I also use that bead counter to count sets of things like decreases. For instance, if a pattern says: decrease like so, every 6 rounds, 5 times. I will use the small beads to count each of those six rows, and when I've done it once, I count a big bead. Then, start over with the small beads counting 6 rows, and place a second big bead. When there are 5 big beads, I know I'm done with that set of instructions.
I love my old Boye set, but I'm starting to hanker for the newer set. I just learned about "Magic Loop" knitting (a method of knitting socks and other small things, with one circular needle). I think the new Boye set might have a small enough cable for this. Does anyone have any recommendations? The cable needs to be able to fold virtually in half, and the folded end pulled out from between two stitches, without stretching them horribly. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's more info on Magic Loop knitting here.)
I suppose I should see if I like this technique first, before buying a whole new set of interchangeables! ...But the new Boye set also has a much smaller range of needles (more needles total?) than the old set I have. Good for those small items like socks. I wish I knew a store that stocked all the new kinds of interchangeables, so I could compare them all in person!