Lantern Moon Rosewoods are my absolute fave, but are spendy. My next best is Crystal Palace. I tend to like natural material, with a little bit of slick so that the wool really moves. I used to like Brittany's, until I tried something that the wool didn't stick to. (Though they are VERY good for beginners.)
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I think different beginners will have different preferences. While it's true that some will find metal too slippery and they drop stitches, others will find bamboo/wood too sticky and they will have trouble moving stitches unless they pull tightly,,, which only makes the problem worse.
I personally love slippery metal needles, the pointier the better. However with wood or bamboo you have the advantage of being able to condition the tip to your preferred pointiness and taper.
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i'm working on socks right now, and i'm using bamboo. i'm having a terrible time moving the stitches up and down the needles. and i fear that i've made my stitches too tight. funny that you mentioned that; that's the very reason i started this thread!
I love my 5" brittany birch dpns. They are very smooth and the yarn moves along them well. I use them for socks all the time. EXCEPT, if I have a fussy, lacy pattern requiring lots of k2togs, psso, etc. Then I love my KP options with the very pointy points (tho' they are longer). Sometimes I cast on with the brittanys and then switch to the options and get the best of both worlds.
I like crystal palace for bamboo. im sure i would like lantern moon (i've drooled over them at the LYS), but haven't spent the cash to try. i am a tight knitter and i also really like knit picks DPN's which are metal with these great pointy ends. and they aren't very expensive at all!
Addi and KnitPicks dpns. No comparison. But, if you're just starting out on them, you might want to go with something like Takumi bamboo or Lantern Moon, or maybe Crystal Palace bamboo, but it's all in what you're comfortable with.
I don't use my dpns for socks, because I use 2 circulars for those, but I do knit sleeves on them, and the tops of hats. I did do a sock with the KnitPicks dpns and I loved them.
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I love KP dpns, but if you're looking for dpns that are easier on the hands than metal, Brittany birch needles are fantastic. I have a set, and they are smooth as silk--no tackiness like I've experienced with other wooden dpns--yet even with the silky texture, the stitches aren't prone to slip off like they are on metal dpns.
I like Crystal Palace. I just broke one of my CP dpns and had to sub in one of the Lantern Moon ones of the same size that I got in a trade (can you believe they traded me KP dpns for LM ones?!). Anyway, I dislike getting around to the LM needle, because its tip is noticeably less sharp than the CP needles.
Then again, CP needles for me seem to not be the same if I get them wet. I mean to start a thread about this some day.
Even cheaper than CP, I like Chiagoo dpns as well, which are pretty slick and have fairly pointy (for non-metal) tips.
On the other hand, I hate Inox. Just don't like their coating. And Brittany Birch have no slickness to them at all. I dislike them.
KnitPicks I found too slippery, but maybe I'll try again some time. Don't have any anymore, since I traded them away for the LM.