This will be long, but hopefully helpful...|
If you are lucky, you will have a local yarn shop near you. I would recommend going to that shop and trying out different types of needles first before you buy if you can. If you don't have a local shop, maybe a local knit group. My library hosts one. Knitting needles are a very personal thing, especially for knitting in the round. Some like metal, wood, plastic, interchangeable, fixed, or double point. The biggest thing I've found though with circular needles is, not the tips, but how much you like the cables. The cables are what will drive you nuts before the tips will. The cables are probably what will make you love the needles you use or absoutley loath them. If you aren't familiar with double pointed needles, I would recommend that you don't use them at all and just jump in using a long circular needle using the magic loop method. You can do everything with a circular that you can with double points.
If you are just starting out, I would not suggest buying an interchangeable set unless you know the type of needles you like. If you can, borrow different needles from your knit group, or try them out in the store if you can. Try various types/brands of needles (wood, metal, plastic, round, square) to see what type of materials you like to knit with. Once you know the type of needles you like to work with, I would recommend, if you can, to first buy one fixed circular needle (or one set of tips and a cable) and knit up a project with it. Some companies have sampler sets consisting on different needles all of one size and a cable at a reasonable price (knitter's pride, knitpro and addi have sample sets) so you can try and compare their various needles. Ether way (single fixed needle, tip/cable, or sample set) you can find out without a huge cash layout, if you like the tip/cable of the needle. Most companies use the same cables between their fixed and interchangeable needles. There are various ways to attach cables to tips, with screwing being the most common way, and 'click' working for Addi and Denise. The cables can range from stiff to supper floppy. A lot of the stiff cables you have to immerse in boiling water to straighten them out after storage to be able to use them.
Here are some of my thoughts for the interchangeable sets (Knitter's Pride, Addi, Boye, Chaiogoo) I've tried/bought over the years...
I still have my first interchangeable Boye needle set that I got over 30 years ago. There wasn't a lot of choice back when I got them. If you can afford better, I honestly would not recommend them. Don't get me wrong. They are a good beginner's set, but you will find that you will want to upgrade if you continue needing circular needles. They have a coating over the needles that allows the more slippery yarns to stick, so they aren't very slippery with other stuff. They also have very stiff cables which require straightening if stored in a tight coil. The cables have a slight bend at the join. Depending on your knitting style they can come unscrewed. I like the bend, because with my knitting style, my hand fits right at the bend, offering a bit of extra support to the needle. It's the cables that drove me to investigate getting a new needle set.
I needed more slippery needles, so started using Addi's. The biggest problem I had with the Addi interchangeables and their fixed circular needles was their price and their cables. Addi needles are very expensive. I loved how slippery the metal tips were and how pointy the lace tips were. The cables, I found had to be straightened in hot water before first use, and depending on how a project was stored, even during the project. The cables would coil up into rings making moving the project around the needle a really big chore. I found these cables the worst for me. Addi have a reputation of being the best knitting needles on the market.
So far, I've found that I like metal needles the best for most of my knitting, so the Takumi interchangeable needle set, being bamboo wasn't for me. I liked that the cables would swivel in the join, allowing the cable to swivel, preventing the coilups that the Addi would do. They still needed straightening though, before first use, but not as bad as the Addi.
When I was looking for interchangeable sets, the knitter's pride, and knit picks sets didn't have the the range of sizes that I was looking for so that ruled out those sets. I also didn't like the cables. I also couldn't knit with their square needles. When I was trying these out, I had to 'same old' problem with their cables as well having to be straightened out before first use.
I have bought the Chiaogoo interchangeable red lace twist set. I absolutely love their cables. No need to straighten out before or during knitting. For me this was the biggest factor in buying this set (I bought the complete set). Other factors for me were that they had the biggest rage of sizes (next to Boye) for needle tips included in their 'complete' set without having to buy extras separately. I knit a lot, so not having to supplement with fixed needles, or buy tips separately was another big deal. I could buy tips of any given size separately if I needed them, if they were not included in the kit. They have now come out with a set of interchangeable needles for sock/lace sizes which I plan to get this year. One other thing that I considered was their price. They were reasonably priced, compared to other sets, and their quality was just as good as Addi.
Now that you have read this long narrative, hopefully you can understand that just asking 'what should I buy' is a really really hard question to answer, since each person knits differently and has different preferences. Knitting needles are a very personal thing. There are a huge variety of interchangeable knitting needles on the market now compared to when I bought my Boye set all those years ago. I hope you can find a local yarn store, friends, knitting group or guild, where you can try out different interchangeable and fixed circular needles, or failing that buy 1 needle set or sample set before you buy an interchangeable set so that you can 'try before you buy' since needles are such a personal preference and the cost of a whole interchangeable set can be very expensive.
That being said, if I was buying a set of new needles today I would still buy Chiaogoo, since they are reasonably priced, are very good quality, have a variety of tips (metal, bamboo, 4" & 5") and have 2 different types of cables (spin, & twist) and have a very wide range of sizes available in different combinations of sets, and are available each individually too. This makes them for me the most cost effective set. (Did I mention that I just love their cables ?)
View Rating Log