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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

kitty: finding the perfect tool

Do you ever get that feeling that every knitting manufactureare just jumping on the band wagon to introduce the next knitting needle? Just look at the lighted needles that Kpixie just listed on there site or the recent introduction by Knit Picks (reviews) new needle line.

As a students of knitting we all try to choose and interpret all the equipment we can get our hands on. Equipment that will allow us to perform basic knitting stitches and processes; to perfect our gauge. Points that will allow us to grip small stitches, but points that wont split our yarns. It is a balancing act and how do you decide. If you love Addi's will you love there DP? If you love bamboo, who's bamboo do you choose? To be honest I am in total aw of the Needle Whore (Grumperina's) collection of all the possibilities.

Here is my collection of DPN's that I collected in hopes of finding the perfect US size 1's. (Note all needles pictured below are not 1's)

A: Brittany - comp - avail
B: Aero -
C: Chiao Goo - comp - avail
D: Skacel Steel - comp
E: Skacel Bamboo - comp
F: Phildar - comp
G: Comfort Zone - comp & avail

H: Fiddle Sticks - avail
I: Inox - avail
J: Takumi - Clover - comp
K: Susan Bates - comp
L: Bryspun - comp
M: Ace - Red Top

A: Knitters Review
I know my friend Mia swears by the Brittany needles. She found out that they actually do stand by there claims of replacement when you break a needle.

I didn't really care for the perfectly blunt tip, though I did like the fact that there was little or no increases ridge from tip to body of the needle.

B: Vintage - From what I can tell the company merged with Inox They are really heavy needles. Certainly a negative for long knitting secessions.

C: ChiaGoo are made from Chinese Moso bamboo. The needles have a lovely tapered shape and a rounded tip. For better or worse the needle size is permanently laser-marked on the needle.

I have a set of DPN's and circulars; the circulars are amazing but the dpn's with the laser marking snag on my yarn every row. Even with sand paper they grew annoying and to prevent the yarn from touching the markings I ended up warping my needles. It is so sad, because I loved the points and they are cheap. I would probably order another pair to try since the tips are so nice.

The circular needles are great though. I am in love with the tips, the cords are a little stiff, but atleast they don't twist out of control.

D: I only have them in 0 - 00 - 000, and really should you judge a needle by those extreme sizes. I think not.
E: I absolutely adore the Skacel Bamboo needles, the problem though is that the US size 1's that I have measure to be close to US size 2's. I am not sure if it was a fluke and my needles just got miss packaged or if they suffer the Japanese Clover odd sizing issue.
F: Vintage - New ones are available on the Phildar site, but the tips look different. You need to click on La Boutique du Fil > Fils & Aiguilles > Aiguilles

G: I first found out about the Comfort Zone needles from Allison, The Blue Blog. She recommended the needles when she was posting about needle recommendations for sockapalooza. At the time they were doing an intro pack where there was a discount if you bought them all (size 3-8) so I went ahead and picked them all up.

Now they are available in US 0 - 10.5. The plastic isn't as nice as the Japanese Clover circular's but they are nice and flexible with little or no wear on the hands. A few of the ones I have do have a cast line which really hurts the tips of your fingers after awhile of knitting.

H: If you are looking for a needle that may drawl blood while knitting, look no further. I have never seen needles that were this sharp.

I: Knitter's Review - These get a Gold Star from Me

These needles are fast, slippery (coated with the same durable gray material as there circulars), rounded yet a distinct well defined taper tips. I do notice that my stitches are a little tighter on these dpn's but I really liked the fabric that it created.

Down side - The needles are not marked so you need to keep you needle gauge handy.

J: Knitter's Review - I know people just love clover needles. I guess for me it just boils down to the fact that I just wish I could buy there plastic line that is available in Japan. They are nice needles but they are not my favorite clovers. I am fickle what can I say.
K: The Susan Bates ended up being my second favorite needle in the group. I hate there circular's or straights, but there DPN's have some nice qualities. Well except for the fact they only sale 4 needles instead of 5. They have little or no ridge, nice tips, and are dirt cheap. I picked mine up for 2.75 a packet.
L: Knitter's Review - In my opinion, it makes a great cable needle. They are just to soft for me. I guess I have way to tight of a grip to knit with them.
M: Vintage - I have a great weakness for ACE needles. Though once they merged with Red Top the quality really went down and the points became really odd. Like the Brittany needles they have little or no increase ridge from the tip to the body. They are very pointy, but they have blunt end tips. Great for small stitches but not to sharp the split yarns.

So, after basically wearing out my yarn with the ribbing of these socks I cast on with my Inox needles. From now on I will be either buying the Inox, Skackel Bamboo if I can test there size prior to buying, or the comfort zone plastic needles. And if I can find any vintage ACE neel

My quest is over! I have finally decided on what DPN’s to buy from now on. I know needles are a very personal choice, so maybe the market can bare more options. It is just becoming a very crouded market.


  1. Hi there -- got here by way of whipup. :)

    I just wanted to mention that if you're doing lacy socks (or any socks, really), the new knitpicks DPNs are just FABULOUS. So pointy they'll make you cry with joy, and while some people don't like the heaviness (they're a bit heavier than other needles) or the slipperiness, I've had no problems with dropped stitches or weight, personally. I looooove these needles. Have two sets of all four sizes now, and really don't like using anything else.

    p.s. I'm totally not being paid by KP, just a raving fan.

  2. This is a great source of info. Thanks!

  3. Wow! I am reading this from the archives thanks to Googling Comfort Zone needles (I just got a set of 1's and 0's to try).

    The review is VERY complete! Thank you!