Since my last post about knitting needles, I’ve had opportunity to try several more so I thought I would give you an update on my experiences with the various materials, styles etc that are available to us.
KnitPro still continues to be the most popular brand of knitting needles that we sell, both online and through the shop and Farmers Markets with ArtViva coming a close second at the Farmers Market’s.
I think ArtViva have an instant appeal on the stall, the colourful polka dot tops are striking and they just make you want to knit with them. For new knitters they are fabulous, they have a relatively dry surface which means your stitches stay in place, they are well balanced and have a good weight so you have good control over your knitting. I have to say it though, they are not the best needles for speed. They only start at 3.75mm which are only available in a short length and then the longer ones are available from 4.5mm upwards. Due to their texture, they are great for knitting chunkier projects on, bulky yarns that are impossible to knit at speed are great on these needles, I personally find that when knitting bulkier yarns I find it difficult to control on slippery needles and find my stitches are forever popping off so the dryness of these needles is very helpful!
KnitPro have introduced a lot of new products, some we stock, some we don’t. The main reason we don’t stock everything is due to the sheer amount of products available! KnitPro offer 7 different materials across all their products which include straight needles in a variety of lengths, fixed circulars in a variety of lengths, interchangeables in short and standard lengths and dpn’s in a variety of lengths too! In addition to the knitting needles, they have a similar choice in crochet hooks and then a huge range of accessories from storage solutions to stitch markers. In addition to all the individual products, all needles and crochet hooks are available in a variety of sets, from basic starter sets of mixed materials so you can find your preference to deluxe and limited edition sets. All the products are available to special order, most are stocked at the distributor and will come within a day or two so if you see it on the KnitPro website but not on mine, drop me an email and I’ll see what I can do.
KnitPro have introduced a lot of new products in the last two years, notably the Bamboo and Karbonz ranges. A lot of people moved on to bamboo needles years ago, it became very popular for knitting with arthritic fingers as bamboo is much lighter and warmer than the old metal needles. As a knitting needle material, bamboo does have a lot of good qualities, as mentioned, it is light and warm but it also has a good satin texture, not too slippery that your stitches fly off and not too dry for those delicate yarns. The down side of bamboo is that it warps, particularly noticeable with the smaller sizes, up to about 5.5mm. Price wise, the bamboo range is less expensive than the Symfonie wood and genuinely provides a good alternative with very similar properties. Although the initial outlay is less, if you are a hard core knitter, the bamboo may not stand the test of time. I love the Karbonz and they have been a huge hit with my customers. The ‘Karbon’ part has a warm, satin texture and the nickel plated tip enables speedy stitch movement from needle to needle. Lovely and light weight and amazingly strong….they make great travel needles be it straight, interchangeable or dpns! They are more expensive than the Symfonie which puts them at around £10.00 for 3mm 35cm straights but they will last and they are suitable for use with most if not all fibres.
I’ve also recently come across a brand that I hadn’t given much thought to, HiyaHiya. I was at Woolfest and was tempted by some yarn that I didn’t stock (call it market research), as the journey was quite a long minibus ride home, I had to get started on the bus. The yarn, Fyberspates Faery Wings and the pattern is the Ziggurat sweater: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/simple-ziggurat So, I needed needles…I was surprised by the lack of knitting tools in general at woolfest, lot’s of fibre but not many needles. On one of the stands I came across a set of HiyaHiya metal interchangeables and loved the beautiful silk case they came in. Moments later my purse was empty and I had my first set of HiyaHiya’s….(again, call it market research). These needles are so nice! They are not the sharps, they are the standard tips which might not be brilliant for fine lace work but for the Faery Wings they are perfect. They are unbelievably light weight! They are slippery, not quite as slippery as the KnitPro Nova metals but similar. The joins are fabulous, you can really feel the quality when screwing them on to the cable, they are very precise and smooth, they are incredible! I can’t really knock KnitPro for quality but these are noticeably different at the joint with a slightly more pliable cable, say no more. I have since started to stock the HiyaHiya’s in sets in both metal and bamboo and in sharp and standard. I also have some of their lovely accessories too!….The dumpling cases for stitch markers are soooo cute!!
Lantern moon still ooze their usual charm and quality, I have several pairs of the Rosewoods, I love the balance of them. They are great all rounders, good for beginners as they are not too slippery and the points not too sharp but come with a very high price tag, starting at around £17.00 for a pair of 3.5mm 35cm straights. The Lantern Moon accessories are hugely popular, the fabulous hand crocheted stitch markers and tape measures make fantastic gifts for knitting group Secret Santa’s!
In many ways, finding the right pair of knitting needles is like choosing a wand! They have to feel right for you. Everyone has different tastes, some like sharp needles, some like blunt, some like interchangeables/circulars, some like long and some like short. The best advice I can give you is to try just one pair before investing in a set and try them on as many fibres as you can. Don’t just go for the pretty colours, they may look nice but if they don’t work for you it could be a lot of money wasted. The KnitPro Dreamz range for example is only available in sets. They are the same needles as the Symfonie needles but stained with different colours, so it’s certainly worth trying the Symfonie first.
I’ve just started a project using the new KnitPro Nova Cubics. My opinion on these was reserved, I really couldn’t see that I would like them. I am very surprised by them, I was using some Lantern Moons and moved across to the Cubics as I thought it important to try them so as to advise customers. They are lighter than I expected, more comfortable, not as slippery as the standard Nova’s and good to hold with good balance. I’m now getting tempted to move onto them for another project which is currently on Karbonz.
If you would like any advice on choosing needles I am more than happy to discuss options with you.
If you would like to view the complete range of KnitPro, have a look on their website. Everything is available to order. www.knitpro.eu
The HiyaHiya’s are on my website http://littlehoundalesknits.com/102-hiyahiya The accessories are not on the website yet but I’ll be putting them on in the next few days.
ArtViva are on the website too http://littlehoundalesknits.com/93-artviva
If you’re looking for a special set this Christmas, take a look at the Limited Edition ‘Box of Joy’ which will be available early November for £100….