Needle Choices!?!

Weekly Topic #4

Tell us about your stick(s)! What type of needles do you prefer and why? Metal, wood, bamboo, etc. Also, thoughts on how to keep them organized! My DPN's are everywhere!!!!

Happy New Year too all!



Dicks with sticks. Mostly I use bamboo. Occasionally I go for metal but often that's because they are the only ones I have in the right size. I've got so many now & can't warrent the excuse to buy more if I have them already. It's amazing how many I've accumalated already. I used to keep them in a wicker basket from West Elm. While my daughter was here she bought 2 pairs of ballet pumps @ The Gap with a great box that has a pull drawer. so I'm using them now. One for my straight needles & the other for my circulars. I keep all of my needles in their original plastic holder as it's easier to tell the size. Those roll up bags with windows do look awfully orgainsed! As for preference it depends on the yarn. Some work better on metal others on bamboo. Sometimes I like the slidy effect other times I like the friction. It depends on the yarn or project! I like using circulars even for straight knitting and enjoy bamboo flexible needles. I have one pair of size 17 ebony needles that have ceramic ends. They are fabulous, though that size is cumbersome. I'm not used to using such big sticks. All of my DPN's are bamboo & in their holder. My 3 cable needles are metal. Actually 2, one is lost which is sad as I bought when I was in England. Do you associate your needles with projects? I think of my big guys for the yoga bag I designed. Now I'm rambling.

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

ChrisN15720's picture

either bamboo or addi. bamboo for loose work that could slide off and addi for stuff when i want to go really fast....b/c it is REALLY fast.

technocowboy's picture

My preferred regular needles are Brittanys.  I don't like bamboo because they're too rough and catch the yarn too often for my tastes.  Brittany uses birch and it's really smooth and they're usually pretty cheap.  Hate the aluminum. 

For circs, I have fallen in absolute LOVE with Addi Turbos.  They're pricey compared to the Brittanys, but OMG are they worth it.  They're fabulous. 

kiwiknitter's picture

When I was learning the basics, I had a pair of wooden needles.  Maggie Righetti's book convinced me to switch to circulars and I've never gone back.  Recently, I tried to help a friend with his knitting (he uses straight needles) and it felt like I was knitting with broomsticks - very awkward for me.  I first used the Addi Natura (bamboo) and enjoyed the warmth of the wood.  Then, I tried the Addi Turbo and loved them.  The stitches flew off the needles - unfortunately, often before I'd knitted them.  But, I sorted that and now I use only the Turbos.  I have 55 of them in different sizes and lengths.  I believe they are the very best.  Their downside is the coldness/hardness of the steel and that's difficult for my arthritic fingers.  I tried to go back to the bamboo but I found the surface tension with the wools made for slow knitting.  I have a selection of Addi DPN's which I rarely use except for the tops of hats since I knit my socks on circular needles.  The circulars have many advantages over the straight needles but that's fodder for another posting.

I store all my needles in quilted needles cases, each one having 12 pockets.  The cases are labeld by length and each needle is tagged as to it's size in metric and US sizes. 

I consider my knitting needles to be the tools of my craft and I treat them as any other craftsperson would his/her tools.  I store them carefully when not in use, treat them respectfully when in use and never loan them out.  I believe my needles to be an extension of my body when I'm doing my work, just as I see part of myself embedded in my knitted piece.  My father was a woodworker and he taught me the value of craftmanship.  My hat's off to people like Keith (trucker945) who can make their own.

Addi needles can be quite expensive so I recommend watching the ebay auctions.  I have recently purchased a number of new Addi Turbos for about 1/3 their retail price.

Happy New Year!


Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Bryson company has recently put out a set of plastic circulars that are advertised as "excellent for arthritic hands". Tried a few and found the ad to be accurate. Also have an older plastic Bates circular in size 6. That  needle also was easy on my hands. Costwise, plastics run less than most needles (usually). Might want to see what's available in plastic this year.


JPaul's picture

Great question.  I'm always wondering how certain needles are to work with!  I just came from ImagiKnit in the Castro (San Francisco) where I was drooling over some beautiful ebony DP's from Lantern Moon at $23 a set.  They didn't have the size I wanted, though, so I'm looking for them on eBay before I order on-line.  Has anyone used these?

