Friday, September 18, 2009

Pick Up Sticks

This is where I solicit advice from experienced knitters who use double-pointed needles.
I've got some Susan Bates needles in sizes 1, 2, and 3, and the smaller sizes actually hurt my hands. They work perfectly well to knit with, but using them is never comfortable. I also have a couple sets of Clover bamboo needles, which are fine for knitting socks; they grip the yarn without being sticky, they're comfortable to handle, but the tips are a little on the blunt side for my tastes and they tend to chip over time. Next on the list, I've got two sets of KnitPicks Harmony needles with which I have a love/hate relationship. The tips aren't extremely stabby, but they're sharp enough to slide through stitches easily; the resin impregnated wood is comfortable in my hands, but it can split apart at the ends, which results in yarn snags and occasional sharp edges that can snag my fingers as well. I have one set of KnitPicks nickle-plated needles, too, but I rarely use them because they're so cold to knit with and the seven inch length is a little tricky for me to fiddle with. They're smooth, of course, and rather slippery--metal doesn't usually grip yarn, does it?
Last, I've also had (no longer, alas) a set of Brittany birch needles in smaller sizes. After a while, these also chipped at the ends and I had to smooth the edges with sandpaper to keep the yarn from snagging; the smaller sizes made me feel like I was knitting with toothpicks and, yes, I did break one of the needles while I was trying on a sock--that's how I ended up with my first set of Harmony needles.
I now appeal to my knitterly buddies: Can you recommend double-pointed needles that are comfortable to knit with, slightly stabby-sharp, and of a more economical price range than the Signature needles?


KnitNana said...

I won't be a lot of help. Mostly I use circulars, but I adore my Harmony dpns, and recognize that they're inexpensive and thus expendable. Same with Clover. I own only one pair of SBs and I don't use them. Period.

I bought a set of Signatures at SS09 and I'll tell you I think they're worth every single penny. And you can choose your point.

Like I said, I'm probably not much help - unless you were looking for someone to enable you into a set of Signatures?

La Duchesse said...

Gah...! LOL

the Lady said...

Economical - Plymouth dpns, though they are more expensive than the Clovers. More sharp though, and they keep their tips. They are bamboo. Super-sharp - Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Needles. Wood. $10 a pair, but oh my friend, they are so worth it. Super-sharp. I haven't used them, but if you like metal, you might try Addi dpns. I would go with the Plymouth or the Grafton Fibers myself, though. I did try the Signatures at Sock Summit - I thought they were totally awesome, but since I'm not a habitual dpn user, could not justify the cost - my Grafton Fibers dpns are fabulous for me, and the right price for someone who needs something specific, but not extra expensive. I totally recognized how cool the Signature dpns are though. Very great product.

Btw - you can send back your Brittanys and ask for replacements. They replace defective and broken needles. Send the whole set back.

I know some people really like the Lantern Moon dpns. Myself, I think the wood feels a little sticky for my taste, same as the Harmonys, I prefer the finish on the Grafton Fibers needles.

Rachael said...

I almost always use the cheap aluminum needles that I can find at JoAnn or Michael's craft stores. I think they're Susan Bates or Wrights... whichever they happen to be selling. But that's because aluminum needles were the first kind I ever used and I used them for years before I ever heard people made needles out of other materials, so I'm quite used to how cold and slippery they can be. And I don't mind the cold because I have warm hands.

When I'm not using aluminum, I have a few pairs of Clover bamboo dpns, but I only use them for yarn that slips off aluminum too easily. I've never had the problem of the bamboo splitting, but I haven't used them very much, so that might be why...

I find the aluminum needles lightweight and very economical. I rarely need to replace them, which makes me even happier about using them...

With the smaller size dpns, like what you're talking about here, I too find using them is awkward and rather uncomfortable. I have to relax my grip and hold them much more delicately than the larger needles. Eventually it starts to feel more normal...