Knit Picks is a company that sells yarn and knitting tools that are marketed under their own brand. The prices are excellent, as is the customer service. An aside–I have been buying from Knit Picks since before they started selling primarily Knit Picks brand. While the prices and customer service are both good, the quality of Knit Picks products is uneven. Some of their yarns and knitting tools are outstanding and a great value. Others are fair to middling to downright horrible. And sometimes you get what you pay for.
Take Knit Picks knitting needles as a case in point. Some of them are fabulous. I have no complaints about the nickel-plated fixed circular needles. The tips are quite pointy, the joins where the cable meets the needle are smooth, and the cables are very flexible. But the interchangeable needles are a different story. Sometimes the needle won’t screw onto the cable because the thread on the cable was poorly machined. Sometimes the turning hole in the cable into which you insert a small wire to gain leverage to tighten the cable onto the needle is too small for the turning wire to fit. (Wow! That’s quite a sentence!) And, worst of all, sometimes the plastic cable separates from the bushing. This, of course, happens when you are knitting a 240-stitch gansey or an Alice Starmore Aran and 50 or 60 stitches fall off the cable before you notice. Can you imagine the ear-blistering language you hear as the knitter rushes to pick up all these stitches before any of them can drop very far?
Knit Picks supposedly fixed the problem with the cables separating by using a better glue, but I have had it happen with cables purchased long after the alleged fix occurred. Once bitten, twice shy. After two mishaps with cables coming loose in the midst of a round while working on a sweater, I stopped using my Knit Picks interchangeable needles for sweaters. They just don’t hold up to the stress of me sliding large numbers of stitches round and round.
On the other hand, Knit Picks Harmony wooden double-pointed needles are great. They feel wonderful in your hand; they have nice, sharp points; and they have just the right amount of smooth and grabby to keep the stitches sliding easily but not slide right off when you don’t want them to. They are also pretty strong. I have only broken a couple of them while knitting socks, and that’s pretty amazing because I snap birch, rosewood, ebony, and bamboo needles, even Crystal Palace, like kindling. But what does happen with the Harmony dpns is that the laminated layers of wood start to separate on the tips. The yarn snags, and the tips start to split. You can sand them smooth, but they continue to separate. Into the trash go the needles. I have quite a few of these needles, and I consider them to be throw-aways. But I consider all wooden double-pointed sock needles to be throw-aways, and the K-P Harmonies are the best wooden sock needles I have ever used. If you want sock needles that will last, get metal needles. The worst that happens with metal needles is that they bend. I take that back. The very worst that happens with metal needles is that you impale yourself. Don’t ask. But it involved a trip to the doctor for a tetanus booster. 😀
My biggest complaint about Knit Picks needles is reserved for the Harmony interchangeable needles. I was working on the first sleeve of my Selvedge Cardigan and using a #11 Harmony with a nice long cable so I could do Magic Loop.
I was knitting along quite happily when I noticed my yarn catching. Knit Picks circular needles have really nice joins, so I knew even before I looked that there was a serious problem. And sure enough, the wooden needle tip was pulling out of the metal bushing that connects it to the needle.
Once again Knit Picks’ lack of quality control strikes. This is the second time I’ve had this happen with my set of Harmony interchangeables, so it wasn’t a fluke. Anyway, my Harmony interchangeables are going into the trash.
At this point, those of you who are great fans of Knit Picks interchangeable needles are reminding me that Knit Picks will replace any defective item for free. Just give them a call. But why would I bother to replace a piece of shit with an identical piece of shit? Sorry, but that is just the way I feel. And, yes, I know that I can glue the tip back in using Gorilla Glue or any number of other produced, but I will still have to worry that the other tip will come loose, or the cable will come loose. I just cannot bring myself to trust K-P interchangeable needles any longer.
Not all Knit Picks products are of such poor quality, but experience has taught me to be very selective now about what I purchase from them. At least they had the good sense to discontinue Merino Style yarn.