Another needle came apart as I was knitting the Dress. I was beyond stunned. I got on the phone, and I think I got the same CSR as the other day. This time, I said (nicely) that I had had it, and I wanted an exchange. I think she could hear the strain in my voice (it might have been shaking just the tiniest bit,) because she got a little nervous, put me on hold, then came back on to say that an exchange would be made. I have to send the original kit back, which kind of stinks, but she said of course there would be no restocking fee (of course!!) and that she was flagging my account so the new kit would be sent out ASAP. She did say that I was being very nice about the whole thing, and I said that I'd always appreciated their customer service, so the whole thing was extremely civilized. Then I had a really big drink, put the stitches back on the remaining needle, and went to bed.
Of course, if you're a knitter who hasn't been marooned on a desert isle with Johnny Depp, you've figured out by now that I'm talking about Knit Picks. I really do like the company and their products. I think they should have given me the exchange the first time I called, because I just KNEW it was going to happen again in the middle of this Dress, but other than that, I've always had nice dealings with them.
The only thing about the kit is that I was frustrated by trying to keep all my needles tips, cables, end caps, etc. corralled but easy to get to. That little plastic zippy thing they come in is ok, but when I bought the DPNs, fixed circulars, and extra cables, it was next to impossible to find what I wanted easily. Especially those little "keys" for tightening the joins.
Knit Picks offers a binder and pocket kit, but I had read some less-than-favorable reviews. So I dug out my big zip-up Franklin Covey binder that I got off eBay and never use, stocked it with pages and pockets, and this is what I ended up with (clicky to embiggen):
I plan to label the individual pockets with the needle sizes, but for easy identification, I put a small set of tips with a large set so I can tell right away which is which. For instance, a size four set will be in the pocket with a size nine. That way I can check the label (when I get it on there) and if it's a size nine that I need, it's obvious which two those are. It's hard to see in this picture, but I put the "keys" on a keyring (what a concept!) and clipped it inside the top ring.
I put some other tools like cable needles, a small crochet hook, and stitch holders in one of the pockets, and the end caps got a pocket too. I need to add some small scissors, stitch markers, and a yarn needle, but I don't think I can fit another pocket in there, so they'll have to go in with the cable needles or something.
What I really like are the top-loading page protectors. My circular needles curl up and slip right down in there and stay put. I peeled the label off the original flimsy plastic envelopes they came in and stuck them on the page to identify the needle size. I can easily see which length is which--I have 32" and 40" lengths of each size, and there are a couple of random small-sized metal circs as well. When I need to knit socks, they're all right here!
The plastic envelopes with the extra cable sets have their own page as well. It's all very convenient and tidy, and I love it. I wish there were a way to use the pockets on the inside of the front and back covers of the binder, but it's almost too thick as it is. I keep the needle sizer and the plastic envelope that holds the sock DPNs in tidy little slots in the front pocket, but that's all that will fit. And, of course, there's one of my cards, so if I lose it, there's a chance I could get it back if it falls into the right hands.
If you want a similar system, check eBay first. Get a binder with the biggest rings you can, because those needles take up a lot of space. The rings in mine are 2". I certainly wouldn't go any smaller, and I'd get bigger ones if they make them. The book size is "Classic." You can browse binders and accessories at Franklin Covey but I would try to find a less-expensive way to get a binder, either through eBay or a local office supply store. It doesn't have to be a Franklin Covey binder, but you want the hole configuration to be the same so you can get the page protectors from FC. You really need the zip-up binder, too, so you can keep everything secure. Some of them come with handles, which would be nice. I was able to get some vinyl zipper pockets at the office supply, but the Franklin Covey ones I got at the FC store are much nicer and easier to open and close. And I couldn't get the page protectors at the office supply, either, so you'd have to get those through an FC store or their website.
It was quite an experience going to the FC store at our local mall. The manager and clerk were a bit bemused because I took the needle kit with me so I'd know exactly what and how many of each I'd need. The manager said that was a first for him--he'd never seen anyone use their system for that! I wish I'd had the brains to give him one of my moo.com cards that has my blog url on it!
To wind up, this is how I've been feeling in general: