Do you remember your first ever pair of knitting needles? I still have mine, somewhat chewed at the ends and with no apparent size to be seen anywhere on them! But I am pleased that I have them, they're part of my life's knitting journey. Somewhere I have the wonky-edged garter stitch scarf that I knit for one of my teddies too, probably with much concentration and tongue sticking out!
I also have the set of knitting needles that I bought with birthday money when I was about 13. I can remember the excitement of going to Argos (yes, Argos!) to buy them and my word, they were well used right through my teens and twenties.
I have a couple of drawers full of metal knitting needles too that I've inherited from my Mum, Nannie and Aunties as well as friends of friends who've passed them onto me 'because you knit'! I bet I'm not the only one who has a stash of needles that generally sit around redundant, or occasionally used for an 'arty' photo shoot!
Until a couple of years ago, when I was diagnosed with tendinitis in my wrist and thumb, straight knitting needles were pretty much my needles of choice. Yes, I'd moved away from metal and plastic to the warmth of wood, but I didn't own any circular needles at all. When the pain in my wrist made it nigh on impossible to knit, I did a little online research and discovered that circular knitting needles were recommended for people with arthritis as they put less pressure on the joints. So I treated myself to my first pair and now I rarely use anything else.
KnitPro sent me a midi set of Interchangeable Royale needles to test. It's a fabulous little set, which comes in a very neat and pretty case...
The set comprises 4 pairs of interchangeable needles in some of the most used sizes - 3.00, 3.50, 4.00 and 4.50mm. The needles are made from laminated birch wood which means that they are warm and light to the touch. What I really like about them is that each size is a different colour, so it's a lot easier to differentiate between the needle sizes if you don't have a needle gauge to hand. OK, I know that means that you need to know what colour is what size, but the clever folk at KnitPro have gone one step further to help you with this. Not only are the needle sizes printed on the needles, but when this rubs off (because we all know that's a knitting fact of life), the needle size is also etched onto the metal on the needle too. Ingenious!
Another thing that I like about the needles is that the tips are metal. Sometimes I find that the wooden tips are almost too sharp and pointy and I end up with a really sore finger. But these tips I find pointy enough for the kind of knitting that I generally do to make it easy and fluid. You might want something a little pointier if you knit a lot of lace, but it's all down to personal preference.
There are also three cables, each a different colour and length which is another clever idea from KnitPro to help you easily find the cable length that you need. How many times have you scrabbled about in your store of cables to pull out the wrong length? The cables are flexible and connect smoothly to the needles without any obvious join to snag against your knitting. The red cable gives a 100cm length, the orange an 80cm length and the yellowy/green a 60cm length when attached to the needles. There are also (according to the description) 6 end caps and 3 cable keys although my set had 8 and 4 respectively as well as a set of cable connectors.
I really like these needles - the warmth and lightness of the wood makes them comfortable to handle, and the needles 'grip' your knitting just enough. The colour-coded cables and the needle size etching are a super added bonus. Definitely recommended if you're looking for a set to start off your needle collection, or looking to try something new. KnitPro have very generously donated a set of these needles as a prize in my Great Yarn Giveaway so if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning them, click here and make a donation to the British Heart Foundation in memory of my lovely Mr JK and help me in my fight against heart disease. xxx