Thursday, April 4, 2013

Knitterly Things :: Signature Needle Arts Circular Needles


As mentioned in the first and second posts of the knitting needle review series:


I'm always asked about my needles on a regular basis: What do I use?  What do I prefer?  What do I recommend?  I'll admit that I do have quite the collection of needles consisting of at least 10 different brands.  Even though I'm fairly brand loyal, I'm also one of those consumers that likes to try out all the new products that come on the market.  This rings quite true with knitting needles.  So whilst I have my favourites, I thought I would share my views on some of the needles and sets that I own.

Before we get into the deets of anything, I'll put it out there right now that I might be a little biased on a few things.  Such as the fact that I'm a huge fan of interchangeable needle sets and think they are the most economical way of obtaining a good collection of needles, as they usually provide an assortment of needle sizes and cable lengths that you can mix and match to suit your needs per project.  Usually when a beginner asks what I recommend, I usually tell them to invest in a interchangeable needle set (of course, after a few questions and I know they are in it for the long haul...no point in telling someone who isn't sure if knitting is their schtick to dish out moola on something they may never use again after 1 project), not only will a set save you money but it's great to have all the commonly used sizes and options at your finger tips.

Ha, I know what you're thinking...haven't I read those 2 paragraphs before?  Yeah...I just wanted to make sure all the posts regarding knitting needle reviews were connected in some way.  I'm too lazy to try to come up with something clever while still mentioning all those things differently each time!  Can you blame me?

Ok, let's move into the third review in my knitting needle review series!


I'm sure these needles need no introduction, but just in case they do, these lovelies are Signature Needle Arts circular needles.  I'll forewarn you right now, that these babies are my absolute favourite needles.  Like, ever.  When they first came out, I really didn't think I would ever knit with them let alone own so many pairs cause they are so darn pricey!  Well...never say never!

I got my very first pair back in 2011, when my friend Michelle went to Sock Summit in Portland, OR.  She snagged me a pair in a size I use the most, a 40" 3.5mm (US 4).  I had hemmed and hawed for days trying to figure out the length I wanted before finally settling for the 40".  I figured it was long enough to knit cardigans with and I can still use it to Magic Loop sleeves.  To say I was in awe the second that pair was in my hands is an understatement.  It was love at first sight!  My first project with these bad boys: the Emelie cardigan.  And I swear that these needles are the reason why I finished the knitting portion so fast!  

I was so incredibly impressed with these needles that I wanted more!  It got to the point where I was picking patterns and projects just so that I could knit with these needles!  It was a while before I was able to add more Signatures to my needle collection and the ones that I do have are my most valuable tools in my knitting bag!


:: Pros ::
♥ All sizes are colour coded.  So you'll know at a simple glance that the purple needles that's attached to your current WIP is a 3.5mm (US 4)...or a 5.5 (US 9), but I'm sure you'd be able to tell the difference between the 2 sizes.  Not only are the colours handy dandy, but they make the needles oh so pretty!

♥ Just in case you're colour blind or something and the colour coding doesn't work for you, Signatures has your back.  Both metric and American sizes are lasered in one of the needles.  

♥ You can choose just how pointy your needles are!  Pick between the Middy tip, which is similar to most other needles on the market, or the Stiletto tip (my favourite!!), which can cause some serious harm.  All points are hand polished to perfection, allowing your stitches to flow from one needle to the other.  All of my needles have the Stiletto tip, so I'm a little biased here when I say that they are absolutely divine!  They make cabling without a cable needle so easy, knitting twisted stitches are a breeze, and we won't even talk about how awesome they are for lace work.

♥ You can choose your needle length.  You have a choice between 4" (for those with smaller hands or just prefer a shorter shaft), 5" (the general length amongst the majority of needles on the marker), or 6" (for those with larger hands).

♥ The cables are memory resistant and insanely flexible, but we're not talking annoyingly wimpy and limp cables here.  No, these cables have a nice feel to them, almost firm to the touch, but are so pliable that you can wrap them around your finger no problem.  Most excellent for Magic Looping sleeves (or anything else that may need to be Magic Loop'd).  They're even ready to go straight out of the package.  No needing to soak them or knit with them for a bit to relax, oh hells no!  These cables are good to go the second you are.

♥  DId I mention that the cables swivel?  They do.  I know there are other needles on the market that have cables that swivel too but I find that the combo of all the above mentioned points and the swivel cables is just magical.

♥ The joins are extremely smooth.  I've never had an issue with stitches catching, and I've never had to think about them when I'm knitting.

♥ The needles are so lightweight and sleek, I swear, they make me knit faster!  

♥ The needles are made of aircraft quality aluminum, so all you knitters with nickel allergies and sensitivities will be A-OK with these babies!

♥ I have knit with everything from acrylic to silk and find that these needles will work with them effortlessly.  So dragging, no stickiness, no nothing.  Just straight up knitterly love for all the yarns out there.  

♥ You can get your circulars monogrammed!  I've never had anything monogramed in my life but I've always wanted something monogramed.  Maybe one day I'll order a pair and get them monogramed?


