knitting needles

Needles I Love


I first learnt about circular needles in 2010 at the yarn festival that changed my life. 

I was too nervous to ask anyone knitting with them what they were or where they got them and I was too swept away with all the beautiful yarn and wonderful designers to think of trying to buy some but afterwards my friend told me she had circular interchangeable needles and explained what they were all about. Of course, I needed to try them, immediately.




KNITPRO

My first set of circular needles were an interchangeable set from KnitPro. I went all in and bought a Deluxe set of rosewood wooden tips which included 3.5mm (US 4) through to 8mm (US 11) tips, and a range of cables. The wood appealed to me after a lifetime of metal and plastic needles and for a while I thought I was converted to wooden needles forever.

I loved my KnitPro's - they were such a pleasure to use. There was a little adjustment period while I got used to them but I quickly found I was able to knit so much faster! I'm not sure if I  actually used my long straight needles again? I certainly can't imagine using them now.

So, for a few years I thought I my KnitPro's were simply the best. And, they are pretty jolly good. I still enjoy them. Of course I've broken some of the smaller ones, either by sitting on them or knitting very vigorously ...  I've heard other people complain about them unscrewing or yarn getting caught between the needle tip and the cable and I've never had those problems with my wooden ones. I tighten them up firmly with their little T-pin and don't tend to come loose. I did try some metal tips later on and found that they were harder to tighten - they're a bit slippery. Perhaps some rubber gloves would do the trick? lol!

Eventually, I started to notice whispers about "other" needles ... and I found it increasingly difficult to resist getting some more.

I haven't actually been able to bring myself to buy another whole set of needles -  yet. I can't quite justify it given I already have so many. But I have bought individual needles here and  there to see which ones might be in the running for a big needle splurge some day.

ADDI

To be fair, I've only tried a couple of Addi needles - some fixed lace needles - the brass coloured ones with the red cable and some larger fixed metal ones with a gold cable. But I don't like them. The needle tips on the lace needles are fine, they're good and pointy in comparison to the rounded KnitPro tips but I'm not keen on how they darken when used and they smell so brassy to me, it's off-putting. The one thing that really drives me bonkers about Addi's are the cables. They are so kinky! My silver needles are almost unusable. Ok, so that might be a bit dramatic, they're just not good to use because the cable is so bent. Overall, they're super springy and want to leap back into loops. It drives me mad.

So, I'm not an Addi fan. I tried.




HIYA HIYA

I got two sets of fixed Hiya Hiya needles with metal tips after finding my KnitPro needles too rounded when knitting lace. I was on the hunt for pointy tips and found someone near me selling Hiya Hiya needles so I thought I'd give them a go. I love them.

Firstly (and rather ridiculously), they're so pretty. I love the silver needle and the pale blue cable. It looks so fresh and happy. They have a longer point at the tip than the Addi's and they slip into stitches so easily. While the cable is pretty good and doesn't zing back into a spiral my one gripe about them is that the cable has bent to a 90 degree angle where it joins the tip. I'm pretty sure that they didn't come that way and my quick scan of pictures on the internet didn't show any that looked bent so I can only assume that they've bent over time. It's not awful to knit with but it makes me wonder if one day I might end up with a needle in one hand and a bunch of stitches still on the cable in my lap.

CHIAOGOO

They are as gorgeous as they say. Truly.

Because they're so crazy expensive and I've only recently been able to buy them here in New Zealand, I only have three sets of Chiaogoo interchangeable metal tips and two cables. If I make that big splurge someday (and oh my goodness it would surely be $BIG!) it'd be for a set of Chiaogoo needles. I think they're that delicious to knit with.

Before I had the Chiaogoo's I wondered why people obsessed over pointy tips. It seemed almost sadistic and I wasn't sure I wanted to wield dangerously sharp needles as a form of relaxation? It seemed a bit over the top. But then I started knitting more lace patterns and found my wooden tips just didn't cut it. I needed to knit yarnovers, decreases and increases at a similar speed to my regular knitting and became a little cross with rounded tips that didn't find holes or stitch bars quickly and easily. I started to see the appeal of pointed tips, especially slippery metal pointed tips. Once I tried them, I was completely converted.

The Chiaogoo tip is the longest yet and it's fabulously pointy. At first I poked holes in my right index finger because I have a rather annoying habit of pushing my needle back with that finger after completing a stitch. I try hard not to do it but my pesky finger is desperate to leap to attention and push back. These days, I either manage to not push more often than I push, or  I've developed hardened skin on the end of my finger - whatever, I rarely have that problem unless I'm crazy knitting all day long.

The other thing I adore about the Chiaogoo's are the cables. The red cable looks reinforced, does not kink one little bit and has a spectacular texture to it that makes it seem sturdy and reliable. The joins are seamless and I never have a problem with stitches catching or getting stuck where the tip joins the cable.

I've heard people complain about the noise the Chiaogoo needles make. At first I didn't notice any noise but after listening for it I see what they must be talking about. It's a gentle "swish-swish" as the needles run over each other. Other needles make a noise too but I think the burnished finish on the Chiaogoo's make it slightly louder. I have to say, I actually enjoy the swish. It's pretty rhythmic and reminds me of background wave noise when you're staying near the beach.


So there you have it, my ideas on needles. I'm rather hoping we'll have a "Great Knitting Needle Debate now. I'd love to hear what you think. Do you have favourites? What should I try next? I'm all ears :)