In a recent post in the Ravelry Group for Interchangeable Needles I summarized my take on interchangeable needles, and thought I would repost it here.
I have numerous sets of interchangeable needles. The first set I got were Denise. I sold them as fast as I could. The cables were so thick I had to tug on the stitches just to get to the join. I suppose if you knit with size 10s the cable would work okay but I don’t. And the points were so blunt even a simple k2tog was difficult.
Next I tried the Knit Picks that were machine made and had rough joins that came apart, and tips that broke in my hands. I gave these away.
Then I got a set of HiyaHiya sharps, in the longer length. The point is great and the join fairly smooth, the needles themselves were very slick, too slippery for silk lace or other very fine yarns. And the cables got kinked easily and were too flimsy. I still have these in the back of my needle drawers, and pull them out occasionally for magic loop socks.
Next were a few Knitter’s Pride, but not a whole set. Promising, but when the join came apart on a silk and wool lace project with over 300 stitches on the needles I tore my hair out. I can’t remember what I did with them, but they are no longer in my needle drawers.
Next up, Addi lace interchangeables. I am not a particular fan of Addis, whose “lace” points aren’t really sharp enough for very fine lace. But I like the click connection and for regular knitting on sport, DK, and worsted weight they are fine. The main problem was the connector that is supposed to allow you to connect 2 shorter cables into one longer one came off twice in the middle of the project. As long as I stick to 1 cable I still use these. I then got the Natura Bamboo click set. Can you spell blunt? But they were perfect for a bulky sweater, on size 9, that I knit in a thick slightly felted single that split easily. I like the grabby surface for this particular yarn and they also worked well with some merino ribbon yarn I used. I keep them around in case I come across another yarn they calls for a grabby surface and blunt points.
Once Chaio Goo came out with a Red Lace set I added those. I had used the fixed circulars for a long time and I love the join. On the interchangeables the little key thing is kind of a pain. The points are great, the cables have no memory, and the surface is not as slick as my Hiyas. I use these a lot.
Then a good friend tempted me with a set of Carbonz needles, in the “limited edition” special box. I was sold mostly by the box, but the needles ended up being quite nice. There are more joins than usual, because the point is metal, the shaft of the needle is carbon, the join to the cable is metal, making 3 joins. I am still in the middle of my first project with these so I haven’t made a final decision yet but I have noted that the cables are flexible but not kinky and the surface of the needles has some grip, just right for the handspun i am using for that project. Knowing they are made by Knitters’ Pride I am cautious about checking that the join is tight every few rows.
Finally, Dyakcraft. I just ordered a set so I won’t have an opinion for 6-7 months but I am looking forward to them.
And finally, we get to the needles I use most, the ones I come back to over and over again, the ones that have great points for most knitting and come with lace points if you want them, that have a very good (but not perfectly smooth) join, and come in rosewood or my favorite, ebony. They feel great in my hand, are beautiful to look at, have cables that are flexible but not too kinky. They are handmade from pieces of wood left from making musical instruments. They are not interchangeable, but come in any length tip and cable you want. You can even have one rosewood tip (for more slippery yarns) and one ebony tip (for a slicker surface). But, they are not available in the US or Canada except for a few shops that have a small leftover stock from when they were sold here. They are Holz und Stein, made in Germany. And although I would love to be, I am not associated with the company.
My bottom line about needles is that there isn’t one perfect needle (not even my H&S) for every yarn or project, or for every knitter. That’s how I justify my (carefully curated) collection. If you have read this far you just also be a nut about needles, as I am!