Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Tools of the trade (again)

24 Comments

What seems like aeons ago, I wrote a post about knitting needles, the various materials that they are made from, and what I thought of them.

I had to laugh, because at the time, I had not used Knit Pro.  Look at what I have since acquired:

Never say never, huh??

In that post, I also talked about CraftCo circulars (our local ‘bog standard’ el cheapo needle) and said how I thought there wasn’t much wrong with them.  Well, if you knit moderately, this is true. However, the needles do not stand up to heavy use.  After a while the coating over the tip wears away, and you get micro fraying of the exposed metal, similar in effect to a sharpened knife.  Yes.  Ouch.

Since I wrote that post, I have to say that I’ve also experienced a major swing away from using straights towards circular and double-pointed needles.  Straights are ok for some projects, and I especially like them for swatching, but mostly I now find them cumbersome and ‘in the way’.   Circulars are good for many reasons:

1.  You can knit in-the-round on them.

2.  You can knit large flat items with them, with the main weight of the project sitting on your lap.  This reduces strain on the wrists because you don’t have to try to hold all the stitches on a straight needle.

3.  Knitting in public is also better with circular needles as they take up less space.

4.  The shorter needle length allows me to knit faster and with more dexterity.

Today, I’d like to share with you my happiest find since Addi Turbo needles:

I can’t get Addi Turbo, my first choice of needle, in New Zealand.  Not easily, anyway. I suppose I could always mail-order them in from somewhere.

One of my local yarn stores stocks Hiya Hiya though.  And since they’re easily and readily available, it just seems easier to buy those.

Why do I like them?

1.  Like Addi, they have nice tips.  Rounded enough not to pierce fingers.  Pointy enough to knit lace. From someone who now sports a permanent callous with severe scarring from needle punctures on her left index finger, and possible beginnings of nerve damage, this is a very important point (no pun intended!)

2.  They’re steel.  That equals fast knitting.

3.  They have joins that are smooth and less likely to come apart from the cable than some other brands.  It’s a heart-stopping moment to suddenly feel your knitting free-fall off its cable halfway through a 300 stitch row…

4.  They’re light.

Last Christmas, the above needle case of size 5.5mm – 8mm interchangeable needles was my treat to myself.  Since then, I’ve added to the collection with a few other sizes, but there’s always room for more with this knitter.  No matter how many needles I have, it’s a very annoying phenomenon to find I never have the right size when I look at starting a new project! Do you find that?

On a final note, there’s a special category for sock needles.  Super fine, I don’t think there is any steel brand that I have tried so far that hasn’t pierced my finger after extended use. The best material appears to be bamboo, and maybe wood.  Hearing my complaints about sore fingers, a lovely friend sent me a gift of some 2.25mm Knit Pro wooden DPNs recently.  I managed to complete a pair of socks on them without mishap.  I’m also loving my Ashford bamboo needles, which have so far also been gentle on the fingers, and strong, despite their resemblance to toothpicks.

I know that there are many other needle brands out there, many of which I have not had the opportunity to see or experience using yet.  Which needle brand is your favourite?

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Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

24 thoughts on “Tools of the trade (again)

  1. This was a timely post. I just broke my circular bamboo needle last night and thought I must invest in some proknit ones I thought the wooden ones but now you’ve got me thinking maybe not. I’ve been using circular for everything but socks because every time I knit something like a cardigan or jumper I get RSI and end in a splint and no more knitting which is extremely frustrating.Are those Proknit ones in your picture aluminium or steel? I weighed some Inox ones against an old pair of plastic that look like tortoiseshell I’ve had for years and the difference is Inox 10grams heavier!

    • Poor you! The wooden Knit Pros are nice to knit with. You just need to be careful not to sit on them. The breakage is a common theme, but I haven’t personally broken any of mine yet. The metal ones in the pic are steel. Their tips are a little too sharp for my liking and my knitting doesn’t glide along the stem like Addi or Hiya Hiya.

  2. I have fallen in love with ChiaoGoo Red circular needles. I only have one pair (2.5mm) that I was given as a prize in Sock Madness. They are absolutely fantastic!! Metal needles, and plastic coated metal cable – sounds weird, but works fantastically. There is a bend at the end of the needle that I thought would be irksome, but it actually makes the knitting easier! It has fantastically smooth joins, and the cable never gets kinked. It’s a pity we don’t have a stockist in New Zealand…

    • Ooooh yum! I’ve seen ads for them and heard other raving about them too. Given you’re a sock fanatic, I’ll take your word for it that they’re good.

  3. I’m a fan of the addis. Although whenever I need wooden dpns, I get a set of Brittany Needles, which are made in California. (http://www.brittanyneedles.com/)
    If you are ever hurting for some addis, let me know. My current favorite size (how dorky, I have a favorite size) is my size 0/ 2.0mm, 12inch/ 30mm circulars. Not everyone finds that size comfortable, but I really can get socks out pretty fast on them.

    • Thanks for that! I had fun looking at the Brittany needles on an e-tail site listed by Brittany. I shall have to add them to the ‘wish list’ of future purchases. And thank you for the offer of Addis. I shall bear that in mind!

