The best of 2016 Holiday Round Up: A Needle Buyer’s Guide

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I’m not even going to torture you with a “knitting-days-til-Christmas-countdown”.* This time of year I tend to look at my great big pile of gift UFOs, and think,

Nope. Probably better just sit on the couch, eat Nutella, and get overly serious about curating my Amazon wishlist.

So I tend to spend the week carefully planning my weekend shopping to get something special for me. ;) I won’t apologize, I look forward to Black Friday/Cyber Monday all year.

Every year we put together a list of our favorite items from throughout the year that we think make great options to treat yourself (or that special fiber enthusiast in your life) this Holiday Season. Jac and I get asked fairly frequently what our “go-to” needles are. The answer is always that it really depends on what I plan on making. New needles can be a fairly big investment, especially if you get a set. So we’ve put together a list of our favorite needles, and scored them with a 5 item rubric to help you match your preferences to a fabulous set of new needles. I’m planning to do another review this summer, that focuses on straight needles, and DPNs, but for this Holiday Round Up I recommend treating yourself to a set of interchangeables that can meet your needs all year long.

There are 2 main contenders in the Interchangeable needle game: Knitter’s Pride and Skacel (you probably know them as Addi). If you are considering buying a needle set for yourself, or as a gift, interchangeables are really the way to go. You can’t beat the versatility. That said, if you find yourself tempted to get one of the cheaper sets you might see in a big box store, please save yourself the time and frustration. Bad interchangeables are basically only good for kindling. If you take the plunge, be ready to go all in on a good set. I’ve evaluated Addi Clicks, and Knitter’s Pride Marblz and Royales based on Durability, Comfort, Utility, Beauty, and Price. I scored each category out of a max of 10. It’s worth noting that for price I based my assessment on the yarn.com price for each item, since that is where I usually shop if I’m buying online. As always, I think the best place to shop is in your Local Yarn Store, so show them some love this weekend!

1. Knitter’s Pride Marblz

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Durability: 7.5/10-I don’t think a non-metal needle could score higher. While nothing matches the durability of metal, Marblz acrylic needles have a surprising “give”. They are just barely flexible, which means that when I squeeze them with my overly tense grip they bend rather than break.
Comfort: 9-They are smoother than you expect them to be, and warm in your hand. They don’t have the metallic smell that can accompany metal needles, or the possibility of splintering/snagging that you get with wood.
Price: 9-The interchangeable are actually a great price. $89 for the larger set on Yarn.com, and that is very competitive with other sets of the same quality. That said, they get major points on the sets for the case they come in. If there’s one thing I’ll say for Knitter’s Pride needle sets, it’s that half the time, the case along is worth the price. I like that KP takes pride in how pretty the sets look, and uses cases with clear fronts.
Utility: 7.5-A good everyday needle, but not what I would choose for socks or lace, since the acrylic may not hold well up at sizes smaller than US4. That said, the cable is nice and flexible, and the join is smooth on the interchangeable. The tips aren’t as pointy as I usually like, but these are a great go to needle that will serve you well with sport-chunky yarns.
Beauty: 9-There is really nothing more satisfying than matching your needles to your project. Except maybe then matching your nail polish to all that as well! They look like stone in person, and I expected them to be heavy, but they are quite light. They are ever so slightly transparent, and really gorgeous when light comes through them.

2. Addi Clicks

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Durability: 9.5-These are the brick house of interchangeables. Even with the smaller sizes you will never be concerned about bending or breaking. They aren’t as heavy as they look, but they are metal, so they are a bit heavier than their wood and acrylic peers.
Comfort: 8-One of the things I love about wooden needles is that they are warm to the touch, and these can be pretty cold when you first pick them up. They can also have the metalic smell that metal needles are known for. You know what though? I don’t even care. I really don’t. I’ll trade all that for the blue Addi cords any day. I’ve never found another cord that was nearly as flexible and able to stand up to the abuse of constant use.
Price: 7-These are definitely an investment. They are 100% worth the price, because they will last you forever. But a basic set of clicks will set you back between $150-$180. You get a lot for the money. I have the Mix set (Clicks are available as Basic, Lace, and Mix), and they include a gold heart pin to show your love of Addi. All the Click sets include a gauge, the pin, and a leather case.
Utility: 9-If you’ve ever tried interchangeables, and didn’t like the way the needle can sometimes come unscrewed (pro tip: make sure you are using the key that came with the set if you find that happening) then these are the needles for you. They don’t screw on, and you don’t need a key to attach the cord. They have an internal spring mechanism that keeps them where they belong. It can be a little fidgety to get used to, but once you get the hang of it putting cords on and off is a breeze. You never have to worry if they will come unscrewed! Additionally, you can customize your tip preferences by choosing between basic (regular point) lace (extra sharp) and mix (a combo of the 2). I like mix so I can match the point to the yarn and project. The only thing holding them back from a 10 is that the join can be a little more raised than the join you would get with a screw-tip. I especially like these for heavier weight yarns, and am using them with a US 15 tip and super bulky yarn for one of my Christmas knits right now.
Beauty: 7-The reality is, a metal needle can’t compete with colored wood or acrylic on the beauty front. They are very luxurious, and I would feel comfortable saying they are the Tesla car of needles, but they are unassuming looking.  The leather case is classic, and not trying to be flashy.

3. Knitter’s Pride Royale

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Durability: 8. They are hard wood, and stand up to a lot of abuse. You can’t run over them with your car, but I’ve never broken one, and that’s saying something when it comes to wooden needles.
Comfort: 7.5-The tips are no joke. Very pointy, which is just what I like, and allows me to put a little less force behind stitches. The advantage to that is less fatigue overall. The needles are a little longer than what I would like for the set, which for me, meant more frequent tightening of the screws. That said, the wood is warm to the touch, and feels elegant in your hands.
Price: 9-A great needle for the price. You can get a starter set for less than $75. We’ve got the deluxe set which has all the needles you will need for most knitting, 4 cords and accessories, and that is only $89, which is a really competitive price.
Utility: 8-These are an asset to your needle drawer. I like them best for working with lower weight yarns, but they’d be fine for chunky too. I think they really shine on shawls. The extra length of the needle and extra sharp tip is perfect for a fingering weight yarn and lace.
Beauty: 8.5-J’taime Paris. The needles are pretty. You can see that. They are lovely colored wood and chrome coated brass tips. But seriously, let’s talk about that bag! Made from mauve silk and embroidered with images of France, this set will make your knitting group jealous.
So there you have it. I hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to treat yourself on Black Friday! When you’re done shopping join us back here for a free KAL and Gilmore Girls marathon. Oh, and if you have a favorite needle that wasn’t reviewed here, sound off in the comments and I’ll try to add it to the next review. :D

~Megan-Anne

*Rule 1: The doctor lies. There are 33 days. But you know what? Live your best life. Cast on something for yourself. :)