:: Cons ::

♥ Signatures are not cheap.  No siree Bob.  They cost quite the pretty penny, and recently they have gone up a few dollars.  These babies are definitely an investment, but are worth every penny.

♥ Signatures do not have an interchangeable circular option.  This one is a total bummer, especially since you would need to dole out a $120 just to get one size in all 3 lengths.  Yikes! 

♥ The smallest circular is 2.25mm (US 1) but what the website fails to tell you is that the cords do not swivel like they do on the rest of the circular family.  The next size up is 3.23mm (US 3), which does swivel.

♥ The largest size is a 6mm (US 10), which supremely sucks for those who like their chunky yarns and knits.

♥ I mentioned above that the cables are incredibly pliable, well, this can also be a con because sometimes when you're scooting stitches along the cable can bend in half.  Not a deal breaker, not a problem, but kind of annoying.

♥ Not a problem for me and I really don't feel the difference, but some people might find that the needles feel cold.  You know, being metal and all.


:: My General Thoughts ::
I really can't say enough good things about these needles!  They are such a pleasure to work with.  I honestly do feel like these needles are an investment for a craft that you love.  I think the Yarn Harlot said it best in this post, "these needles are, for knitters, like a car person getting a Ferrari, or a cook investing in a set of Henckels knives", and it's true.  If you knit a lot, I really think you should have needles that you enjoy working with.  For me, these are it.  I know these are mega luxury needles, definitely the Louis Vuittons of knitting needles, but I honestly think all knitters should give them a try at least once.  Or not.  It could be dangerous.  If you know what I mean!

I was really hoping to score a pair of 2.25mm (US 1) for sock knitting, but have been told by various sources that unlike its bigger brothers and sisters, the 2.25's aren't that great and don't live up to the Signatures reputation.  I heard that the joins are a little weird and not at all smooth like the rest of the family, that they catch with every stitch (which would annoy the crap out of me).  I was a bit disappointed upon hearing this, but am hoping that when I go to Seattle this weekend for Vogue Knitting Live that I'll be able to test out a pair and see for myself.  If you're a fan of DPNs though, then you are in luck!  Signature DPNs are lethal.  All sock yarn should run and hide from them.  They are seriously S.H.A.R.P.  And ribbed!  No, seriously, they are.  They are microscopically ribbed to provide a teeny tiny amount of traction to hold onto your work while still letting your stitches glide smoothly along.  If I did knit with DPNs, I would definitely want these!

So how much do I love my Signatures?  If I have a set available, I'll still pick out a project so that I can use them.  Even if a needle isn't available, I'll transfer the WIP over to another pair of needles just so that I can use the Signatures.  I'm definitely a convert.  Don't get me wrong, I don't turn my nose up to other needles.  I'm always game for giving other needles a try and think all needles have a purpose.  I just think Signatures is at the top of knitting needle pyramid.  Who's with me on this one?


:: Disclaimer :: 
I purchased these needles myself and wrote this review on my own free will.  I received no compensation from the company mentioned in this post for this review.  I am not affiliated with the company mentioned in this post, nor do I endorse them and vice versa.  I simply am passionate about the art and craft of knitting and this review is based on my own experiences with the products mentioned.  These are my opinions and I am not being paid to say them.


9 comments:

  1. it's settled. (as if it wasen't before i had held your knitting needles). i need a pair.. or two... or three... ;)

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  2. I have been avoiding trying these just because I know I will want a pair in every size. Maybe someday, but not right now. I'm bummed about the Size 1s though -- because I knit so many socks, I would invest in that size before any other.

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  3. wow. who knew? i think i may have to get a pair and see if they're any easier on my old paws!

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  4. They have interchangeable needles on their website now. I just wish they sold them in sets.

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    Replies
    1. They are not interchangeable in the same way other sets are interchangeable. The cables are size specific, so you can not attach your size 6 16" cable to your size 2 stalk. So you need to buy cables for each needle. So, it's more expensive, you have to manage more cables in your storage, and when changing needle size on a WIP you have to slip the entire work, rather then just changing the needle stalks. All that said, I still really really like the ones I have.

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  5. I agree. .. absolutely love my SA needles. I now have 4 sets DPNs and recently purchased a set of interchangeable sz 4 circulars with 16 & 40" cables. Huge problem. .. first project on these circulars, an afghan.... the needle keeps becoming disconnected, dropping stitches and calling for pattern repairs while I resemble needle to cable. I want to scream. Don't know if this is a defect, but I'm definitely contacting them.

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  6. My cable sheared off the join halfway through its first sweater. Sure, it's flexible, but that means more stress on the join when the weight of the project pulls the cable at an angle, and the nylon just isn't up to the challenge of a sharp bend under stress. I expect a lot more out of a nearly $50 expenditure.

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  7. I absolutely love my Signature Needle Arts interchangeable needles. I purchased every size stalk and cable. They melt through yarn like butter and find I knit faster on my Signature Needle Arts then any other brand needles I own. Their largest needle size is a size 10. I so hope they will be adding the larger sizes to their product line.

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  8. These are the best needles I have worked with, I always hesitate to buy because of the price, but I am never sorry when I receive them, absolutely THE BEST....

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