Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A review and a post

Well hello to anyone still reading this blog! I can't promise I'll be around to stay on a regular basis, but I wanted to post a review of the new Hiya Hiya Interchangeable needles.

I bought these needles because as much as I enjoy them, my damn Knitpicks Options needles break at the cable join all the time. I have now broken about 8 cables over 2 sets of needles, which frankly is way too many for casual needle breakage. While I know some people can glue them in, my glue jobs are never smooth. Besides, who wants to carry super glue around in their knitting kit? I also have better things to do with my life then call Knitpicks all the time and get replacements.

I really wish they would fix this obvious design issue then waste their time developing clear plastic (?!) 'Zephyr' needle tips, but that's just my opinion.

Where to get Hiya Hiya Interchangeables

The new needle sets have had some unfortunate and lengthy production delays, but should be available for order or at a LYS soon. I was able to purchase one of the few first run sets.

Overview

I've used this set for about 6 weeks now with several yarns and several projects. I've knit mohair lace weight, smooth worsted and fingering weight wool, nubby wool/silk single ply, and a cotton/silk worsted blend.

Hiya Hiya offers the needles in two main sets. A small set (size US2-8) and a large set sizes (US9-15). Each set comes with 16, 24, 32 and 40 inch cable and a brocade storage pouch. Separate tips and longer cables will be available for sale eventually as well. I like this arrangement, since I hardly ever use a needle size outside a US10.5. So I bought the small set, and will probably buy a US9 when it becomes available. It saves you considerable money then being forced to buy tips you may not use.

The first thing you will notice and what makes this set different from other sets is that they offer a smaller needle down to a US2, and a 16" cable. In order to accomplish this, the needle tips are shorter than most sets. More on this later.

The Pouch


I love the Knitpicks original binder and was planning on using that. I love these binders to the point I have hunted down unwanted extras to store my fixed circulars in. So I thought I had my storage solution down flat.

I really have never cared for the rollup needle cases. No matter how they are made needles end up slipping out all over the place. So I was looking to just give away the Hiya Hiya brocade pouch when it came in. However, to my surprise I actually LIKE it.



The fabric and the sewing is very nice. They come in several colors as well. Chance got me this nice royal blue. There used to be a brand tag sewn on the front, but I hate brand tags on things, so I picked it off. The new pouches will have the logo embroidered on, so you won't have the option of easy removal.

Inside is the necessary, and large flap of black fabric to keep the needles from coming out. You will also see a zippered pocket in the top flap for cables and what have you.




Under the flap are the slots for the needle tips. THANK YOU Hiya Hiya for leaving some empty space for future tips you may want to add to your collection.



On the back side, there is another handy zippered pocket.




The Needle Tips

Let’s get down to the gritty.

The needles are slick smooth steel. They are definitely not as slippery as Addi or Options needles, but smooth enough for me none the less. Unless you need that greased pig feeling on needles, you'll probably be OK with these for slickness.

Each tip has the needle size printed on it in mm and US.

I would rate the tips a happy medium between blunt (Addi) and sharp (Knitpicks). I really like pointy needles with a long taper, but in all honesty these work OK for me, especially with 'regular' smooth yarns. For lace weight I may revert to another needle set in my arsenal.

(Hiya Hiya on the top, Knitpicks Option needle is on the bottom)




Now, we get to what I think will be the main issue for most people with this set. The needle tips are REALLY short. 1" shorter then Options. They really have to be, in order to make a 16" cable in the set happen.




If you grasp your needle with your hand so it lies in your palm, it is going to jab you in the meat of your hand. If you hold your needle just with your fingertips, you'll never notice the loss of the inch. My hold is some mix of both, so I'm not completely comfortable holding these needles. Now I can live with it, but this is the biggest factor that keeps the set from being a superstar for me.


The Cables and Joins


The needles attach into the cables by simply screwing them into the cable. No tools are required, which I find handy. The cable end is on a swivel, which would be otherwise wonderful and prevents needle twisting- if I didn't feel it cranking into the meat of my thumb because of the short needle tip.



Sometimes I do find the needle working itself unscrewed. It’s not a chronic problem (happens a couple times a project) and could even be my hesitation to keep from cranking on it too hard. Anyway, it’s no big deal, usually it’s apparent before the needle comes unscrewed all the way and drops your stitches because the yarn will start to snag. It's better than the needle breaking and requiring glue, like some brands...

I bought a cheap, rubberized grip gardening glove to help grab the needle if my hands feel slick or lotion coated. I don't think it's necessary, but it helps if you have a problem tightening the tip down. You should never use pliers or any tools on the needle tips.




Once screwed in, the join is undetectable, even with lace weight mohair.



