Disclaimer: This product was given to me for the purpose of reviewing them. I did not pay for the product. All opinions in this article are mine and I have not received any form of payment or compensation other than the needles. The links in this article are not affiliate links, I don’t benefit in any way if you click them.
Recently, I was gifted a set of Neko Bamboo Flex Needles from Neko. I’ve previously tried their Neko curved DPNs, so I’m going to start by saying that the Bamboo Flex Needles are a completely different knitting experience than the curved DPNs, so whether your opinion of the plastic curved DPNs is good or bad, I recommend trying the Bamboo Flex Needles before forming an opinion.
How Do They Work?
Bamboo Flex DPNs are a set of 3 needles with bamboo tips and a flexible plastic cable between the tips, quite similar to the Addi Flexi-Flips. These needles are designed specifically for working small circumference in the round (think: socks, mitts, baby hats, baby sleeves). The stitches are divided between 2 needles and the third needle is used for knitting. These needles aim to combine the benefits of working with DPNs: short needles and no long cables, with the benefits of working with magic loop: only 2 needles with stitches, less frequent and less fiddly needle changes.
I used these needles to work a sock with unique heel construction and after using them for 8-10 hours, here’s what I learned:
What I Like
The bamboo feels lovely! I don’t know why, but for the past 2 years or so, I’ve gravitated to metal needles and I’d forgotten how warm bamboo needles are and how gentle they are on the hands.
According to their website, the bamboo and plastic used in these needles is eco-friendly and the plastic is fully recyclable.
The cables are colour coded so you know what size they are. I love this feature and hope it becomes an industry standard. If your needles become intermingled (it happens to all of us), you won’t have to use a needle gauge to put the sets back together.
These are great cable needles when you’re in a pinch. I had another project with cables on the go while I was testing these needles and I found myself reaching for the bamboo flex needle more than once when I was working cables and it did a great job. (I’ve since learned that Neko actually makes cable needles).
They’re very portable and the curved shape and sticky cable means that stitches won’t fall off the needles when you’re not using them and while they’re in transit.
The joins are super-smooth. The joins are so smooth that it’s difficult to distinguish a seam where they are attached. No snagging stitches. Not once.
What Could Be Improved
Like their plastic curved DPNs, the bamboo flex needles are not available in quarter sizes. This is a problem for me because I usually use 2.25 mm (US 1) needles when I knit socks. I reliably get a gauge of 8 stitches per round in stockinette. I wasn’t able to get gauge with the 2.5 mm (US 1.5) needles they sent me. To compensate, I went down a circumference size on the sock I was making, but this is a deal breaker for me because I’m set in my ways and like a reliable gauge.
The tips could be sharper. I wouldn’t use these tips for lace or cabling without a needle.
The cable is ‘sticky’ which is great if you are a knitter who tends to drop stitches, but it means frequently stopping to help move the stitches along the cable toward the tip of the needle. I found this frustrating, as it interrupted my flow, slowing me down.
If you lose a needle, the remaining 2 needles aren’t particularly useful anymore (except they make great cable needles). This method of working in the round requires 3 needles. Unless you have multiple sets and can sub a spare needle in when necessary.
Compared to Neko’s plastic curved DPNs, I really prefer the bamboo flex needles. The quality of the needles is great, the bamboo feels therapeutic and the joins are smooth. To add them to my regular needle rotation, I’d need a wider range of available sizes, a less ‘sticky’ cable and sharper tips.
Have you tried the new bamboo flex needles by Neko? What do you think?