I think they're talking about the flexible, cable-ish part of the needle... pull on it from between some stitches so that it shortens it kind of... but you'd have to always be re-situating that part of the needle, actually. It might be awkward and hard to keep your tension correct. You can try that but I'm thinking this may also be a good project to start using dpn's, at least for a little bit. Dpn's are great for smaller things... I like the circular needles but when things get small, I just switch to dpn's. Don't worry if there's a little gapping on the dpn's, if that's the route you take... because the needles are straight, it does that a little but when you get the work away from the needles, it looks fine. As long as you keep your tension correct, you should have no problems with dpn's. Also, make sure it's fairly evenly distributed on the needles if you go with dpn's. You may have an odd number, where one or two or so of them will have more than another.... can't get around that... but don't have fifteen on one and eight on another...
Lol, well, nvm, rainbow answered it. I traditionally switch to dpn's but that's how I was taught... oh and it's not a handful of porcupines unless the needles are REALLY small... then it really is porcupines!