Welcome to the latest installment of the Knit Luck Guide to Interchangeable Knitting Needles. Since 2012 we've been reviewing each of the sets of interchangeable knitting needles. This time we will be taking a look at the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles. They are some of the most unique sets in one major way: the types of cables they use to connect the interchangeable knitting needles. While most companies focus on the needle tips, Chiao Goo has spent time finding ways to improve upon the connecting cables, resulting in interchangeable knitting needle sets that can be easier on your wrists and require less untangling of needles to get you knitting right away. Learn more as we explore the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles:
We are listing a few available sets because there are different sets, with different nuances of options. You have to take some extra time to make sure that you're getting the interchangeable knitting needles you want. Be sure to check that the needle tips are the length you desire, needle point you desire and that the set contains all of the needles you want:
The first thing you should know about Chaio Goo Interchangeable Knitting needles is that they come in two brands that are not just named brands for fun, but represent completely different cable types. The Chiao Goo Twist is a plastic-covered wire cable that is heavy and substantial, ensuring that the cable never kinks or coils, making it a little easier to up and start knitting -you don't have to spend any time unkinking your needles.
The Chiao Goo Spin cables are another story. Where the Twist is thick and weighty, the Spin cables are the opposite, super thin and flexible with a free spinning knitting needle connection. This means that when you knit instead of the cable building up pressure against the action of your knitting and the knitting needles, which puts pressure on your wrists; the cable instead spins within the connected casing of the needle and cable. This takes tremendous pressure off of your wrists. I highly recommend these needles for people who have some wrist soreness when they knit.
Chiao Goo interchangeable knitting needles tips come in just two different materials: bamboo and stainless steel. It's important to know that the needle tips come in two different types: regular and lace tip. If you care about pointy needle tips, get the lace tip -they have a longer taper and a pointier tip.
The needle tips come in 4" and 5" inch sizes with a contoured cable connection, which makes slipping stitches from the cable to the needle a little smoother. In using these needles I rarely had to go to an extra effort to push the stitches closer to the end of the needles, something I've had to do quite often with other sets.
It can be confusing to purchase a set of Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles. They have a few different set configurations. You can buy all the "small" needles in a set for $80 (sizes 2-8), in a case with room for the larger sizes, which you can buy individually (don't forget to also buy the large cables -the large needles will not fit on the small cables). Or, you can buy the complete set at $100, which is a much better value. For just $20 extra you get a complete set. However if cash is an issue and you only use the smaller sizes, then the $80 set would work just fine for many knitters.
The complete sets offer quite a range of needle tips and go all the way up to size 15. Clover, which previously held the title for having the largest ranges of needle sizes only goes from size 3 to size 15. It's Chiao Goo's innovation with the needle connectors and thinner cable cords that has allowed them to expand their interchangeable knitting needle size all the way down to 2 and all the way up to 15. That said, the Clover set is less expensive, but at least when you spend the extra money with Chiao Goo you end up with a consistency of one whole set of interchangeable knitting needles.
Be sure to check carefully when you purchase. Be sure you know which needle tip length you want (4 inch vs 5 inch) and whether you want the complete set or a smaller set. Be sure to read the product description carefully when you buy so that you don't end up with needles you won't use, or a needle tip length that will bother you.
Like most interchangeable knitting needle sets, the Chiao Goo interchangeable knitting needles allow you to change out needle tips using a simple key and screw technique. Each needle tip fits onto the cable with machined screws, which you tighten using a key that allows you to use enough leverage to ensure that the needle is screwed in tightly to the cable.
Each set comes as eaither large or small sizes. This means that the cables also come in small and large sizes. This enables Chiao Goo to make sets in a much great range of knitting needle sizes. Unfortunately this means that you have to be a little more focused when ordering individual tips or cables for your set. When we purchased these to test, we ended up getting small needle tips for large cables, which was a little annoying, but more than anything gave us an excuse to purchase more cables and tips to try to get the full view of what this set is like.
