Review: DyakCraft Interchangeable Needles (Updated!)

A few months ago, I decided I was tired of the not-infrequent problems with KnitPicks interchangeable needles--most notably the way the joins are prone to snagging or breaking. I started researching other options for a higher end set of needles that wouldn't require periodic replacements, and decided on the Darn Pretty Interchangeables from DyakCraft. I picked up a set from the fabulous Kim of indigodragonfly at the Knitters' Fair in September.Having used them for about 3 months now, I thought it was time for a review!

Overall, I really like the product and am happy with the purchase. I have a few minor issues, but they're still a significant step up in quality from KP.

-Made in the USA
-They really are Darn Pretty! Because I didn't want to wait, I was limited to what Kim had in stock (3 sets, and I shopped before the show opened. I'm guessing she sold out in minutes!), but I love the wood and the pretty case. If you're willing to wait, you have lots of choices of wood & cases.
-The cables are pretty perfect. Not too stiff, but not too floppy (I found the cables on Kollage's square needles too flimsy). Moves smoothly through the stitches, great for Magic Loop.
-The needles are grippy but sufficiently pointy & smooth at the same time. They do seem to get smoother with use, the first time for each pair they're a bit grippier than I'd like but it wears off fast. I haven't done any serious lace knitting since I got them (somehow a baby doesn't seem conducive to lace, although I have SO MUCH lace to finish, and much more waiting to be knit!), so I can't comment on whether they're pointy enough for good amounts of lace. However, I know the company offers two point styles, and if you don't find the regular ones sharp enough apparently you can return them and have them whittled down to be pointier!
-They seem really sturdy, and I'm not worried about the cable coming loose at the join. The cable is designed to swivel in the join, which should reduce the pressure that could cause them to come apart. Plus, DyakCraft offers a lifetime guarantee (I believe KP only guarantees their needles for 1 year now, which I think tells you how well they expect them to hold up!)

Cons--or at least, areas for possible improvement?
-They tout the fact that the tips screw onto the cable without need of any tools to tighten them. However, I found that my tips were often coming unscrewed. I checked the FAQ on the DyakCraft page, and saw that this is a common enough problem to be addressed there. The solution offered is to use something like a rubber band to help you tighten them. To me this suggests that they DO need a tool to be fully tightened for many users, they just don't supply a tool with them. I've gotten a bit better at tightening mine, but they still come undone every now and then. This is not an insignificant problem, as the way I usually notice that they've come undone is when yarn snags in the join.
-The case, while pretty, isn't entirely practical. It's perfect for the tips, but there's just one compartment for cables. I've ordered some extra cables (as I think most knitters will want to--the sets only come with small-ish sizes), so this pouch is now very full. I'd love an easy way to sort them by length and keep them from getting twisted together in the pouch. But more troublesome is the pouch for the stoppers. The cable stoppers for these needles are beautiful, lovely big "plugs" of wood. The compartment for them is very small, they just fit in--and inevitably, they fall out. Of the 4 that come with the set, there's never more than 1 remaining in mine at any time. They're all over my house, and with a soon-to-be-crawling child, this concerns me.
-I'm currently having what I hope is a small and quickly resolved customer service issue. When I ordered my new cables, I emailed the Diaks (makers of the needles) to see if they had all the cables in stock, and received a quick response saying that they did. I ordered my cables, including 2 in one size. When they arrived, there was only 1 of each size I had ordered. I checked the website and the contact information listed was the email address I had originally used, so I emailed to inquire if the extra needle could be shipped out. After not hearing anything for over a week, I emailed again--I know they're a small business, and very busy, so I'm sure they get behind sometimes and miss emails. It's been several days since that second email, and still no reply. My hope is that they just mailed the cable out and didn't take the time to reply, so we'll see. I paid with PayPal, so I need to keep an eye on the timeline and will file a dispute if I don't hear anything. I will post an update when this situation is resolved. I'm sure it will be handled quickly!

