Ever since I discovered the Magic Loop method, I have been a convert. Not only do I knit everything on circular needles but if the pattern calls for knitting in the round, I will invariably use Magic Loop rather than seek out double-pointed needles. I confess that my love for circs has very little to do with current knitterly trends, but rather that I like knowing I have all the needles I need at hand. I used to spend hours searching for that elusive fourth DPN but no more. But using my circular needles for Magic Loop comes with a price. My needles do not last very long. The needle tips are not the problem; the cable is.The method puts an awful lot of stress on both the joins between the tips and the cable, and the cable itself.
I once bought a cheap set of circular needles off ebay. Friends did so too and are still knitting with theirs. The cable on mine snapped within a week. Then I bought some Pony Bamboo circs which quickly became my favourites (yes, above the much-praised KnitPro needles). They had a lovely grip to the surface which made them perfect for knitting with slippery fine yarns as well as thicker, coarser wool. The tip itself was slightly blunt which I actually tend to prefer for lacework and the cable was beautifully supple. It took three years of constant use before the cables started snapping - then within two hours this past week both sets of circs had cable-malfunctions.
I began looking into possible replacements. Sadly Pony no longer makes the exact same needles, so I opted for some wooden Addi needles out of curiosity. I wanted a strong cable (for obvious reasons) but I also wanted the friction you get with wooden needles. I did pause before placing my order: being a lace knitter I'm particular about the join between the needle tip and the cable and regular Addis irritate me with their annoying tiny little bumps.
Why not Knit Pros? I own and I adore my KnitPros. Their cables are very strong and the tips is simultaneously smooth and 'grippy'. However, I do have that annoying tendency to misplace things - KnitPro tips included. As I could not find non-interchangable circs in the required sizes, I had to look elsewhere.
I have a lot of things in the to-do pile and I have a lot of things in the almost-finished pile. Hopefully my needles will be with me soon..