As we do for nearly every set of interchangeable knitting needles we busted out some Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille yarn and knit yet another flower washcloth. We choose this pattern over and over again for consistency and because cotton chenille yarn can be tricky to knit. Cotton Chenille has a tendency to worm, and it can be difficult to cleanly insert needles into stitches, especially when decreasing or increasing. This yarn allows us to see how well stitches flow over every part of the needle: the cable, the cable connection and the needle tip.
I found the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles to work very well, even with the larger 5" needle tips. I've found in the past that longer needle tips put more pressure on my wrists, but I didn't experience that with the Chiao Goo. The stitches flowed smoothly over each part of the needle and I had to use less pressure pushing stitches over the needles connections than I have with other needles. I also noticed spending much less time untangling the needles/cord whenever I went to knit the washcloth after putting it down. My only complaint about these needles is that the regular needle points are not the sharpest on the market, they are a little bit on the dull side. Some people prefer that, I didn't find that it hindered my knitting, but you might want to check out the Chiao Goo Lace needle tips if needle pointyness is a concern for you.
Overall I find the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles to be well worth the cost. I've used the stainless steel, the bamboo and have even used a size 10 to test out some skeino yarn and these products have all been reliable and fun to use. My most favorite part is that once the needles were tightened with the key I never had the needles unscrew while I was knitting. Seeing as that is the number one problem for interchangeable knitting needles, it shows me that these are worth trying for sure.
Do you like Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles? Tell us about it in the comments.
It is very rare that I like something so much that I need it right away, that I would be willing to pay $40 in shipping to get this thing to my home tomorrow. Then I went to ModCloth and saw this:
I have a blue, yellow and white color scheme in my bedroom, which I call the tearoom because our room has a bar and a balcony and it's a great place to drink tea. I've wanted a tea set just for the room, but hadn't found one that really did it for me... until I found this one. It is just divine.
I don't have a whole lot of room to customize my living space, but the tea set would really turn my little room into my home. Maybe for mother's day? Wink Wink...
What are you hoping for this mother's day?
I got tagged by Ally and Woozle
1 – HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND KNITTING? Not enough time knitting. I'd say 1-2 hours a day on average. It is one of my favorite activities
2 – WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YARN AND WHY ? I love Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. It's my favorite yarn and always will be. Love it in dishcloths, washcloths, baby blankets and even aprons.
3 – WHAT SIZE OF NEEDLES DO YOU MOST OFTEN KNIT WITH? Typically sizes US 6,7,8 and 9. Size #2 sock needles for socks.
4 – HOW BIG IS YOUR STASH RIGHT NOW? Too big. It is difficult for me to feel good about buying yarn, especially with two small children, debt, and the fact that I live with my mother in law.
5 – WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YARN BRAND AND WHY? Tough, tough tough... Jo Sharp, though it's difficult to get here in the US.
6 – WHAT DO YOU PREFER : CIRCULAR NEEDLES OR STRAIGHT ONES? Circular are much more practical, but every now and then I do love a nice pair of straight needles, preferably bamboo.
7 – HAVE YOU EVER DESIGNED YOUR OWN KNITTING PATTERNS? Yes and I didn't like it much.
8 – WHAT YARN-RELATED SKILL WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN? ( CROCHET, WEAVING, SPINNING ) Sometimes I like to pretend that I have the time to spin my own yarn, or to dye it, but then I remember that I also love to make jam.
9 – WHICH IS WORST : A THREAD OF YARN THAT SPLITS OR REALIZING THAT YOU MADE A MISTAKE AFTER 20 ROWS? 20 rows. Splitting yarn is fixed in an instant, but ticking back 20 rows feels like a step backwards.
10 – WHICH YARN ARE YOU KNITTING WITH NOW? Skeino Harlequin, Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, Goddess Yarns Ellen, and some Lana Grossa Meilenweitt.
11 – WHICH BRAND OF YARN WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEST? Any and all the yarn.
12 – WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ABOUT KNITTING? It makes me happier to have a knitting project on the needles.
