Review of the Week: Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles

I’d been eyeing these needles since they first came out. I’m generally a fan of wood needles, but like the pointy-ness you can get with metal needles. These seemed to be the best of both worlds: a needle that has the warm feel of wood and the pointy-ness of metal tips. Plus, the needles aren’t as likely to bend as metal needles or to break as wood needles.

My Karbonz in action

My Karbonz in action

I got a set of size 2 (2.75mm) dpns on a whim at my LYS, figuring they’d see a fair bit of use as that’s the dpn size I use the most.

I’ve used them a few times now for various fingering weight projects, including my current pair of CanCans.

Overall, I like these needles a lot (in fact, I’ve requested an interchangeables set for Christmas!). They definitely deliver on the smooth, warm feel, and I’m very comfortable knitting with them.

The Karbonz are a bit on the pricey side compared to the wood Dreamz or the metal Nova, but about on par with Addi needles. For reference, here’s a price comparison on a size 4 16″ circular needle, using prices from WEBS as of Nov. 2013:

Nova – $6.99

Dreamz – $8.49

Karbonz – $14.95

Addi Turbo – $15.95

Overall, I’d give these needles a 9 out of 10, and would definitely recommend them.

Pros:

  1. The feel – The needles have  a nice, warm feel to them, which I like. They don’t stick to my fingers like metal needles sometimes do.
  2. The color scheme – I like that the needles are a simple black with metal tips. They kind of sit in the background and let the WIP jump out, rather than the needles.
  3. The way they work with different yarns – I’ve used a few different yarns with these needles, and I like how easily the yarn moves on them, yet doesn’t slide right off.

Cons:

  1. The joins at the tips – The spots where the metal tips meet the carbon bodies of the needles isn’t perfectly smooth, I can feel a bit of a bump there.
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Yarn of the Week: Cephalopod Yarns Traveller

I got this yarn a while ago after receiving some credit to the Cephalopod Yarns shop. I loved the color, and figured I’d take the chance to try a nice new yarn.

My Traveller beanie

My Traveller beanie

I’m very glad I went with this yarn. I feel like it’s not quite as well-known as the extremely popular Bugga! yarns from CY and the Verdant Gryphon, but it really deserves some recognition.

The colors remind me a bit of madelintosh’s colors in that they’re rich and tonal. The particular skeins I got were the colorway Goodnight, KY, and were a gorgeous, saturated blue.

I got two skeins, and so far have made a hat and a cowl using similar-but-different patterns. I’m planning to use the rest on a pair of matching mittens or fingerless gloves in an as-yet-undetermined pattern this fall or winter.

I like this yarn a lot, and feel like it’s a good value for the money.

So far, neither my hat nor my cowl is showing signs of pilling, which is fantastic because this is a nice, soft yarn, and soft yarns are often pilly. I can’t speak to how this yarn would hold up in a higher-wear object like a sweater, but at least for hats and scarves it seems to wear very nicely.

Overall, I give this yarn a 10 out of 10, and definitely recommend it!

Pros:

  1. The colors – As usual, one of my pros is the colors. I like the range of colors offered by CY, and I like that the names of each color are tailored to the base, with the colorways for Traveller being named after places.
  2. Lack of pilling – So far, I haven’t run into a lot of pilling yet. We’ll see once I make something more hard-wearing, but as of now I haven’t had any issues.
  3. Stitch definition – I’ve made two cabled projects with this yarn, and the stitch definition is great. My cables pop out of my projects, and the texture difference between knits and purls shows up beautifully.

Cons:

  1. None – Honestly, I can’t really think of any cons!

Yarn of the Week: madelinetosh tosh merino light

Sidenote: This is the third of three new weekly features on my blog. I will be featuring and reviewing a different yarn each week. Some will be established yarns, some new yarns. Tune in each week to see what I’ve picked!

tosh merino light in Venetian

TML in Venetian

I thought I’d start this new feature with one of my favorite yarns: madelinetosh tosh merino light. This was one of the first madelinetosh yarns I used, and I immediately fell in love with it.

I’m not normally a big fan of single-ply yarns, but this one is spun tightly enough that it doesn’t seem as fragile as some other single-ply yarns I’ve used.

