I’m happy to have my needles clicking again…I don’t have much to show for my renewed efforts though…at least not on my Striped Esjan Shawl. It’s going to be scrunched on the needles and hard to see for a while longer but I’m transitioning to the border so next to you see it, at least it’ll have new colors to look at!
In the meantime, let me tell you about Jimmy Beans new SmartStick knitting needle + tape measure combo.
Firstly, because of the recent kerfuffle with Making Things, I’ll tell you, I paid for these needles because I wanted to try them. I’m not being compensated for this review. I’m not getting kickbacks. There’s no affiliate links (or links at all. If you decide you want the needles, I’m sure you’re clever enough to find them on your own!)
So, the gimmick here (and yes, it is a total gimmick) is the needle has 1″ segments marked from tip to tip so it can double as a tape measure.
I’m firmly in the camp that says you measure with a ruler. It’s the Elizabeth Zimmerman camp and she’s never wrong. The logic here is you want the most accurate measurement and the firm edge of a ruler provides that. Measuring flat on a table with a tape measure isn’t so bad but there’s still flexibility and wiggle room with that method. Firm edge = best possible measurement. Measuring with the floppy cord of a knitting needle (with knitting attached?) on your lap will never give you an accurate measurement. I will never use this needle in that manner. Seriously, I’m nixing this idea from the very beginning.
That said, I’ll step off my soap box and acknowledge that is not what the folks at Jimmy Beans are encouraging. They say themselves on the package ‘for quick & dirty measuring on the go’. Okay fine.
I’m really just in it for the needles. I’m a die hard Addi fixed needle user. I really do knit faster with the amazing Addi Turbo. That’s not just lip service but I’m open to trying other needles. One day something better than an Addi fixed may come along. The SmartStix happen to be Knitter’s Pride needles, which I’ve never used. There’s lots of things I like about it.
The join is smooth. The tip is pointy but not so pointy that I impale my thumb. I’m an occasional pusher. I don’t do it all the time but when I do, I don’t want a needle so sharp it hurts. The 1″ segments along the barrel are joined nicely, they don’t catch or snag. I like the foil packaging with the sturdy zip top. I store my needles in their original packaging, clearly the intent of this bag.
Personally, I prefer my needles a bit more slick. In my mind, Addi’s are slick, not slippery. If you think Addi’s are too slippery and you lose stitches off the end, you’ll enjoy the finish on these needles. The feel of metal without the slipperiness.
The cord is soft and pliable despite being on the thick side. It’s got a nice suppleness to it. It’s not stiff or inflexible. I like the cord. The markings on the needle barrel are engraved so no rubbing off. I think the marks on the cord could wear off over time. I tried my best to scratch one of the spots off with my finger nail. I couldn’t so I think that bodes well for those who are into the tape measure gimmick. It’ll require a lot of use before those marks show signs of wear and tear.
Ultimately, these are nice needles and the price is right. I like them fine but they’ll never become my go to needles. I wish they weren’t pink. They’re color coded by cord length, 16″ are red, 24″ are blue, 32″ are green and 40″ are pink. You get what you get. 40″ size 4 is my most used size so I went with it. I’m sure it will get use…I always want to cast on another shawl. I’m not rushing out to buy the interchangeable set or even another pair of the fixed needles though.
Now…on to that shawl edge! I’m ready to tackle those 600 stitch rows!