Nobody Does Bamboo Like ChiaoGoo
Next up let's talk about ChiaoGoo's bamboo needles. ChiaoGoo makes some of the most popular bamboo needles on the market right now. The tips are made from Moso bamboo, one of the strongest bamboo species in the world. While single- and double-pointed bamboo needles are available in either the natural light color or the darker patina, all fixed circulars and interchangeables have the heat-treated patina color. Bamboo needles are light and warm in the hand, and the grip the needle provides is a real boon when working with slippery yarn.
ChiaoGoo's bamboo interchangeable system is called "Spin". All the parts and pieces are fully compatible with the metal "Twist" system, which we'll take a look at next week. The complete 5" kit comes in a zippered case with a green ribbon. There is an outer, zippered pocket with a needle gauge, stitch markers, cable connectors (one small for sizes US 2-8, one large for sizes US 9-15), end stoppers (one set small, one set large), and tightening keys.
Inside there are labelled pockets on either side with the needle tips. The lower tier of pockets is great for duplicates or tips of differing length. A complete set comes with sizes US 2 (2.75mm), US 3 (3.25mm), US 4 (3.5mm), US 5 (3.75mm), US 6 (4mm), US 7 (4.5mm), US 8 (5mm), US 9 (5.5mm), US 10 (6mm), US 10.5 (6.5mm), US 11 (8mm), US 13 (9mm), and US 15 (10mm).
Inside the case you will also find an instruction card and cables - one small and one large in 14", 22", and 30". It is important to note that ChiaoGoo labels its cables by absolute length rather than the size needle they make. Therefore, with 5" tips, a 14" cable makes a 24" circular needle. With 4" tips, it would be a 22" needle.
For cost savings, the complete kit is always your best option. The thirteen needle tips would cost you $104.75, and the six cables $30. The cable connectors and end stoppers would be another $7, and the case $35. That's $176.75 without counting the stitch markers, needle gauge, or tightening keys. The complete 5" set retails for $145.
It's important to consider what kinds of accessories and extra parts are available for the interchangeable system, since these are not cross-compatible between brands. From ChiaoGoo, there are 4" tips, which can be used to make a 16" circular, cables in 8", 37", and 50" lengths, as well as all the metal "Twist" needle tips and red "Twist" cables. There are also US 2.5 (3mm), US 10.75 (7mm), and US 10.875 (7.5mm) tips to bridge some of the gaps in the standard sizes. With kits that have two different connection sizes - here small US 2-8 and large US 9-15, it's important to look for an adapter, which ChiaoGoo does offer. This part, which allows you to connect large needle tips to small cables, can be of real benefit since you would no longer need to buy each cable length in both small and large.
What sets ChiaoGoo bamboo interchangeable needles apart is the quality. The needle tips are unbelievably strong and smooth. The nylon cables swivel, eliminating the problem where you needles tend to unscrew themselves mid-row. All the parts are precisely made and work beautifully. This is also one of the few sets available that goes down to a US 2 (2.75mm).
If the kit we described above isn't right for you, you could start with a set that contains just the small sizes (US 2-8) or just the large sizes (US 9-15). These sets come in the same case as the complete set, so there's room to put more tips as you collect them.
What else would you like to know about ChiaoGoo needles? Tell us in the comments!