12.07.2006

Running Around in Circles

An Actual Knitting Question for Everyone

Thanks to a Hobby Lobby gift certificate from mom and dad, I'm toying with the idea of getting a set of interchangable circular needles. Does anyone have a particular recommendation before I make this kind of investment? A set or brand you especially love--or ones you got that were just awful and you ran back and returned them, just narrowly averting a nervous breakdown? (Because, as you may have guessed, I am prone to the nervous breakdown.)

Speaking of which (needles, not nervous breakdowns)--what are your favorites? Most of my needles are inherited straight needles, largely aluminum (which I don't mind) and a few really old steel ones. I've bought a few circulars and double-points in bamboo, which are nice, too. I occasionally see (and covet) those strange needles in exotic woods or with fancy ends (somewhere I saw some with little skulls, neato!), but since I don't have a favored needle size they seem highly impractical for the price.

Hmmm...also, I'm curious how many of you knit English versus Continental, since my new DomiKNITrix book has me trying to get the hang of the Continental thing...

13 comments:

Mouse said...

Ah yes.. the nervous breakdown! I'm very much familiar with it. I recently returned a set of Clover bamboo circs because the joins sucked and the cables were aweful. I LOVE my Clover bamboo straights.. especially the 9 inch size since I knit continental and throw my needles around wildly while knitting. I also love Clover bamboo dpns, and the tiny Boye steel and Susan Bates steel dpns.
I'd avoid the Boye interchangables because of the joins and the stiffness.. but the Susan Bates "Quicksilver" are pretty darn nice. I've recently been "converted" to the darkside of Addi Turbos.. and I may never be the same.

Holly Burnham said...

I think you'll get as many opinions on this as there are knitters in the world. I don't enjoy bamboo or wooden needles as they don't allow the stitches to slip as quickly. Also, after not too much use with rustic type wool the tips become etched, dry and cracked. But....I have friends who would knit with nothing else. I guess my two points wipe each other out.

pinsandneedles said...

I have a pair of britany birch size 3 straights and they're really good. my favorite circulars are bryspun. i imagine that the straights on those are the same.

On the subject of hobby lobby, in my city, I only seen a set of boye interchangable needle set. Its a good brand, very economical, and I imagine that some of your alluminum needles will most likely be that brand. I'm dreaming of having denise interchangable needles for christmas. Hope this helps.

Amy said...

The boyes are what I have and love. They go from size 2 - 17, and the joins are NOT annoying, contrary to popular belief, if you use the little key thing that comes with. It's a big jump on the large sizes, but that's true of any interchangeable. They're certainly similar to all of the boye aluminum needles I've grown up using, also.

I've tried denises, and they're sort of smelly and sticky plastic which I've NEVER been able to happily knit with. Plus the size range is considerably smaller.

vsoul said...

I have a set of Boye interchangeables and they are just fine. My favorite knitting needles though are my wood straights from Brittany, which are lovely.
And I knit Continental -- easier for me as I crochet as well -- much less complicated to keep the yarn on the left side for both craft endeavors :-)

KnitXcorE said...

I like wood or bamboo b/c i knit english-ly (haha), and I make them click... they're not as loud when they're wood :-) I really like my addi-natura's as far as circulars go, I know they're pretty fancy but sometimes you've just gotta be <2

Chris said...

I tried a Denise set and hated it, but that's probably because I'm an Addi Turbo junkie and the plastic thing didn't work for me.

I knit mostly continental. I knit english for a few things. I like switching off - gives the wrists a break.

Anonymous said...

wow, much more continuity then I expected in the answers. And I am right in line. If I am going to spend money on needles - it will be for Addi's they are great! Although the quicksilvers by susan bates are a close second. I have a boye set of interchangables, which are great for swatching, but I hate them. The tips are so pointy they break open the index finger on my right hand (aka - my knitting injury - LOL). For straights, I like bamboo, but also vintage plastic/bakelite. And for dpn bamboo or steel for small gauge lace projects - plastic is just too bendy and slow . . .

I knit continetal - it is so much faster then american - I am usually about 1/3 faster then the american knitting girls in my group. Plus, I think it is easier to do while not looking (chatting, watching tv, ect.)

sienna said...

I love my Brittany birch straights - I have two pair now and hope to get more. They're not as expensive as other woods (I have a lantern moon rosewood pair too) but still feel as nice.

Bamboo dpn's are amazing.

I just have cheapy circulars but if I had a gift certificate I'd definitely get Addi Turbos because I couldn't justify it otherwise.

BlackCrow said...

I love double pointed needles and have picked up some fantastic plastic vintage ones from my local tip shop..some are still in there old packets unopened. And they come in all sorts of bright colours.
I don't like circulas as I can never find the right size.
Bamboo double pointed are nice too and I like the sound it makes and they taste better than plastic.
I'm a continental knitter too.

Carrie K said...

I love circular needles but I've never bought an interchangeable set, mostly because I bought so many one size ones. And now I have multiple one sizes in different lengths. Oh well. I like the rosewood and bamboo straight needles for some projects and I usually knit (slowly) continental.

There. No help at all on the interchangeable question. Sorry!

Jaime said...

I've never used interchangable needles, either. I don't really use circular needles much, though. I actually prefer dpn's for most things. My favorite needles were once chopsticks, actually. My LYS (walmart) didn't carry any dpn's at the time (nowadays they only carry size 3's,) so I improvised with a pencil sharpener, sandpaper and a little candlewax. They actually turned out nice and look like most bamboo needles I've seen. I've used them on most of the things I've knit, so they've held up pretty well. :D

Oh, and I knit continental, too. :)

Anonymous said...

I have the Boye Needlemaster, the Denise set with the extra-long cables and two bigger tips, and one pair of Options tips (size 13) and the 60-in. cable. I bought the Boye set on eBay because I got a good price and I was tired of having to go buy new circular needles for every project. Then I got Cat Bordhi's book, A Treasury of Magical Knitting, and started knitting Moebius scarves, which means that I need 60-in. circular needles. I had absolutely no desire to buy the entire size range of Addi Turbo 60-in. circulars, at $15-17 each. I admit, however, that I probably would saved money by doing so.

I managed this with the Boye set, by using multiple cables, but the joints were odd and the cables kind of stiff. Cat is very enthusiastic about Denise needles, so I bought those. I like them quite well, except that the tips are plastic and kind of blunt. Still, they're very nice needles and I know I'll use them. So then I bought one pair of the KnitPicks Options tips in size 13 and the 60-in. cables, to try before I bought the whole set. People on the Internet seem to be very happy with these, so I had to try them. I really like these, as the cable is very fine and much less stiff than any of the others. The tips are nice and pointy and really slick. I'm probably going to buy the rest of the set, although I have my doubts about the notebook that comes with it.

I like the Options better than the Boyes and the Denises are probably in between, except that it's hard to compare plastic and metal. For straight needles, I like pretty much all of them. The ones I use most are the Susan Bates Crystalites, because they're short and I'm mostly knitting scarves. I have pretty much every brand of needle, having been knitting for over half a century. I even have the Clover lighted needles (which are great with dark yarn).