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    « comforts | Main | Thank You »

    Monday, January 05, 2009


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    No, you're not a crank. Well, maybe you are, but I'm right there with you. I have ordered various tools from Knit Picks and been happy with them (especially the magnetic chart board thingie), but I've been underwhelmed by the yarns. I should say that I've only ordered a few sock yarns from them. The yarn was OK, but didn't hold up as well as others I've used. Knowing me, I'm sure you can imagine that I am also suspicious of how they can get yarns that inexpensively without some horrible labor practice going on somewhere.


    I bought little from KP and like you I was impressed by the needles (a set of Harmony wood DPNs)and not very impressed by the yarn but I bought yarn only once. I agree that their prices seem LOW but on the other hand I think that in general the prices of yarn in the USA are maybe too high. Just one example: how come a cardigan kit by Hanne Falkenberg (from Sweden) which include yarn and pattern cost $258.00 here and only GBP 67.95 in the UK? So I think that in more than one case we may be charged too much but we never talk about that.


    I think if I need anymore wooden needles, I will buy from Grafton Fibers. I too wasn't all that impressed by the KP non-sock yarns that I've used, but in general I tend to lean more towards US farm produced fibers and yarn, at least in my initial scoping for a project. For basic wool, I will always go for Cascade 220 for the value, "hand" feel and LYS availability. I think KP did a really fantastic thing in sourcing fibers at a price that made knitting a lot more affordable for a lot of people. I think I've likely grown beyond their offerings, though, and will likely not order a whole lot more from them in the future.


    Norma, I feel very much the same as you about KP. I've never actually ordered their yarn or needles. I think I've only every gotten a book or DVD from them. I also prefer to buy in person and support my LYS's, especially now when shops are closing left and right in my town. Your comment about the options needles is very intriguing though. Oh and, BTW, I'm in Oregon and I don't consider KP to be local to me.

    Nancy Jane

    I've been under-whelmed by their yarn also. A few felted projects with their "Wool of the Andes" turned out nicely and I thought their colors were well represented. I'm seriously considering the Options needles, but I've yet to see a review of Addi Clicks. I don't think your view is out of line (and I think they should send you a set of harmonys for the free publicity)!


    I've used alot of Knit Picks and I love some products more than others. The Alpaca Cloud lace weight is to die for. So soft and luscious. By far my favorite. Wool of the Andes? Meh...Sock yarns? Meh.. Love the Shadow laceweight as well and have used it many times. It blocks out beautifully and wears really well. I do also have the Options Interchangable needles and had some issues with cords breaking, but the customer service is great, and they will replace them for you. By far the best needles I've used.


    Their needles changed the way I knit! I shit you not. It's the super pointy points. I LOVE THEM. I can't ever go back to bluntys again. Now for the yarn...I am not a big fan. The experiences I've had with it have also been splity and a bit scratchy and really not worth the $$. I think the reason they are so cheap is because they actually mill their own yarns. THey take the middle man out which is where all the mark up happens. But the quality of some of the yarns really don't impress in my opinion. But the needles...hella yeah. They are great.


    I've only ever bought some of the sock yarns - Felici and an Essentials tweed grey color and I've not been as impressed as I am with the feel of other yarns (I'm a Loopy JUNKIE in a BIG BIG way!) I do however ADORE my Options metal needles and the circulars I've bought from them. Like others, I am completely overwhelmed by the points and the cables. I'd prefer the joins to be a bit smoother but overall I am delightfully pleased with them and con't to go back and buy more...I might have more than one pair of socks going at the same time - ahem. And, I just bought the Thick Car Coat pattern. I've never made something this complicated (trust's complex looking to me!) but I'm really in love with the look.

    Cynthia Shepard

    I haven't bought yarn from Knit Picks mostly because I have WEBS in my backyard but their Harmony wood needles are to die for! I have the circular set and the dpns for sock knitting and they are wonderful. Great book sales, too.


    I love knitting socks on the pretty Harmony Wood dpns, and have used several of KPs laceweight yarns with great success and enjoyment in both the knitting and the finished product. I often wait till their book sales to make a purchase at 40% off as well. My one negative comment is a personal confirmation of something I read somewhere (blog? internet search? don't recall) that their yarn packages are "short" - not by a lot, but by more than you might expect. I used some of their natural yarns in a dye experiment and while I would anticipate some shrinkage due to the heat of the dye process it was significant. Great idea for this discussion Norma!


