Has anyone else progressed through different needles as they kept knitting? I moved from straights to circs to interchangeables with bigger sizes of needles and bigger items – and as much as I loved my Denise set when I got them, the past couple years have left me less content with them than I was. Becoming more confident, faster, whatever it is, has made me wish for needles with a little less grip and with significantly pointier tips.

But interchangeable needle sets aren’t exactly cheap, and each brand is a little bit different from the others. So how to decide which kind makes the most sense? I know I want metal, not bamboo or the carbon ones, and I’m certainly capable of reading reviews. But the very last thing I want is to choose the wrong one and spend the next several years convincing myself that it’s okay to buy yet more new needles (since it’s been six or seven years since I got the Denise set).

Knitpicks nickel plated size 1 / 2.25 mm

This is where auditions come in. There’s no way to know how I’d like a set of interchangables, the connections, the length of the tips, the various configurations of cables. But since switching from knitting socks on dpns to magic loop, I’ve been carefully buying different brands of fixed circular needles to compare and contrast what I can.

So far, I have two favorites. They are not Knitpicks or ChiaoGoos. The Knitpicks cable isn’t as thin or flexible as I’d like, and I hate feeling like I’m stretching my yarn as I knit. The ChiaoGoo tips are nice and thin and pointy, and I like how sturdy the cable feels, but the tips are textured or coated or something, and I don’t find that sock yarn (even Knitpicks Felici, which is sublimely soft and smooth yarn) glides as easily as I’d like.

ChiaoGoo knit red stainless steel size 1 / 2.25 mm

So for me, it’s a toss up between the HiyaHiyas and the Addi sock rockets. I just love how light the tips are, and how flexible the cables. Part of me wonders if I like the HiyaHiyas just a little more because I bought them first. The cable is maybe a little bit thinner and bendier, and I feel that they’re perfect. But the Addis are this close behind them in my affections – and I like the fact of the needle size being noted on the cable.

addi turbo sock rockets size 1.5 / 2.5 mm

Here’s the rub. When I started in on magic loop for socks, I was still in transition with my sock knitting – as I moved from dpns to magic loop, my gauge was also loosening, but hadn’t quite settled (if it even has). So my favorites, the HiyaHiyas and the Addis, are size 1.5 (2.5 mm). But unless I’m using thicker sock yarn, I’m pretty much using a size 1 (2.25 mm) needle these days. So my favorite needles are not only more expensive than the alternatives, but also I need a new size if I want to use them.

Do you have a set of interchangeable needles? Do you love them, or do you wish something about them was different? I’m taking all recommendations!

HiyaHiya stainless steel size 1.5 / 2.5 mm

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