Let's talk knitting needles. I think we all go thru a transformation as knitters when it comes to the tools we use. Many of us were lucky to learn on needles handed down from our grandmothers, and even more of us start off with whatever we find at garage sales or on sale at the craft store. There are endless options when it comes to needles - from plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, wood, bamboo, glow-in-the-dark, light up, bone, ivory...you name it - you can probably find it. Not to mention straight, double pointed or circular.
I started off with a pair of aluminum needles, but quickly moved on to bamboo. There was something about the natural feel of bamboo that really appealed to me - until I used my first pair of Addi Turbos. My stitches flew off the needles with increasing speed, and I knew there was no looking back. My other needles began to collect dust as I opted for metal needles more and more.
Choosing the material of the knitting needle is really user preference. We all knit differently (which should be celebrated!!) and thus, have different needs. I am a very tight knitter, and found that the stickiness of bamboo clashed with how tight my stitches were. Where as metal needles give me the slip and glide to help my stitches flow smoothly over the needles. If you are a tight knitter like me - give metal a try! If you tend to knit very loosely, you might prefer the grip that wooden and bamboo needles can offer!
Next up - straight, circular or double pointeds?? Again, this has a lot to do with user preference, and what type of projects you prefer to knit. I have found that I only need (and only use) circular needles. They work perfectly for any project that I encounter, especially if you master the fabulous "magic loop" trick of knitting a small circumference on a single pair of circular needles. I prefer magic loop over double pointed needles for mainly two reasons. Firstly, I don't need as many needles. I can often use one set of circular needles for an entire sweater project, because the longer circulars I needed for the body, work great for magic loop for the sleeves! Secondly, I found that when I was knitting in the round, my tension and fabric turned out neater thanks to less jumps between needles (there are only two when using magic loop, as opposed to 3 or more when using DPNs). Again, this is just my preference! If you haven't tried out magic loop, but would like to - here is a great tutorial!
So what is the point of all this needle chatter?? Well, I wish someone had told me years ago when I began knitting more and more, and investing more and more money into my new found hobby, how much money I would have saved in the long run by purchasing a set of interchangeable needles, as opposed to individual needles.
I love the versatility that a set of interchangeable needles can offer the knitter! You always have the size needles you need, and my personal experience is that you will no longer need that big stash of individual needles you have collected over the years.
Again, we have lots of options when it comes to needle sets - many brands, and again different materials and of course sizes. I think the most important factors to consider are: needle material, needle sizes, tip sharpness, cord material, cord lengths, the join between the cord and the needle, and price.
Today I am going to talk about my latest set - the Cubics Platina from Knitter's Pride. I just finished my first project with these needles and I wanted to share what I thought of them, specifically the factors I find most important!
Knitter's Pride Cubics Platina Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set
>>The specs: Includes needle tips for sizes US6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11/4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 8mm; 4 cords - 24in/60cm, 2x 32in/80cm, 40in/100cm, 1 set of cord connectors, 8 end caps, 4 cord keys, and a carrying case.
>>Needle Material & Shape: Chrome coated brass pipes. I would compare these to other metal needles - my stitches flowed easily and quickly over them! What are really unique about these needles are their cube shape! I was so curious about how it would be knitting on square needles instead of round - and I have to say - I loved it! They were so comfortable in my hands, and most importantly, I found my tension actually improved! Even after all my years knitting, I still have trouble with even tension when knitting stockinette stitch flat. My purl stitches are just looser than my knit, and it tends to show in my knitted fabric. I found when using these needles I notice much less of a difference! Yay!!
>>Needle Sizes: With sizes ranging from US6 - US11, these needles are great if you tend to knit with DK, worsted, or Aran weight yarns! I knit up a worsted shawl with mine on the size US8 needles, and it was perfect!
>>Tip Sharpness: These needles are nice and sharp, which I love! If you enjoy knitting lace, brioche or cables, you will really benefit from a sharper tip. It makes it so much easier to move stitches from one needle to the other!
>>Cord material: I worked with a LOT of different circular needle brands, including many different interchangeable brands. I have to say, that when it comes it cord material - these are the best I've found. Some cords are just too stiff, or get kinks , or won't unwind. These were flexible and soft. I am very impressed!
>>Cord lengths: This set is really ideal for someone who loves to knit shawls and sweaters, or anything on magic loop. I have the "Normal IC" size, which means it does not include a 16in/40cm cord, because the tips would be too long. From what I could tell on the website, you can get a set that has shorter tips and includes a 16in/40cm cord, although I could not find that set for sale on Amazon. If you are big on hat knitting, I would suggest trying to find the shorter tip set! Otherwise, you should have no problem with the longer tips and cord lengths!
>>THE JOIN!!: To me, this is definitely one of the most (if not the most) important factor to consider. There is nothing worse than having a rough join between your needle tip and your cord, that catches your yarn every time you try to push your stitches over it. Or even worse, a weak join that comes undone, leaving your stitches without a cord! Luckily - you won't have either of those problems with these needles. They utilize a screw in system, with a little cord key that ensures they are screwed in tight enough. I had no issues with them coming unscrewed, and the join was perfectly smooth. I do highly recommend using the enclosed cord key, otherwise you may risk them coming unscrewed as you knit.
>>Price: On Amazon.com this exact set runs for about $72. Which is a very fair price as far as needle sets go! I have sets that cost double that, and I think the quality of these needles surpass them. In the beginning, it may feel like a lot of money to spend on needles, but you will save yourself so much going for a set instead of spending $10-$20 on each new individual needle size you will want to own down the road.
So there you have it! If you are finding yourself getting more and more serious about your knitting, I really recommend investing in a good set of needles. Let me know if you have any questions - as you may have noticed, this is a topic I LOVE to talk about :)