Knitting

Review: Interchangeable Knitting needles; Knitpro, Lykke and Chiaogoo

I am a newish knitter in terms of being really into it. I love that knitting is portable and it exercises my mind and preoccupies it. It helps pass the time in waiting rooms and at the end of the day (or a few months) you have a lovely hand made thing.

Last night I was thinking about how my habits have changed a bit. I used to buy fixed circular metal needles. In the end though I wanted to branch out and be able to knit a variety of things and stumbled upon interchangeable sets.

KnitPro Symfonie set

My first such set was the Knitpro Symfonie set. I was over the clanking of the metal needles I used to use and wanted something a bit more natural, I guess. The set came in a plastic zipper bag with section for the needles. I actually bought myself a nice knitting needle roll to keep them and other bits and pieces in now, as the plastic smelled really strongly. The plastic bag now holds my old metal needles. LOL!

This set seemed like a good deal at the time and also KnitPro accessories such as cable connectors, other needle sizes and cables are generally easy to find and you won’t be too much out of pocket. This was all important to me because I did not know then that I would become such an avid knitter.

My experience has been that the needles are relatively smooth to knit with and people often compliment the colour swirl of them. Like mentioned above it is relatively easy to extend the set with other bits and pieces, without having to look too hard and pay too much of a premium. The tips are quite rounded, so this can be tricky for certain types of stitches but so far I have managed to knit a jumper, hats with cables and my shockwaves scarf  with them using a variety of yarn weights and types. I especially liked using them with slippery soft merino yarn as this did not slide off too easily.

The downside for me was that a couple of the smaller sizes have broken for me during knitting. I am a tight knitted but did not expect this. The needles have broken off where they are set in the metal. I tried to fix one with super glue but this did not really work. This has happened to me 3 times now, twice on the same size and once on a larger size.

The other thing I noticed is that they will slightly come undone from the cables, more so than other interchangeables I have used. This is easy to spot though as your knitting will get caught in the gap between the needle and cable and you can then easily fix it but tightening the join again.

Sizes are printed on the needles but they rub off after one use. This makes having a sizing thing really important. I could not tell by eye what the needles were. I think if they carved the sizing into the needles this would add a special and useful touch.

 

Overall these are great and cheap needles that I have had fun knitting with. If you want to do more lace or sock knitting though the tips may be too rounded and the needles themselves may break too easily.

Chiaogoo Red Twist Lace set

I first saw this set at YAK in Brighton. I cannot remember if I bought it there though. Either way this is a lovely set. It comes in a textile zip touch. I was not such a big fan of the flowers but you mainly notice that it is black and white with a touch of red and hecne goes with almost everything I own. 🙂

The needles are metal needles and the cables are covered metal cables. These cables are great. They  are bendy and sturdy and I just love the quality of them. Similar to the KnitPro set these use a screw on fitting and you can tighten the cable to the needle with a little metal thing. You do have to do this. If you don’t the needles will undo from the cables, but if you do use the metal thing to tighten the connection then I have never had an issue with the cable undoing, even when knitting using magic loop or small circumferences at the top of hats or on sleeves.

The tips of these needles are sharp and smooth and great for chunky cables to lace knitting (I have done very basic lace knitting). The join, if tightened properly is smooth and I just find these a joy to knit with. The accessories for them can be a bit pricey though. I bought some extra cable connectors and stoppers recently (the set does come with a couple) and they are maybe double the price of the KnitPro needles.

The cables are also compatible with their bamboo interchangeable needles which I think is a similar set but with a green ribbon. I have only bought the odd set of needles and not the whole interchangeable one. But I may be swayed to invest in them at some point. The wooden tips are super sharp and precise. If you enjoy knitting with wooden needles more than metal ones, I suggest you check out the Chiaogoo Spin Bamboo set. The one downside of these wooden needles for me was that they seem a bit more scratchy down along the length of the needle than say the KnitPro ones. But as I only have 2 sets of needles I could have been unlucky. They are very usable though.

The other thing I really liked about these needles is that the sizes are etched into the needles AND the cables. You can easily find out if your cable is 14″ or 22″. I found this to be a lovely thought and makes this set super useable without any hassle of checking needle sizes or measuring the cables. (The bamboo needles also have the sizes etched into them).

Overall I love my Chiaogoo set and when I want to cast on I check if I am currently using the needle and cable size I need or not before diverting to one of my other sets. They have become my go to needles. I just wish it was a bit easier sometimes to find extra needles or accessories, but more independent shops seem to stock them now. My cable stoppers and connectors came from Wild and Wooly in London, for example.

 

Lykke interchangeable set

For christmas my parents absolutely spoilt me and got me this needle set. It is stunning to look at. The case they come in is lovely and the needles are smooth and shimmer in the light. The size is etched into the black metal and painted in a contrasting colour. So far I have not noticed any wear and tear on these.

The cables are lovely soft nylon cables and in several sizes. So far I have knitted a cabled cowl and a hat using these from beginning to end. I have just started a jumper in worsted weight yarn as well. They are every versatile and smooth. The tips are in between the KnitPro and Chiaogoo bamboo needle tips. So not too blunt or overly sharp. This may mean that the Chiaogoo bamboo needles are more suited to lace work than these needles. But I have not tried any fingering weight yarn yet.

In terms of look and feel and style these are amazing. I am a huge fan. I do love knitting with wooden needles and these are a joy. However in the UK they are currently still hard to get. Especially if you need other bits and pieces that may be outside of the set, such as an extra pair of needles or a cable. I am not sure there is somewhere?

Price wise these are pricey but comparable to a Chiaogoo complete set, also in terms of variety of needle sizes, cables and accessories.

So far I have had no issues with the connectors and needles coming undone while knitting in the round. This has been amazing. They feel really reliable.

I think if I had to only knit with one set forever I may choose my Chiaogoos at the moment but let’s review that in a year with more use of the Lykke needles.

Question: Do you have a favourite needle set?

 

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