As I’ve gained practice and experience with knitting, I’ve tried many different tools, and I’m starting to settle on my favorites.
In this first of two videos, I wanted to review interchangeable knitting needle sets in particular, and share some observations, complaints, and personal recommendations for the features and brands that I like the best.
All of the needles mentioned are purchases made with my own money or gifts I’ve received from individual friends and family; there is no sponsorship or endorsement, real or implied.
Dyak Craft Northern Light™ Anodized
Made from aircraft-grade solid aluminum and engineered by a former aircraft engineer, these needles are beautifully made from high-quality materials. They have some heft without being overly heavy, and the slightly textured finish prevents them from being too slippery.
I have two sets of these needles: the 3.5 inch and the 5 inch tips; each set comes with different cable lengths appropriate for the tip length (longer cable lengths for longer tips and shorter cables for pairing with short tips, for working small-diameter projects in the round).
These are the needles I’ve had the longest and I’ve knit several larger projects on them. Overall I do like them a lot, though I’ve occasionally had trouble with the tips unscrewing from the cable hardware. Recently, I discovered the trick of using two pieces of silicone mat to more tightly grip the needle and the connector hardware while tightening. This gives a firmer attachment and has solved most, if not all, of my unscrewing problems.
The set is one of the smallest available in terms of size range included, and at the high price point (compared to other sets available on the market) may not be for everyone. (Also, there were far fewer options in the interchangeable needle offerings 8 years ago when I received these as a gift.) However, if you want to support a small family company and Made-In-USA product, I can recommend these.
Set of 8 pairs of tips, ranging from US 3 to US 10; includes 3 cables, stoppers, and a case. Needle sizes are not marked and set does not include a needle gauge. Retail price: $263.60
Dyak Craft also offer other materials and several tip lengths for their interchangeable sets, including Black Nickel, Heavy Metal (solid steel) and wood.
Purchase any of their needles individually or as sets directly from Dyak Craft.
Hedgehog Fibres Interchangeable Needle Set
After experiencing the unscrewing problem with the Dyak Craft needles, I decided to try a set with a completely different hardware attachment system, and on the recommendation of another knitting podcaster, I asked for the Hedgehog Fibers set last year, as a gift.
I liked the nice zippered case they came in, and the needle tips were well-made and very pointy, which is great for those complicated knitting maneuvers such as P3tbl. Unfortunately, the attachment hardware didn’t live up to the hype, and I experienced several catastrophic failures where the cable popped out of the needle without warning, leaving 10-20 stitches hanging in mid-air and difficult mess to sort out to get my project safely back on the needles. (Yes, I did follow the manufacturer directions to make sure the prongs of the needle were spread apart so they would click into the cable securely.)
So, while these needles have some nice features and the price point is better than some other luxury brands (given the larger range of sizes in the kit), I can’t confidently recommend them because of the serious design flaw.
Set of 11 pairs of needle tips, ranging from US 2 to US 11; includes 6 cables (3 floppy; 3 stiff), 2 tweezer tools, 2 end stoppers, holographic case. Needle sizes are not marked and set does not include a needle gauge. Retail price: €189 ~ $210 USD at time of publication.
Hedgehog Fibres has only one style of needle in a 5-inch tip length, available for purchase in their online shop.
Hiya Hiya Steels
One of my latest acquisitions has been the Hiya Hiya Steel interchangeable set in the 4-inch length, small set, which covers US 2 – 8, and fits 90% of my typical knitting projects.
Out of the gate, I loved this set, with lightweight hollow steel construction, lengths marked on the cable hardware and diameters marked on the needle tips. These also have a tightening system that meant that I have never had an issue with these tips coming unscrewed from the cable. In fact, I use the silicone tightening tabs from this set to fix the issue of unscrewing with my Dyak Craft needles.
After knitting several large projects and a few smaller accessories as well with these needles, I can give them the highest recommendation. The cables are firm enough to support the work in progress without being so stiff that I have to fight with them. The join from the cable, to cable hardware, to needle is smooth. The 4-inch length of the set I’m working with is just right for my hands and allows me to knit both larger projects and smaller diameters (such as hats tops and sweater sleeves) without frustration or fatigue. The Steels are the slightly blunter-tipped needle option, but they work fine for both woolen and worsted-spun yarns. And for the price point these needles are a great buy.
Hiya Hiya offer their interchangeable sets in several other options, including a “large” tip set from sizes US 9 – 15, a 5-inch tip length, a “Sharp” style with a pointier steel tip, and a bamboo option as well.
The 4-inch (small) set includes 7 pairs of needle tips, ranging from US 2 to US 8; includes 4 cables from 16 – 48 inch length, tightening tools, and a pretty carrying case. The kit does not include stops. Cable hardware is marked with the cable length and each needle is marked with the US and metric size. Retail price: $84 per set.
Hiya Hiya interchangeable sets are available from a number of online and retail shops, as well as the Hiya Hiya North America site.
In Part 2 next week, I’ll be sharing thoughts on fixed circular needles and double-pointed needle (DPN) styles that I use most often.