If you are knitting lace with very fine yarn, it may 'catch' on the transitional taper ‘bump’ to main needle body. I didn't have a huge issue with it, and never noticed it at all knitting lace with fingering and larger weight yarns. I can see the possibility that you death grip, super tight knitters may not be gliding yarnovers over that bump with ease.

The best part of this set? The cables, oh the cables. They are clear (not some intestine purplish color) and really resemble slinky high test fishing line. It is much thinner than any other cable I have seen, and it does not twist or hold a shape whatsoever. The swivel inside the join keeps the work from ever twisting on you. If you knit socks with 1 circular needle, I highly suggest you try this cable. It's like not having a cable at all. A-plus on the cable design!


Summary:


If you can get over the shortened needles, I would suggest this set to anyone. It is a good value at about $68 retail for the small set. Especially when you consider you don't have to go buy 16" circulars if you are a new knitter. However, I'm still looking for the perfect needle set, the one that will allow me to give away all my other circular needles. The Hiya Hiya set, like all the others I’ve tried, just falls short.

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31 Comments:

At 6:50 PM, Blogger aija said...

A very good review! If I didn't just complete my needle set with a destash purchase I'd definitely consider the Hiya Hiyas.

I also feel you on KP-- I'm not buying KP products any longer and have sold my Harmony interchangeable set.

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Bezzie said...

Hm, how small do the needle sizes go? (I suppose I could look this up, but I'm lazy!)

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

thanks for the review -- most screw-in needles unscrew for me, as I knit continental, but the swivel may fix that. I'll have to try them out.

I know a couple of people who have had their options unglue (and I've had some of the fixed ones unglue on me), and agree that they should fix that kind of thing before making plastic needles.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Sherry W said...

Hey Bezzie & Aija!!!

The needles in the small set go down to a 2.

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this up. It's going to help in my decision of what interchangeable to get. I just realized HiyaHiya are selling separate tips and cables so I get to try them out before committing to the set. :) I also gave up on the KP Options. Wish they'd just fix the cable issues. Quality control needs a kick in the butt. So many defective cables and tips should not reach the customer.
--Christine

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous adis said...

Thank you for sharing.
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At 2:14 PM, Blogger hmmm... said...

THANK YOU for the honest comments about the Options set in this review! I am always very slow at making these decisions, and knowing now what you've experienced I am eager to head up to my lys and see if they'll let me try these out before I buy (no way to do that with online ordering anyway!!).

 
At 5:53 AM, Blogger alphonsoericher said...

Better late than never................

 
At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

any chance the options cable fit these hiya hiyas and vice versa?

 
At 5:33 AM, Blogger mistiparnell said...

很喜歡你的部落格風格,期待你的更新!..................................................

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger kcratliff said...

Has anyone used the Webs interchangeable set? They too have the 16" cable included and you recve two cables in 16", 24" and 32" with needle sizes 4 to 11 for only $109.

 
At 3:20 AM, Blogger 紅豆 said...

A good medicine tastes bitter. .........................................

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger Livvy said...

I have been disappointed with the Hiyahiya needles, having had the cables break at the point they are attached, which means recovering a whole row. It has happened on two of them at this point. I really WANT to like them, as I like the size range. But now I don't trust them to not break through a whole project.

 
At 9:51 AM, Blogger adsv15sd said...

Better late than never.
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At 6:23 AM, Blogger jennydaisy said...

Thank you so much for this helpful and detailed review. I've decided to buy a set now. I love my knitpros but I've had problems with them coming unglued too - a real disaster in the middle of a complicated lace piece - I've got some addi interchangeables too which seem very good so far (no accidental unscrewing because there is a bayonet fitting)

 
At 10:44 PM, Blogger L. Camille Dunn said...

I realize that this post is almost a year old, but I just wanted to add that these needle sets come with tips in two different sizes - either 4" and 5". Perhaps this solves your complaint about the short needle tips.

 
At 7:24 PM, Blogger LeAnn said...

Can't say that I agree with the review. Hiya has already replaced three short cables for me. They just don't hold up if you do lots of knitting and I do. Lots of baby knitting. The joins are not particularly smooth and the cables unscrew.

Clear nailpolish will fix that. Good news is the Addi is coming out the a set of interchangeable lace click that include the shorter cord.

I love the convenience of the Hiyas and the case - just wish the quality was better.

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

The problem with the cables affects knitters who rest the needle end in the palm of their hand, bending the cable as they knit. Most knitters do not have a problem with cable breakage.

HiyaHiya has responded to the problem by changing how the cables are made. Anyone who has a problem with a cable can get it replaced with the new style.

 
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