Wooden Needles: I have some straight needles from Brittany (in birch and walnut) which I love to look at but never use.  I use circulars and DP's.  The Brittany DPs are really slow, so I don't buy them often unless I run across a set of the shorter 5" DPs which I love to use for socks and gloves.  I'm going to try sanding and waxing them to see if a bit of polish doesn't speed them up some.  Generally, I'm not a fan of wooden needles.  Just too slow.

Addi Turbos are great!  I wish I had more.  I just bought a set of Addi DP's (short 5" length).  Not the shiny Turbos, so probably a little slower.

I like the Perfection Points on those flexible Boye Balene II needles.  The flexibility always takes a bit of getting used to when I start a project with them.  The points are great though.  I've seen two pairs of new circulars come apart recently (one was mine and another was a friend's, both newly purchased and one needle pulled off in the middle of a project.  I just superglued mine, but there seems to be a manufacturing issue at the moment).

Inox gets my vote for best combination of price and usability.  Teflon coated aluminum, inexpensive.  They also make a nickle-plated Express that's a good alternative to Addi Turbos.  I also think Susan Bates Quicksilver needles are a good choice at a reasonable price. 

Hi guys,
Has anyone tried the Boye interchangable needles? I am tempted as it looks so organised, but how do they feel? They are always on ebay so readily available although with the shipping probably just as well to suppport a local yarn store that stocks them.

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

JPaul's picture

Hey Martin, here's a link to another forum topic where Danny talks about the Boye NeedleMaster set:

I've seen them recently on eBay for $35 or less ($42 with shipping).  Pretty good bargain.  If you do some google searches, you'll find lots of opinions on NeedleMaster vs. Denise, strong opinions and why one set is better than the other.  People seem to hate one and love the other.  You should ask at your local yarn store if they have a set that you can sit down and work with to see how you like them.  Or if you get them and hate 'em, you might even find someone here willing to buy them from you.  I'm looking at them myself.

If you can't find a set to try out for a few days, you can also buy the components seperately.  You could buy just 2 needles and a cable.  That would at least give you an idea of how you would like the set.  Something to consider.


Lee Griffiths's picture

Addi Turbo Circular... it's practically all I use, because I find straight needles much less comfortable.  Of course, I have bamboo DPNs for the times when even a 12" circular is too large.

Magic looping -- never need DPNs, always have a circular that fits. Have you tried it yet?

Have fun, 

ulf's picture

I was so surprised when I saw that in US you always talk about needles as a matter of brands. Where I live we bye needles that are straight or cable, metal, plastic, wood or bamboo. We never know the brand. I myself prefer woodneedles but I have no idea who made them. I knit only in natural fibers and I think woodneedles give the projects a nice feeling nature. If my knitting is for sale it gives the item a commersal edge if it's done in natures material as a whole, not only the fibers.

Well it's all designer here in New York & also in London I think. Certain brand names are promoted more than others & placed more prominantly in the stores. The magazines & books mention brand names so it is perpetuated.

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Hi, Ulf, How are you doing this New Year?

In the US, the brand helps establish quality. More or less. People have their favorites, both in materials and brands. You are right, I think. Wood needles have a flavor of "the old ways". I also prefer natural fibers and natural needle materials. But there are advantages to the newer materials.

Plastic needles, either double-points or circular, have a flexibility that is easier on stiff hands than metal. Metal is smoother and faster than wood (but heavier). Wood and bamboo require careful waxing and oiling occasionally to eliminate friction. I guess it's all what floats your boat. Anything that results in a garment that is useful. decorative, and practical ...

Have fun, 

Well I never expected this. I've used a lot of different yarns since I started knitting again last spring. Acrylic, wool; Noro silk,mohair,wool, cashmerino, pahmina etc. I also experimented with the variety of needles available. Mostly prefering bamboo. Until today that is; my friend Jimmie gave me a gift of some cervinia mohair. I started to knit a scarf on my bamboos & it was horrible. I had to dig out some Susan Bates & it's going OK. This is not going to be easy working with mohair. You really have to concentrate.

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure