Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Tools for the socks


Knitting tools are much like tools of other trades.  We start off, the beginner, eager to learn, and just happy to use whatever there is to hand to create our projects.  We don’t mind any needle, just as long as it gives us the ability to knit!  We gasp at the expensive needles, and wonder why anyone would pay that much?

I started life in the hospitality trade, and as part of my learning to manage a hospitality business, we had cooking lessons.  We were required to buy chef’s knives, and learned how to sharpen them properly and keep them in a knife bag so that they stayed sharp and kept you safe from the sharp blades.  After using a proper chef’s knife though, all the other knives in my kitchen drawers at home were quickly made redundant…

We were also required to sharpen our knives every week, to ensure they stayed razor sharp.  Why?  Safety, actually.  Contrary to popular belief, the sharper the knife is, the less likely you are to have an accident.  The sharp knife cuts straight into your food, with very little likelihood of the blade slipping off the food and slicing into your fingers instead.  I used to throw an orange into the air and slice through it with the knife (not around other people of course).  If it cut the orange through the middle in the air, the knife was sharp enough.  There was also the performance factor.  Chefs must work fast, and it doesn’t do to be slowed down by a blunt knife that takes twice as long to cut food, and doesn’t cut it as precisely as a sharp knife.  Presentation, after all, is also vital in a fine dining restaurant.

Now we come to the knitting part, and I’m sure there will be nods of recognition when I say that after discovering good quality knitting needles, the cheapies were very quickly discarded in favour of the high performance variety!  What made them different?  Precision, speed, comfort.  The same things that make all tools of the trade expensive, valued and looked-after.

The tips of my cheap aluminium knitting needles frayed under use, and cut into my fingers.  The better quality needles do not do that.  Neither do they bend, and end up looking like curved needles, rather than straight ones!

But even among the needles known to be quality, we all have our preferences.  Some like bamboo, or wood, others like steel.  My own has definitely trended lately to carbon.

I am just a tad annoyed with myself that I had to find the $20 DPNs my choice of weapon.  However, having been infected with “sockitis”, and needing needles that give comfort and speed (must knit all the socks), I find that the carbon needles have:

a)  flex, and are therefore gentle on the wrists

b)  nice, sharp tips that allow good capture of the stitch and they don’t get blunt (wood and bamboo, I’m looking at you)

c)  strength, and are not prone to becoming misshapen (I’ve been bending the steel ones even…)

d)  a good, light weight.

e)  a nice surface that allows smooth yarn movement with all types of yarn.

The ones I’ve had access to are the Knit Pro Karbonz.

I will still use the other needles I have, the Knit Pro wooden needles especially.  I do like their gentle click, and the flexibility of the wood.  But when speed, a good, precise tip, and comfortable wrists are needed, I think I’ll be reaching for the Karbonz, every time.

Knit Pro Karbonz


Author: kiwiyarns

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

30 thoughts on “Tools for the socks

  1. I too love the Karbonz, but have also found them tiring for my eyes, as the light from my lamp caught the shiny tips, have to keep my Work in an angle that does not catch the light…..but apart from that, they are wonderful to use

  2. Well, I was sold, until you two talked about the light glare. The dpns I’m using now are a dark wood. I broke one while I was knitting my first socks, so I know I need something better. I also wanted to start my second socks with a charcoal finger weight yarn and I found that I was having difficulty seeing, dark on dark. Yes, I probably need to go to the next stronger glasses…but I’m not sure what to do now, since I really have a problem with glare. Any suggestions? Like your second choice???

  3. Knitters Pride Nova Cubics circulars are my new favorites. Love the cable and sharp tips. I now have a collection of knitting needles. Not so much crochet hooks but I knit more. As with yarn, I tell newbies that as appreciation of work grows, you want to spend more on yarn and tools for sure!

  4. I’ve not tried carbon but my favourites for socks are KnitPro wooden needles. Don’t like bamboo any more. You do get what you pay for!
    Pretty socks – is the pattern ‘snowflower’? I made it last year and they fit really well, I especially liked the heel.

  5. I tried the Karbonz, but ended up with 2 faulty sets in a row and then decided to stick with my SS ChiaoGoo needles instead.

  6. Hmm … I will have to try the carbon needles for sock knitting. I appreciate your thoughts on them. I have sock needles in so many different materials but not those! Have you tried the Bryspun Flex needles? I tried then when they first came out years ago but hated their flexibility …now that I am heading toward 60 years old, I find I like their flexibility. I have been thinking of buying more sets of those but will try the carbon ones first!

    • I don’t think we can get Bryspun here. I’m not sure how they compare with carbon, but the flex in carbon is very subtle. When I talked about it with my sister, I tried bending the needle to show her, but they didn’t bend… I think it’s more that they have a ‘give’ that steel doesn’t have – something in between wood and metal.

  7. Love using the Karbonz for socks. I knit socks with two circulars, so bit pricey setting myself up, but worth it. I had a couple of faulty ones too, but were replaced and plan to get some tips in 4.0 and 4.5 next, just to change things around a little. Had a habit of snapping my 2.25 Knitpro needles and the Karbonz are really holding up well for me, so guess that they will wind up costing less as seemed to be replacing a needles with every pair of socks I was knitting.

    I definitely agree that it is worth the cost to get quality tools. So many people struggle with dreadful needles, using expensive yarn. Knitting is so much more pleasurable with good quality needles. It just enhances the whole experience I feel.

    • I think Karbonz must have had some teething issues when they first came out. But like you, I have found them to be best (having now sorted the glare issue).

  8. Those socks look lovely !
    I love my carbon needles, because of their unbreakability. Wonder though if I have old ones; yours do seem to have sharper points.

  9. Hello from soggy uk. I’ve just brought a few sets of these after reading about them on Alice’s IG. LOVE THEM BUT BOY ARENT THEY EXPENSIVE!!!!

  10. So true about knives. Mine are sorely not sharp. I need to sharpen them. How often should they usually be sharpened?
    And true about knitting needles. Mine are all bamboo as I love Clover. I have a set of 00 DPNs in your Karbonz. I have yet to try them.

  11. How amazing to read your post today as just this morning I was thinking that I need to invest in some high-quality Karbonz DPNs for more socks that I want to knit. Great minds ….

  12. Oh yes, I hear you. I love my Signature dpns. They’re pricey, but so nice to work with that it’s worth it. I love the pointy tips, that they’re light but strong (no bending!), and that they’re colour-coded for size. Any time I use other dpns I really notice the difference.

  13. Interesting. Like you I’m usually a knitpro dpn lass. I bend all the metal ones with my vigorous grasp. Carbon sounds like it might be a nice treat … I’ll mention it to Mr Myrtle 🙂