Posted by: PunkiePixie | December 9, 2007

Interchangeable Needles: A Review

(taken from a post i wrote on the knitting message board: Get Stitchy!

——-
A lot of knitters have and love interchangeable needle sets. They’re great! It’s an inexpensive way to purchase all of your needles at once… but, the needles are circular once put together. Whatever. Knitting flat on circs is much easier (and lighter) on circs anyway, especially when the project is huge like Knitty’s Clapotis. And that aforementioned project is why I caved and bought a set of interchangeables.

The set I bought was the Knit Picks Options. They were great, they helped me fly through the project with ease, but I found a lot of things wrong with the set. After doing a bit more research, I asked my mom to get me the blue Denise Interchangeable set for Valentine’s Day; she pulled through. The Denise is now my favorite set, but I still dust off the KP set from time to time as those needles have their uses.

As it turns out, the Options and Denise sets are the two most popular interchangeable needle sets amongst the online knitting community and there is a debate over which needles are better. But what it all boils down to is this: do you prefer metal or non-metal needles. That’s it! I like both, they both serve their purposes so having both around can be a boon to have in a knitter’s WIP basket.

(start Get Stitchy! post)
——

here’s my review.

Pros

Denise:
easy twist/lock cords make changing needles fast and easy,

needles are stamped with US size,

the case! it’s great, everything is there and labeled,

the connectors, they’re great for changing cord lengths mid project or for creating custom cord lengths or trying on the item for fit

the resin needles are flexible which is great for cable knitting.

includes a short cable that can create a 17″ circ, great for hats.

great for slippery yarns like alpaca or silk

really lightweight and warm. good for knitters with bad hands or wrists (like me)

Options:
super flexible cords are good for magic loop knitting so finishing hats is easier.

really smooth finish needles, great for sticky yarns like cotton.

pointy tips are good for lace knitting

smallest needles are a US 4

lightweight needles that warm up as you knit.

Cons:

Denise:
cords aren’t that flexible so magic loops is a bit hard to do. it can be done but it bothers my hands and induces swearing and thoughts of tossing the WIP across the room.

needle tips aren’t all that sharp, makes lace knitting a bit hard to do.

smallest needles are a US 5

sticky yarns like cotton do not play well with the resin… it gets painful and hard on the hands. but mercerized cotton plays well.

Options:
the damn screw join!!!!!!!!! :evil i hate having to fish out that little tightening key when i start a project or need to change needles. and i always feel like i’m going to lose it. and if you don’t tighten before you start knitting, the screw join, well, unscrews and it’s curse word inducing when the cord falls out of your stitches.

the shortest cord isn’t short enough for a hat. i guess you can use magic loop, but for me that gets really old, really fast.

it’s made from nickel plated brass, i have a nickel/copper sensitivity and my hands tingle when i use them. (there is now a wood version, i have a set of dpns made of the same wood, love them!)

the sizes aren’t stamped onto the needles making telling them apart a bit annoying.

the case is hard to use, it’s a set of zip pouch and there’s no labeling system which forces the owner to come up with his/her own. (or spend the $2 on the labels they sell)

there’s no connector, so making custom length cords is not possible.

slippery yarns like alpaca hate these needles, they slide too much causing a lot of dropped stitches and swearing.

largest needles are a US 13

—–

i use both… and as you can see, i prefer the Denise, but i find uses for both. oh and both Denise and Knit Picks have great customer service!

i had an issue with my Options needles (the glue was weak in one of cords causing the cord to pop out of the screw join at the most frustrating times) i called customer service and they sent me a new set of cords with end caps and tightening keys

so that’s my bit about those!

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Responses

  1. Denise needles can be sharpened with sand paper. Start with a heavier grit and work down to a fine grit. Just like magic!


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