Tuesday, October 16, 2012

what i like to knit with...

Today I'm taking another idea from comments left on my first blog post for the month of Blogtober, where I asked for some ideas on what to blog about this month to give me some ideas to help get me through. This one stuck in my mind and I've been meaning to get to it, except I never have any photos to go with it. Today, while the rain threatened I quickly took some, so please excuse the crappy quality of them!

So what am I talking about?

Knitting needles, of course!

I almost exclusively knit with circular needles.

The exceptions to this would be when I work a tubular cast on (worked initially on straights) and when I knit a scarf, such as my Paula's Scarfette. I actually own a couple of sets of Art Viva needles that I use specifically for scarves.

I have two sets of interchangable needles, a set of Knit-Pro/Picks (or whatever they're called today) and a set of Addi Lace Clicks.   I've had my Knit-Pros for quite a few years, but only purchased my Lace Clicks in the last year or so.  I chose the Lace Clicks over the regular Clicks as I prefer quite a pointy needle tip, and I had heard the Lace Clicks were pointier.

In nearly every way, I prefer my Addi Lace Clicks. The tips are a smidge less pointy than the Knit Pros, which I really like as I've had quite a few finger puncture injuries from the KPs. And that really really hurts, I'm telling you! 

The cables are much nicer to work with and seem to be a degree more flexible. I prefer the red of the Lace Clicks to the KP's purple cables as well. I've managed to pull a few of the KP cables out of the join, which when you're in the middle of a ridiculously long round of the edge of a blanket, can be a wee bit annoying! This hasn't been an issue with the Lace Clicks, they seem more stable and well rooted in their cable.  

The Lace Clicks are much easier to join the cable and tip as well, as the name suggests it's a simple click mechanism that joins them together. I really like this as I must admit that sometimes I'm too lazy I find it hard to lay my hands on the little key that is required for tightening the join on the KPs, and I know some knitters find that even with tightening the KPs do un-do.

Having the two sets works well for me, as I am definitely one of those knitters who has quite a few projects on the go at once. I have bought additional tips for the KPs, mainly 4mm as that is the needle size I use mostly. I've bought a few of the KP wooden tips but given I often leave my knitting sitting around and have small inquisitive kids, they've broken so often I generally just stick with the nickel now. The only exception to this is when I'm knitting cotton, then I must knit on a wooden tip.

Ironically, the one thing I don't prefer the Lace Clicks for is knitting 4ply yarn for something like a shawl.  Despite the better joining mechanism of the Clicks, the join itself is not as smooth as the KPs and I've found that the smaller weight yarn tends to snag on the join, where there is a little 'hop', and can be difficult to move over it smoothly.  This 'hop' in the join has also been a bit of a nuisance for any stitch pattern that tends to tighten up the stitches as well, such as the daisy stitch I use in my Anne patterns.

I took a couple of close up photos of the tips so you could see the differences. The needle on the left is the KP and the Lace Click is on the right. These are both 4mm needles. You can see that the Lace Click is considerably shorter. This is another drawing point of the Lace Clicks; with the shortest cable length you achieve a 40cm circular.

While the KPs have what effectively becomes a 40cm cable, you can't use it with their regular tips, you need to buy their shorter tips. I have a number of these in the wood, but not the nickel. I have heard rumours of the KPs nickel short tips but haven't seen them in person, nor actually really sort them out since I got my Lace Clicks.

The difference in the cable and the joining mechanism can be seen below. The cable on the left is the KP and the Lace Click is to the right.

The case that the Lace Clicks come in is quite lovely and very compact in comparison to the hefty little folder thing I originally received with my KPs. I can't take a photo of that as it has long since left this building and been replaced by a beautiful handmade one (which I've momentarily misplaced but I'm sure will turn up once the house is fully restored).

So which of the two sets would I recommend?

Taking all that into account, and if money was no object (the Lace Clicks are considerably more expensive) I would recommend the Lace Clicks.

I knit mostly with dk/8ply weight wool using 4mm needles, and for this they are just perfect.

Apart from the generally superior knitting experience, I also really appreciate that Addi Needles are manufactured and produced in Germany where the working conditions are far superior for the average worker than where KPs are manufactured. This does obviously play a part in their higher price tag...think about it.

Does this make them more of an ethical choice?  You be the judge.

Additionally, to these two sets in my knitting needle stash my other essentials include:
  • Addi Turbo 40cm in a range of sizes ~  These were my first "good" knitting needle purchase and they are still going strong six years later!
  • Addi Turbo 30cm circulars in most sizes ~ I love these so so so much, they are just perfect for working sleeves as well as longie legs. I refer them in my patterns as they are my choice for small circumference knitting. I actually have two sets of the 4mm.
  • Addi Turbo 20cm circulars ~ these are great for knitting socks (yep, think about it!) as well as gloves for the smaller folk, and me really)
  • Hiya Hiya 23cm circulars ~ these are used for pretty much the same thing as the Addi 20cm circs
  • KP fixed 40cm in 3.25mm and 4mm.  I used these sizes for my Wildflower collection, so hence have a bit of a double up of these sizes.
So that's what I use and prefer.
What about you?
What do you use to knit with?
What's your favourite needles?


