I am working on a cardigan for my husband, and I was delighted to see the pattern called for size 8 double pointed needles. I, in fact, did not own any size 8 dpns and was happy to have an excuse to finally buy a new set. I was mostly excited because I have been wanting to try square knitting needles for quite some time. However, when I have a set of very serviceable needles in the required size already in my collection (that just happen to be round and not square), it's hard to justify going out and buying more. This cardigan solved my problem. Yay!
So, with great anticipation, 17.5" of the body worked and permission to move on to the sleeve, I pulled out my brand new 8" Foursquare Majestic Wood double pointed needles from KnitPicks. I figure, double points were a good way to really test these needles out, too...take them for an in-the-round spin, so to speak.
First, let's talk about their appearance. I am a huge fan of wood needles, always have been. KnitPicks has some particularly beautiful needles in a variety of woods and finishes. The Foursquare needles are the laminated birch wood in the "majestic" colorway, meaning they have a nice combination of blues, purples and greens. These needles have what I would call a "high gloss" finish, which surprised me, but I will get back to that in a moment. As the name implies, the needles are square, having four flat sides with slightly rounded edges. They come to a nice, rounded point (on both ends, in the case of the double pointed needles). They are the same size as their rounded counterparts, meaning you can use the same hole in a gauge to see what size needle you are dealing with.
*Side note: Luckily my stitch matched my gauge from the round needles I worked with throughout the rest of the sweater. KnitPicks does encourage you to check, however, as some people's stitch size is different when they switch from the round to the square needles.
Now that the appearance is taken care of, let's talk mechanics. As I mentioned, these needles are very glossy. I was worried, especially working in the round, that this would lead to stitches easily falling off. However, those crafty designers at KnitPicks know what they are doing. I guess it's the perfect blend of gloss and edge, my stitches slide off easily when I want them, but stay put when I don't. I found these needles to work very well with my tweed wool in my current project, making every stitch feel consistent and smooth. I like that the needles are offered in a variety of lengths (4, 5, 6, 8"); I personally like working with the longer 8" for worsted weight yarns. These 8" needles are available in sizes 4-11. However, I did see that sizes 0-3 (with the more precise metric sizes included) were also available in the 4-6" lengths.
Bottom Line: If you are looking to try something new, I would recommend getting a pair of these needles. Especially if you enjoy wood needles. I am sure they are not for everyone (as is the case with all needles) but I really have enjoyed knitting with them. I get consistent stitches and the motion of knitting is very comfortable. The needles fit well in my fingers and the flat sides might actually help with my grip. And of course these needles look beautiful, too, with their swirls of greens and blues acting as eye candy as you knit. For such an affordable price, these are great needles. I plan on buying more.
****Since first posting this, Yarnbox has gone out of business! I must say, I was saddened by the news. They changed ownership and I think a series of unfortunate events led the company to go under within a year. While Yarnbox is no longer around, there are other subscription yarn boxes. I think the general idea of this review would stand true for many of these subscription boxes, because really, who doesn't love getting yarn in the mail?
My husband is addicted to subscription boxes. Fortunately, he never has more than one going at a time, but he has tried a great many of them. Some of them have been comic book themed, others sent a tie or pair of socks, and others still sent personal grooming products. It's like receiving a present every month, even if you are the one paying for it. I see the joy these boxes bring to my husband each month (even when he doesn't care for the contents, he just likes getting them) but have never thought to find one for myself.
However, for Christmas, my lovely parents got me the perfect gift. It was very generous, as well. They gifted me with a subscription to Yarnbox Luxe. This is a quarterly subscription box with high-end yarns. I believe this subscription is sold out for the year, but their other subscription options are not. The first box, which arrived a few days before Christmas (and I am not going to lie, I peeked) contained three cones of fine Habu textiles. (If you've never heard of Habu, I've linked their name to their site...they have some remarkable fibers.) One is a blend of silk and stainless steel. How cool is that? That box also included beads, a beading needle, a beading crochet hook and a pattern code for either a knit of crochet shawl.
The box that this monthly subscription arrives in has a warning on the side. It reads; "Caution!! Yarn inside. May cause extreme happiness." In my case, that has been very true. My second box arrived this past week and contained three skeins from Artyarns. These skeins were artfully wound into what appeared to be a single hank (but don't worry, the three skeins are easily separated). My tummy filled with those happy butterflies when I opened the box. I can't wait to see what comes in June.
And that brings me to my conclusion about Yarnbox- it's wonderful. I cannot make it out to my local yarn store as often as I would like, and many of the fibers that come in this box are not ones I would splurge on for myself. But they are, hands down, so beautiful and a very special addition to my yarn stash. I've had countless hours of fun just dreaming of exactly what I am going to create from my new yarn. And who doesn't like getting a package in the mail? It's a surprise in each box, too, which is fun. Now, if you're not one for complete surprises, you can tailor the box to your personal tastes a little. You can choose color families and also list colors you would never like.
My one complaint, and it is a tiny one, is that I do not love the patterns that come with these super high-end yarns. To me, they are sort of "nothing special" patterns for such special yarns. However, this is just my personal opinion, it would be impossible for the good people at Yarnbox to pick a design that everyone loves. What they do is pick a nice pattern that suites the yarn, offering a pattern for the knitter and the crocheter. And really, this isn't a problem...I just thought it was worth mentioning. I like the freedom of choosing or designing something myself, anyway.
To be completely fair, this luxe line from Yarnbox is not something I would have purchased for myself. It is a little too expensive. But it made such a wonderful and special gift. I am likely going to try out their sock box and see what that has to offer. My birthday is coming up and I have put it on the list. I am tempted to try out another of the yarn subscription companies, and probably will one day, but since I've had such a nice experience with Yarnbox, I've decided to stick with them.
Bottom Line: I really have loved both of my Yarnbox boxes. The price tag is steep for the luxe line, but technically you do get the yarn for a discount...it's just not yarn an average knitter would buy for themselves. But if you can spare the funds, have a birthday coming up, or know someone who wants to spend some money on you, it is a delightful treat. The more economically priced box from Yarnbox is the classic, which is about $40.00 a month and can be cancelled at any time. Cheaper still, and probably loads of fun, is the sock box. This box is an affordable $20.00 a month plus shipping and can also be cancelled at any time. Subscription boxes are convenient and fun, it is so nice to have one tailored to a knitter (or crocheter).