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Posts Tagged ‘The Retro Knitting Site’

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Are you trying to choose between bamboo knitting needles and birch ones? In today’s post I will be comparing the two types, hopefully the results will help you choose which kind will be right for you. 

Product Details

Manufacturers/Brands;

  • Brittany; Birch knitting needles

    Brittany; Birch knitting needles

    Brittany; Birch knitting needles

  • The Retro Knitting Site; Bamboo knitting needles

    Bamboo knitting needles

    Bamboo knitting needles

RRP at time of writing:

  • Brittany; Around £5 per pair, depending on needle length and size number.
  • The Retro Knitting Site; Around £3.20 per pair, depending on needle length and size number

Needle size

  • For a true comparison I’m reviewing the same size and dimension of needle across the brands; 4mm/ UK size 8/ USA size 6. The needle length is 10″ long.

Reason For Buying

I like knitting for the calming effect, (if the pattern is simple ;) ) However RSI means my hands quickly lock up and hurt. Although wooden needles won’t cure a condition like this they do make a difference and are well worth trying especially if you have dexterity problems.

Pros/Cons

Pros

Birch

  • Light weight; 1 gram as opposed to 9 grams for a metal needle the same dimensions.
  • Warm to the touch
  • Smooth finish
  • Beautifully turned ends
  • Made from birch from sustainable source
  • Yarn glides across them like it does with metal needles

Bamboo

  • Light weight; 1 gram as opposed to 9 grams for a metal needle the same dimensions.
  • Warm to the touch
  • Smooth finish in the hand

Cons

Birch

  • Haven’t got any

Bamboo

  • I found the yarn didn’t glide as well on the bamboo. The knitting experience was more like that with a plastic needle for the yarn drag.

Not a con but something to consider; Wooden needles need to be treated gently and stored carefully to prevent damage as they are more delicate than plastic or metal. That is a general rule though not specific to this brand.

Build Quality

Brittany; Birch knitting needles. Detail of the turned ends

Build quality can vary between different brands in the same materials.

Both the Retro Knitting site’s bamboo and the Brittany birch needles were beautifully made and finished. They were also true to size when put into a sizing guide. Helpfully both brands had the sizing paragraphed into the needles, this should last well and helps identify the needles size.

Value for Money

Excellent. Not the cheapest materials to buy your needles in, but for the quality of production and finish they are well worth it. You will invest a lot of time in your knitting, why not invest a little in some quality needles too.

Would I buy it Again?

So far because of my own dexterity issues, I’ve chosen the Brittany birch needles because I found them easier to use. I found the drag on the yarn from the bamboo strained my already weak hands. In fairness to bamboo needles, it has been said that their smoothness improves in use as they pick up oils from your hands. On a forum I saw people mention that they applied oil directly to their needles to improve yarn glide.  For some people the slower movement of the yarn could be an advantage.

You need to try them, to see what works for your own style of knitting.

Summing up

As with all things a lot is down to personal preference, your own style of knitting and in this case your own dexterity issues. I struggle with plastic needles as I find the yarn drag hard work. The bamboo needles gave the same kind of drag on the yarn. If you like the yarn to move slower, they would stop the stitches getting away from you so you may prefer them.

I adore the Brittany knitting needles! These birch needles won’t cure my RSI or the issues it causes, but they sure make knitting more comfortable than any other material I’ve tried. They are beautiful, the lightweight aspect and the warm to the touch feeling as you use them does indeed make them more comfortable to use. The super smooth finish means the yarn glides effortlessly across them without dragging or catching. It’s not hype; lightweight wooden needles really are more comfortable to use if you have stiff sore hands.

How do I choose, which will be best for me?

If you need more convincing here’s what to do next.

1. Find in your knitting bag or buy one pair of needles in each of the following materials; plastic, metal, bamboo and a pair of Brittany ones. Choose a size you will use a lot so extra needles won’t be a waste.

2. select a yarn you like to use (which will help you choose a needle size).

3. Don’t try anything fancy, just your favorite stitch pattern for about ten stitches and knit up a square.

4. Repeat this process for each of your needle types and you will find what works for you.

A lot of knitting is personal preference, if you like the slick of metal but find your hands lock up on you, try the birch needles. If on the other hand you prefer plastic needles that hold onto the yarn more, then try bamboo.

The manufacturer’s website recommends the Brittany needles if you have dexterity problems, my issue is RSI and I definitely recommend others to try them too. They are a joy to use.

Links

Manufacturer:

  • Brittany Makers of  natural birch wood needles for knitting and crochet. Look at the turned ends, aren’t they just stunning. The single point needles are available in 10″ and 14″ in a variety of sizes as well as double-pointed needles too. Find out more about them from their website.

Retailers;

I’ve purchase from; Norfolk Knits and also Yarnia Needle Crafts.

These are other online sellers of Brittany needles.

Check out my Yarns tab for links to more knitting related information.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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