UPDATE: I got an email this morning, there was a combination of issues that had delayed it--1st, the company got "Harlotted" around when I sent my original inquiry (I think it was just an offhand link on the Yarn Harlot's blog, not a full write-up...but oh, the power she wields! Their inboxes were slammed. Maybe one day my brand will be Harlotted!). Second, I forgot to note that the paypal account used to buy my needles is linked to a different email than I wrote from, so it took some extra work to track down my transaction. That part was totally my fault, and I can see how it would cause a delay, especially when you're already slammed. Anyway, the extra cable is going to be shipped ASAP, so all worked out in the end and I'm happy. :-)

I think that's it. Do you have any questions about the needles? I'm happy to try to answer them if you do!


Anonymous said…
Just a suggestion for you when joining the needle with the cable. I found that if I hold the connector firmly, hold the needle at the timp and screw the needle into the connector clockwise that they do not come loose. If I screw the connector onto the needle they do tend to loosen up and need to be tightened. Once I discovered this trick I have not had a problem with them loosening up.
Lindsey said…
Thanks so much for that suggestion. That sounds like what I do already, but I'll try to pay more attention next time to be sure! I also may borrow a suggestion from the Rav forum and keep a rubber "gripper" (jar opener thingy?) in my needle case. I do think maybe they should come with something, though. I have pretty strong hands, so I would hesitate to recommend these to anyone with arthritis or other issues in their hands.
PirateFoxy said…
I have arthritis in my hands and while I don't have my set yet, I have used both the wood and metal tips, and I found that even just using something like the sleeve of my shirt to give me extra grip on the metal bit of the connector was enough to get them tightened enough that they stopped coming loose.

I had the same problem with the KP tips and used the same fix instead of using the little 'key' thing anyway. (My big thing there is that if something starts snagging with the Darn Pretties, I KNOW it's because I didn't get it tight enough, and can fix it right away. With the KP tips, there's any number of places where the yarn could be snagging... Drove me nuts.)

Anyway, a self-fix for the stopper pocket issue is apparently to just get some Velcro dots - either the self-stick or the iron-on kind - and use one of them to close the pocket. I personally don't like needle roll style cases, so I'm planning on getting something else for my set.

(Apparently DyakCraft would like to offer alternative case styles, but that's just not in the cards right now. Demand for the wood and metal interchangables has been so big that new products are all on the back burner temporarily.)

But I mostly wanted to comment as someone who does actually have arthritis/grip strength issues. :)
Lindsey said…
Thanks for commenting! It's good to know that you've been able to make the needles work for you.

I don't think the velcro on the stopper compartment idea would work, although I'll double check. It seems to me the biggest problem is the size of the compartment, and adding velcro at the top just takes away more space--I'm pretty sure there's not room. But I could be wrong, it's worth investigating!
Anonymous said…
My stops pocket is closed with a safety pin for the time being. When I can find a small, pretty bar pin, I'll invest in one and close my pocket that way. I have arthritis issues with my hands, and when I first tighten my needles, sometimes they loosen. Unlike my Harmony needles, I have yet to lose any stitches. I give them a good crank and they tighten right up. I don't even need a sleeve or rubber band, or grippy. These are by far the best needles I have ever used in over three decades of knitting, and I can knit for hours longer with little or no hand fatigue.
PirateFoxy said…
The velcro trick is something that some of the people who've already got their sets on the DyakCraft Ravelry group have used successfully - I think maybe someone even had photos up of where to put the velcro? I could be misremembering though. Like I said, I plan on getting a different case anyway due to personal case style preferences. :)
Tessa said…
Hello, I'm considering my first interchangeable set- and found there are many out there that love these- and they're made in the USA, which was what drew me in. My only question is what needle length to get- any thoughts on this would be great! What color to that's going to take some time!
MeMary77knits said…
In my honest opinion (IMHO, on what size to buy, I think it depends on what your knitting. If you are knitting socks, you might like the 3-1/2" length, but if you are knitting the body of a sweater, you might like the 5" length. For me, I have small hands, and I like the shorter length so I don't get hand cramps or have my hands constantly going to sleep. If you have large hands, you'll probably like the longer size. Some people hate the short's all in personal preference. If you are not sure, buy one of each if they sell them individually; buy the size you are use to working with normally if they are comfortable.
MeMary77knits said…
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