There are lots and lots of different types of knitting needles available. Some of them, such as Clover, Susan Bates, or Knit Picks, are budget-friendly. Sometimes they are knitter-friendly, too, but other times not so much. There are also needles that are marketed as knitter-friendly but are not budget-friendly. And nowadays there are choices amongst straight, circular, double-pointed, and interchangeable as well as choices amongst round, square, or hexagonal shafts, and choices regarding material such as bamboo, nickle-plated, surgical stainless steel, brass, carbon fiber, plastic, glass, or various types of wood. How is a knitter ever supposed to choose?
For our October guild meeting, I wrote to several needle manufacturers and requested samples. Guild members also provided needles. And we repeated the needle tasting last weekend at the South Carolina Knit Inn. This was a great chance for knitters to test-drive needles before making a capital investment. Good tools are important, but it is also important to choose tools that are good for you.
|From top: Lace, Turbo, Natura|
At right is a picture of the tips of the various Addi Clicks needles. You can see that the Lace needles are more tapered and a little pointier than the regular Turbo needles. The bamboo Natura points are similar to the Turbo points. I usually prefer slick metal needles myself, but bamboo or wood is essential for certain slippery fibers, such as mercerized cotton, rayon, or silk.
The plastic needles have a little more grip than metal. They are lighter in weight than metal, which may be nice if you sometimes experience hand-fatigue problems. The cords are thicker than most. The cords are also fairly short, allowing you to make a full range of sizes easily by combining. The set even includes end buttons. If you are someone who likes to have lots of projects in the works, you can simply park your knitting on the cables, swap the needles for end buttons, and move your needles from project to project. The join involves a quarter-twist, making Denise needles easy to change without needles coming loose unexpectedly. The two colors of cords are also perfect if you like to work small circles in the round on two circular needles. Because the yellow and blue are very different colors, it is easy to see which needle to use rather than mixing them up, which is a typical problem in working on two circular needles. Finally, Denise needles tend to be budget-friendly, running about $50 for a set.
|shawl stick, straight needles, and dpns|
North Georgia Knitting Guild does a retreat later in the year as well as a fundraising auction. So, these three groups of sample needles will probably be lurking around my house for a few months before they go to a permanent home. I've brought them at least once to knit night as well, as I encourage anyone who wants to test drive to experience these for themselves.
Many thanks to Skacel, Denise, and Indian Lake Artisans!