The market for interchangeable circular needles has been well-served for years by Knitter’s Pride, ChaoGoo, Denise, Addi, Signature, Tulip, Hiya Hiya, and Knitpicks Options. The sets have generally featured slick metals, beige bamboo, or bright colorful wood or plastic tips in solids, rainbow hues, or psychedelic color combinations.
We have a new player Lykkecrafts whose aesthetic tones all that down, replacing the technicolor with a minimalistic weathered grey styling that’s fittingly called Driftwood.
First things first: No, the needles aren’t actually made of driftwood. These needles are made of birch, a hardwood whose durability is on par with maple and a little shy of Indian rosewood in terms of density and bending strength.
It’s a fine choice for knitting needles because it allows for tip integrity (no fraying or splintering) while also still yielding ever so slightly in your hands, specifically among the smaller sizes.
The grey shading on the needles varies from tip to tip, giving the illusion of having been carefully rubbed and finished by hand. Kits come either in the grey denim case shown here or in a black faux leather case.
The wood quickly adjusts to your body temperature, and the glossy finish doesn’t complain when it’s 90 degrees in the shade and your hands start to sweat. Yarn slides smoothly, without much friction or sticking.
Inside the Kits
There are currently two Lykke Driftwood interchangeable kits available. The standard kit shown here retails for $125 and contains 5-inch tips in sizes from US 4 to US 17, along with two 24-inch and 32-inch cords, a 40-inch cord, plus keys and connectors.
A second, newer short-tip set retails for $100 and features 3.5-inch tips in sizes ranging from US 3 to US 10.5. Those kits come with four cords (two 16-inch cords, one 20-inch and one-24-inch) as well as keys and connectors.
Sizes are marked on the base of the needle in both US and metric. I’ve given several tips steady use over the past few months and those size markings have shown no signs of rubbing off. In fact, they actually appear to be etched rather than painted.
The needles in this kit have a quite pleasant middle-of-the-road tip that’s not pointy-pointy, nor is it dull or blunt. It is well-defined for precise stitchwork without being lethal or snaggy. I was able to knit a variety of yarns by touch alone without any problems on knit and purl rows alike.
The taper is short, putting your hands closer to the action.
What’s in a Name?
These needles are made by Lykkecrafts—and it’s hard to know precisely who Lykkecrafts is. Is it just a name (the word “lykke” is is Norwegian for happiness or good luck), a new brand, or a completely new company? The Lykkecrafts Web site isn’t all that forthcoming. We just know that the needles are made in India using the same interchangeable needle mechanics and construction you’ll find in Knitter’s Pride and Knit Picks Options needles.
The Key to the Kit
If you have yet to use this kind of interchangeable kit, pay special attention to the accessories that come tucked in little plastic baggies in the side pocket. Specifically, the long slender “key”-style strand of wire with a loop at one end.
You may think you can screw the needles into the cords and knit happily ever after. But I guarantee you, and I’m speaking from experience here, you do need to use that key.
The cord is fixed at the join. Because it does not swivel, the regular motions of knitting will, after just a few rows, cause the cord to come un-twisted. I never reached the place where the cord actually came off, but it did make sliding stitches from the needle to the cord impossible.
Take that key out of its bag, insert it into the corresponding hole at the base of the needle and use it to leverage a tighter twist at the join. You’ll thank me later.
Joining the Crowd
While I’m guessing there may be some variation from needle to needle and kit to kit, my needles had decently smooth joins on all the sizes and with all the cords. Only one cord had a tiny rough spot on it that added a little more drag. Generally, stitches slid over the join with just a faint feeling of a bump and a small popping sound.
Should you encounter a tip or cord in your set that simply will not work, Lykke does offer a lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects. If you happen to introduce the defect yourself (say, by slamming the needle in the car door), you can also purchase replacement tips and cords. This is also a nice option if, like me, you tend to use more of certain needle sizes and like to have more than one project going at once.
What’s the Deal?
If the needles are nearly identical to many others made in India, if the cord and cable mechanism are easily found elsewhere, what makes the real difference with this kit? The $125 pricetag falls in the mid-range of what’s out there, $25 less than the complete ChiaoGoo set (made in China) and $40 more than the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz set, but keep in mind that the Dreamz set has 9 tips while this one comes with 12. The Hiya Hiya bamboo set (made in China) is $83.50 for the small and large sets (small with 7 tips, large with 6). The Tulip CarryC bamboo set and Skacel Addi Turbo Click set have an SRP of $179, with the former made in Japan and the latter in Germany. Which
It comes down to the color of the needle tips. This weathered grey styling is completely new for needles, and it clearly speaks to many. I thought I’d find it a little gloomy, but I soon discovered that it actually enhanced the color and texture and beauty of whatever yarn was on the needles.