June 05, 2005
How knotty are your needles?
I recently purchased a pair of Bryspun Bry-Flex Circular Needles. It was my first time seeing them, but I didn't realize that this entire line is brand new! Well, in an effort to help and inform the knitting community, I decided to write a little review.
I LOVE these needles! How much do I love these needles? Enough to try them out, then call the store* and order four more sets in different sizes.
Now, I break down my review into a few categories:
Availability and price: As far as I can tell (this is a brand new line, bear with me), Bryspun circular needles come in four lengths: 16", 24", 29", and 40". They come in whole US sizes, 3-15. The cost is (roughly) $7-9/set depending on size and length.
Composition and general look: Bryspun circular needles are made from the same material and have the same look as Bryspun double-pointed and single-pointed straight needles. Knitter's Review tells us that the dpns are "highly recommended by knitters with arthritis or other hand-related problems, these needles have a warm feel and are flexible to the touch," which is true for the new circulars as well. The highly-defined tip which makes Bryspun straights so comfortable and popular is maintained in the new line of circular needles (yes!).
Feeling of the needles: Bryspun circulars are feather-light. For folks like me who are used to some needle weight in our hands, this may take a bit of getting used to! My size US 5, 24" Bryspun circular weighs 5.3 grams; for comparison, my size US 7, 20" Addi Turbo (the one and only Addi I own) weighs 5.8 grams. The needle part of the circular is wonderfully flexible. At least for me, the lack of flexibility where the needles meet the cord (approximately where my hands end and my wrists begin) is often a source of discomfort and cramping. Bryspun circular needles have enough "give" to follow the curve of my arm and not put my wrists in an unnatural position.
Feeling and flexibility of the cord: Often the trademark of circular needle "goodness," Bryspun circulars' cords are amazingly flexible. They remind of Denise Interchangeable Needles cords - sort of like a flexible filled straw - except Bryspun cords are thinner and even more flexible. I can tie the Bryspun cords into knots, and they stay that way, or I can wrap them around my pinky into a coil. When I'm done with my nonsensical tests, the cords relax back to their original state with a gentle tug.
"Join": Really, there is no needle-cord join to speak of. The two meet with a small step or bump, but in a completely seamless transition. I tried them out on my lace scarf, because, to me, lace knitting (and unknitting) is the ultimate test of good join construction. I found these needles to have a very smooth join that did not catch the stitches at all, and allowed the yarn to slide over very fluidly.
Smoothness and speed of knitting: These needles are very smooth and allow yarn to slide across the needle surface very quickly. I do believe they have a bit more grab than Addi Turbos, but not nearly as much as even other metal needles like Susan Bates and INOX. Bamboo needles are in a league of their own on this one - not even comparable, and likely suitable for completely different projects and yarns. The famous Bryspun tips boss around even the splittiest of yarns in my stash.
Conclusions: Go get some! I do not yet (6/5/05) know of any online retailer except Oregon Trail Yarn on eBay, which is selling these needles in the 16" length only.
*The store where I purchased my Bryspun circular needles, both in person and over the phone with shipping service is: Wild & Woolly, 7A Meriam Street, Lexington, MA, (781) 861-7717, firstname.lastname@example.org.