|Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles|
Knitters tend to have strong opinions about needles. Some are fiercely loyal to bamboo or wood, others wouldn't dare touch anything other than flexible plastic, and some argue strongly about the merits of coated aluminum.
Then you have another group of knitters, a small but fiercely loyal bunch dedicated to interchangeable needle kits. Denise needle owners are particularly loyal.
Interchangeable needle kits are based on the concept of a cord being able to attach and detach from its needles. In this way you can get endless needle size and length combinations out of one simple kit.
With no sharp or particularly threatening-looking metal parts, the Denise kit has been extremely successful for knitters wishing to bring their knitting on airplanes.
The Denise Story
The original interchangeable needle kit concept was developed by Lorraine and Robert Linstead for Boye. Called the Needlemaster, it featured multiple needle sizes that screwed onto a central cord.
Over time, knitters reported that their needle connections came unscrewed mid-project and that the needles became discolored. So the Linsteads set out to improve upon their original design, and thus was born Denise.
The Linsteads manufactured these kits for more than two decades, until a fateful day in early 2002 when Linda Krag -- a second-generation Denise fan -- called them to purchase a gift kit. Instead, she ended up buying the company.
What You Get
Each kit comes in a rectangular plastic booklike case (similar to those for books on tape) containing 10 pairs of needle heads (sizes US 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 1/2, 11, 13, and 15), six cords (5", 9", 12", 14", 16", and 19"), two extenders, and four end buttons.
The extenders allow you to connect one or more cords together to create a longer working cord, while the end buttons allow you to use a cord as a stitch holder or single-pointed needle.
Each item has its own special place in the needle case, eliminating the mayhem usually associated with storing circular needles.
The kit has a very plastic, synthetic look to it, from the case to the actual kit pieces. But everything feels good in the hands - lightweight, warm, and flexible, especially the smaller-sized needles. Such flexibility is a welcome feature for anybody with arthritis or other hand problems. In this way they are similar to Bryspun.
The tips have a medium taper and nicely defined tip. The larger needles (sizes 11, 13, and 15) have a longer taper leading to the same well-defined tip. The cords are actually lightweight tubes.
Setting up my needles was a snap, literally. You simply insert the end of the cord into a tiny hole in the end of the needle, and then twist until you hear a click. The extenders and end buttons function on the same principle. Even with fairly rigorous use, I was unable to make the ends come undone.
The connectors presented little obstacles for my knitting. They introduced a small amount of drag as I slid my stitches along, but less than I've experienced with Inox and others.
I did notice that the tighter my stitches, the greater the drag at the juncture of cord and needle. Again, this is a common circular needle phenomenon.
I also noticed that a fine ridge running lengthwise along a few of my needles, most likely the result of the molding and unmolding process. It didn't pose any problems, and after a while I stopped noticing it at all.
By using the cord extenders in your kit, you can have circular needles in lengths of 17", 20", 22", 24", 26", 28", 33", 40", 50", and 58". You can also use the needles as straight needles simply by attaching an end button to each cord end. With end buttons you can have working needle lengths of 9", 13", 16", 20", 30", and 34".
The end buttons also allow you to detach a project completely, using the cord as a stitch holder. When you're ready to pick up the stitches again, just detach the end buttons, reattach the needles, and start knitting.
The Denise kit costs $49.95. If the initial investment seems daunting, remember that this averages out to far less per pair of needles, especially if you consider the multiple lengths each needle size can have.
Denise needles are guaranteed for life. If you encounter any problems with normal wear (using them as puppy toys or cooking utensils may not count), you can return them for replacement.
Care and Feeding
The Krags recommend that you keep the needles away from extreme heat and the curious hands of toddlers too young to knit, and that you return them to their case when not in use.
Don't Be Afraid to Accessorize
I have a bad habit of starting projects and then setting them aside, leaving them on the needles for long periods of time while I work on other projects. The kit comes with five cords, two of which are too short for comfortable standalone use. Many projects may require you to link more than one cord together.
If you truly want the use of all 10 pairs at any one time, you may be well advised to stock up on extra cords (priced at $4.50 per pair).
You can also get a new companion set featuring all six cords, the four end buttons and two extenders. It retails for $20 at shops everywhere.
I tend to start random projects in the middle of the night, long after my local yarn shop has closed. And almost always, I end up needing a different size of needle than I have in my stash (or the one pair of needles I need is housing another unfinished project).
I can see this kit coming in extremely handy at times like these. If the one-needle-fits-all concept appeals to you, and if you aren't opposed to using man-made materials, think about adding a Denise kit to your wish list.
They're an ideal gift to give the knitter who has (almost) everything. You never know when they'll come in handy. I know I'll make good use of mine.
Needles marked in U.S. sizes only.
Each kit comes with:
10 pairs needle heads, sizes US 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 1/2, 11, 13, and 15
6 cords: one 5", 9", 12", 14", 16", and 19"
4 end buttons
Average retail price
Where to Buy
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