by Jody Pirrello
I've tried just about every needle out there -- metal, bamboo, exotic woods, plastic, casein -- and with all that experimentation I thought I had settled on the type of needle I'd use for each project for the rest of my knitting life.
And then these babies arrived on my doorstep.
Signature Needles are something to be experienced. When I took them out of their packaging and held them for the first time I was struck by how smooth and sturdy they felt. It's obvious that these needles are the product of precise engineering. The tactile experience of holding a set of Signature Needles is something special.
I worked up a set of swatches for the review -- both cotton and wool, in both a tightly spun multi-ply and a loosely spun single-ply. The needles performed really well. Each stitch was a pleasure to knit. Truly, knitting with these needles is a new kind of knitting.
The barrels of the needles are quite slippery and I was concerned that the DPNs wouldn't grip. While they're not grippy like a wood needle, they also didn't unexpectedly slip out of the stitches. And while they wouldn't be my go to needles for multi-color knitting (I prefer a grippier wood) they didn't do badly in that case either.
They were so much fun to knit with that they had me reconsidering my love of magic loop -- I swear if I had learned to knit with their DPNs that I would have never considered moving on to magic loop. If I had these needles in my stash I would reach for them whenever I didn't need a circular. And since that isn't as often as I would have hoped I've found myself scheming to find straight-needle-appropriate projects just to have an excuse to use them again.
Signature needles are offered in a variety of options:
Point Style - Your choice of Blunt, Middy, or Stiletto (their most popular). You will not be complaining about your needles being too blunt with their stilettos. In fact, I think I might go with the Middy myself.
Straights - US #1-10, in 7, 10, and 14" lengths. Each size comes in one color -- you cannot specify a particular size/color combo.
Straight Caps - Bell, Spiral and Tear Drop (pictured below) caps. When I first saw the tear drop caps I was a bit disappointed they didn't send one of the fancier caps. But after swatching with them I've changed my mind - I like the smooth simplicity of the Tear Drop caps.
DPNs - They're offered in sets of 4 or 5 needles, and in 4, 5, 6 and 8 inch lengths. The 4" lengths come in a combo of Blunt/Stiletto -- each needle has one Blunt point and one Stiletto point to help avoid poking yourself.
Sets - Three sets are available. The full set of US #1-10, and half sets of US #1-5 and US #6-10.
Price - $28/pair for straights US #1-5, $32/pair for straights US #6-10, $45 for a set of 4 DPNs and $55 for a set of 5 DPNs. The full set of straights is $295, the half set (small sizes) is $135 and the half set (large sizes) is $155.
These are undeniably a luxury item. If they don't quite fit in this year's budget you may want to register with their Wish List. I know I wouldn't complain if I saw a set of these under my tree.
What about circs? If you're like me you're a die hard circ fan, and that's why I was so excited to learn that circulars are currently in research and development (date TBD).
See them for yourself at one of their upcoming shows -- Stitches East (Nov 6-9 2008), Maryland Sheep and Wool 2009 and Stitches Midwest 2009.