Knitter’s Pride was kind enough to send me two sets of double-pointed needles and a crochet hook from their Knitter’s Pride Ginger line, and I spent a week working with and thinking about them. So often, when I buy notions, I’m just happy to have a need filled and don’t really think deeply about how much engineering went into them. But, when someone is kind enough to hand me a product and ask for my honest review, I find myself paying greater attention to the little things. Is it effective at its intended purpose? Is it comfortable to use? Does the material it’s made from make a difference? How does it compare with competitors?
Well. I may be in love with these.
Let’s talk about fiber
Different fibers behave differently when worked with needles or hooks made of different materials. You don’t want too slippy of a combination when you’re working with cables, for instance, so don’t pair a smooth metal needle with a worsted-spun yarn when you’re working an aran sweater. However, if you’re working fast in fair-isle, you may want your stitches slipping along as you space your color work properly without puckers.
With that in mind, I tested the Ginger needles and hook with different fiber types. I used the 6s with alpaca, worsted-spun wool, acrylic, and cotton. The 10s I used with a woolen-spun wool. And I tested the hook with worsted-spun wool, thick-thin woolen-spun wool, and bulky worsted-spun cotton.
All the Ginger products have a satiny finish to them. I expected the ever-so-slight grippiness of the finish would work well with protein fibers like the wool and alpaca, but I was surprised to find that the needles gripped the cotton and acrylic well, too. Binding off, all the needles stayed in place, even when the prebind-off decreases left only one stitch on each needle
The larger, size US10 DPNS performed just as well with a bulky, woolen-spun yarn. Later in this project, there was some cabling, and the needles stayed right where I needed them to be while I worked. Not a single needle slipped through while the cables were worked! (Also note, I wound this yarn using the nostepinne I reviewed in episode 4. It handled bulky just as well as the worsted and sport I tested on it earlier!)
Likewise, the crochet hook performed well with both bulky wools and cottons.
Let’s talk tips
Grip is important, but the quality of the tips can also make a major difference in how needles and hooks perform.
From this photo, you can see that the tips of needles can vary widely from one another. This is not a reflection of quality. Different tip styles work better with different yarns. The bottom needle is made of unfinished bamboo. As it ages, the taper at the tip is becoming less smooth, and this needle will eventually need to be replaced. But the tip is fairly sharp, which makes it a good choice for worsted-spun yarns and yarns that are on the thinner side and would usually be worked with smaller needles. Likewise, the center needle made of finished wood has a very sharp point and is maintaining its smooth taper. It is best for worsted-spun yarns, as it would stab through and split woolen-spun yarns very easily.
The Knitter’s Pride Ginger needle’s blunter tip worked equally well for worsted- and woolen-spun yarns. However, the bluntness did make it a little more difficult to work thinner yarns at this larger gauge. This was not a deal breaker for me, though. Different yarns require different tools. If I had choose one of the three options above to be my first pair of US10 DPNs, I’d opt for the all-around usefulness of the Knitter’s Pride Ginger needles over the sharper pointed alternatives.
I don’t typically crochet with bulky yarns, because I generally find it difficult to work the stitches with bulky yarns. All this time, I had no idea that the problem was not the yarn, but the hook I’d been using!
Take a look at my metal N hook and compare it to the one from the Knitter’s Pride Ginger line. The tip of the metal hook is far more blunt, which makes it difficult to insert into the stitches. Often times, it would roll around over the opening to the stitch without finding its way through. It slowed me down quite a bit to try to work with the blasted thing. I always thought this was just one of the pitfalls of crocheting with bulky yarns.
In fact, when the box arrived from Knitter’s Pride, I groaned at the prospect of testing a size N hook; I had found crocheting with bulky to be so annoying in the past.
But, the N hook from the Knitter’s Pride Ginger line works like a dream! The tip is much pointier, so it finds the stitch opening right away. Also, the overlapping section of the hook is far longer than my old hook’s overlap, which means that it holds the yarn better to begin with. I was crocheting just as fast with a thick-thin bulky wool, a bulky cotton, and a bulky worsted-spun yarn as I do when I crochet with a worsted-weight yarn and my H hook. This hook has completely changed how I feel about crocheting with bulky. Now I need to go add a bunch of squooshy poncho patterns to my Ravelry queue for fall.
Several years ago, I invested in a complete set of the unfinished bamboo double-pointed needles features in an earlier photo. When they arrived, I saw that they’d been labeled by laser-engraving the sizes into the shaft of the needle. Those labels aren’t going to disappear, but they have been difficult to see since day one. I have to slowly turn the needle to get the light to hit it just right. More often, I just grab some and test them in a needle gauge until I find a complete set in the size I need. As I get older, it’s only gotten harder to read the labels. But, take a look at the labeling on the Knitter’s Pride Ginger:
The large, white-on-brown printing on the Knitter’s Pride is easily readable. The bamboo looks pretty good in this light, but is typically difficult to find, let alone read.
There are no downsides I can find with the Knitter’s Pride crochet hooks. I love them and plan to slowly acquire a full set as projects call for them. I whole-heartedly recommend them, especially for people just starting out who want to take their time and buy one hook at a time as needed and know that hook will serve them through most projects they encounter.
I found one downside for me relating to these specific needles that I was given to test: the length. As a tall woman with big hands, I typically have to knit mittens and gloves in the men’s size. This was a great advantage when I was on the basketball team. But I am at a disadvantage when it comes to shorter DPNs.
The needles I was given to test were 6″ long. For me, that meant end of the working needle ended up rubbing against the pinky-edge of my palm. It got to be quite uncomfortable to work with them. I typically use 7″ DPNs to prevent this, but the Knitter’s Pride Ginger DPNs are currently only available in 5″, 6″ and 10″. (CORRECTION: I just found an 8″ option on Amazon!) That said, I liked the needles so much that I plan to pick up some sets in the 10″ length for knitting fair-isle cowls, which I prefer to work on DPNs rather than circulars. And, now that my daughters have rediscovered knitting and are slowly stealing my straight needles from me, I plan to replace the ones they fail to return with the Knitter’s Pride Ginger straights.
This slight inconvenience to me will be a boon to one of you, though! In episode 5 of the podcast, I’ll be announcing a giveaway. The 6″ Knitter’s Pride Ginger DPNs in US6 and US10 will be part of it. My loss could be your gain! Make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast through the podcast app of your choice if you haven’t already. You don’t want to miss the information about how to enter to win two sets of Knitter’s Pride Ginger DPNs for yourself!
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