The Vega beret was my first project using my new Chiaogoo interchangeable circular needles set that my husband gave me for Christmas/my Birthday. (Um, I maaay have given him a few hints.)
I am really not a big fan of short needles, so last year I researched for a kit with needles at least 5 inches long to fit my hands. I discovered that the smallest cable length in the Chiaogoo set makes a 24-inch circular needle (5-inch needles plus 14-inch cable). So, no 16-inch circular needle is included, which I thought was just silly. Chiaogoo also offers an alternative set that includes 4-inch needles instead of 5-inch, so that folks can make a 16-inch needle with an 8-inch cord.
I tend to use 16-inch needles a lot, because I really like to make hats. And I really like Chiaogoo needles, and reeeaaally wanted interchangeables. So, I had two options.
1) I could ask my husband to get the set with the 4-inch needles and deal with shorter needles.
2) I could ask him to get the 5-inch needle set and then order the additional 8-inch cables needed to make a doable 18-inch long circular needle.
Ultimately, I decided to go with option #2, because I figured I could get away with 18 inches for most hats anyway.
I’d say that I’m pretty happy with my choice. The very sharp points, smooth metal, and length of the needles are wonderful, as are the very flexible, memory-less cables. The 18-inch needle seemed to work out okay-ish while I was making the Vega beret, but the needles themselves are indeed almost too long and caused the poor tiny 8-inch cable to bend near the join. I finally realize why any cable smaller than 8 inches wouldn’t work at all with this 5-inch needle set, because the needles wouldn’t even be able to meet. There were stitch increases after the brim for the Vega beret, so I was eventually able to go up to the 24-inch long needle, and then the 40-inch for magic loop to finish the crown. I think this 18-inch option will do in a pinch, but I also already have some cheap 16-inch circulars in my arsenal needle collection if I find that I need them for non-slouchy hats.