Which set of interchangeable knitting needles?


Confession: I am a "tool" junkie. Crochet hooks, patterns, yarn... Gardening tools... Quilting and sewing tools, fabric, books, measuring instruments, thread... And now, it seems, knitting...

I've been looking at interchangeable knitting needles, trying to figure out which type would be best for me. I like and use aluminum crochet hooks - specifically the very ergonomic Clover Soft Touch. My main knitting-related project interest at this time is making socks, which will require small needle sizes. I will probably want to knit afghans and sweaters, but my wrists cannot handle the weight of a crochet project hanging on long double-ended or tunisian crochet hooks so I want to avoid knitting projects hanging on straight knitting needles.

Online reviews (especially this one) of Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles are very favorable. My main hesitation with buying a set of these is that the tips are light grey resin (plastic) not metal. In addition, the smallest size is 5 and knitting socks requires smaller needles (0-3 I understand depending on the yarn and pattern). A personal negative here is that the cables are my least favorite colors: blue or pink. The pink set costs a little more but includes a donation to support breast cancer research (the cost difference is not a factor). Denise customer support is reported to be excellent. Plastic is airline safe. Size 17 and 19 needle tips are available ala carte but not sizes smaller than 5.

Online reviews of the Boye NeedleMaster Interchangeable Needle System are favorable for the most part. Includes sizes 2-15, and smaller circular (not interchangeable) needles are available ala carte in 0 and 1 (as well as other sizes). The tips are metal, not plastic, in a different color for each size - and, for me, color makes using the tools more interesting. The most frequent complaints are that the connections can come loose (the Denise set is much better) and sometimes the connections aren't smooth enough so yarn doesn't easily slip over them (again, the Denise set is better). I gave Mom a set of these many many years ago as a gift. She frequently uses them and loves 'em. She reports no problem with yarn getting stuck on the connections.

Knit Picks Options are another type of interchangeable knitting needles. These are nickel-plated, sleek and very pointy. I'm not sure whether "pointy" is a quality I seek as a beginning knitter. The smallest size is 4, but smaller circular (not interchangeable) needles are also available ala carte in 0, 1, 2 and 3 (and other sizes). The case and plastic pockets don't look and aren't reported to be durable. A personal bonus for me is that the cables are my favorite color: purple.

I've read that plastic or bamboo or wood needles are good for beginning sock knitters since yarn slides off less easily than with metal needles.

Some of the reviews I read:



I'm a beginner knitter. I got a set of the blue Denise Interchangeable. I like them. The yarn does not slip like on metal.

I can't wait to get some of the KnitPicks Options now, but my Denise set will always be my fave.

Hi, Trish - I'm leaning toward the Denise set - and the Boye NeedleMaster set. I might end up with both!

I have a Boye set and I love them!!!

I don't like knitting with plastic or with the Addi Turbos, so the others just didn't make sense to me.

I haven't had any problems with the yarn getting caught or with the needles coming loose.

I'd say get them... they have the most sizes and are less expensive

Hi, Dawn - I did end up getting the Boye set - and I found them nice to use. I still haven't gotten into knitting, but have dabble on and off. The aluminum points are smooth!

I have knitpicks nickle plated circular and dpns. I also have aluminum and bamboo from clover and boyd. I have to say I love the nickle. After knitting the aluminum wears against each other giving it a feeling of sticking. The bamboo is much better, but the nickel plated is smooth. I am going to purchase the knit picks interchangeable. It just makes sense. It ends of being cheaper than collecting a whole tangle of circular.

I am also looking for a set of interchangeable knitting needles. I am starting to knit seamless patterns and need 16 inch cables. The only set which has the shoter cables is the Denise set, however I don't like that their smallest needle size is US#5. I need 3 and 4! So I am in quite a colundrum? Any suggestions?

Hi, Doris - I'm a very unskilled knitter! I recommend you post your question at http://www.knittingforums.com/ - you'll probably get some good recommendations there.

I have a Denise set of interchangeables and have knitted the larger part of a sweater for my young son and am in the beginning of a bulky yarn sweater for myself. I am getting very aggravated with the Denise system. I have broken two different cords now and cannot finish it until I have them replaced. I will grant that it is a bit heavy--I hand spun it myself and it is a fairly bulky yarn, but my wondering is, why have large size needles if they can only be used with light weight projects? It stands to reason that one would probably have a fairly weighty project if the yarn is so big. Anyway, I got this set for it's all purpose quality. I am now thinking that it was only inferred, made to look like it could accomplish all the projects, but not actually able. If anyone out there can give me some advice here, I would appreciate it. I also am wondering if I should get a different set or are all the others the same in this respect? In every other way I have loved knitting with these. Color is irrelevant to me although I find them pleasing. I also really like the resin tips--quiet and easy to use. No negatives other than the breaking cords--but I have to say, that is a biggy for me. Help if you can, anyone. :)

I never knew how big of a difference knitting needles made until I tried a pair of circular Clover bamboo needles (I needed larger needles than I had on hand). I bought them because someone at the store loved bamboo, but I found that I REALLY didn't like the feel of them. But I think that is just personal preference.

