Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sock needle smackdown

I love knitting socks - they're highly portable, mostly mindless and very practical. My favorite way to knit socks is magic loop, 2-at-a-time, toe-up, on a size 0 needle with a long cable. The needle I’ve been using (pictured here - no idea what brand it is) has joins that are pretty rough. You can see the little lip in the photo. It's a problem, so I've been looking for something with a smoother join. I was also looking for sharp-ish tips because my favorite sock yarn (Tofutsies) is very splitty. I find it less frustrating to use needles with nice, sharp tips (which my old needle here has). Not that I've looked that hard, but I’ve never been able to find both a smooth join and a sharp tip in the same needle.

When browsing the Knit Picks site recently, the photos and descriptions of their fixed circulars convinced me to give them a try. I ordered 2 new pairs of size 0 circulars with 40” cables. I got one Harmony and one Nickel-Plated so that I could see which I liked better. The center, Nickel-Plated, needle looks like it has a finer tip here, but it really doesn't - the sides of it just blend into the background in the photo. In reality all three tips are equally sharp, which is great!

After admiring my new needles, I got out a skein of Tofutsies and cast on, Turkish-style, with high hopes.

Harmony - At size 0 you don’t get much of the typical “Harmony” color effect (it’s mostly brown), but it's still lovely and I do love wooden and bamboo needles so I really wanted to love this one. It has a nice, springy feel, smooth join, soft cable and a pleasingly sharp tip. A few stitches in, however, I realized that the needles were feeling more “sticky” than what I’m used to with sock needles, so I started over with the...

Nickel-Plated - Again, smooth join, sharp tips, soft cable. Loved it immediately. The yarn glides so nicely over the needles. I didn't even realize it before, but obviously glide is another important feature for me with sock needles.

Winner: Nickel-Plated.


  1. even though i don't knit socks, i definitely vote for nickel plated! if you are going to knit as tight as i do then bamboo is definitely a no-no.

  2. Right, remind me never to get you a set of Harmony needles!