  4. I love needles! I had a collection of oddball sizes from way back when, and I began to fill in missing sizes and lengths when I joined Ravelry. (At the time, I just loved checking off a new box in the Needles and Hooks tab).
    Once I got so I was working on a couple projects at a time, I started thinking, hmmm I need more needles, (I should have nipped this bad habit of cast-on-itis then by finishing what was already on the needles). KnitPicks had the Harmony inter-changeables on sale, I bravely plunked down the $60.00 and got the set. I love these needles and the fact that if one breaks, KnitPicks will replace them. I use them all of the time.The cables and caps also act as my stitch holders when I need the tips for another project.
    The thing I wan to tell you though, is this. I had great success finding needles on Craigslist and eBay. The Craiglist must have been serendipitous, because I haven’t had luck lately with finding sets people are clearing out, but on eBay, I was trolling Vintage Needles and scored large!
    Some of my favorite needles are the hard plastic or tortoise shell ones I got in lots from estate sales. Most of my purchases were under $10.00 and I would get 15-20 pairs of needles, sometimes mismatched or worn, but cool nonetheless.
    I now have plenty of needles and I use them when teaching. I set up a student with a couple pairs of needles and some yarn and hope to grow a new group of like minded knitters.

    • Fantastic! Some of those vintage needles are pure gold. I have a set of mint 50’s plastic needles that I found in a charity shop that are some of my favourite to work with. It is a very cost-effective way to introduce a newbie to knitting too.

  5. Knit Pro every time (and the new wool shop in town is going to stock them!!) – Is it sad to be 39 and soooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited about a wool shop opening?

  6. Now I am more confused than ever….I am going to treat myself to a set of interchangeable tips for
    Christmas and have been trying to make up my mind 😦 More research needed I see….

  7. I’m so jealous! I really want a set of interchangeables… maybe for my birthday!

  8. Hmmm, my stash of needles looks a lot like yours! I love adding to my needle collection as much as I love adding to my yarn stash which can be highly dangerous sometimes. Still, when I find a needle that I love, I want to get it in every size. I like steel needles, too — they are so smooth and comfortable. After that, I love bamboo/wooden needles. I stay away from aluminum and plastic although those types of needles is what I learned on and began knitting with. As for circular needles, I’m a huge fan for all the same reasons as you. While I have a slew of straight needles, I’ve noticed recently that I rarely use them these days. And I adore DPNs but I’m not really sure why. : )

  9. I just LOVE my KnitPro interchangables. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and these are the kindest needles I have found ever for my hands. I can knit for hours without pain and strain. Best thing since sliced bread I say!

    • I find it so disappointing that I don’t have the same experience of these needles as so many others like you do. Perhaps it’s just the way I knit!

      • Didn’t say I use the wooden ones – have managed to only sit on one (that thankfully I had a spare set of) in the 2 years I have been using them. They have retained their point and just seem (to me) to get better the more I use them. I also love the way they fit with my current project in a ziplock bag that I can carry anywhere with me and whip out while I have those spare minutes waiting that we all seem to get.

  10. Firstly….I LOVE this blog! The pictures of the tree fern were stupendous and I get the same thrill from the unfurling of bracken …it’s just a mini version. Isn’t nature wonderful? I Love KnitPro and Lantern Moon are heaven I favoured the Ebony but had to have a pair of Rosewood …ooh the hardship…as my supplier was out of stock. However, those Rosewood needles mellowed into some of the most fantastic needles ever! I don’t understand the problem with knitPro my friends use them as well, some won’t use anything else …those points are something else… and as inconvenient as it might be Knitpro will replace them. I asked my knitting shop and they said they had not heard of them breaking being a major problem. I think every one should at least try them. Did you like using them? And how DO you wear those tips away on your wooden needles? It’s GREAT you have Wovember information up 😉 Again keep up the great work on your fantastic site I really look forward to it.

    • I’m really happy you like my blog. Thank you!

      When uninjured, I love knitting with my KnitPros. My main issue is that I seem to be particularly talented at piercing my finger tip with them, and now take the precaution of strapping on a plaster before I use them to avoid further injuries. As I said to Margaret, I think it’s probably just the way I knit, as the rest of the world seems to be totally fine with them! You’ll be pleased to know I haven’t worn down the KnitPro tips like those other wooden needles. I suspect they were just bad quality.

      • Do you actually pierce the skin of your finger, drawing blood!? Poor you…I know it’s not funny but, your description of putting a plaster on in preparation of knitting made me chuckle…my preparation is to make sure I have made a cup of tea, Poor you! Were any of the wooden needles you wore down Lantern Moon? I have been told that the Lantern Moons Destiny Circulars are wonderful. You have said that maybe it’s how you knit…maybe you could put a wee demonstration up!? ;-0

      • I do draw blood. Hence the grumbling! None of those needles are Lantern Moon. We can’t get that brand here. I’m sure that they would be much better quality than the wooden needles I pictured. The KnitPro needles haven’t worn down, so I doubt that Lantern Moon’s would.

  11. I do love reading your blog…..it is a great read.
    I know this is a long way off but I am planning a trip to New Zealand next October (yes, I know it is a year off) and if you are still looking for a specific needle or needle set, let me know and I could pick them up for you and bring them to you. Or I could get them and mail them to you.
    Let me know

  12. I just use the cheap ones at Knit World because I can’t yet bring myself to spend more on them (and I don’t do lace so my fingers are safe). But I agree with you on the preference of circular over straight. After several projects knit in the round, I started using straight needles again and definitely noticed lots more strain on my left wrist.