I am surely not a rarity in being picky about my knitting needles. After all, they are every knitter’s basic tool of the trade and can certainly make or break a project.
The inferior and cheaply made needles can drive one into deep frustration in no time. They are hard on the yarn as well as fingers, the knitter’s most important asset. They cause the yarn to split and the stitch to be missed. In short, bad needles are evil. Most metal, nickel plated and cheap plastic needles belong to this category.
Next are the O.K. needles. Not too bad, not too good- just mediocre. Although they get the job done; these needles neither inspire our hands nor excite our eyes (i.e. many wood/bamboo and premium quality metal/Teflon coated needles).
And then, we have the Fabulous Needles. Ah…those that take the top level in our needle cases and we reach for first in starting any project. We might even go as far as limiting our yarn choices so we may knit with these favorite needles. For me, they must possess all of the following qualities:
- have fine and tapered points
- have a smooth finish yet provide enough yarn grip
- be light weight
- be pleasing to my hands and fingers- feel good
- Optional> be pretty- although not a requirement for a Fabulous Needle, it is much appreciated
I know there are many expensive -or not- needles made of various materials including glass and exotic woods that match the above. But so far, the following have made it to my Fabulous Needles category:
The flexible, strong and light weight Bryspun needles are the first ones I purchased when I re-started to knit almost a decade ago. I still have all of them with the exception of a pair which recently fell victim to Friday’s chewing (my sister’s puppy). I love the concave and tapered tips as well as their feel. Made in New Zealand and of special plastic, they are also warm and soothing to the hand, making them comfortable for those with arthritis. Bryspun needles are made in both straight and circular varieties. I know the same brand is also manufactured in USA; but mine are from New Zealand
My next favorite needles are by Knitpicks, the Zephyr and Harmony Wood. Again, I like them for their sharp and gradually tapered points which slip into stitches like a dream making it super easy and fast to work those complicated cables or the fine lace stitches. Both of them are available in fixed or interchangeable circular; but only Harmony Wood is offered in straight and double pointed as well as cable needles. The smooth cables in circular needles have little memory and remain straight and not wavy. For added insurance, the interchangeable ones have long threaded joints and are further secured via a tightening hole. This feature can also be used to easily thread a lifeline. The basic difference between these two needles is the material. Zephyr is made of a clear and flexible acrylic, a bit lighter and cheaper. It is a great choice for working with darker yarns and counting stitches while working the lace weight yarns.
Harmony Wood needles are made of multi-colored laminated birch wood, are extremely pretty and have an organic feel to them.
What do I carry in my needle case? I still own my very first red metal needles from long, long time ago; on which I learned how to knit. Whenever I gaze upon them, I am reminded of my mother’s patient face as she led me along my first knitting project. I also own: a pair of each straight and circular Susan Bates coated aluminum needles, a few Takumi bamboo needles, a pair of anonymous hand made wooden straight needles and a Lantern Moon straight pair.
However, my main stash consists of my Fabulous Needles which are always growing in number.
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