Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Duchess and the Knitting PIs

Last night, Jdub and I went to see The Duchess. I enjoyed this one far more that The Other Boleyn Girl, in part, I suspect, because I could see the glaring historical inaccuracies in the latter, and knew almost nothing about Cavendish. (Ignorance is bliss?) I'm sure this is only loosely based on her life, but I was able to relax and enjoy the spectacle. I do have to admit that I wondered, during more than one scene, how so many men lived as long as they did. Because, seriously? I would have killed the Duke in his sleep, thank you very much. (Proving that Ralph Fiennes does an excellent job at playing the bastard/villain.) The beating of wives is discussed and there is a violent scene, so I would say not it's for youngsters, no matter how cool Knightley's wardrobe is.

My score: 4 out of 5. Worth the price, good experience, but not jumping-up-and-down good.

The Knitting Detectives and the Addi Turbos v. Premium Mystery
Some seven months ago, on Ravelry, a member asked an intriguing question: what's the difference between Addi Turbo (pricey circular needles, sold in North America) and Addi Premiums (reasonably-priced circular needles sold everywhere else)? An enlightening discussion resulted, with a rep the NA distributor chiming in to state that the Turbos, which cost 2-3x the retail price of the Premiums, are held to a higher manufacturing standard and are covered by a lifetime warranty. A Hong Kong-based distributor reported that the Premium needles she sold were identical to the Turbos, but with different packaging.

Well, this got people on every continent interested. Folks in Europe & elsewhere wanted to know why Addi would sell inferior needles to them. Folks in the US and Canada wanted to know why they were paying up to three times as much money for a warranty that shouldn't be needed if the needles were such high quality. (Not to mention that you had to have your original packaging and store receipt to take advantage of said warranty. Raise your hand if you have all your packages and receipts.) Folks who had both kinds in their possession reported that the packaging was slightly different, but they could tell no difference between the needles themselves. Oh, a mystery was afoot! Developments in the last few days inspired a few determined and intrepid investigators - from all over the globe - to direct some questions to the source.

One PI contacted Skacel, the NA distributor and was told (her words): "The Turbos and Premiums are made by the same company, Addi. The Turbos are made by Addi to Skacel’s specifications. The Premiums are also made by Addi, but for the European market. They are cheaper, as they are made to lesser standards."

More than one PI contacted Addi, the manufacturer, and were told (quote from emails): "There is no difference between Addi Premium and Addi Turbo needles it is only the label. In USA we sell under the name Addi Turbo and in Europe we sell them under the name Addi Premium. The quality is exact the same."

Ladies, Emerson Cod (the original knitting detective) would be proud.

Skacel has been silent since these communications have been shared. The addi rep tried to do some back-peddling, explaining that Skacel's Addi Turbos cost more because standard of living in the US is higher and they have advertising expenses, etc. The effort is appreciated, but it doesn't wash. In Iceland, where the cost of living is just about the highest in the world (gas is roughly $9.50 a gallon, and it's ~$10 for a McDonald's hamburger meal) because of the high cost of getting the materials to them, a pair of Addi Premiums is under $10.

Many folks on the thread recommend this eBay seller. I haven't ordered anything, because I'm quite happy with my Knitpicks needles (also a fraction of the price of Turbos). When buying online, make sure an out-of-the-country seller has the needles listed as Addi Premiums.

I could have sworn I mentioned this, but I can't find an entry. If it happens to be on my old blog, sorry for the repeat, but there is new news as well.


Tvini said...

That's very interesting about the addis.

Tvini said...

Do you have a link to the ravelry forum, or can you recall its name?

Jinger said...

Skacel has actually started manufacturing the Turbos with a blue cord to distinguish them from the Premiums, very similar to the red cord on the lace needles, exactly because of what you've described. We had Karin Skacel in our shop a few weekends ago, and she showed me a sample of the new needles, made to lessen the confusion.

Just thought you might like to know!

- Jinger