Kollage Yarns makes some fun yarns out of such products as corn, soy, milk, and recycled denim, but it's also well known for its strange looking square knitting needles. The word on these needles -- available in straights, DPNs and fixed circulars, as well as crochet hooks -- is that they're easier on the hands that round needles and make more even stitches effortlessly.
The company sent me a couple of needles to try in celebration of their moving production of the needles to the United States, and I found them quite interesting to work with. The main issue you will find with these needles is that your gauge will be somewhat different from the needles you're used to.
Knitting in the Square
I received two different needles to try: a size 6 US (4mm) circular with their soft cable known as a K-Kable and a size 3 US (3.25 mm) with a firm cable. The firm cable is more like a traditional cable needle, while the softer cable is rubbery and floppy.
I really liked the soft cable, but both are nice and not kinky right out of the package. The joins of the aluminum needles to the cables are perfect, making for smooth, easy knitting.
Because of the gauge issue, which we'll talk more about below, I found the knitting more difficult when I was first getting started than I would have expected, but once I loosened up a bit, it was nice to work with the needles.
I almost felt like the needles were dragging on each other, but actually, as I started to knit faster this feeling went away.
I also felt like the size 6 needles were a little sharp, but when I used the size 3 needles with a yarn that was more compatible with them, I didn't find them sharp or difficult to work with.
I'm not sure I knit with them long enough at a stretch to know if they're better for fatigue and repetitive stress injuries, but they did feel comfortable to work with, and they did produce nice super even stitches.
One important thing to know about these needles that is not mentioned on the package (but is on the website where you would order the needles) is the advice that most knitters need to go up a size in needle to get the correct gauge with the square needles. I think for me it would be even more than one needle size.
I started out with the size 6 needle and some medium weight cotton and, as I mentioned, found it rather difficult to work at first. When I worked the same yarn with both the square needle and the round needle, the round needle part was noticeably looser in gauge and had more drape.
On the size 3 needle, I tried Red Heart Heart and Sole, which calls for a size 2 needle. I got about 7.25 stitches per inch when I worked with it on regular size 2 needles and 7 stitches per inch on the size 3 Squares.
Kollage Square knitting needles are fun to work with and are a conversation starter for knit night. They make nice, even stitches and may be easier on your body than knitting with traditional round needles. And those floppy K-Kables are great if you ask me.
If you are someone who is physically limited in your ability to knit, these needles are worth a try. If you're healthy enough to knit as much as you want, these needles aren't essential, but they are pretty fun to work with, so long as you know that you may have an issue getting the same gauge that a pattern calls for.
The fact that these needles are also made in the United States could also be a deciding factor in choosing these needles if that's something that's important to you.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.