Well, my Woollywormhead Mystery Hat is complete (and fabulous) as is my Redy, just photos to sort out and then you will be privy to both rest assured. With the last end woven in I may have proclaimed loudly (ahem) that nothing new would be cast on until the 2 or 3 Christmas gifts that I have planned this year are done and dusted. Yep, a break in the selfish knitting schedule to knit up some treats for others.
I did mean it, honest! Then these arrived…
Relaunched after a redesign, the new Karbonz circulars and dpns from Knit Pro promise to be the best of everything. Lightweight, very very strong, smooth, pointy and warm to the touch. Well, frankly it would have been churlish not to put the claims to the test without delay! Seriously though, I do like to be able to give frank, honest opinion to would-be customers and with a needle like this it really is impossible without putting at least one through its paces 😉
So… with Christmas knitting pushed firmly to the back of my mind (there was no choice, all my Christmas knits are DK or heavier and these stop at 3.5mm… no really, there was no alternative…) I riffled through my Ravelry library and came up with Henslowe.
I’ve had this on ‘the list’ for ages… and even had a skein of yarn mentally earmarked for it. Some while ago I snaffled a skein of Wollmeise ‘Twin’ at Knit Nation and had started a pair of Cookie A socks with it, way back. My sock mojo is sorely absent at the moment though (ask Chris!) so they’d lain untouched for many months before finally being unceremoniously ‘frogged’ in a WIP clear out designed to ease my conscience…
Henslowe it will be then:
The claims for these needles are many and varied;
- lightweight – yes, they are very light and comfortable to hold
- virtually unbreakable – well, I’ll have to leave my knitting laying on the sofa for a bit longer with the boys and the cat rampaging to truly test this but I do believe that they are much much stronger than the wood equivalent
- warm to the touch – yes, the shaft is carbon fibre with just the end inch being nickel plated brass so the part resting in the hand is indeed very warm and ‘wood-like’ rather than metal.
- flexible – although the points are equivalent to the Nova metal tips the carbon shaft is very flexible so seems to be gentle on the hands. I’m not a fan of metal needles, much preferring the warmth and flexibility of wood or bamboo in my hands and these work for me.
- smooth – obviously with a join at the tip of the needles as well as the usual join to the cable shaft, there are two points at which a smooth transition is essential and the pair I grabbed to test with (3.5mm/80cm) are very very smooth. The join between carbon shaft and metal tip is perfect, no catching at all. The Wollmeise is a strange beast as well. It’s a multi-plied yarn which feels almost like cotton even though it’s Merino and it is a bit prone to splitting and isn’t a slippery yarn so I was interested to see how it travelled along the carbon shaft. Nice and smoothly is the answer. Much like the laminated Birch of the Symfonie needles, the carbon seems to have just the right amount of ‘grip’ without slowing down the progress of the stitches around the needle.
They do ‘click’… Chris noticed I was knitting (he said it was like ‘Wallace & Gromit’ knitting’) and he is used to wood needles being worked in the room so they are ‘noisier’ than wood.
The previous launch of these was quickly aborted when reports came back of ‘splintery’ tips (hence the metal tips on these) and black rubbing off the carbon onto hands/yarn. I am pleased to report I’ve seen no evidence of this rub-off so far.
We have the double pointed needles in stock as well:
and I imagine we’ll add the straight needles to the range in due course.
One of the biggest advantages of the carbon material is its strength so these needles start at a minute 1.50mm gauge in the double pointed and from 2.00mm in the fixed circular. If they really are as durable as the claims (and only time and use will tell) then they are a great investment for knitters of socks and fine lace everywhere.
They are also very beautiful…