Some of you may remember that two years ago, while on holiday, I lost my knitting. It was quite stressful at the time and, even though it all ended well, I think about it every time I travel. In Switzerland, and in a lot of places, actually, it turns out that finding more yarn is a lot easier than finding new needles — you can get yarn at markets, or roadside tourist shops, or sometimes in the grocery store (all places I have purchased yarn), but needles are a lot harder to find.
Even the time I lost my knitting, I had extra yarn (just in case), but I didn’t bring extra needles, so it was basically useless. The lesson here, clearly, is to pack extra needles, but that can be tricky: what size do you bring? How do you pack them so they don’t put holes in the other items in your suitcase? And how many options should you cover yourself for? Obviously a set of interchangeable needles would make the most sense, but they tend to be kind of big and heavy, and I like to travel with as small a bag as I can get away with (it makes getting around when you don’t rent a car so much easier).
So, when Tiffany from YarnCanada.ca got in touch to ask if I would be interested in reviewing the Denise2Go needle sets, I thought it would be a pretty good idea. I have a lot of needles — enough that I don’t need a full set of interchangeables (though I do wish I’d invested in one when I was starting out) — but these sets are smaller and definitely optimized for travel.
I chose the small size, which has six pairs of needles ranging from 3.75mm to 6mm (plus a crochet hook!) and three cords, 14 inches, 16 inches, and 19 inches, plus an extender that links up two cords if you need something longer. The whole thing is incredibly light and comes in a little cotton case, all very neat and tidy.
Generally, I knit exclusively with metal needles, so I was skeptical about the plastic at first. Luckily, I had a project I wanted to swatch for, so I tried out both the 4mm and 4.5mm tips with some Ultra Alpaca. Mostly ribbing, a few simple cables, and you know what, they were just fine. The plastic is very light, so if you grip your needles tightly there is a little bend in them, but I was pretty impressed with how well they worked, especially since I didn’t use a cable needle. This sounds kind of ridiculous, I know. Needles are needles are needles — sure — but everyone has a preference, and my previous experience with plastic needles was a very bad craft pair for kids. They had a seam bump up both sides, weren’t smooth and were very blunt. These are nothing like that: The tips are smooth and the tips are slightly rounded, but with enough point to get into tight cabled stitches without any issues. And, the cord was very flexible and none of my stitches caught when sliding up onto the tips, which is more than I can say for some brands of circular needles, interchangeable or not.
It was also really easy to switch needle sizes part way through my swatch, since I could just move my work onto the cord and swap the tips. I suppose this is true of all interchangeable sets, but if rowing out (that is, your gauge when you knit is different when you purl, causing uneven fabric when knitting stockinette flat) is a problem for you, you could easily use one needle size for knits and the other for purls and never have to switch needles.
I know it’s early for stocking-stuffer recommendations, but if you have a new knitter in your life, this would be a pretty great gift. This little set (there’s a bigger one too, covering 6.5mm – 10mm needles, and a crochet set) would be a great way to give them the majority of the tools they’ll need as they get started. While I don’t think these will become my everyday go-to needles, they were great for swatching and I definitely intend to tuck them into my standard carry-on bag. Plastic needles are explicitly permitted by just about every airline (I’ve never had a problem with metal, but better to have a backup) and, should disaster ever strike again, I will feel much better knowing I have this little set close at hand.
**Just so you know, I was provided this needle set for free in return for a review. I received no other compensation, and no one saw/approved this post before I published it, and all opinions, etc. here are without bias. I would never recommend something I didn’t actually like.**