I am swatching for the Summer Raglan. Yarn is Madil Eden, 100% bamboo, worsted weight. Started out with my favorite needles, a Knit Picks Options circ using Harmony tips, US#6.
Even ignoring that random purl stitch at upper left that wandered into the stockinette, the result was... unsatisfactory. This yarn is too slippery to do well on slippery needles, and waaayyyyy too splitty for the KP sharp points. I had lots of little extra loopies where I hadn't caught the entire strand of yarn, which is a loosely plied thing of about 20 cobwebby strands.
Moving on, I tried a Denise Interchangeable, US#5. The Denise needles are plastic and have rather blunt tips, which worked perfectly with that splitty yarn.
Much better. No splits at all.
The problem is that the Denise cables suck big time. Every single cable in the set has started to separate between the cable and the cable end. Knitting with them requires fighting the stitches over that little irregularity all the damned time. No way I was gonna set myself up for that frustration.
I could have gone online and bought another cable, but there was a pretty good chance that by the time I was well into the sweater it would have begun to separate, too. So I went needle shopping online, looking for blunt points. An Addi Natura or even an Addi Turbo seemed possible solutions, but the shipping time for either meant I would have to wait, and I wanted to Cast. On. Right. Now. Sometimes living 50 miles from the nearest [full-service] LYS is a pain.
I searched through an assortment of needles I got on eBay last year and came up with a pair of Bryspun US#6 straights. The points, while not blunt, were at least less pointed than the KPs.
Hey, that looks good! (Ignore that loose strand at the edge of the garter stitch edge. Garter stitch turned out to be hard to do with this yarn, but there is no garter stitch in the sweater, so I felt safe ignoring that little problem.)
Yep, definitely good enough.
But the sweater is knit in the round so the straights wouldn't work. I searched a little further in the needle stash and found a Susan Bates 32" US#4 circ.
Let's compare needle points:
From the left, Knit Picks Options US#4, the Susan Bates #4, and a Knit Picks Harmony #5. Although the Harmony point looks similar to the Susan Bates in the photo, believe me, it is much more pointed.
The Susan Bates was perfect.
That swatch has been through the washer and dryer on the hand- washables cycle, so the gauge is ready to be measured. At the top you can see the complex calculations (ha!) needed to rejigger the cast on, which originally called for 112 stitches at 14 st/4". Sometimes my gauge measured at 21-1/2 st/4" and sometimes at 22 st/4", as in the photo. I went with the looser gauge in my calcs because the pattern says the garment is drapey and if one is between sizes one should go with the smaller size, plus I think the bamboo yarn is probably drapier and will stretch more than the Rowan Summer Tweed called for. I think that since the sweater is knit from the neck down, I can finagle the size.
We shall see.