With all the knitting needles out there, how do you decide which ones to use, or which ones are best for you? This morning I was emailing back and forth with a blog reader about pillows and it got me to thinking . . the more choices we have, the harder the decision. My grandparents had few choices for pillows. I’m not sure when they got their first storebought pillows. Can you imagine them seeing all the different types of pillows we have available these days? My grandma didn’t knit as far as I know but she did crochet. I think of all the years I saw her crochet, she had one crochet hook. She always used worsted weight yarn that was from the dime store. When I first started knitting in the late 70’s, we used straight needles (vs. circular) and I only remember seeing metal needles. There may have been others but the little yarn shop in our town only had metal needles.
If I only had one set of needles (and by set . . I mean interchangeable), I would love them and use them and be very careful with them! The more needles I have, the more projects I have that are on the needles and not finished. I really need to work on that!
If I could only have one set of needles . . which ones would I have? Darn .. don’t force me to make that decision!
What matters to me when judging circular needle sets are:
- The quality of the tips. Definitely the tips need to be smooth with no snaggy points. Tips can be pointed (for lace) or more rounded.
- The quality of the joins. Where the tips screw into the cables . . it has to be absolutely smooth with no high or low points where the yarn can get caught.
- The flexibility of the cables. Cables that are stiff or have “memory” or tend to kink are so frustrating.
There are wooden, metal and various composite type needles. So many (too many) options!
Wooden needles do tend to wear on the tips and they will break. I am hard on needles and have broken a few – anything from accidentally sitting on them, to getting a little aggressive with my knitting and causing them to snap.
Metal needles tend to aggravate my eyes at night when my light is creating a glare on them.
With all the interchangeable sets, additional/replacement tips and cables can be purchased.
Here are my thoughts on a few different sets of needles that I love. There are others . . this is not an all inclusive list.
Knit Picks needles are about the least expensive needles that I like. There are some that are less expensive. Of course I haven’t tried every set but I have tried a few less expensive sets that I didn’t like. At about $45 per set, these are the best for the price – especially if you don’t knot a whole lot. These needles will wear and the tips of the needles I use the most (size 3.5 and 4 mm) will have to be replaced every 12 – 18 months. One thing about Knit Picks interchangeables is that they come in a flimsy plastic case. KP does sell a nicer case and it will hold at least three full sets of needles. It works with all interchangeables. Another thing about KP – the older sets didn’t have the needle size on them but the newer sets do have the size stamped into the metal.
Addi Click Lace Long Tip – These are some of my favorites. They click together (instead of screwing together) and I don’t think there’s any way these would accidentally come undone. I don’t see these tips ever wearing down. I love that the cables have the slit for a life line. Because of the way these needles click together, there is a bump . . though it’s a smooth bump, where the tips join the cables. For a tight knitter, this might be a problem. I’m a loose knitter and it isn’t a problem for me.
ChiaoGoo Twist – I like these a lot – mainly because I love the cables! I like these enough that I’ve thought of ordering a second set. You can see that all my small sizes are in use.
Signature needles – These are nice but they are expensive. I have two needles (not a full set) and I do like knitting with them but, for my budget, I don’t see buying a full set of them. A set is over $300. I would be thrilled to own and use a full set but .. I just don’t see it happening.
Lykke Driftwood – These aren’t really “driftwood” but they are amazing. The joins are so perfect, you can hardly even feel them with your fingernail. The tips are so smooth and the cables are very flexible. Opening this needle case reminds me of an artist’s palette and it always makes me smile.
Like I said, these are not the only sets available, nor are they the only sets I own but these are my favorites and if I could have only one set, I would be happy with any of the above needles as my only needles.