I thought I would put my thoughts on needles here on one page. I buy American when I possibly can. So if that is not important to you, your list of needles to compare would be broader than mine.
I have to say, I’ve used plenty of needles. Hiya Hiya fixed circs and dpn, Addi Turbo and Lace fixed circs, Brittany mostly dpn, Bryspun straights, Rosewood dpn (possibly Colonial), Clover Takumi dpn, Clover dpn, Boye straights, Blue Sky Alpaca dpn, Lantern Moon sock stix dpn, Crystal Palace fixed circs, the metal square ones I forget the name in dpn and fixed circs, Signature Needle Arts dpn, KA dpn, DyakCraft interchangeable, dpn and crochet hooks. I think there are others, but this gives you an idea what I am comparing to.
I have to add, I have seen but never used KnitPicks or the other Knitters Pride needles. To my eye they look ok. But I have never held or used them. I know (real life) people who love them and people who hate them. (Not a post on a message board that could be from anyone.)
Signature Needles I don’t like. I like metal needles. I wanted to have a nice option. I like the points on my Signatures. I do not like the needles. If I wanted circs, I might try another set. Those I might like. But the dpn make a noise I don’t like. If you don’t hear it, or you don’t mind it, you might really like these needles. I like slick needles. For slickness due to the grooves, I find my Signatures no slicker than my DyakCraft. I am nearly certain the grooves are the source of most of the noise. If they ever offer their dpn with and without the grooves, I would order more. But they have said they have no intention of offering dpn with the same finish of their other needles. So, I continue with a wooden (laminate) needle.
Blue Sky Alpacas I like. I have contacted them for customer service and they were very helpful. Blue Sky Alpacas are a close second to the DyakCraft. Because they are available at several stores in driving distance and come in a cute storage tin I can use for many needles. Unfortunately the points are ok, but I don’t love theand they get a little gummy when I knit in the bath tub. OK, so not gummy but the humidity does something that they get less slick.
DyakCraft, I love. I have been using them for about 2005. I am not affiliated with them and I have never met them. I have had an order placed for (now) 13 months. I don’t know if they will be here this month or not. I paid when I ordered (you don’t have to) and it doesn’t worry me in the least. I know they will come and be all I had hoped for.
I find their laminates get slicker with use. I find the points as pointy as my Signature stilettos. I have carried both needles in one of those nylon sock bags and find the DyakCraft sticking through the bag more often than the Signatures. I don’t know why. (Could be how they are in the bag, a difference in the surface of the needle, or just chance. But the fact that they go through more often tells me they are as pointy.)
The taper is not the same. I have regular tips on all my needles. They offer a lace. I have not tried their metal needles. One day I will. For now I’m not eager to get in line. My hope is they will offer metal dpn. I also hope to order some custom straights. And crochet hooks.
I say I hope to order. They aren’t accepting some of these orders. They are made in a wood shop in Vermont and demand has exceeded their capacity. The last e-mail says their improvements have really helped production. They made twice as many interchangeable sets this year as all production prior. (14 months I think. So they must be improving their production. Pretty impressive.) They have made 2,000 sets this year. If they could have produced at this rate all year it would have been 4,000 sets.
I have now had a chance to try their heavy metals. I have to say they are really lovely. I would like to compare them side by side with my old stand by Addi Turbos and Lace. But most of mine are pitted and corroded from not being kept in the bag. (Something that would have been nice to list on the packaging.) By memory these are slicker. Either way, I like that they are American made and love the connectors. So seamless.
I hope they don’t have further floods, unsafe heat, etc and can keep production at a better pace. I imagine they really do want to offer their beautiful spindles, looms, hooks and new products as soon as possible.
There are a couple other brands, usually rosewood, that have nice enough points and I like fairly well. Most I have one size, and haven’t compared enough to seek out more to buy.
You can find stories of my experience with DyakCraft listed through my blog. I think there are stories about other needles. I have posted things because different people want different things from needles. For example, my priority for American made. I also like 5″ dpn. When I first found DyakCraft they were one of the only companies that offered 4″ (for gloves and preemie things) and 5″. I was sold. Points are important to me, as is the slickness, a warranty, and polite customer service if I have to call. (The main reason I personally avoid KnitPicks. I must have gotten the one really rude customer service person. And their dealing with Grafton Fibers. Just admit you found a factory to produce needles to import. And don’t sue the original company that thought of them. There is plenty of market to go around.)
Now I have tried many needles, many listed above. Some day I hope to try Spanish Peacock, some other brands, and one day have some needles turned from wood from our farm. Just as I think there are plenty of knitters out there buying needles they like, I like to try needles. As my budget allows I may finally try the rest of my list. 🙂