I’m not really a bandwagon person, but I do have my moments. Occasionally I’ll join a DAL (I haven’t really ever felt like doing a KAL, but dyeing takes a lot less time), or buy a trendy yarn. While I really didn’t enjoy making a ruffle scarf, I have to say, I’m really glad I joined the ranks of DyakCraft users.

To my credit, I didn’t do it just for the name. I had always been somewhat intrigued by the Darn Pretty needles, but the pricetag and wait time (over a year at last count) were huge deterrents. Plus, I already have two sets of interchangeables (steel HiyaHiyas, 5″ regular tip, small and large sizes), and a handful of Knitters Pride tips and cables, so I really was set, as far as regular sizes go.

But I’d always thought it’d be nice to have a set of interchangeable needles in small sizes, for sock making. DyakCraft came out with theirs right around my birthday (which also happens to be right around tax refund time). They’re steel (which I prefer over wood anyway) and the wait time is much shorter (2-3 weeks at the time, although I think it’s a little more than that now), so I put in for a set in the 5″ size.

I have to say, I wasn’t actually wild about them at first. They’re steel, like my beloved Hiyas, but they’re solid rather than hollow, so they’re actually somewhat heavy, at least when compared to the fixed Knitters Pride and Knitpicks I’d been accustomed to. (I think the name Heavy Metal is less a nod to the musical genre than it is a refreshing bit of truth in advertising.) Also, they weren’t shiny and slick right out of the case: they’re actually matte-finish, and a little dull at first use. Even after wiping them down, they had a little bit of a “gritty” feel.

Still, I persisted in using them, because the benefits outweighed the drawbacks. For one, the ability to use two different size tips makes knitting in the round go like buttah. Obviously this trick doesn’t really work for flat knitting (and when you get to the heel of a sock, it’s probably advisable to switch back to matching tips), but for me, it was amazing. I’m a bit of a tight knitter, and until I started using the Heavy Metals, I didn’t realize just how much of my sockmaking time was wasted just forcing the stitches from the cable to the needle tip. If your “feeding” tip is a 0 and your working tip is a 1, the stitches just slide right on.

The size differential is also quite useful when doing cables, especially if you prefer to do them without a cable needle. It leaves more room for you to slip your tip into a stitch. In fact, it was this feature that reminded me just how glad I am that I bought the needles, because I’m currently making a pair of ankle socks out of a yarn with no give.

Crystal Palace Maizy may be composed of corn fibers, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a cotton-blend sock yarn. I also happen to have only one ball of it. This is because I’m somewhat obsessed with making pairs of ankle socks out of orphaned 50 gm balls of sock yarn banished to clearance bins. (I suppose I could just make a bunch of single socks and wear them mismatched, but where’s the challenge in that?) The fact that I have enormous size 12 feet adds another level of difficulty. Generally the only way to eke it out is to use a relatively large needle (at least a 2) and a lacy pattern. Cotton blends are not known for their give; I tried to make lace socks with a cotton/acrylic/nylon blend, only to give up in frustration and go with a ribbed pattern.

Working with the Maizy on a 2½ (with a 0 on the other end) is a lot less stressful. I wouldn’t say it’s pleasant, but it’s much less likely to end with the project being hurled across the room. And now I don’t dread using up the remaining 45 gm of the previously mentioned cotton blend to make a(nother) pair of ankle socks.

My persistence with the Heavy Metals paid off, because after a couple pairs of socks, I noticed that the tips I had been using most frequently had become shinier and less grippy. So given that and the fact that a needle gauge fits perfectly inside* the cord pocket, they’re basically the perfect set of needles for a sock-knitting maniac.

*it’s a plain 3×5 plastic gauge, with the logo of an LYS but made by Nancy’s Knit Knacks