It always seems to be the same story: you’ve got lots and lots of knitting needles and exchangeable needle tips in your stash but somehow somewhere this particular size you would need for today’s project seems to have disappeared. Or are stuck in some unknown project. And wasn’t this the size you hardly ever needed anyway? Or they are your standard size and are always tied up somewhere. At least this is what happens to me and just recently I really needed 4 mm needle tips for my KnitPro system. Alright, I’ve got them in acrylic and in the dark, colorful Symfonie wood. Both were annoying with this particular yarn though. There must be something else. I wanted Bamboo! Why aren’t there Bamboo needle tips yet? Oh, wait! Aren’t there? Since Google is your friend – well, most of the time anyway – I actually found a German store that sold the new Bamboo needle tips. Oh, look, there’s also a natural color for the Symfonie wood. And maybe those Karbonz DPNs would be cool, too.
The KnitPro Bamboo came in a pretty green packaging and the first thing I noticed were the gold plated joins. Ugh. I’m not fond of gold in any way. Besides, it doesn’t go with my purple cables. I found out later that KnitPro now also offers black cables with gold plated screw joins. Wew. Talk about knowing how to make money. Anyway. This is all purely aesthetical so who cares.
From the get go knitting with those needles turned out a joy. That’s really the only way to put it. They are not as slick as the standard colored ones, feels warmer to the touch and the tips don’t seem to be as murderously sharp either. All very good things in my book because those were the points that bothered me about the original KnitPro needle tips from time to time. And the light color works particularly well with dark colored yarn. You can actually see what you’re doing without lighting up the whole living room. The quality of the joins and all over fabrication seems to be on par with the other needle tips I have. I instantly got them in a few more sizes (see pic above) because at only 1.20 EUR more compared to the standards they certainly are worth having. They rank right beside my all time favorite bamboo needles from Clover which I particularly enjoy because they lack a metal join. If you don’t care for bamboo needles in general those might not be for you of course. They do come with sharper tips than most bamboo needles I’ve tried so far so the might be worth a shot.
Those are looking really interesting – darker than the Bamboos and with more grain and light/dark contrast but still light colored. They come under the Pro Lana label/brand which I guess is a reseller of Knit Pro needles. They don’t seem to be all that easy to come by. I found one store who sold the individual tips but only from size 4 mm upwards. Others carried the DPNs ore the tips as a whole set.
The Naturals knit and feel very similar to the standard KnitPro needles. Only they feel warmer somehow, less hard, more flexible. Which I’m sure must be some kind of trick of imagination, since they are supposed to be made from the same compound wood only minus the color. For me they feel also a bit less slick although slicker than the Bamboo edition. The color is light enough to see dark stitches clearly but will still give enough contrast to light colored yarn. The metal joins are silver-colored brass and mine looked a bit banged up and not quite as polished as I’m used to with new needles. On the other hand the pair of needle tips came more than 1 EUR less than the regular colored tips. I think I would actually prefer those over the colored KnitPro needles and I bought a couple of tips in those chunky sizes that did’t already own.
These needles have been around for a while now and I’ve seen lots of friends enjoy them for knitting socks. I was hesitant to get a set because in all honesty, after 15 plus years of sock knitting I’ve probably got all the DPNs I’ll ever need. But I WAS intrigued and in the end just ordered a set to satisfy my curiosity. Carbon is cool, right?
After only a few rounds on my latest pair of socks I knew I should have thrown them out of the shopping basket when I still had the chance. Being totally underwhelmed by their performance would be putting it mildly. The combination of Carbon and brass just didn’t work for me. It was like combining the worst of both worlds. I like my old-school metal (steel) DPNs for their smooth surface, sometimes bemoan the blunt tips and tolerate the noise they generate and how cold they feel to the hands. They work great for knitting at a very tight gauge because you just can’t break them. Here you had sharp tips – which is good – but then the stitches would catch on the join between tip and needle and on the carbon the stitches weren’t able to glide smoothly. Where plastic and wooden needles usually score with a lower noise level these needles here seemed really LOUD. On the plus side they feel warmer than metal needles and are more flexible. I bought them (20 cm long) at the same price as a standard set. But whereas the wooden needles come as a set of 6 the Karbonz only come as a set of 5. Considering that carbon will hardly ever break they might be a good solution for those knitters who tend to bend or break other kinds of needles on a regular basis. They are not for me though and I’m glad I refrained from purchasing the Karbonz needle tips.
Right now I’m giving a set of Cubics DPNs a try. Jury is still out on this one.