One of my favorite TML projects has been my first-ever sweater, a lovely blue cardigan. The yarn was a pleasure to work with, and the pilling is reasonable, especially considering how soft the finished product is. I have to run a sweater shaver over the cardigan after every few wears, but there are fewer pills each time.

Self-designed shawl using TML in Tart

Self-designed shawl using TML in Tart

The yarn also works very well in shawls. Being fingering weight, it’s heavy enough to make a warm shawl, but light enough that you won’t overheat while wearing one. I’ve made three so far, all different types of pattern, and all of them held up nicely with blocking, and the yarn shows off the stitch patterns beautifully.

Overall, I give this yarn a 9.5 out of 10.

I *highly* recommend this yarn (as long as you’re knitting socks, since the fiber content is 100% merino, so there is no nylon in it for strength) and I will definitely be purchasing more (to add to my already large stash of it).

Pros:

  1. Colors, colors, colors – This is by far one of the best things about all madelinetosh yarns. She dyes so many gorgeous colors, you’re almost guaranteed to find one that works for what you’re making. I also like that the colors are complex – she doesn’t just have, for example, “black.” There’s black with red undertones, black with green undertones, black with purple undertones, etc.
  2. Consistency – The spin is very consistent. Many single-ply yarns can be a bit thick-and-thin, but TML is pretty consistent throughout.
  3. Strength – While I wouldn’t knit hard-wear items like socks from it, the yarn is strong enough that I don’t feel like I’m going to break it by looking at it the wrong way or by blocking my finished piece.

Cons:

  1. Color matching – Since this yarn is hand-dyed in relatively small batches, it can be a bit difficult to get skeins that match each other exactly. I’d recommend shopping for the yarn in person if you need many matching skeins, as you can compare individual skeins for the best matches. I’d also recommend alternating skeins every other row when possible if your skeins don’t match perfectly.

Knit Picks Chroma yarn: the good, the bad, and the (definitely not) ugly

I’d like to introduce a new feature on my blog: yarn reviews. Yarnies on Ravelry have access to information on yarns through comments, but I rarely see thought-out, in-depth reviews of the yarns. So, I’ve decided to start writing my own.

KP Chroma

The colors in this yarn are just fantastic.

I recently ordered several skeins of Knit Picks’ new Chroma yarn, which is more or less their answer to Noro.

The yarn, a single ply, comes in a worsted weight (198 yard/100g balls) and a fingering weight (396 yard/100g balls).

Overall, I’d give this yarn an 8.5 out of 10, would definitely order it again, and would recommend it to a friend.

Pros:

  1. scarf

    The Colors – Of course the colors are on the top of my list. They’re bright, vibrant, and the repeats are long and subtle enough that they self-stripe fetchingly without pooling (unless you were to use it for a very wide object like a blanket). If you like bright, spring/summer colors, there is a lot of selection for you. I also like that they do include two solid colors to pair with the other colorways for things like striping and fake isle knitting.

  2. The Texture – This yarn is soft. Being a single, the strand is very smooth and slides easily through your fingers.
  3. Consistency – While there is a bit of thick-and-thin to the yarn, it’s not really a huge variance, and I’m not noticing it affecting the appearance of my knitting.
  4. The Price – As usual, it’s very hard to beat Knit Picks’ prices. For $9, you get either 198 yards of worsted weight, or 396 yards of fingering weight. That’s compared to 110 yards of Noro Kureyon (worsted) for the same price, or 195 yards of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi (fingering) for about 50 cents less. It averages out to 4.5 cents a yard for the worsted Chroma vs. 8 cents a yard for the Kureyon, and 2.3 cents a yard for the fingering Chroma vs. 4.4 cents a yard for the Mini Mochi.

Cons:

  1. Not Plied – As I mentioned before, this yarn is a single. Granted, it is mostly a personal preference thing, but I generally prefer to knit with plied yarns over singles. The spinning in some areas of this yarn seems a little loose, and while it doesn’t seem fragile, it’s easy to accidently poke through a strand while knitting, especially if you have sharp needle tips.
  2. Not Many Dark/Muted Colors – While there are 16 non-solid colorways, only 5 or 6 contain darker/muted colors without bright colors. While the bright colors are nice, it’s good to have some muted colors to pair with and help showcase the brights.
  3. No Black Solid – I think it’s great that there are solid colorways offered to pair with the more colorful ones, but I think there should be a black colorway in addition to the brown and white solids.
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