Knitting, review

I am a metal needle convert

I use to swear by bamboo needles. This stems from my hatred of plastic needles. When I bought my first pair of bamboo circulars I thought my two choices were bamboo or plastic and I wanted nothing to do with plastic needles anymore.

At first my bamboo needles served me well. They were sharp and more substantial than any plastic ones I had used. So when I needed needles in a different size I naturally gravitated towards bamboo.

About a year ago that changed. I bought a interchangeable set that was made of laminated birch. My yarn slipped so gracefully over the laminated needles and the points were much sharper than my aging bamboo needles. This needle set was my gateway drug into the world of metal needles.

At Christmas time my then fiance and I were headed to Florida for a week. I had a lot of knitting I wanted to get done and I wasn’t sure that my old bamboo needles would last the entire trip. (They did! In fact, my bamboo circs are still kicking though it is clear they are not long for this world.) I did not have time to order needles off of Amazon or Knitpicks so I headed to my LYS. When the woman behind the counter asked if I wanted metal or bamboo I said metal, on a whim.

Metal needles changed my life. They are like knitting magic. Yarn glides so easily over my needles that it practically cuts the time needed to complete a project in half! Okay, not really but I really do knit faster with metal needles.

I have looked back a couple times. I’ve knit a couple projects on bamboo needles since Christmas though I’ve almost always regretted it. I am slowly increasing my collection of metal needles and that will take time but from now on metal needles will always be my preference.

Bamboo or acrylic needles still have their place. The TSA is less likely to confiscate your knitting if it’s not on metal needles. If you’re going to an event where you will have to pass through a metal detector like a concert or professional sporting event a metal alternative needle is preferable.

3 thoughts on “I am a metal needle convert”

  1. I’ve almost always knit with metal needles, usually because that’s what was available at the local big-box store (I’m a budget knitter). I did get some bamboo needles, though (a couple of sets of circulars from said big-box store and a set of straights given to me by a friend who was moving out of state), and I quite enjoy knitting with bamboo as well. I really disliked my knitting experiences with plastic and wood, though (although the wooden needles I had gotten were not laminated). I’m not sure what brand of metal needles you got, but the I’ve mainly worked with Boye and Susan Bates needles, and if given the choice, I’d actually go with the Susan Bates needles (mainly because the rounded tips make for a much smoother knitting experience and the quality is more consistent), but those needles aren’t carried by the local big-box store. I’d eventually like to upgrade to Addi needles, though. I hear so many great things about Addis, and it makes me want to join the club. Not to mention that Addis have much longer cables than what I find at the big-box store.

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    1. I’ve used Addis in the past. I like them and they have nice flexible cables. My one complaint with them is how dull the tips are in their regular circular needles but you can get sock rockets, which have a sharper tip. The other thing that bothers me about their needles is that their US size 1 and US size 2 needles are actually a US 1.5 and US 2.5 respectively. This might no be an issue for some but as a sock knitter that .25 mm makes a difference in gauge.

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      1. Yeah, it certainly can make a difference. It’s been a while since I’ve knit real socks with sock yarn.

        I’m not too crazy about sharp needles myself, mainly because I’m a pusher and I tend to push stitches off the left-hand needle with my right index finger (I’ve even developed a little callus on that finger from it). There’s been many a time when I’ve gotten small puncture wounds on that finger from all the pushing with a sharper needle. So sharp tip needles wouldn’t be a regular option for me, but I can understand why other knitters prefer them, especially with fuzzier/more halo-y yarn or at finer gauges. Whatever works for you and your knitting style, right?

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