Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Harmony Needles

Company: Knit Picks
Product: Options Harmony Wood Interchangeable Circular Needles
Price: $84.99

Product Includes:

  • Knitting needle tips in sizes 4 (3.5mm), 5 (3.75mm), 6 (4mm), 7 (4.5mm), 8 (5mm), 9 (5.5mm), 10 (6mm), 10.5 (6.5mm) & 11 (8mm)
  • Circular cables: 2 each of 24" and 32" lengths
  • Also includes: clear vinyl needle case (9" x 5"size), 8 cable end caps and 2 cable tightening keys

This item was purchased and not provided for review by the company.

Knit Pick wood needles (left-Sunstruck; right-Harmony)
Manufacturer's Description: 
These beautiful laminated birch wood needles show off waves of color so nicely in the clear vinyl carrying case. Our Harmony wood needles provide just the right amount of grip to make slick yarns manageable, plus the gradual tapered points easily slip into stitches, making complicated patterns easy. This pouch has 9 needle pockets to hold your tips and two 4 1/2" pockets on the back of the snap case to conveniently store your cables. For expanded versatility, add additional sizes to your collection with our interchangeable needle tips and cables available separately.

This set is a great starter set for any knitter, beginner or experienced. We have assembled knitting needles and cable lengths in the most popular sizes and packaged them into a clear snapped vinyl pouch. Each needle tip length is 4 3/4 ". The sizing of the Knit Picks interchangeable cables refer to the total length achieved when the needles tips are attached to the cables.

My Review:
I love my Options Harmony Wood interchangeable set. Many years ago when I started knitting (8 years ago maybe?) I was given two sets of interchangeable needles. One was metal and the other was plastic. (I think one company may have been Denise, but I can't say for sure.) I didn't like either of them. Not surprising since I'm not a fan of either metal or plastic needles in general. I swore that knitting in the round just wasn't going to happen for me. The cables on the sets were stiff and twisted in all directions I wasn't trying to go. It was nightmarish. The more I knit, though, the more I realized to make the things I wanted to make I was going to have to try knitting in the round. I started hearing about people buying the Knit Picks sets and I decided to take a look. I think the fact that they were pretty got me to actually give them a try. I went in all at once and got the full set. All turned out well because it was pretty much love at first use. I still had to master the idea of using circular needles (I remember knitting flat using circs gave me a real headache when I was first learning. had a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept!) The cables on the Knit Picks needles were just as flexible as everyone had been saying. Such a nice change from the other circulars I'd tried (interchangeable and fixed).

Over the years I've heard some people complain about different aspects of these needles. Some have problems with the cables coming loose from the ends, or the wooden tips coming out of the metal bases, or the wood splintering. I've had all these problems too. BUT, think of how many years I've been using these things, and how much use I get from them, and how much I beat them up and the problems seem very small. I ONLY use my Harmony interchangeable needles (unless I need DPNs for something). Every project I do is on these needles. They gotten dragged around the country, shoved in gig bags, chewed on by cats, pulled on by kids, sat on, and had numerous other adventures. In the 6 or so years I've had this set I had one needle splinter and 3 cables come loose from the metal ends. And none of that even happened until last year when the set was already several years old. I'd say the investment was worth it. I never bothered calling to say anything had broken with the needles, but I have heard good things about Knit Picks customer service regarding needles. If you have a needle that broke or you think was defective just let them know. Chances are they'll take care of it. 

Why do I love these needles? (Other than looks) They're smooth. Oh so smooth. I have yet to meet a yarn that doesn't knit well on these needles. I've used them for merino, alpaca, camel, angora, bamboo, cotton, linen, hemp, and any other fibers I've ever tried. Never had a problem with any of them. The finish is slick enough that fuzzier yarns don't stick, but not so slippery as to make knitting with smooth yarn awkward. And the tips! I love how pointy the ends of these needles are. With splitty yarns the tips can get caught, but at this point I'm used to it. I've found that the very pointy ends can actually help solve this problem (even though they would seem to be part of it) because it's easier to poke the slim tips through the smaller space at the base of the stitch instead of trying to just stab through alongside the needle and getting caught. And then of course there's the flexible purple cables. The raving about the cables was why I initially gave these things a try, remember? And they are good. Occasionally they still get twisty, especially if left for very long periods coiled and unused, or when they're brand new. After you use one of the cables for a while it "warms up" and becomes more flexible. My more used cables lengths (24 and 32") lay in a very gentle curve when I put them down because they's become so soft with use. 

If you haven't already guessed, I really like this needle set and would definitely recommend them to someone looking for interchangeable needles. When I taught my Mom to knit last Fall (2012) I got her started on some Brittany Birch straight needles. She struggled with them (I find the points very dull and the finish kind of sticky myself), but when I switched her over to the Harmony needles she started enjoying knitting a whole lot more because she didn't feel like she was fighting with the needles. For Christmas I got her a set of the Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Sunstruck Wood needles. They're the same deal as the Harmony Interchangeable set, but instead of the rainbow color laminated birch the Starstruck ones are blond wood (natural light colored wood). I figured these would suit her style better and also make it easier for her to see darker yarns since she's new to knitting. I'm not sure if it's a difference in that her Sunstuck needles are new and my Harmony needles are older, but I do definitely notice that the Sunstrucks aren't as slick as the Harmony. They are still smooth and the yarn glides nicely, but I feel a difference. Maybe it's because my set has been so well used. I don't know. Either way, I like both sets and would suggest either.

Don't want to spring for the $85 of the entire set right off the bat? Needle tips and cables may be purchased separately. However, by purchasing the entire set you save 19% off the price (all the pieces purchased individually would cost $104.87). My advice would be to try one of the needle sizes not included in the kit (13, 15, and 17) or a size that you use very often and wouldn't mind two of. The same for the cable lengths.

*This product was purchased by me. It was not provided for review.


Tina said...

I am also totally in love with my knit picks interchangeable set. Initially I bought the try it set for around $20. Then I bought the Zephyr Acrylic full set. I too am in love with the harmony wood but could not get the interchangeable ones at the time financially, but I did get a full set of sunstruck strait needles at a later time. I love the customer service too. When ever I have had an issue with a defective item, they always send me a replacement. I am sold on Knit Picks for life.

sparkflo said...

A tip for sticky wooden needles. I forget where I read this, but if you rub wax paper on the needles occasionally it makes them a little slicker so they glide more easily. :) I'm looking forward to receiving my first Sunstruck needles in the mail tomorrow!

jacelina said...

I love these.... i spoiled myself with a set with neeldes and a couple of cables... can't remember how i knitted before i had these... the colors make me smile and happy!!

Laura Blinn said...

I love these too. Knit Picks has a sample set you can buy with one set of acrylic tips, metal, and the harmony for someone who hasn't tried it all. I've suggested this to a lot of fire ds and they always go on to buy harmony. I bought mine from someone else used so I have no idea how old they are. I just called yesterday because one of my tips slipped out of the metal and they are sending a replacement. Great customer service as well!

Anonymous said...
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Jon Nabor said...

I've determined that most agree on the quality of the product. But also agree that it would be nice if they had a better range of sizes for the smaller projects.