In Review: Knitter’s Pride Karbonz Special IC Set

 There’s been a lot of hype about the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles since they were introduced to the market and aside from a few stitches here and there on friends’ and family members’ needles I haven’t had much opportunity to see what it was all about. I’ve watched numerous knitters around me spring for the Deluxe Interchangeable Set and tons of sock knitters snag one of the 6″ DPN sets and all of them just raved about these needles. I heard a lot of comparison between these needles and the higher end sets which made me — with my inquisitive mind & hands — really wanted to see for myself. I finally got a chance to really put them through their paces over the last couple of months when I got my hands on the Karbonz Special IC Set. Finally, I know what all that hype was about.

karbonz2Before we go into why this kit is ‘special’, let me tell you about the needles. The main shaft is made from carbon fiber, a lightweight yet very strong material that feels almost like nothing in your hands, but won’t bend or break easily. The tips are made of brass and provide a nice sharp and versatile tip. In practice, these needles feel a bit like a hybrid to me. The brass tips definitely knit like metal needles whereas the carbon fiber shafts are reminiscent of a rosewood — sleek, with just a hint of grab on your yarn. If you are like me, you might be a little skeptical that the extra joins created by using two different materials might cause problems, but I will say the folks at Knitter’s Pride really have perfected joins. At each point where tip meets shaft as well as where the cord in screwed in, those joins are flawless.

karbonzWhen tightened correctly (and this is very simple with the key provided) the joins hold and they are unnoticeable when knitting. I think a knitters, we can all give three cheers for that!

What’s special about this set you ask? That’s simple! These tips — each measures 4″ in length —  are specifically designed to create 16″ needles when assembled with the two cords with which they come. This means this set is perfect for hat knitters. I mean absolutely perfect.  And I know because I’ve knit four hats on them over the last few weeks — here are a couple of my in-progress photos…

true lace Here they are knitting my True Lace Hat for my Craftsy class (as soon as the hats dry, I’ll be telling you about that gem, too!).

schwimmen4And here they are working on my Schwimmen (again, more when the FO is dry). Obviously these tips can manage lace work just fine!

To be very honest with you, I am biased here. I have used both 4″ tips as well as longer ones with other interchangeable sets and in my hands I always am more comfortable with 4″ tips. This is wholly personal preference here, but selfishly I will say I’m very happy Karbonz have this option in the Special IC set. I’m also glad that like all the Knitter’s Pride interchangeable sets, the Karbonz tips are compatible with any of the Knitter’s Pride well-made flexible cords so while they are specially made to create 16″ needles that’s not all they can manage…

zilverThis is Zilver a current work-in-progress for which I’m using my 4″ special Karbonz tips with a 32″ cord from a different set. Works like magic.

This Special Interchangeable Circular (IC) Needle Set includes:

Displaying KarbonzSpecialIC.png

                                                Photo courtesy of Knitter’s Pride.

7 Knitting Needle Tips: US sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10/ Metric Size (mm): 3.5, 3.75, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0

2 cords (to create 16″ needle sets with these tips)

1 set of size markers

4 ends caps

2 cord keys

While knitters of all skill levels would appreciate these fine needles and be lucky to own a set, they are clearly designed with the dedicated knitter in mind. By dedicated, I mean any knitter — beginner or veteran — who appreciates comfort, ease of use, and is interested in making an investment in needles that will last and be a favorite tool for years to come. I think that for these knitters, the Karbonz Special Interchangeable Circular (IC) Set or one of the other Karbonz sets would be a wonderful addition to their toolkit — I know they are certainly a new favorite in mine!

8 responses to “In Review: Knitter’s Pride Karbonz Special IC Set

  1. I’ve only used the Karbonz fixed circular needle so far and I agree with you, they are comfortable, well-made and the fixed needle was very reasonable. I would buy them again ….

  2. I’ve used the Karbonz fixed circs and cannot say that I’ve had as good an experience with them as you have had. Although I love the feel of all the materials, the ones I bought were either not assembled correctly or they were too early in the manufacturing process, when they still had bugs to work out. I was trying to use them for Magic Loop socks and the join between the tip and the shaft was so far apart that my yarn kept sticking in it. They were replaced twice with the same result.

    • I’m sorry you haven’t had the same luck! Whenever I test needles, it’s tough because they are really dependent on personal preference — on how we hold our hands, how we form our stitches, and what each individual knitter wants his/her needles to be. When I review, I always look for what a set of needles will be good for and then I give my honest impression of how I think they knit.

      As for your experience, I have to say I have not used any fixed circs so I’m out of my depth there. Also, my set only goes down to a US size 4, so I haven’t used them for socks. I know in a lot of needles once you get below a US 4, well, there are differences. I also wonder – and I’m just spitballing here — if there might be a difference for tighter vs looser knitters – anytime I’m knitting tighter stitches those joins – on ALL my needles – are just harder to work with. I have no idea what your stitches are like, but this is another possible contributing factor to your impression. At the end of the day though, it comes down to personal preference — one person’s fave needles are another’s… not favorite. And that’s ok. Aren’t we lucky that there are lots of options available that we can each find our ‘perfect fit’?!

  3. I have Karbonz DPNs for socks and in larger diameters for hats and sleeves, I have several Karbonz fixed circulars, and a set of the Karbonz interchangeables. I have had no quality issues – the joins are flawless and the fit, feel, weight, etc. are all perfect for me.

    My Addi interchangeables and fixed circs, and my various bamboo needles (interchangeable, fixed and DPNs) have all been relegated to the back of my needle drawer, ready for me when I need them. They’re not bad needles, the Karbonz are simply my preference.

    As noted above, choose the needles that work best for you.

    • You reiterate a great point — Choose the needles that work best for you!

      I always advise knitters to take needles for a ‘test drive’ if possible — whether trying a friend’s set or checking if your LYS has a set you can try before you buy. What works for me might not work for you and anymore there is no shortage of excellent choices. When selecting needles, there are so many variables from the types of projects you like to the kinds of yarns you prefer to just plain personal preference and feel.

      As I said in my post here, I certainly have learned to really love my Karbonz and I have found all those joins flawless. Glad you’ve had the same experience!

  4. Love my Karbonz interchangeables too and the carbon fibre straights. Something about the ticketty tick precision of the metal points combined with the silky smooth, light carbon. Mmmm 🙂

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