Needle Review: KnitPicks Foursquare Interchangeable Set

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KnitPicks popped up in my news feed at exactly the right moment with their new square interchangeable blue, green and purple needles.  I could not resist buying them.  Had they been a blonde finish or an orange/red/yellow sunburst color, I would not have even looked twice.  They got me this time though, exactly the right product at just the moment I was having an impulse to buy something!

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So far my only complaint…KnitPicks slow ‘free’ shipping.  I was optimistic that it would be different this time, the warehouse seems to be shipping quicker.  The FedEx SmartPost USPS conglomeration is a cluster fuck though.  UGH!  WHY??  The USPS without FedEx involved actually does a decent job.  Mail service blows but their package handling is much better.  So, I’m annoyed at KnitPicks.  You should do better by your customers, KnitPicks.

These needles are softening me up though!  I’m enjoying them.  They’re laminated birch, which is new to me.  My preference has always been super slick metal needles.

They’re also square, which is really why I bought them.  They’re theoretically better for RSI.  Having suffered from knitting related hand/wrist/arm issues in the past I’m always interested ways to avoid going through that again.

The idea is, a square needle barrel is easier to grip, it doesn’t roll around the way a circular needle can.  That seems logical enough to me to give it a try.

It’s February though, I’m resisting the cast on.  I’m trying really hard to be good and get stuff finished.  I’ve given myself the allowance of a hat or two.  These needles are long barreled.  They don’t come with a 16″ cable.  I’m okay with that.  I prefer a long barrel and I have plenty of 16″ needles for hats already.  Rules is rules, though.  I made my one allowance.  This isn’t the gov’t, I can’t just change the rules on a whim.  No, unlike our current executive branch, I have some standards.  I’m following my completely self-imposed rules, dammit.

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I did come up with a work around though.  One of my beginning knitting students is interested in shawls!  And so in the vein of 5 Shawls, 5 Days or the 5 Basic Shawl Shapes, I’m putting together an Intro to Shawls primer for next week’s class.  Perfect justification!  It’s already finished so no guilt hanging over my head and lots of instant gratification!  I knit 4 shawls this morning!  That is a good morning!  Oh yeah!

One of the big differences between my shawl summary and others…I’ve included a Sequence Knitting inspired triangle (the orange one!)  I love Sequence Knitting.  Once my students give it a try, I think they’ll love it too!

It also gave me an opportunity to try out the different needle sizes.  Each shawl sample is knit from the same yarn (Lett-Lopi, from my trip to Iceland!)  It made for the perfect study of my new needles.  Much to my glee, these needles tighten my gauge up!  A LOT!

I’m an incredibly loose knitter, going down typically 3 needle sizes to get gauge and recently even going down 4 size.  Yikes!  I like slippery metal needles and I like to knit fast.  Loose stitches are the only way to do that.  I happen to like loose fabrics so I’m okay with it.  But it’s not without problems.  Tighter stitches wear better & pill less.  Some patterns require tighter fabrics — socks for instance, or anything knit for warmth.  The wind wastes no time biting through loose fabrics.  There are lots of reasons to knit tighter.

And, so, I’m giving these new needles the FogKnits Seal of Approval!  They’re pretty.  They’re light weight.  I like the cords, just the right balance of flexibility without being floppy.  They’re easy to hold.  The verdict is still out on whether they help with arm aggravation.  I need some more time before I can comment on that but…so far so good.

My last concern:  they screw together.  I’ve always used Addi-Clicks.  I hate the join, it’s awful but I like the click.  You know your needle is secure.  It will not come apart.  I like that security.  The KnitPicks Options come with a little pin for securing the needle to the cable.  I’m not going to use it though.  I’m hoping the square nature of the needle makes hand tightening enough.  I don’t like extra tools, if they can be avoided.  I figure, if I never tool tighten, I’ll never have to use to the tool to loosen them.

Thus far, my decision to blatantly ignore the manufacturer’s instructions has not come back to bite me in the ass.  I’ll let you know that progresses.  I’ve only done small stretches of knitting, lemme get a 450 stitch shawl on one of those cords and see if they still stand up to all that work with just a hand tighten of the screw.

I’m optimistic about the squareness.  I think it’s a real benefit for knitting needles everywhere.  I hope this trend continues!  I’ve always known it’s hip to be square!  :)