Thanks to Bill’s recommendation some years ago, I switched to HiyaHiya interchangeable needles and have enjoyed them since. However, not long ago a cable broke at the join and I had to purchase new cables. Sadly, all 6 new cables failed at the join within hours of using them which made me wonder what was going on with HiyaHiya. I knew that I had to upgrade and so I recently asked others here about their choice of knitting needles. Once again, Bill came to my rescue, pointing me towards the ChiaoGoo needles. I did my internet research, looking at a variety of interchangeable needles. I was willing to pay top dollar but I insisted on 4 things: quality, a wide range of sizes, interchangeable and good cables. In the end, ChiaoGoo met all my requirements. I thought I’d give a review here of these needles which I’ve been using for the past 2 months. I purchased the Red Lace TWIST Interchangeable needles.
The needles come in four different sets: the “mini” set includes 5 pairs of needle tips in metric sizes 1.5, 1.75, 2.0, 2.25, and 2.5 mm; the “small” set includes 7 pairs of needle tips in metric sizes 2.75, 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, and 5 mm; the “large” set includes 6 pairs of needle tips in metric sizes 5.5, 6, 6.5, 8, 9, and 10 mm; the “complete” set includes 13 pairs of needle tips in metric sizes 2.75, 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 8, 9, and 10 mm. In order to get the range I wanted, I bought the mini and the complete sets.
The mini, small and large sets each contains the following: 3 cables to make circular sizes 24", 32", and 40", 2 mini/small/large cable connector, 2 mini/small/large end stoppers, 2 T-shaped keys, 1 rubber gripper, 1 needle gauge, and 6 stitch markers. The complete set contains 3 cables to make circular sizes 24", 32", and 40", 2 small cable connectors, 2 large cable connectors, 2 small end stoppers, 2 large end stoppers, 2 T-shaped keys, 1 needle gauge, and 24 stitch markers.
Case: The case is very nice, padded, has a zipper and 1 zippered storage pocket. Inside, there are slots for the needles; the slots are clearly labeled with the needle size and there are extra unlabeled slots for more needles. I appreciate the nicely labeled slots. The mini size needle set has a very small pouch with labeled slots and comes in a zippered mesh pencil case which suits fine. I have taken the needles and pouch and put them into the zippered storage pocket of the large case.
Length: Available in 4” & 5” lengths. I purchased the 5” tips and this length is very comfortable. I discovered that it is ½” shorter than the 5” HiyaHiya.
Tips: I’d never used a lace needles before so this was new to me. After a month, I decided to compare it to the regular HiyaHiya blunt tip and was surprised to find that I preferred the lace tip.
Finish: I wish I could say these are the polished Addi needles but they’re not. They are stainless steel and seem to be identical to the HiyaHiya. I can’t notice any difference between the two brands. The first needle I used had a drag on the yarn but it went away after a couple of rounds of knitting. The other needles I've used have had this same effect. It always wears off quickly.
Labeling: The needle size is clearly stamped on each needle; the cable size is stamped at the join end.
The lace set comes with the red nylon-coated steel cables called TWIST. The cable looks like it has a twist, hence, its name. I love these cables as they have no memory and are substantial without being heavy or bulky. I’ve read reviews that they won’t work for Magic Loop. It’s been a long time since I’ve used ML, but I don’t see why these wouldn’t work for ML. The TWIST cables do not have swivel joins. The HiyaHiya have swivel joins and I wondered if I’d miss them but frankly, I haven’t.
The other interchangeable set is the SPIN set which are bamboo needles with a nylon cord (which I’m told has some memory) with swivel joins. The good news is that if you insist on both metal needles and swivel joins, the SPIN cables work on the Red lace needles in the small and large sizes (available separately).
All needles have lifeline holes.
The needle and cable are joined by screwing the needle into the cable and then tightening with a little metal key in the lifeline hole. The key is actually just a T-pin (wig pin) with the sharp point blunted. A gripper is included. They join perfectly without any snagging and stay joined.
In searching for these needles, I discovered very few sellers carry the mini set. It made no sense to buy the small and large sizes so I bought the mini and the complete sets. I purchased them from Jimmy Bean Wools and had fantastic and quick service. They even followed up afterwards to be sure I’d received them and that I was satisfied. I have since purchased more needles of certain often-used sizes as well as a few more red TWIST cables.
Instead of posting photos here, it's better if you just Google them and look at the photos online. I am enjoying these needles and feel I can recommend them.