Edit: Thanks to all who entered, the giveaway is now closed!
I’ve officially become enamored with a new-to-me knitting tool: Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles. These needles are made from carbon fiber and have slick nickel-plated brass tips.
As you may have noticed over the last few months, I’ve been slowly transitioning from the colorful Knit Picks Harmony needles I’ve used almost exclusively for the last few years to sleek, black KP Karbonz needles. It began when I realized I was mending far too many holes in my socks and needed to tighten my gauge. However, I wanted to knit with size 0 (2.0 mm) DPNs that didn’t feel like bendable, careful-or-they’ll-snap-in-half toothpicks. So I ordered some Karbonz DPNs and loved them.
Current sock in progress. Click for project page.
And I thought — maybe the Harmony’s are NOT the be-all-end-all of knitting needles. I first learned to knit on Susan Bates metal needles but have been fiercely anti-metal since I first discovered Clover Bamboo needles way back in the day. When I found the Knit Picks Harmony wood needles it was love-at-first touch. Between the warmth of the wood and the sharp pointy tips you just don’t get with bamboo, I thought they were great. Sure, I had my share of split needle tips (can we say snags?), and needle bases that separated from their metal casings so that they had to be glued back together (boo), and cords that unscrewed while I knit (that old nightmare) — but they were what I had, and I thought they worked well enough. But when I was sent a Deluxe Interchangeable Needle set to review, I was super excited to give them a try, and I haven’t been disappointed.
The great thing about the Karbonz needles is that they are strong and sturdy, like metal, but warm to the touch and lightweight, like wood or bamboo. THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS, GUYS. The interchangeable set comes with 9 pairs of needles (from US 2.5 – US 10), 4 cords (24″, 32″, 32″, and 40″), 8 end caps, 4 cord keys, and a set of needle size markers so if you remove your needles from your project and store it on its cord, you can remember what size you were using.
I really love the pouch the needles are packaged in, and there’s a handy slot in back to hold more cords. I ESPECIALLY love that the needle size is printed both on the needle tip AND the metal base of the needle, so no more hunting around for a needle gauge to figure out what the heck size you’re using.
Lifeline near stitchmarker indicates where I switched to Karbonz needles on my Stitch Block Cowl.
Since this set has come into my possession, I’ve been swapping out the needles previously being used in my WIPs for these new needle tips. Projects that were bothering my wrist or hands for one reason or another before, suddenly felt fine. Perhaps my hands have been extra-sensitive since my wrist injury or perhaps I just needed a change, I don’t know, but the grippiness of the carbon fiber surface combined with the slipperiness of the needle tips seems to have made my knitting proceed more smoothly. Happily, changing needle tips didn’t change my gauge mid-project. I’ve since used the Karbonz needles to swatch a variety of yarns with multiple sizes and all have felt really great.
Swatches! Top: handspun BFL on size US 7. Bottom: Shibui Knits Linen on size US 4.
I have two minor complaints about the set:
- It only comes with 4 cords. I am a knitter-of-many-WIPs, and 4 just isn’t enough for me. However, one can purchase additional cords in sizes ranging from 16″ to 60″ (for less than $3!) as needed.
- Needle sizes do not range smaller than US 2.5 or larger than US 10. For many people and projects, this probably isn’t an issue, but I am also a knitter-of-chunky-yarns and have plenty of use for needles on the larger end of the spectrum. Their fixed circulars have a wider range on the smaller end, though, so magic loop sock knitters can get their tiny needle fix that way.
Using a cord as a stitch holder in my Kelp-y Kelpie Shawl. Click for project page.
Overall, I really love the feel of the Karbonz needles and will likely use them for the majority of my knitting. Unlike some others, I haven’t noticed any snagging in the transitions from metal tip to carbon body, or from needle to cord. I love that the size is printed on the needle and that even the thin sock sizes feel strong and unbending, but not too inflexible. While the tips aren’t as pointy as some, they appear to be pointy enough for most purposes and I am happy that they won’t split like wooden needle tips often do. The Deluxe set retails for around $125, which is certainly pricier than wooden sets, but if you can afford it I think the carbon fiber needles have definite advantages. There are also smaller interchangeable sets available priced in the $60 – $65 range. For more information, check out other reviews at Knitter’s Review (older but still interesting), Badfaerie Designs (from the point of view of a steel needle user), and Knit Luck (really detailed!).
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
If you’d like to win a Karbonz needle prize from the good folks at Stitchcraft Marketing (exact prize to be determined), leave a comment below telling me what type of needle material you prefer and why. Each comment gains you one entry, and if you share this post via Twitter, Facebook, or on your own blog, let me know and you’ll earn extra entries. I’ll choose a winner with a random number generator on Friday, May 30th so you have until 11:59 pm Eastern time the day before to enter. Good luck, and please spread the word! (My apologies but this giveaway is only open to US residents.)