Sunday, 28 December 2014

Needle Review: Karbonz

Christmas is over, the tidying is finished, and you have a (relatively) calm house for a day.   Well, I do at least.  So far I've spent the morning drinking coffee, sorting through my knitting box and listening to musics on my new speakers  - a very appreciated present from the boy.

I bought a set of these needles recently - because I wanted to.  Let's not beat about the bush, I could make up some sort of excuse, but I just wanted to knit with the shiny new needles in the shop.  

They're called 'Karbonz' because they're made from carbon fiber with nickel plated brass tips.  At £9, these are one of the more expensive sets of needles I've purchased.  I'm using the 2.25mm 80cm circulars for two at a time sock knitting, and they're going well!  

The carbon needles are nice and grippy without being sticky.  I usually use wooden needles, as I'm not fond of the slippyness of a metal needle, nor the way they feel to hold - who likes cold needles?  The carbon feels nice and grippy with a little give.  The needles themselves are lighter than metal ones too, about 1/3 of the weight.  

The plated tips are unusual, because they allow stitches to move differently once near the end of the needles.  Where the body of the needle feels closer to wood, you do then have a change of feel when the stitches migrate onto the metal tip.  This isn't really good or bad, just different; the stitches move more easily, facilitating slipping onto the other needle (or, depending  how you knit, let you drop them easier).  I do find it more tricky to pick up dropped stitches with these guys than with a pair of my usual wooden needles.  On the flip side of this though, I suppose it means that the tips are exceptionally smooth, and shouldn't snag on your finer yarns.  

Being knit-pros, I know knitters sometimes have issues with where the cables join the needles, but no problems here so far.  You can also grab karbonz as DPNs and traditional long needles.  

Did I mention they look so shiny and pretty?  They're one of those sets it just feels nice to use, because they are nice.

Will it stop me using wooden needles?  No, but I hear quite a few of you lot snap wooden needles on a regular basis, so maybe these guys have a place in your knitting basket.

Apparently they're useful for people who prefer metal needles but have nickel allergies?  

easy to hold, lightweight, warm
grippier than metal needles
stronger than wooden needles
nice clean tips

change in feel along the needle
not the cheapest (but not really break the bank?)

What are your favourite needles?  Why did you change to these, or are they just what you've always used?

Also, yarns in the photo above as follows:
Green: Sylvan tiger yarns from The Golden Skein club
Grey: Sara's Texture Craft; guest post here.  

Some musics too:


  1. Interesting review! I am planning to write one on these needles, too, but it won't be favourable, I fear. I was curious about them and bought a set of interchangeable tips. I must say I prefer needles made of the same material all over, though. I also have the feeling the carbon fibre is overrated, but I can see how it may be a good alternative for knitters who snap wooden needles too easily and dislike metal needles.

    1. oh, I'm sure the carbon is a gimmick, but had to try them to find out what they knitted like.

      I've also spotted quite a few knitters today who were less than impressed with the material transition on the tips!

  2. I used to use the Knit Pro Symfonie needles (=Knit Picks), but then I grew fond of the Hiya Hiya sharp needles. I love their pointiness and since they are metal, they do not break. I just got my first Karbonz and I like them. I think they are nice to have in the smaller sizes as they do not break as easily as wood.

  3. Karbonz are my go to sock needles. I also have some metal DPNs and bamboo, but I dislike the metal ones, and although the bamboo needles haven't snapped yet I feel like I'm always pushing them too much when I knit tightly. The Karbonz have the right feel for me, I really adore them.

  4. I have the dpn's and even though there is a tiny snag in the transition on one of the needles in each of the 3 sets I own, they are my go to sock needles. I recently got some hiya hiya dpn's but they actually take more getting used to. I also use knit pro Symphony circulars and will try out the hiya hiya sharp circulars soon. Interesting to read such different experiences!

  5. Ah, Karbonz. I clutch my needles as though they're my last link with life itself … less dramatically: "knits tightly". I'm on the love-them side as their tips slip into my ridiculous stitches as easily as a metal needle while the grippy body keeps my knitting coherent; with their sock needles it stops my stitches evading the rest of the herd to perform random acts of performance art on my lap. There's also a nice secondary benefit in keeping the naughty-word-emission to a minimum. I so envy you elegant knitters who can use bamboo and so many other needles! Happy knitting all - Granny Pix.

  6. I've used Karbonz, Knit Picks, various Knitter's Pride needles (from, Square needles, Hiya Hiya, and a few others, but I keep returning to the metal Addi Turbo Sock Rockets. Knit Picks had been almost as good to use as Sock Rockets, but the cable quality wasn't as consistently good as the Addi needles. The Knitter's Pride wooden Dreamz needles snapped and broke, the Square needles detached from the cables at the joins, and I hadn't liked the Hiya cables. Consequently, I'd replaced all of my sock needles with Addi Sock Rockets. The needles are a good length for knitting 2 socks at once, the points are sharp but not as sharp as Karbonz so less likely to split yarn, the joins are smooth, and best of all the cables are uniformly flexible and pliable, making them very easy to work with and pleasant to use. I don't like cables that need to be wrestled with or that get in the way because they lack enough flexibility. The Addis don't have as much yarn grip as wood or bamboo, but are not so slippery that I feel uneasy about using them. For straight needles and interchangeable needles, Signature needles are quite extraordinary. They might even be considered the Ferrari of knitting needles, but they are just about as pricey as that too! Still, for an extra-extra-special indulgence or reward, probably worth considering a pair in a needle size one tends to use most often (4, 4.5, or 5 mm, maybe?)if only because they are just SO pretty and SO nice. -- KW


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