Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 (4KCBWDAY6): Covet Thy Neighbour’s Knitting Stuff

I heart ChiaoGoo.

I heart ChiaoGoo.

Day Six (Saturday April 27th): A Tool To Covet

Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

Today’s post was the one that jumped straight out at me as I read the topics for this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  A lifelong aficionado of vintage Granny needles of the kind you can easily pick up for 20p a pair at a charity shop, I have recently started to make the move towards more expensive tools. This was through necessity, rather than a dislike for my retro equipment. It is very difficult to pick up circular needles of the length required to knit shawls. It was a simple as that, really. So, as it was Christmas soon, I requested a set of KnitPro interchangeables. More on these later. I have, recently, however, fallen totally in love with ChiaoGoo needles.

chiaogoo needle
ChiaoGoo apparently means “Crafty Lady”. Not sure how the famous male knitters feel about that, but hey-ho. I have only 2 pairs at the moment, as I wanted to try them before committing to the whole set. I have to say they are brilliant: the cables have no memory and are a rather fetching shade of shiny red; the needles points are lovely and sharp and slide nicely over each other when knitting; and the size is etched onto the needles, which means that so far, it has remained completely intact.

Kaleidoscopic!

Kaleidoscopic!

Contrasting this with the Knitpro interchangeables, I have to say they were a little disappointing, given the good things I had heard about them prior to buying. I suppose you could say they were good value at £49.99 for a set with 8 sizes of points in, however I just felt that the finish was a bit lacking. The coloured wood is indeed very aesthetically pleasing, but the size rubs off the needle almost as soon as you take them out of the packet. Also, the needle points are not always the same, which I find quite upsetting. Then there is the issue of the cables, which need soaking in hot water to straighten them out a bit. Depending on how highly you value these things, this might not be a problem for you, but I am afraid it was for me. The final nail in the KnitPro coffin was the cable needles. They have very irritating grooves in them, which some people love, but I found to be a right pain as the yarn kept getting stuck in the gap, thus making them fiddly and slow to use.

The cable needle of Doom.

The cable needle of Doom.

I think I prefer steel needles over bamboo, and this means that the stainless steel ChiaoGoos are a delight to work with. I still go back to the vintage Aero needles every now and again for flat pieces of baby garments or squares for the Knit a Square project. I do enjoy using DPNs for socks, and the Knitpro sock needle set I have does suffer from the same problems that I found with the interchangeable set in terms of the size rubbing off and a disparity of sharpness between the points of the same set. Might be time to invest in the ChiaoGoo DPNs…

Only requires a comedic entendable metal aerial to look like some kind of Acme controller for setting off small nuclear devices.

Only requires a comedic extendable metal aerial to look like some kind of Acme controller for setting off small nuclear devices.

I have another tool that has been coveted by many readers of this blog, made for me by my talented, wonderful and handsome husband (no, he didn’t write that, but if he could have, I reckon he would have!) This is the UnnyCount. There is only one of them in the whole world and I have it, my friends. It might be large, but it definitely adds an air of authority to knitting projects. It could possibly set off tactical nuclear weapons should the need arise and would almost certainly not look out of place in the knitting bag of an evil henchman. You can read all about it here. And if electronics is your thing, you can read about the Cosmac ELF that dear husband made – and guest blogged about – here. He’s a pretty funny guy, but then I am biased.

Which of your tools will I be coveting today?

* * * * * * *

4KCBWDAY6

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33 comments

  1. I think I have two of their needles and a couple of their crochet hooks…I still prefer wood over metal (hurts my fingers)…but the metal points can’t be beat…

      1. Me neither. According to the website, they started off doing bamboo. I do just love the stainless steel though, so light and not cold to the touch at all. Oh and that lovely swishy noise when you knit. And then there’s the glittery red cable. They had be at the red cable, to be fair!

    1. The metal on the ChiaoGoos really doesn’t feel that hard. I agree on the KnitPro ones though, as I have some of the Nova tips. I quite like them, but I guess I must not grip them as hard. My crocheting pal the Gingerbread Bunny recommends the Clover hooks in her blog post today.

  2. Your counter is wonderful! I haven’t tried any interchangable needle sets. I have a huge number of needles I got from my grandmother and mother. I have added to those with things I needed, mainly circular needles and DPNs. I have extra sets of DPNs in 2-3mm just for socks.

    1. Thank you! The interchangeables are handy for us Bees as you can just put take off the tips and put stoppers on to facilitate the totally unjustified yet essential casting on of yet another project on 4mm needles 😉

    1. Husband will be pleased. He is always asking if anyone has read his blog post. Bless him, he worked really hard on it! He also built a 3D printer in our spare room, he’s quite handy around the house. And he can knit, as long as it isn’t funky fur!

  3. Gotta admire the stitch counter and the dedicated husband who manufactured it! I hate to let you in on the following secret (but I’m going to anyway): there’s an app for that! It’s called iStitchCounters—just don’t tell hubby…

    1. Haha, yes, but it doesn’t have a retro clicking noise and action, an essential part of the original brief! If it doesn’t look like it could operate a time machine, I ain’t interested ;op

      1. Yes, but are you willing to burn your hands repeatedly on a soldering iron for little old me? If you can put in a few yelps of pain to the app and a function where I can squirt surgical spirit on any injuries, then we’ll talk 😉

  4. I’ve heard so many good things about ChiaoGoos in various podcasts, but have never seen them in person – they just don’t seem to exist in New Zealand! I love my KnitPro nickel tips, and even though I have arthritis in my hands, I find them quite comfortable to work with. I’m currently trying a couple of sets of the Lantern Moon ebony interchangeables, which I prefer to the KnitPro wood deluxe set I have … but with a substantial price difference between the two brands, I’m not sure I’ll be buying the whole set of the LM ones!

    1. I’ve never tried Lantern Moon. I would say the ChiaoGoos are definitely worth the extra money, they are far and away the best I have used. South Seas Knitting apparently carry them in Auckland, but they are closed until further notice :o( Maybe I should send you a pair!

    2. I ordered some from ebay (chiaogoos) as SSK was not up and running at the time, and I asked HRYC if they were getting them in or not and they said maybe. But OMG these are literally to die for, I sold off my KP’s and I don’t think I’ll ever get another needle again unless I have to!

      A lot of needles don’t exist in NZ and it sucks as I’d rather not pay shipping from the US but needs must!

      1. They really are amazing needles. I just love them. Think it might be time to rehome the old KP’s. They served me well but I think repurposing the money towards a set of CG interchangeables is the way forward!

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