Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Poppy's Knit Review

Hello and welcome to the debut of Poppy's Knit Review...a new Superstarra-ville feature. I'm your hostess, Poppy Sassypants.

Today on Poppy's Knit Review, I will share my feelings on the newest thing that every knitter didn't know they needed until about a week ago, The Knitpicks Options Harmony Needles. I'm sure that if you read your fair share of knitting blogs, you are familiar and/or own some of the Options nickel plated needles. That being said, this is our first time using them, so skim over the things you already know.

Let's get started.

First off, the cord. Yes, it's pink. But color aside, the cord is extremely flexible. The joins are smooth and stitches glide over them with no problem whatsoever.

The Poppy Sassypants Testing And Review team [P-STAR] had some concerns about the needle cap. But once I had it in our hand, I saw that the wood tip and cap met seamlessly. There is practically no edge whatsoever. And in the few knitting trials we conducted, there were no problems with the needles unscrewing from the cord.

The P-STAR team is currently working on the Patti Jacket [the yarn is a wool/alpaca blend] using Inox size 5's. I politely asked her...them...the team...to make the switch over to the Knitpicks Harmony so that a comparison could be drawn.

Christie...I mean my P-STAR team found these needles lightweight and very easy to use. The yarn was able to slide over the needles almost as good, if not a little better than with the metal needles [although we didn't take into account the P-STAR team's excitement]. There wasn't any drag or traction with this yarn, and feel that these are more in line with metal needles than with a bamboo. The needles tips are very narrow, which is excellent for lace and/or ease when knitting multiple stitches together. We found that with this particular yarn, the team was more prone to splitting the yarn, so just a tad bit more care was needed, especially when knitting quickly. And since the tips are so pointy, investing in caps for the tips would be wise to keep them in pristine condition.

In my research, I found that knitters were either loving or hating the colored wood, most saying that the needle's colors would make knitting variegated yarn difficult. The colors didn't bother the P-STAR team in context of the tweedy nature of this yarn. They did note that counting stitches requires ample light, as it was difficult to see the stitches against the needles properly in low light. The team felt that if one is knitting mostly by feel and not needing to watch every stitch, one shouldn't have a problem with the colors. The other plus is that when knitting in direct sunlight, the P-STAR team did not get blinded by the light equivalent of a thousand suns bouncing off the metal needles directly into their irises.

Speaking of the colors, they are not as garish in person. Our needles, compared to the picture on the website are much more subtle. Rather than looking cherry, royal blue, gold, kelly green and grape; ours look wine, mustard, indigo, grass and violet. It's hard to say if the colors are completely consistent, but I'm sure they punched up the colors on the website to be more of an attention grabber.

I checked out a few websites and blogs and practically all of the reviews are very positive. One thing I have to agree with in regard to the set is Knitty's review wondering why the individual tips aren't numbered. I guess Knitpicks will sell more gauge sizers that way, but it's honestly the only negative thing I've found so far...and overall, it's a minor detraction.

So overall, I'm giving these a 5 out of 5 Superstarra rating. Everything about these needles make them a real joy to use. The colors might be ick to some knitters, but I find it nice alternative to a solid color. Also, as with most interchangeable needles, they are amazingly versatile...in both use and cost. A cable and two end caps would make a great live stitch holder...when you're ready to work with those stitches, just screw your needles tips on and go!

And since these needles available as either a set or individually, trying them out if painless. If you are on the fence about ordering a full set, I would suggest ordering one set of tips in your most used size and a cord length that doesn't come in the set. Give them a test drive on a small project. If you do wind up ordering the set, you'll probably be happy having the second set of tips and extra cords. And if you don't like them, you spent less than a new pair of Addi's and could easily sell them to another knitter to try.

Time will truly be the test to see how these needles fair in the long run. Only with long term use can we see how the laminated wood holds up. Until then, the team is enjoying each and every stitch.

If you have any questions about the needles that weren't addressed in this review, please leave me a comment and I will post all of the answers later this week. For Poppy's Knit Review and the entire P-Star Team, I'm Poppy Sassypants.