    As a knitter whose nearest yarn store is 70 miles away (and I don't drive), Knit Picks is mannah. I'm nearing completion on a Cobblestone in Swish Superwash for my son, and it's beautiful. I've never had the pilling problem others speak of, and the Imagination sock yarn colors made me swoon. Suri Dream, the bulky alpaca, is truly dreamy, and my Harmony needles set are almost the only ones I use, interchangeables and DPNs. Wool of the Andes is a good workhorse yarn which felts neatifully, and Swish is lovely soft stuff.

    I'll quit fawning now. I pretty much love anybody who ships to my door for cheap, so I also shop regularly at Little Knits.


    I have a Harmony dpn set, as well as some interchangeables in both wood and metal, and I love them. As for the yarn, I haven't bought much. I'll know how I feel about it soon enough; I am currently making a baby sweater with Swish DK, and have ordered a bunch of the Palette to make stranded mittens. At the price, it was worth a try.


    Someone up there said it better than I will - I really love the laceweight yarns - I've done a few projects and have enjoyed the color, the feel, the look. Any of the other yarns and colors just leave me with a neutral slightly underwhelmy reaction. The needles though - I've got a set of both the metal and the Harmony and will race to leave a burning building with them. Same for DPNs.

    Finally, I will admit, obliquely, to my own bias against them for purely aesthetic reasons that I wouldn't go into on-line. I'm a shallow person in some ways. That's me.

    Sue Johnson

    Love the needles. Ignore the yarn. Sock yarn is too splitty. Others, too--? I'm with you. How can they do it? For my money, Cascade 220 is what I invest in.


    So far I've only purchased books, tools, and needles from Knit Picks. Like you I've been a bit suspicious about the quality of the yarn. I was tempted to try the lace weight yarn for a stole I was making,but the color I was interested in was not available. I did recommend the site to my daughter who is new to knitting and needs something affordable. However, she did walk out of the house with 5 skeins of hand dyed wool yarn I felt I wouldn't use.


    Love the super pointy needles, but I ended up getting rid of most of my KP yarns. (not that I had a lot. I'd rather spend more for quality yarns.


    I actually like the Wool of the Andes. It's cheap and comes in good colors and it nice for mittens and hats and charity stuff. I've always used their lace weight and been happy with it. That said, I don't think I've bought anything from them for a couple of years at least. I tried the options needles and while I like them I think they are a PITA to store and keep track of so I tend to reach for my Addis instead.
    And the Knit Pixie thing - well, don't get me started on that.


    another rave for the needles. I have the Options and the Harmony sets and now rarely use anything else. I've never tried the yarn because the price makes me suspicious - of what, I cannot tell you.


    I don't mind their interchangable, er inexpensive and good, but the dpns are TOO heavy. IMHO, their yarns suck.


    Their notions and needles are excellent. The yarn leaves me cold -- quite cold. This might well be a case of "you get what you pay for."

    Panhandle Jane
    Lynn in VA

    I love my interchangeable needles. I have both the metal and the wooden ones, as well as an impressive collection of the fixed circulars, and I no longer knit with anything else. The yarn, not so much. I got a set of their color cards, and the swatches in the cards didn't really feel all that great. Maybe not a fair test, but it was enough for me.


    Don't like the yarn and don't like their business practices. I've purchased from there before I heard the Knit Pixie Stories and what happened with Grafton on the Harmony needles but now I'm done. I found most of the yarn cheap and not in a good way.

    I like WEBS Valley yarns for my kid charity knitting. They have a lovely superwash and it's far more local to me. In fact, so far, I've loved each and every Valley yarn I've used. Especially Stockbridge. I could sing songs to Stockbridge.

    Because of the way I knit the options set didn't work for me and I suspect the Addi clicks won't either. I'll stick to my addi lace needles. Love those sharp tips!


    I LOVE Knit Picks and Knit Pixie!! I have not bought a skein of yarn from Knit Picks, but have both the options and harmony needle sets and harmony dpn. Also, lots of their 16" harmony circulars. For my pocketbook, the price of these needles and their quality can't be beat. I also buy the knitting books I really want from them. Normally they are 30% off but now alot of their books are 40% off.

    Knit Pixie is one of the places I buy my yarn and I love their service.

