Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Product Review: Boye Needle Master Interchangeable Needle Set

Here I am, trucking along on my Dolman Blouse with just the upper body edging to complete, and I run into an issue with my equipment. I decide that this is perhaps a good opportunity to review a product. I know I read a million reviews about an item before I purchase it, so this may help someone out along the line!

I am reviewing the Boye NeedleMaster interchangeable knitting needle set. The product is on sale at Amazon for $41.25 at the moment, and the following is an excerpt from  the product description:

  • Boye needlemaster interchangeable knitting set
  • 8 Sets of aluminum single-point knitting needles, with cable lengths 20-inch, 24-inch, 29-inch and 36-inch, and travel case
  • Includes 4 stitch holders (button) and 2 cable couplers
  • Make regular circular knitting needles, straight flexible needles, even elongate the cables with couplers. This set provides infinite possibilities for any project you fancy.

I purchased this set at Michael's about five years ago for $35 (it retailed at $70, I had a 50% off coupon) and have seen it at most major craft retailers, including Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, even Walmart and Fred Meyer. The product description says 8 set of needles, but in fact there are 12 pairs ranging from size 2 to size 15.

Pros: It's durable. I've used and reused all of the needles in this set. It's also easy to purchase replacement parts, such as the coupling or extra cables of varying lengths. It's affordable (with a coupon or online) for the beginner who needs a variety of needles without breaking the bank. 

Cons: The threading on the attachments often leaves something to be desired. I regularly have to stop working on my project because the needle has started to unscrew itself and the yarn has jammed in between the needle and casing. This is despite using the key and grip pad every single time I set up a needle. Also, the joins in the cables are bulky and not quite smooth, so it is difficult to easily slide stitches up and over the joins onto the needle to work the stitches. Case in point:

You can see on the right that this circular piece is jammed up on a join that I made with two smaller lengths of cable. The particular problem with this is that I am using the size 2 needles, the smallest needle in the kit. The joins in the cable where the plastic meets the metal casing are about as large as the needle, so my stitches get stuck instead of going over the join smoothly, as they should. I have to repeatedly stop and really yank on the fabric to get the stitches over the join. Right now, this is only a moderate annoyance for me, but had I been knitting to get a tighter gauge or using a finer yarn, this would not have worked and I would have had to purchase a separate 36" circular needle for this project. I do thank my lucky stars, though, that I wasn't knitting with some of my more precious yarn, because I certainly would have gone comatose had I snarked up the yarn tugging on it like a brute.

Overall: The Boye NeedleMaster gets 3/5 stars from me.

Great for beginners looking to dive into knitting who are able to get the set on the cheap. It's functional and durable; however, if you plan to become a serious knitter, you may want to look into higher quality options because you will no doubt run into some of the same problems I have and want to kick puppies. I have heard only great things about Knit Pick's Interchangeable Needle Sets as well as Skacel's Addi Turbo Click sets (if you want to splurge!)... I've been eyeballing the KnitPicks Harmony set myself!

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