  1. Thanks Georgie, now I'm lusting after an addi lace click set lol

    I knit mostly with KP nickel plated interchangeables. I have all of the sizes in the shorter wooden tips too so that gives me a set of 40cm circs. I also have most sizes of addi fixed circs in 30cm. I have a KP sock needle set of dpns 6 sets from 2mm thru to 3.25mm, they aree nice to work with, kinda "grippy" so the needles don't just slide out on you but the 2mm needles feel like I'm knitting with toothpicks! Since discovering knitting socks 2 at a time though I've started buying addi turbos in 80cm lengths. Something about the addi cables, they do seem just that bit more flexible and nicer to work with.

  2. Wow! I had no idea there was so much to learn about knitting needles! (And I should because my Mum and sister are avid knitters who are known to do the... circular... thingy...)
    Thank you for sharing such wonderful things as part of Blogtoberfest12.
    Kat xxx

  3. I am curious what method you use for knitting in the round on the 20 and 30 cm needles? I have seen magic loop on much longer cords but nothing on shorter cords. Would love to know.

    I second the love for the addi lace needles. I have a click set as well that I love. I really can't stand straight needles, mostly because I hold my elbows ridiculously and uncomfortably high when knitting with them.

    1. As the cords are so short you don't need to use any special technique for the 20!and 30cm circulars,nyou just knit in the round as you would, say on a 40cm while knitting a hat. I *may* have something sitting on a pair I can take a photo of today

  4. ooooh, wow, Thank you for this post Tikki. Somehow I feel like I have been completely out of the loop because I didn't know such marvelous sets of needles existed! I am most definitely putting a set of these on my wish list! Thank you for taking the time to blog for us this October. I have been checking in every day and so enjoyed what you've shared. Wonderful. Now to fall asleep dreaming of new knitting needles and the Elizabeth I am hoping to cast on tomorrow :)

    1. Pleased you enjoyed it, Ann. I'm prettty sure it was your initial comment I was responding to.

  5. Fablous review! I've been considering investing in new needles, and this was the information I needed.

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  7. I am absolutely lusting after the Chiaogoo Interchangeables, they just look so (dare I say it) sexy!

    I currently use KP's and was looking at Addi's!

  8. I wasn't big on circular needles because I'm quite a tight knitter (try as I might I haven't been able to shake that habit much) and the only ones I'd tried were cheap ones. Then I decided to try a knit that had to be knitted on circular needles because it was so wide (a blanket). I bought some KP needles and liked then but didn't love them. They kept sticking into my finger too - the one with the knitting callus from pushing the needle back through. Then I discoved Addi and I haven't looked back. So far I've only purchased the fixed cables in various lengths and sizes but after reading about your experiences with the lace clicks I think I might invest in some when I'm after something I don't already have.
    Great post!

  9. I've got Knitpro and Hiya-Hiya sets. Both have their place, but the Hiya-Hiya are less pokey. I often get splits in my finger from the KP's. I do love my fixed Addi's though so if I win Lotto I'll get some of them too, can't justify 3 sets though.

  10. I use knit pro and have pulled a cable out, when I was making my FLS, I was very close to tears let me tell you! This was a great post!

  11. great post Tik. Agree with everything you have said and yep I've also given myself several 'finger poke' injuries with my old knitpicks. My fave interchangeable circs these days are my Hiya Hiyas. They are compact, have a choice of tip lengths, come in split sizes so a little more affordable when first buying them but best of all the cable swivels, which is great for me as I am a tangler upperer. I have to confess I ended up selling my Addi lace clicks as they just weren't for me. I think I am a little to tight a knitter for the join.

    1. ooh, I really want to try the Hiya Hiyas. I really love the short circ I have of theirs.. hmmm

    2. Morag at VP has them ;)

  12. Ive got KPs and AddiLace Clicks too and yes like you use different needles for different projects. I much prefer the Addi cable and the join without a key mechanism. I also have a set of the square KP needles and am just not sure yet whether I like them or not! Sometimes the square crosssection just feels weird but I suspect that they 'glide' into the stitch better. In any event I rarely run out of tips or cables nowadays!!!

  13. I exclusively use circulars also. Sometimes I break out the dpns for swatching or tiny circumference knitting, but mostly I will magic loop it. I first used those dodgy birch steel needles. You know the ones, you get them at spotlight. They are so crap! Addis were next and I haven't looked back. I owned a set of the KA bamboo interchangables but didn't love them. I now have KP harmonys/ symfonies and some of the nickel tips also. I'd love an addi click set, probably the lace ones since I like the pointy tips also. Ahhh, one day ;-)


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