I am very grateful to knitting right now, and greatful to Skeino for this yarn I'm knitting. The last few weeks have been challenging and bringing out an impatient and bad attitude of late. It's stupid stuff, kid stuff and school stuff that has me all bent out of shape. The good news is that I've learned from it and I can tell you that I am done and over all of the stupid charter school crap. I live in a good neighborhood with a great school. I wish I hadn't wasted so much time trying to get my oldest son into another school. Hopefully we'll live in the same neighborhood for the next thirteen years and I won't ever have to do these school shenanigans ever again.
Having the Skeino Cowl to knit (as I'm calling it) has been a relief. It's very simple. I don't even have a pattern. I just cast on a ton of stitches in the round and I'm working out an alternating garter stitch and stockinette stitch pattern so that I can make the most of the color changes in the yarn. I'm rather pleased with it. These aren't usually the kinds of colors I choose. Greens, browns and blues look much better on my mother so I might try to give this one to her.
I wanted to make sure you guys saw lots of photos to see how the colors change. They're nice long color repeats which works very well with something that can be as long as a cowl. I'm about halfway done and I'm still surprised by how each of the colors turns out -partially because of the way I've alternated the stitch patterns, I truly don't know how each row is going to turn out, which motivates me to just keep knitting. The uber softness of the yarn doesn't hurt either.
The photos are showing much more halo than what I have in real life, and the colors are more vibrant in person. I am truly overdue for a new camera.
What are you knitting these days?
A cool thing happened last week. Skeino reached out to me to see if I wanted to test out some of their yarn. Skeino is a relatively new yarn company direct selling from their website. They specialize in bright colors, sock yarns, and natural fibers.
Seeing as I haven't been able to buy yarn in months I jumped at the chance to try out new yarn. Yay new yarn!!!! Skeino sent me a giant 600 yd ball of their Harlequin yarn in the Meadow colorway. That's a lot of yarn, plenty in fact for many of the knitting kits they have available in their store. I requested the bias shawl pattern. Turns out when you order one of those patterns you end up with a ton of different patterns along with it. That said, the bias shawl and the ripple shawl are pretty easy, but once I cast on I decided that what I really needed was a cowl, so I just cast on a bunch of stitches in the round and started a simple garter stitch cowl. I thought that for me it would be the best way to show off the color changes in the yarn and be a useful finished object.
Skeino Harlequin is super soft. It's a merino single with long, evenly-spaced color transitions. Usually I'm not such a huge fan of this type of yarn. While it's especially soft, singles tend to pill easily and can break mid-knitting. I rarely recommend super soft singles as a yarn for sweaters because they just don't stand up to frequent wear. That said, Skeino Harlequin is 100% merino, which means no man-made fibers, which might make for less of a halo effect than similar yarns that do contain nylon. I would choose Harlequin over other single ply yarns just for the fiber content alone. It's much softer and the colors much more saturated and vibrant than yarns with other non-natural fibers. This would be a delightful yarn for baby jackets because it's just that soft (well, so long as your baby is not allergic to wool). I would consider knitting that famous Tulip Jacket baby pattern with this yarn, just to save on having to sew in the ends of using different individual colors of yarn.
Knitting with this yarn has been enjoyable. My only frustration being that there is so much air in the yarn that the bulk of the yarn gets squished down as you knit and so the yarn in itself is a little deceiving. You would think that it would be much chunkier, but once you knit up the yarn it ends up being more of a light worsted, but that's a minimal complaint and reflective of the type of yarn rather than the quality of this specific yarn.
If you're looking for super soft single ply yarns for winter wear, give the Skeino Harlequin a try, it might brighten up your winter, especially for use in scarves, shawls, hats and cowls. It would make a beautiful set of long gloves.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks. I'll have more pictures soon of the cowl in progress so that you can see those pretty color transitions. Also coming soon is our review of the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles.
Knit Luck occasionally does yarn and knitting book reviews. You can contact Knit Luck on twitter if you want your yarn/book/knitting product reviewed.