Last time in the Interchangeable Knitting Needle Guide we talked about the two sample sets available from Knit Picks and Knitters Pride, what is included in each and which set might be the right one for you. Today, we're going to talk about the interchangeable knitting needles in action. How do Knit Picks and Knitter's Pride work in real life? Is there really much of a difference?
How I tested the needles
I used a favorite knitting pattern to test out the needles. It's a pattern I've knit a bunch of times that can be a little tricky. It's the Reverse Bloom Flower Washcloth by Cindy Taylor knit in Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. The yarn is one of my top five favorite yarns and the pattern is one of my top five favorite knitting patterns. I have a ridiculous amount of Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in my stash. I love making washcloths with it. I've been known to make aprons with it. Every knitter needs a little bit of CPY's Cotton Chenille in their shash. It makes your washcloths just a little extra fancy for giving away as gifts.
Unfortunately, a chenille yarn can be difficult to pull stitches onto the needles, especially since cotton is not elastic and you have these fuzzy bits rubbing up against the other stitches. The flower washcloth requires increases too, which can also be hard to do with this yarn, especially if you're a tight knitter. That's why I chose it to test out these needles. I would be able to see how well the stitches passed over the cables and joins and how well the needle points pierced through the stitches.
What's the difference between the Knitters Pride Dreamz and the Knit Picks Harmony needles?
The good news, the differences between the two sets of needles were virtually indistinguishable, at least in terms of knitting with them. Truly, the main question with Knitters Pride and Knit Picks is what kind of needles do you like to knit with? The two sets are also interchangeable, so you can use the different brands together if you like. It comes down to whether you like the multicolored wood of the harmony, or the solid colors of the dreamz, with one small difference. The metal join is about a sixteenth of an inch longer on the dreamz than on the harmony's. The Dreamz felt a tiny bit heavier than the Harmony's, probably because of that extra 16th of an inch. That made them feel higher quality to me, but it might not feel that way to you.
The Metal Needles
I could not determine any difference between these needle tips, whatsoever.
If you like cubed needles, go for the Knitter's Pride. The cubed needles were cool even if the hard edges dug into my fingers, because the square needles were lighter than the same size needles in the round. The tips were extra pointy and the square ridges gave me a little extra leverage when pulling stitches onto the needle.
Unfortunately out of all of the testing I did, I cannot recommend the acrylic interchangeable knitting needles. The stitches did not slide very well on these needles andthere was a lot of vibration in these needles, which I could feel in my hands and my wrists. This did not make knitting very comfortable. It seemed to me that the acrylic is too lightweight for its own good and that is why they are so inexpensive. Save your money for something more substantial.
Knit Picks Options:
All sets come with 9 pairs of needle tips and 4 cables, plus carrying case and end caps. Sizes 4 to 11, 2 sets each of 24" and 32" cables.
- Harmony Woods $84.99
- Nickel Plated: $69.99
- Zephyr Acrylic: $49.99
Knitters Pride Deluxe Sets*:
Most sets include 9 pairs of needle tips and 4 cables (acrylic only has 8 needle tips, cubix only have 7 tips) and four cables, carrying case and end caps, sizes 4 to 11, one 24" cable, two 32" cables, and one 40" cable.
- Cubix: $83.99
- Dreamz Wood: $82.99
- Nova Metal: $69.99
- Trendz Acrylic: $36.99
- Symfonie Rose Deluxe: $99.99
Both companies have excellent customer service policies and will replace needles in the event of breakage. Extra cables are minimally priced. Knit Picks cables are only $4.99 each and come in 24", 32", 40", 47" and 60" lengths. Note that they don't have a 16" cable, which is important for many knitters, particularly those who enjoy knitting hats. Extra needle tip prices range from $3.99 to $10.99 depending on the needle type and size.
Knitters Pride does have a 16" cable, but you have to buy a special set of shorter needle tips to keep the total circular needle length 16". No cheap endeavor either at $62.99. You can use the 16" needle with the regular needle tips, but the total length will end up to be 18.25" instead of 16", which is manageable when knitting hats. Also, you can buy the Knitters Pride 16" cable and use it with your Knit Picks needles if you want. That said, Knitters Pride does not offer any additional cables separately, but they do have cable connectors so that you can combine your cable lengths to make longer cables. That kit is only $1.89. Knitters Pride extra needle tips range in price from $6.49 to $11.99 depending on the needle type and size.
Both sets are fantastic additions to your needle stash and both will perform admirably, with the exception of the acrylic needles. Knitters Pride is preferable if you're looking for 16" sets. They feature special sets in almost all of their needle lines that have shorter tips to accomodate a 16" cable. Knitters Pride is also preferable if you want to start small. They have smaller starter sets in the $35 range. If you need a set in one needle range, say needles for worsted or chunky knitting these starter kits are a great option if you don't want to spend a ton of money.
Both Knit Picks and Knitters Pride have perfectly pointy tips and smooth needle joins. The Knitters Pride cables seem to be a bit higher quality, but you can't go wrong with Knit Picks purple. The joins on the Knitters Pride dreams are a bit longer and result in a slightly heavier needle.
The rest of the considerations are aesthetic ones. Do you prefer a purple cable? Do you prefer solid colored wood? Do you want the multicolored wood? Do you want rosewood? Start with your own preferences and work from there. Both sets are reliable where it counts and where needles break or malfunction both Knit Picks and Knitters Pride have your backs with generous replacement policies.
Next Time in the Knit Luck Guide to Interchangeable Knitting Needles
I try to find a way to try out more of these needle sets without spending a fortune. I really want to check out the Addi Clicks, the Hiya Hiya needles and the Denise Interchangeables. Stay tuned for the next installment.