After exhaustive testing I have decided that the best needles for lace are the Chiaogoo Red Lace Needles which I got from Purlescence.
I like these because the join between cable and needle is so so smooth and they are really light. In second place were the Addi Lace with the red cable - nice pointy ends but snags slightly at the join, but they do a 3mm (US 2.5) which the Chiaogoo don't!
However as none of these are interchangeable it means that I shall have to gradually (?) acquire at least one of each length - not explain this very small detail to Mr S yet, but as he is already making noises about needing a larger lathe that shouldn't be too much of a problem!
Today is the first of 2012 so I cast on my first shawl using some knit pro needles.............. lets just hope they don't break before their replacement arrives next week.