Interchangeable Knitting Needles - Help!

I did a search on the forum and couldn’t really find answers to my questions, so I thought I’d give it a shot with a new post.

I’ve been knitting for about a year or two, I’ve crocheted for years and started quilting at 22. I’d say I’m an advanced beginner. I can do cables, read most patterns and I’ve even started on my first sweater.

Now that I have a handle on knitting, I really want to invest in a set of interchangeable knitting needles because I pretty much exclusively knit on circulars and I’m going crazy trying to buy all the right sizes and lengths.

I really love the addi circulars, mostly for the clicking mechanism because I’m afraid I twist my needles too much for the screw-in cables, and I really like the short lace needles. The only problem is that they don’t seem to carry the short lace needles in any size larger than US 8? I did some searching but wasn’t able to find any larger.

My other issue is, I tend to use bulkier yarns, and I don’t knit socks or anything with really fine yarn. Of course, I might in the future, but right now I really never use anything lower than a size US 7. I saw some needle kits, like the Novas, where I can opt to buy a larger set that has the thicker needles I tend to use, it starts at like a US 7. But then I’ve read that people aren’t crazy about the Novas and that the nickle plating scrapes off easily. Or maybe that’s the Karbonz?

I know from my research that this ultimately boils down to personal preference, but I’m hoping someone can offer advice on this? It’s totally overwhelming! I can’t keep all the brands straight and what they offer. I know I want/need the following:

  • A wide range of needle sizes, preferably up to US 15
  • A shorter needle tip, but I’m open to longer
  • The ability to use a 16" cable because I knit a lot of hats/cowls (I read about some brands that had a 16" cable, but it doesn’t let the tips of the needles actually meet?)
  • Really secure locking system that can withstand my sloppy knitting
  • ability to buy my first set with larger needle sizes (preferably including US 10, 11, 13)

I’m hoping that someone with more experience using these sets can identify some brands that fit the bill, and then I can go from there.

For reference, I have the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz set, which I love.

I doubt you’re going to find a cable set that comes with the bigger sizes. I got my big ones - 13, 15, 17 - in a set on their own, but I still had to buy the 10.5 and 11 separately to fill in the gap with the regular set. Those sizes didn’t come in any kind of set.

I also doubt you’re going to find bigger needles in shorter sizes, at least in interchangeables. I have fixed circulars in 10.5 and 11 in 16" length with a shorter needle precisely because I couldn’t get them short in interchangeables. I make a lot of hats, and starting with the size 10, the bigger needles are longer than the smaller needles, so they’re useless with the 16" cable. It is quite awkward to work with a short needle in a big size, but not impossible. (My other option would have been to do magic loop using a long cable or - uggh - use DPNs for the whole hat, but I got the fixed ones cheap at DNBY, and they filled the gap nicely.)

I generally don’t have a problem with the joins on my needles (which are screwed on), and I don’t use the tightening tool that often. It’s not that difficult to learn just how much to tighten, although I admit a clicking mechanism would be nice! (Turns out I have more of a problem with the join of the cable to the ferrule. I apparently pull the cable as I pull my work around and on longer cables with heavier weights, that has a tendency to pull it apart. Thank goodness Webs just replaces no questions asked!)

And you’re right, it very much comes down to personal preference. Test drive what you can. And whatever you get, make sure you get extra cables in the lengths you use most. I have several 16" cables because there’s always one in a sleeve, one in a hat, a couple being used as stitch holders, a couple falling into the sofa cushions … .

My bias is for Knitter’s Pride. I absolutely love them and especially the pointier Nova Platinas. They are available in the shorter tips (they call them Special) up to US size 17. The link is to the manufacturer, not a retailer.

Mine stay together to my satisfaction. If they do start coming loose the yarn snags at the join and I pause to tighten it again. Having a connection that fails without warning is something I never want to experience again.

I have the Karbonz interchangeable set, and just love it. The cables are nice and flexible (so you can use magic loop easily), and the joins work well with the tightening tool. The tips are nice and smooth. They only go up to size 10, though, in the set, although 11s are available separately.

One cheap option to consider are the bamboo sets from China (if you have Amazon Prime, shipping is free) - under 10 bucks for a set of circulars in all sizes. You do get what you pay for - they aren’t terribly sturdy and the cables are not flexible, and they might break if you try to do magic loop. You can also find cheap bamboo sets for double points. On the other hand, it’s a good way to try different things without investing much, and you’ll have all sizes.

I have 2 Boye interchangeable needle sets sizes 2 to 15. Haven’t had any trouble with the needles. I just loose the connectors for making a longer cable and the connectors to put the bigger needles on (they have a bigger screw in hole then the smaller needles).