So, I tried a friend's Denise set, and I found them to be OK. The idea was great, and I liked the interlocking mechanism and the cords were flexible enough. But after my experience with the bamboo I started really critiquing what I liked and didn't both of the set and of regular circular needles that I have. Again, even though I have both plastic and metal needles, I find that I generally pick up the metal ones if I have the right size. But again I think this is personal preference.

So, I bought the Boye Needlemaster set because they were metal (at the time I didn't know about the KnitPicks Options set). I found I like the feel of the needles and also that they are more pointed (at least in the large sizes) than the Denise set. However, like others, I have had problems with them coming apart when they aren't screwed together completely. I also don't care for the fact that the cords have an angle to them. The angle makes it difficult to make a "loop" when you join more than one cord, and also when you screw them together they make more of an S than a loop.

I have just ordered a set of the metal KnitPicks ones. I just ordered the one size I am working with for now in order to "test" them. I am hoping that with the straight cords, but metal needles, that I will enjoy them. If that is the case, then I will be ordering the full set (or maybe it will go on the Christmas/Birthday list).


It sounds like there may be a problem w/your Denise cords. I read on Knitty that there was a bad batch that got out inadvertently. (I can't remember exactly when...) Have you contacted the manufacturer? You may be able to get them replaced for free. It's worth a try!

Best of luck,

This is a follow-up to my previous comments regarding interchangeable needle sets. I have now tried Denise, Boye, KnitPicks Options, and KnitPicks Harmony sets. I have not tried (or even researched) the Plymoth ones since they are bamboo and my one experience with Clover bamboo was not good. But remember this is all personal preference.

I will stand by my previous comments regarding both the Denise and Boye sets. I have since tried the KnitPicks ones and was surprise that I actually prefer the wood Harmony ones to the Options nickel plated ones. The wood Harmony are much smoother than I expected (based on the Clover experience) so I can still knit fairly fast without looking or having to "push" the yarn over a lot.

However, I have also had the same "problem" with the KnitPicks as stated on a couple of other reviews that the cords are fairly lightweight and with a big heavy afghan can pull the plastic cord off of the connector. However, since the connectors are relatively close to the ends (super nice 40" cords) then you notice it quickly and don't drop too many stitches. And while the KnitPicks are a twist-on type, the metal of the hardware connectors seems to be better than the Boye set. I had tried to tighten the Boye one and deformed the connector (in trying to make a longer cable). But with the KnitPicks you can use the little key and tighten it pretty tight without the deforming the needles, connector, cord, etc.

Unfortunately, I didn't get my KnitPicks Harmony set for Christmas, but maybe I will for my Birthday. In the meantime I have started my new project on the Boye set, but really keeping my fingers crossed that I will get the others soon (otherwise I will order them myself).

I've been knitting for over 40 years and have had a lot of different needles. I always use circulars because I like to knit in my recliner and can't handle those long needles hitting the sides of the chair.

I used to love plastics but they have gotten hard to find. I have always detested metal (especially the Boyes - they squeak and scrape and make me crazy) needles until I tried an Addi turbo and loved it. So when Addi came out with interchangeable needles I was interested. However, after researching them and seeing the set didn't have a size 5 (which I use a lot) I looked for another option. That brought me to the KnitPicks and I am sold. I have the nickel plated brass ones. They don't squeak or scrape and feel wonderful. I got this set for christmas and absolutely love them, enough so that I have purchased circulars in the sizes not covered by the interchangeables. They feel almost liquid in your hands and are a great length to work with. I've not had any problems with the cords but haven't worked on anything heavy with them. They are rather pointy and if I'm knitting for a long time I use bandage tape on my index finger and thumb to cushion my fingers. Otherwise I love them and even love the case they come in. I haven't had any problems with the case tearing or anything.

I think I have every kind of interchangeable needle, except the new $150 Addi set. Each type has some downside. I do not use one brand consistently. In the last 24 hours I have encountered three size 6 Harmony needle points where the wooden point came out of the metal connector. Two came apart while I was attempting to screw on the cord. The threads on one of these were faulty as well. The third tip came apart in my work...a lace shawl. I like the concept of the interchangeable circular needle. However, IMHO no manufacturer has yet perfected this product. Perhaps I should try the new Addi set.

