Knitters like me have a love/hate relationship with cable needles. For simple cable twist patterns, I will do my best NOT to require a cable needle. Most 4-st cables can usually be done by just slipping the sts to be held off the needle gently and letting them just hang in front or back until they need to be knit. It feels like I'm "cheating" on my cable needle and making it feel left out (he he).
But I often do more complicated cables, and must find a way to keep that cable needle (I prefer the Clover U-shaped ones) handy when the pattern calls for it. I've tried keeping the cable needle on my lap, in front of me on the table, right next to my thigh, on top of my notes, etc., but inevitably, I lose track of the thing and have to waste time looking for it right when I need it.
I've tried hooking it on my knitting too, but that can get annoying and I'm always afraid it might pull on my stitches and mess up my nice work.
What to do? Along came Leslie Wind's Cable Needle Necklaces. Leslie was nice enough to send me a sample to test it out.
I was skeptical at first, because it wasn't like any knitting tool I'd ever seen.
It's a nicely made necklace on what looks to me like a waxed leather cord. The "waxiness" of the cord is a nice touch, as it allows the length of the necklace is easily adjusted by pulling the 2 knots along the top. This is a well-thought out feature so you can easily and quickly throw the necklace on with one hand while still holding your knitting in the other hand! AND, there is no chance that the cable needle necklace will slip off the cord while it sits in your knitting bag! Clever!
The cable needle part itself is well-designed too. The tapered end is flattened (like hand hammered earrings), which actually makes it easier to insert into the stitches. It also has the "U-shape" that I like on my Clover plastic cable needles so you can let the stitches on hold sit safely at the curve of the U-shape and not worry that the cable needle will just slip out.
Here's a link to the videos she has demonstrating how to use her cable needle necklace: http://darcyknottyknitter.blogspot.com/2008/11/introducing-new-designs-from-leslie.html
So, yes - I do recommend the Cable Needle Necklace as a great knitting tool that doubles as a pretty necklace. It's a nice gift for anyone that is into cable stitch patterns.
Leslie's cable needle necklaces are available (~$40) through her website at: http://www.lesliewind.com/cable.html. They come in several pretty styles and are a lovely, unique gift. She also makes and sells shawl pins, yarn needles (an indulgent gift!), and other jewelry items.