Product: Brittant Birch DPNs
Rating: *** (2 out of 5)
Average Price: $7-10.00 (depending on size)
From the Manufacturer: Brittany Hooks and Needles are made in America for over 25 years by a family of craftsmen, ensuring consistent quality, individual care and a strong environmentally-minded policies; company tries to minimize our environmental impact at every stage of production. Brittany products are made from Birch harvested from strictly regulated forests or small woodland owners in the United States ensuring proper environmental logging practices and selective cutting for maximum reforestation
At first I wanted to give these needles a 2 instead of a 3, but I thought about it for a minute and they are made well, I just don’t like them. So they earned a middle of the road rating from me. If you like very light, blunt needles than you’d rate Brittany Birch higher.
When I first started knitting I cast on with some old hand-me-down metal Boye needles from my grandma. At that time I sort of assumed that was what all knitting needles were like. Straight, colored metal, with a metal cap on the end. I think I discovered Susan Bates (also metal) next. Clover bamboo needles were my first “wow, not metal!” encounter. And then, on a trip to a “real” (non-box store) knitting shop I found Brittany Birch needles. I don’t know what prompted me to try them (maybe the wood?) because I don’t recall having any difficulty with my bamboo Clover needles. For whatever reason I went on a Brittany Birch kick. (I’m thinking it was the awe of finding a real LYS and “real” knitting needles instead of what Michaels offered. These had to be better, right?) I stocked up and eventually ended up with a full set of DPNs and a full set of single points from sizes 4 to 15.
I used the birch DPNs for a while without trouble. However, my repertoire of stitches only consisted of stockinette, garter, and ribbing, so I wasn’t doing anything that blunt needles would really hamper. Eventually I heard of Knit Picks and circular needles and abandoned my Brittany needles for the colorful Knit Picks Harmony needles.
I never did replace my larger DPNs (sizes 6 and up), so every once in a while I come back to the Brittany needles. I did this last night. I cast on for a pair of boot toppers on worsted weight yarn. I made it through the ribbing and then switched to size 7 DPNs for the cabled main portion of the piece and then I wanted to scream. The Brittany Birch needles are SO BLUNT! Especially now that I’m used to using ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles. I feel like my knitting is taking twice as long as it should and it’s very frustrating. (The extreme frustration prompted a trip to Yarn.com and a purchase of Knitter’s Pride Nova Cubics Platina Double Pointed Needles in sizes 6 and 7. I’ll review those at a later date.)
Brittany needles are made well. They’re smooth and light. The wood is a pretty soft natural color. It definitely speaks to anyone that like simple beauty. The hand feel is alright. I like a little more weight in my needles these days, but I could live with the lightness of these if the points were better. That’s what really got me. The points are very dull. Getting the needle into a tight, twisted stitch is a struggle. Lace work (in my opinion) is pretty impossible with the Brittany points.
Rating: I wasn’t sure how I should rate these needles. On one hand they are nice. Pretty, smooth, well made in the US by a family company. I like all that and would give them a 4 or 4.5. The tips kill it for me. Based on the knitting I need to do and what I like my knitting to feel like and ease of use these needles are only a 1 or 2 on my personal scale. I ended up settling for a middle of the road rating at 3 to average everything out.
*The product in this review was paid for by the reviewer. Item was not donated for the purpose of review.