    I would hate to find out sweat shops are used to make these needles as I feel there is a place for Knit Picks in the marketplace, but I won't support a company that exploits people/children in this manner. So until I "learn" differently, I feel KPicks offers me excellent affordable needles providing extra $$ to buy beautiful yarns elsewhere!


    OK--first, I love their needles. The nickel plated ones are just as fast as addi turbos with a sharper point, which I like. The wooden ones can drag a bit, so I use them either as the double points for socks or when knitting lace. I have a pair of socks that I made from their Bare superwash sock yarn that I dyed, and they're doing well--they're a couple of years old, go through the washer and dryer, and get worn regularly, and there's only a little felting on the bottom of the foot. And the only other of their yarns I've really tried is the laceweight, and most of that is good quality. The Shadow (merino) and Alpaca Cloud both knit up and block beautifully. But apparently there was an issue with the laceweight at one point--some of the early ones have several knots in them or break easily--but that was from 4-5 years ago, and they seem to have worked the kinks out.


    I, too, quite like their wooden needles, although I wish they came in more muted colors. I've had mixed results with their yarn, and I prefer Elann's basic worsted-weight wool. I mostly knit with handspun these days, though.

    Carol Smith

    I love the Harmony circular needles. Pointy, pretty, and soft cables that don't fight back. I got some Bare merino yarn for a dye workshop last year, and it seemed nice enough. It was cheap, and I am not an experienced dyer, so there's no way I was going to put my precious handspun at risk.

    (formerly) no-blog-rachel

    I checked out some of their worsted-weight yarns a few years ago and thought they were fine - not fab, just fine. And I recently bought some of their Shadow (? - it's all-merino) lace weight, which I really like. When I work through some more of my stash I'd certainly be interested in checking out some of their other lace weights.

    Last Christmas I treated myself to their Harmony interchangeable set along with a few sets of Harmony DPNs to fill out my collection. I love the Harmony needles - smooth, sharp points and lovely to work with. I did have an issue with one needle - it had a tiny burr on it which kept snagging my yarn. I called KP and they sent me replacement tips immediately.

    SO: Needles? - Fab. Yarn? Depends on the yarn - I'm inclined to lean toward their lace weights.


    I'm not enamored at all with KnitPicks. I don't own their needles and I probably won't, considering the fact that I am a Grafton Fibers fan and don't appreciate what happened with that. Prior to that fiasco, I did buy some sockweight blanks for dyeing and some merino dk. The dk weight yarn pilled like a hairy monster on crack and the sock yarn didn't hold up to my version of regular wear/tear.

    So, overall... not impressed, prefer to spend my money elsewhere (when I have it to spend!) with people who are more ethical.


    I bought both sets of the KP's dpn's ~ Harmony wood and the metal ones ~ absolutely love them. The yarns I ordered wasn't happy with the colours and they were splitty and low quality. I hated knitting with them and gave away the remaining skeins.


    I have the same ponderings about KP. Even without the knoweldge of what they did to Knit Pixie and Grafton Fibers, KP rubs me the wrong way. I definitely don't trust KP and won't send business their way. I had, in the distant past, ordered from them and had been totally underwhelmed with their yarn and customer service. And my opinion of them has gone downhill from there.

    I try my best to buy local or at least to buy from other family business with an internet presence. KP is not the place for either. And yes, I share a state with their corporate office. Even so, I still can't bring myself to think of them as a local business. I guess I put them in w/ Amazon in that regard.


    I'm not familiar with either of the controversies mentioned, I've never bought their yarn (seriously....I'll drive to WEBS), but I love the Options needles and rarely use my Addis anymore. I've also bought "things" like cases and books from them. Their service is pretty good and they do replace cables, etc, in the blink of an eye. My recall is that they go directly to the mills in Peru or somewhere and cut out that whole money-grubbing middle man thing, or so they say. The early catalogues showed Kelley down in South America crawling over bales of fleece, didn't it? Anyway, that's pretty much how WEBS works on their store brand yarns which are a bit more expensive than KP, but better quality, I think. The Valley Superwash is quite nice...just made a sweater for a grandson and liked it.


    Oh Norma....when I read your post I thought "Oh Oh she's opening a can of worms"!! :) But maybe not so much. Looks like everyone pretty much agrees. I have no experience with them so no comment about them from me!


