It's Hip to be Square
First up for our grand review of interchangeable knitting needles is Kollage. While the fixed-length circulars come in both square and round tips, the interchangeables are available only in square. The square tips can be easier to use for people with arthritis or other hand pain. Some people also find that square needles improve the regularity of their stitches.
The complete kit comes in a sturdy, canvas case. There is an outer, zippered pocket. This would be the perfect place to keep a needle gauge, stitch markers, or other small notions.
Inside the case there are two zippered pouches and two sets of elastic bands. One set of elastic bands is full of the square needle tips in sizes US 2 (2.75mm) through US 11 (8mm) in the 5.5" tip length. The other set is empty for you to fill either with duplicates of your favorite sizes, 3.5" tips, crochet hooks, DPNs or anything else roughly needle-shaped that you might find handy to have around.
In one zippered pouch are three cables (24", 32", and 40"), two end stoppers, and the special tool (we'll talk about that in a minute). In the other pouch are three more cables in the same sizes. One set is made of the supremely floppy "soft" cable, while the other is made of the more traditional "firm" cable. There is also a small manual on how to attach and detach needle tips and cables.
Buying a complete kit represents considerable cost-savings compared to purchasing the components piecemeal. The kit includes eleven pairs of needles tips, which sell individually for $14 each; six cables, which sell individually for $5 each; end stoppers, which are $5; and interchangeable tool, $5. So that's $194 worth of needles and accessories for $180, plus you get the wonderful case.
As far as growing your set, there are lots of possibilities. If you like working with 16" circular needles, you might consider getting some 3.5" tips since the 5.5" tips that come in the set cannot be used to make 16" circulars. You can get cables for 16" needles as well as 47" and 60" needles, both in soft and firm. There are also US 2.5 (3mm) tips, which are not included in the set, but are available for purchase.
So let's talk about what makes the Kollage needles different from other needle sets on the market today. Beyond the square shape, the different cable types are really unusual. Some people love the very soft cable, which is ideal for the magic loop technique. Others prefer the more typical firm cable, which is still quite smooth and pliant. Whatever your preference, you can still use your Kollage needles!
The other major difference between Kollage and other brands is the unique connection mechanism. The cables clip firmly into the needle tips, and the join functions as a swivel. The needles can spin and spin, but the cable never loosens. You don't need a tightening key or a lot of hand strength to grip and twist firmly to connect your needles. To disconnect, you'll need the special tweezer tool to reach into the holes on the needle and loosen the clip. Here is an excellent video demonstrating the process.
Kollage is also one of the only lines available that has sizes US 2 (2.75mm) through US 11 (8mm) all using the same cables. Most sets that have that large of a size range also have small and large cable connections, meaning that you would have to buy twice as many cables to have the same needle possibilities.
While this set does not have the multitudinous accessory options that other systems do, it is of extremely high quality and offers many unique features. Currently there are no cable connectors to join shorter cables together into one long one. There are also no tips in size US 10.75 (7mm), US 10.875 (7.5mm), larger than US 11 (8mm), or smaller than US 2 (2.75mm). While the connection mechanism is one of this line's strengths, it does mean that you cannot use the tightening key hole for threading a lifeline. You might be able to put a lifeline though the holes on the needle meant for the tweezer tool to poke through, but this would depend on the position of the cable, and doing so would inhibit the swiveling action.
If you're not ready to take the leap and get a complete set, Kollage also makes a smaller bundle, called the "mini" interchangeable set. It includes just the three firm cables, tweezer tool, and tips in sizes US 4 (3.5mm) through US 10 (6mm), all in a small canvas case.
Is there anything we missed? What else would you like to know about Kollage interchangeable needles? Let us know in the comments!