make up this shrug. After some thought, I decided to keep it long. (Do I hear bells of doom tolling here?)
The new needles are lovely - and now I've paid for them I've got them for ever. The straight needles for the back are 10" Brittany birch (I don't like long needles, they tap on my arm and annoy me!). The sleeves needles are one set of tiny 5" Clover bamboo for the cuffs and one set of Brittany 7" for the main part of the sleeve. They are light and easy to work with, and although the material feels smooth, the wool seems to cling to it and so it's easy to manage the stitches.
Also, they come in sets of 5. The first time I bought a set of double pointed needles in Japan (Clover of course, blue plastic 4.5 mm which I still have over 20 years later) I saw there were 5 needles and wondered if the Japanese always gave you a spare! Then Lucy Neatby's DVD told me that if you use 4 needles on the work and knit with the fifth, you get a better result because your tube of knitting isn't so under tension. I am not bothering to 'circulate' the stitches, (move a couple of stitches to a fresh needle every time to prevent ladders) because by having the sleeve on 5 needles no ladders seem to be forming.
My only slight wish is for sharper tips. I love sharp tips! The straight 3.75 seem a bit blunter then the straight 3.5, so they probably get blunter as the needle size goes up. So far my all time favourite tips are on the Addi lace needles. I might buy some more 60CM length ones of those next time I knit something on larger needles. OR, look out for some Lantern Moon hardwood. Not many places seem to stock the 10" length, but they do make them.
To sum up - never be mean about needles, Louise! Think of the hours I spend using them. Money well spent.