    LOVE my Options set, my Harmony tips, the flexible cables, Harmony dpns. LOVE them. I'm also quite fond of the Shadow, and Alpaca lace weights, as well as the Palette for colourwork and lace. The Essential sock yarn has held up quite well for basic socks and for Mansocks. Shine.. I've used for a couple of chemo caps, very soft and gentle. WotA, it's alright, mostly for felting purposes but I also find Patons Classic Wool, when on sale is a better buy and felts beautifully (plus I don't have to wait for it to hit my door). Love their sales on books.
    Did NOT even know about Kpixie... slap me.
    I do have some Cascade superwash in my stash, they have a deep dark red to die for. and it does feel so.very.wonderful.


    I love, love, love the KP needles. Both the Harmony and the Options. I started knitting socks on two circs I love them so much. I have a closet full of Addis, regulars and lace, and they just sit there. The KP needles are hands down my favorites for everything. I also love the magnetic board. It sits on the table or the sofa, and folds up and goes in my knitting bag. Great product for $10.

    I have used a lot of the yarns, and I'm actually not a fan of most of them, especially the laceweights. I much prefer Jaggerspun to any of the KP lace yarns. They're very splitty, and I haven't enjoying knitting with any of them. That said, I have used the Palette yarns to do several fair isle projects and it's awesome! For the price, it really can't be beat. I was able to make an entire fair isle sweater for about $40. Which is pretty incredible. I've since discovered that a yarn shop not too far from me carries Jamieson Shetland wool, though, and I'll probably use that for future projects. But to try out different colors and learn to do fair isle, the Palette yarn was a great, inexpensive yarn that worked up wonderfully.


    After reading all the comments I don't think I can beg to differ at all - I love my Options, have found customer service to be very good to great, and I bought a bunch of books at better than Amazon prices with free shipping recently. The yarns? Eh. Essential sock is utilitarian/inoffensive. Shimmer laceweight seems nice enough but I haven't knit it up. I bought some Shine cotton that I really don't like at all. If I'm looking to save money, I'll go with Cascade or Lamb's Pride - both great values that don't diminish my pleasure in the knitting process.


    I love my Options harmony needle set! For the money especially, you can't beat 'em. Their yarns are variable. I like the wool of the andes for felting projects, bags, slippers etc. I also like the laceweight alpaca. but most of the rest are just so so. I too sometimes wonder how they can offer such low prices, but they do fill a need in the knitting community. I try to source my yarns more locally when possible. Plus, I recently got a wheel so I'm trying not to buy yarn at all anymore, using up the stash and making my own. Now, if Knitpicks started selling roving that would be a whole new can of worms...


    I haven't bought yarn. Heard not so good things from fellow knitters about not holding up (sox with holes, pilling of sweaters and scarves). I love my Options and Harmonies. Nice tips, have held up to my knitting style so far, versatile, and a much better price point than Addi.

    There is a need in the marketplace for yarn that isn't $13.50/skein for 110 yards. Knitpicks fills that niche. Some object to that niche as a LYS killer. Sounds like laissez faire economics to me.

    Karen J.

    I got the KP options harmony wood needles for Christmas from my fantastic husband and they are wonderful! I've never purchased yarns from them though, so can't opine on that at all. Do have a really cute little pair of yarn and needle earrings that I love and which don't break out my sensitive skin, but that it not at all what you were talking about now is it...


    Wow. Quite interesting! I second, third and fourth my love of the needles. Wish I hadn't waited so long to order them. I've used their yarn and found it fine - because I really do have a budget and can't spend the $100 or more to make a baby blanket. As Laurie said, there is a need for yarn that isn't outrageously priced. Should that yarn be produced fairly and ethically? Certainly. And until I hear otherwise, I will assume KP is above board - I like to go with the whole innocent until proven guilty thing.


    I'm a touchy-feely yarn buyer, for the most part, and suspicious of a deal that is too great. Honestly, I'd rather spend twice the money (or more) on tried-and-true yarn for a sweater, knowing that it will look good and hold up (all that TIME) than do it on the cheap and end up with something less. The only yarn I've bought from Knit Picks is the bare in a few different weights for dyeing -- I bought the dye, too (and I wonder when I'll get around to that). Have purchased a few tools and trinkets, but not much -- like you, I don't really need much. Interesting conversation (and so civil) (and look at you -- all that TYPING!).


    I too love my Options set and the various Harmony tips I have added to it. Had several cables separate, but KP customer service replaced them immediately with no hassle. Other tools I have gotten from them have been fine, too.

