When I started knitting
again after a long hiatus, I started hunting
for new tools. [I'd picked up a little tool
fetish during my time as a quilter.] Certainly
there'd be new products to try, right?
The first thing I came across
were casein needles. And I liked them. But
I was still annoyed with the perpetual need
to constantly buy pair after pair of needles
when I didn't have a certain size in my already
embarassingly large collection.
I first turned to the well-known
Boye Needlemaster, thinking it would solve
my problems. But I hate knitting with clinky
aluminum needles and found out quickly that
I really hated this set. Coarse joins, scratchy
surface. Just not for me. I sold my set to
someone who likes aluminum and went back to
after, I spotted an ad for Denise
Interchangeable Needles in the back of
a knitting magazine. How good could they be?
They were half the price of the Needlemaster
and I hadn't heard much internet buzz about
them. But in the interest of knitting science,
I wanted to test them.
I am in love.
In this small blue kit [about
the size of a hardcover book] you get 10 needle
tips from sizes US5 to 15, 6 lengths of cord
from 5.5 to 20 inches, 4 end buttons and 2
connectors. For a mere $44.95US. You may never
have to buy another needle or stitch holder
ever again. Though you can make nearly an
infinite number of combinations of cord length
and tip size, the basic set is the equivalent
10 tips x 5 cord lengths
= 50 circulars @ $6 ea = 300.00
10 tips x 5 cord lengths = 50 long flexibles
@ $8 ea = 700.00
Yes, that's at least $1000
worth of needles you won't have to buy. And
it doesn't even begin to cover the condo needles,
stitch holders and other neat tricks it can
do. Join various lengths of cord to get just
the length you want; leave your work on any
cord, twist off the knitting tips and twist
on the end buttons and your work is safely
held until you need it.
I learned that the Denise system was created
by the original designers of the Needlemaster.
It was their second go at developing the perfect
knitting set and it's my opinion that they
got it right this time.
The tips are made of a smooth
lightweight resin that's easy on your hands.
The cords are made of a smooth, flexible blue
plastic and a simple twist joins the tips
to the cords. They do stay put! I found myself
knitting more quickly and more comfortably
with Denise needles than with any other type
of needle I've ever used.
Denise needles are so light
that I was certain they were even lighter
than Addi Turbos. To satisfy my curiosity,
I weighed two similar-length circulars --
one 4mm [Addi turbo] and one #6US [Denise].
Both weighed exactly 6 grams. There you go.
Science in action.
To test this set, I cast
on for the Sitcom
Chic pattern featured in our last issue.
You'll see it calls for quite a few different
needle sizes. With the Denise system, I was
able to create just about every size called
for in the pattern [except the double points].
I knit the body on the longest cord, switching
tip sizes when called for in the pattern.
And when I started the sleeve, I found I was
soon able to switch to a tiny circular made
up of two 5.5" cords joined with one
connector. Very enjoyable working on these
sleeves this way.
The joins are not perfectly
smooth [they've got a little indent to make
it easier to grip them as you twist on the
tips], but I found that this took very little
getting used to. I knit on the set with pure
cotton and cotton/acrylic of all different
weights and had no troubles slipping the knitting
past the joins.
you cast on too tightly as I do, you might
want to choose the next size larger tip for
your cast-on row. Then switch to the size
called for when working the second row.
The only negative I've experienced
is that the smallest tip size [3.5mm or US5]
has occasionally come unattached while pushing
my stitches over the join, usually on my [too
tight] cast-on row. It's because this tip
is virtually the same diameter as the join,
so slipping snug work from the needle to the
cord is a little fiddlier. It's not insurmountable...just
be a little more careful when using the smallest
size if you're a tight knitter.
note: The original Denise set I received
had troublesome cords. My stitches wouldn't
slide easily along them and knitting got caught
in the joins. It turns out that the Denise
folk had a bad batch last fall/winter and
I had accidentally received a set of cords
from the bad batch. A quick call to Linda
at their toll-free number and replacement
cords were sent to me with no fuss. As promised,
these were very smooth, slippery and worked
Wishlist for future versions
- A metric version, or at
least metric tips for the sizes the US system
- A tiny size for socks
- A DPN version
I have never enjoyed working
with a knitting product more than with the
Denise Interchangeable Needle system. It is
unquestionably the best knitting product I've
ever encountered in every possible way.
Postscript: Long after the
original writing of this article, I'm still
using the Denise needles on every project
I knit. I'm a convert.