I have two sets of the Denise needles. One being the regular ones and the other from www.knittinghelp.com that are Denise but different colors! I lost a regular needle and when I researched getting another one I found the colored ones. I love having the two same but differnt sets of Denise needles.

I have the boyd knitting Needle Master. I was wondering if ther any way to replace a needle and get more circuler parts for longer distance between needles.

In my area, Hobby Lobby sells the Boye Needlemaster parts individually - cords, points, and joiner/end stop sets.

I have had Boye Needlemaster since about 1965, through three revisions; they serve me well and faithfully. I also have had Denise for years; better in winter, when I keep the thermostat low and the metal needle points are cold.

Just got the Addis and haven't played with them yet.

Has any one tried the CA interchangeable set? They are bamboo with metal swival connectors. They are also very pricey and come from Japan, I believe. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. I have the Boye set and they do unscrew at the worse times. I've been debating the Denise set but after trying to connect a set at my LYS I'm not sure I would be able to connect them on my own.

I prefer casein, plastic, bamboo or wood needles because I find the metal needles too slippery for me when I hold my yarn in my left hand and I am trying to learn how to do that rather than be a yarn thrower. Just to protect my right shoulder a bit.

Thanks for any input.


Update: I have now had the Addi set for a few months. I use it interchangeably with the Boye Needlemasters. I have never had a problem with the Boyes, but their sizes 3, 6, 9, and 10 are not the same diameter as other brands. More options, I say!

Addi now makes sizes 5 and 10-1/2 points, available separately, and offers a set of duplicate cords with another joiner. One joiner applied to both ends of the same cord makes a stitch holder.

I still use the Denise set when the cold is too much; warming up the hands cuts into the knitting time.

I'm interested to see that Denise is applying the interchangeable design to crochet (afghan or Tunisian crochet) hooks. I suggested this to Boye about 30 years ago.

I am a beginning knitter. After reading about circulars, both interchangeable and fixed, I bought a few pairs of Clover bamboo and one pair of Bates metal. I discovered I have a hard time keeping stitches on the needle with metal and the joins of the bamboo catch the yarn. Both kinds have difficult cords (yes, I did all the hot water tricks).

I ordered a set of the relatively new KnitPicks Zephyr Acrylics. I really, really wanted to love these needles. I didn't. The cords are wonderful but the joins do tend to catch yarn, making you struggle to push the stitches over them. And, I hated the see-through acrylic. I just sent them back today. I would order their wood set, but it is painted in a multi-color swirl and I know I'd hate that. Their only other kind is metal, and I'm too new a knitter to control yarn on those.

I am now wondering if the Webs interchangeable bamboo would be the answer. Choice of needles is highly personal, obviously, but constantly having to run out and buy a certain size or length of needle doesn't seem to be a good solution either.

I'd welcome anyone's take on the Web bamboo interchangeables.

Youtube hosts several demonstration videos of the various brands of needles. I’m leaning towards the KA brand. However, I think I’ll get my hands on some KA single points first. There is Bamboo :) and Bamboo :(.

I have an extreme dislike for metal needles. Does anyone have experience with the KA SWITCH set?

I have a question. When using the interchangeable needles, when pattern call for a 16" circular needle, do you measure cable or cable plus needles?

I just bought a pair of the square needles over the weekend ..size
2...good for socks...5 needle pack...LOVE THEM!! METAL but so easy to hold..Appreciate all the info on the interchangable...guess I will stick to
my box of circulars for now...but sure is tempting....


Can you please tell me the cost of the Boye Needle Master set?

Thank you.

I have the the boyds Master set of knitting needles and it has the plastic for making the needles circular and I broke the longest of the plastic part the one that is 29 length and I am trying to buy it so my set is still useable and also so I can make more blankets with my set, if you could tell me how to order it or where I can buy it, I really appreciate the help in this matter.

Sincerely, Maureen

I have the Boye interchangable needles and I do not like them. The cables aren't very flexible at all. I have a couple of the Addi Turbo needles (not interchangable) and would love to purchase the Addi Click interchangable set, but at the whopping cost of $180, it's not an option right now. I love the Addi needles though. For socks, I use the Brittany double pointed needles and they are wonderful.

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About Cheryl

Enjoys crocheting, gardening, cats, NASCAR (especially Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch!), reading, photography, snorkeling in Kailua-Kona with sea turtles, Sizzler's Mega Bacon Cheeseburgers, hot and iced decaf coffee, dark chocolate, color (yarn, fabric), playing around with web technologies - not necessarily in that order! Still very much a beginner with quilting, knitting, and sewing. Donates crocheted lap blankets.

List maker, detail-oriented, organized, leans heavily toward perfectionism. ISTJ. Libra.

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