So you see this here needle, do ya see it?
Anything look a little "off" to you about that needle tip? No? What if I put it next to its twin and showed you again? (Keeping in mind that both needles were aligned at their bottom ends when this photograph was taken.)
Yeah. I'm sure you see it now.
That is the pair of 3.5mm Brittany needles I was using to make my younger daughter's "Mythos" cardigan. At least 14" long, plus long, fancy heads, they barely fit lengthwise into my knapsack, and on Friday evening as my commute ended and I packed up my knitting, I wasn't too careful about jamming them as far down to the bottom of the bag as they could go, and they ended up peeking up out of their compartment. I must have whacked my bag on something between there and home, and I guess the tip of one needle snapped right off, resulting in the painful visuals you see here. (Literally painful, too - I poked myself on the broken tip this morning as I went to pull the project out of the bag.)
(Yes, I know that Brittany has a we-will-replace-your-needles-at-no-charge guarantee. However, firstly, that's a five-year guarantee and I'm not sure it's been less than five years since the needles were bought; and secondly, I would not feel ethical demanding that they replace a needle - thus costing them money - when it broke because of something stupid I did.)
Okay, so, no big deal, I've got a big needle collection, right? Mourn the Brittanys and move on - just switch to different 3.5mm needles. Unfortunately, thanks to my handy-dandy electronic caliper, I know that the Brittanys are about .11mm smaller than all the other 3.5mm needles I own, which could easily affect my gauge and make the rest of the cardigan look weird, not to mention that I was already freaked out about maybe running out of yarn and slightly bigger needles are certainly not going to help that problem.
Solution? I held up the broken needle with a glum expression on my face to DH. "Oh, no!" he exclaimed. I asked if there wasn't some tool in the workshop we could use to clip off the sharp bit, and then file/sand the tip down to a nice, smooth, knit-with-able point? He didn't seem confident (which floored me - I mean, it seemed like a really simple task to me; if I knew where he kept all the damn tools, I'd go down and have at it myself), but he headed down to the basement and ten minutes later came back with this:
At some point I'm going to have to take a file or some sandpaper (or hell, maybe just an emory board) to the broken needle to make the tip thinner, longer and less stubbly, but it totally functions as a needle again. (We will please ignore the awkwardness of having one needle about four inches shorter than the other.) So I was able to complete the knitting on DD2's cardigan. Miraculously, the yarn held out. I mean, really held out, to the point that I don't even need to cannibalize the sleeves to have enough for the i-cord to finish off the fronts. Here it is clipped together to look vaguely like a garment:
I tried it on DD2 and, alas, the sleeves are monstrously too long, they're going to be huge even when I do surgically remove the 20 rows of no shaping from each sleeve. However, I can roll those up, she is going to grow, and screw it, the cardigan looks fantastic on her, I'm thrilled even with the sleeve length issue.