Knitting Needle Review, Part 2: Fixed circulars and DPNs

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It’s time for Part 2 of my knitting needle review, this time focusing on fixed circulars and double-points (DPNs).

Once again, there is no affiliation or sponsorship at play here – all the needles that I use I’ve either purchased myself or received as a gift that was purchased.

I like to knit the bulk of my projects on my interchangeable needles, but sometimes you have to work on a small-circumference project like the end of a sleeve, or top of a hat. In those cases, my preferred method is to use double-pointed needles rather than other techniques. (To each their own if that’s not you.) I’m also very hard on my needles and have bent or broken both wooden and plastic needles at the smaller diameters. Now, I’ve learned to invest in hardened bamboo or super-strong carbon fiber needles to suit my knitting style.

Products Discussed

Kinki Amibari (KA) fixed circular needles

The reason I love KA circular needles is that, like the interchangeable sets I reviewed last week, these have tips that swivel on the cable. I also appreciate the smooth join between cable, brass connector, and bamboo needle. And the bamboo is high quality, beautifully milled, and sealed with a high-performance finish that makes for a smooth feel as you knit.

I use KA circulars a great deal when I travel, because they don’t show up as readily on the electronic detectors in airports and they’re not as expensive to replace as other needles if I lose one. I also like them for knitting lace or large shawls because they’re so smooth for finer yarns, and I don’t have to worry about the tips unscrewing on complicated patterns.

KA needles are widely available in yarn shops and online retailers, and a fixed circular ranges from about $9 – $20 depending on the size and length of the cable. You can find details about their complete range of products on their website.

Takumi bamboo double-pointed needles, by Clover

I also like hardened bamboo when it comes to double-pointed needles (DPNs). In sizes from US 5 and larger, bamboo is strong enough to withstand my tight knitting grip and the pressure I put on the right needle with my pinky as I work, without bending out of shape or breaking. Takumi needles are very well made with a nice taper and smooth finish.

Sets of Takumi DPNs typically run from $8 – $10 and are available in 5-inch and 8-inch lengths.

Takumi needles are also available from many local yarn shops and online retailers, including the Clover USA website.

Pony bamboo double-pointed needles

I acquired my one set of Pony bamboo DPNs on a fluke (watch the video for the full story), but I absolutely love them and wish that I had more in other sizes. They’re stronger than the Takumi’s and have a longer taper and pointier tip, great for working lots of K2togs through the decrease section of a hat crown.

The set I have are 20 cm (nearly 8 inches) in length, and I haven’t found other options listed online. In fact, Pony needles seem to be more widely available in Europe than in the US, though I did find that Love Crafts carries this brand in their online store. They run $6.25 per set, so they’re a fantastic value.

Karbonz carbon fiber double-pointed needles, by Knitter’s Pride

Knitter’s Pride (aka KnitPro in Europe) make dozens of different styles of needles, in a wide range of materials. I’ve tried a few with mixed results, but for me it’s all about the carbon fiber.

Karbonz are lightweight and smooth, with very pointy nickel-plated tips. But the smoothness isn’t slippery – there’s a good amount of drag on the needle shaft, which makes them comfortable in the hand, with an almost wood-like feel. This extra drag also means they won’t slip out of your sock in progress. I travel with mine constantly and although I’ve dropped one occasionally out of clumsiness, I’ve never had one fall out of my work or go rogue in my knitting bag.

Karbonz are also extremely sturdy and strong, making them perfect and nearly indestructible in the small diameter sizes. Which is great for the person who snaps wood and plastic needles as if they’re matchsticks – I have sets ranging from US 1 – US 4 that I’ve accumulated over time.

Karbonz are more expensive than the average bamboo DPN set, but they’re also more sturdy and less liable to splinter or get dull from a lot of use. They are available in both 6-inch and 8-inch lengths, and prices range from $13 – $20 per set depending on the size.

You can find details about the entire Karbonz line at the Knitter’s Pride website. To purchase, check with your local yarn shop first. To order online, for US buyers I suggest purchasing from WEBS because they have a no-hassle replacement policy for all Knitter’s Pride products.

Published by Sarah Scully

Sarah is a librarian as well as an avid knitter and occasional knitwear designer. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, reading, painting, and writing with fountain pens.