    I bought a sh!tload of Wool of the Andes on sale a couple years ago, planning to use it for Dulaan projects. Dulaan is gone, but I still have most of the WotA; haven't knit anything for myself from it so I cannot comment on its pilling, etc. Since I have almost no LYS, mail-order from KP has been great. They are my go-to online store, although once I use up my mountain of KotA I will probably not buy it again; I've heard too many bad things about it.

    Cheryl S.

    I love the KP needles, and I buy books from them too. I haven't purchased a lot of their yarn, but so far what I've gotten has seemed OK (mostly laceweight). Not top quality, but reasonable for the price. I bought a lot of Gloss, but haven't used it yet - but I will be soon and we'll see how that goes. Do I think it's too good to be true? Well, yes if you're expecting the same kind of quality as much more expensive yarn. But not if you're willing to settle for a yarn that's "good enough" for how it's priced, since not everyone is willing/able to buy expensive yarn. It's probably a reasonable step-up for people who start out with craft store yarns. If they're buying direct and have low overhead, there's no reason why they can't be selling yarn for much less than other companies who have middlemen and high overhead costs.

    Personally, though, I think Garnstudio yarns are a better value for the price.


    I love my Knitpicks needles. They are awesome. I have the Options set and several set of dpns (they are nice and pointy).
    I have knit with their yarn without much incident. However, I would like to point out that their Wool of the Andes would be about the same price as Cascade 220. WotA is $3.49 for 110 yds which breaks down to .03 per yard and Cascade 220 is $7 for 220 yards (price from Webs, I know it can range from $7 - $8)which also breaks down to .03 per yard. Even looking at alpaca lace weight: Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud is $5.49 for 440 yards so that works out to .012 / yard and Misti Alpaca lace is $7.20 (again Webs)for 437 yards which works out to .016 / yard. So really, I don't know if Knitpicks yarns is all that much cheaper. It is cheaper than specialty or designer name yarn, but not really much more than standard yarn. If Knitpicks has their own mill, that would explain the difference. Plus you are not paying for someone's name on the label.
    I do love Cascade 220 so I would probably buy that before almost any other worsted weight yarn. However, I have used WotA for a hat and it knit up fine and I did not have any splitting issues. It was a gift, so I do not know about pilling...
    Just my 2 cents.


    LOVE the Options needles! I have both the nickel (great pointy tips) and Harmony Wood (also great pointy tips and great feel) sets, and wouldn't use any other! As for yarn… The only one I have is the Suri Dream. It is wonderfully soft, and the colors are beautiful, and it's inexpensive. $5.49 a ball. But usually, I do like to see and feel the yarn before I buy.

    I don't like superwash wools much, but I have considered buying the Swish for a blanket for my son. This would take something like 12 balls and Swish would be affordable and the color range is extensive.

    Janice in Camas

    Every LYS I've been to had something that made it special, but none of them could satisfy all my needs (and none of them had needles that I loved with the fiery passion I feel for my KP needles.) Buying some things from KP doesn't keep me out of my LYS or away from fiber festivals or off the internet. If I can get the needles I love for a lower price, I have more knitting dollars left over to buy that beautiful hand painted silk. Our needs and wants are all different and aren't we lucky to have so many choices!


    I hadn't heard anything about the issues with their needles and Grafton. That makes me rather sad to hear, because while I'm not a huge fan of Knitpicks yarns generally (and as Cecilia pointed out, WotA is the same price as Cascade 220, with the latter being a much better yarn, in my opinion), I love their Harmony needles, and have quite a bunch of them now. I can't knit with nickle-plated needles because I'm allergic, and I haven't found another style of wooden needles that had tips as nice as the Harmony needles.


    I love the Gloss. I'm making myself a pair of gloves with it and have made my niece a pair of fingerless gauntlets. It works up beautifully. I loved the Palette for my Secret of the Stole - Guinevere. I had enough worsted in other brands that I haven't tried much in the worsted category.

    I do not have the Options, but I have one set of steel dpns and one set of harmony dpns. I like the steel ones better. The Harmonies are pretty, but dark, and I find they don't have enough heft for me. I apparently like a heavier needle! :)

    I've had good customer service, great delivery, a good experience.

    I've had the same good experience with a lot of other on-line stores and tend to spread my yarn money around! :)

    The comments to this entry are closed.


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