A close-up review of the sharp, the steel, and the bamboo Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles
Are you wondering about the HiyaHiya interchangeable knitting needles? Are they any good? Worth their money? Or should you rather buy a different set? Let’s find out! In this article, I’m going to present you with close-up macro shots of these beautiful needles – together with my unbiased opinion.
This is an utterly unsponsored review. I bought all of these Hiya Hiya sets myself (on Amazon, see links below), and neither do I receive any money from the brand. So, I’m going to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with you:
Here are the products I review in this article (Amazon links):
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.
The Hiya Hiya interchangeable sets
Hiya Hiya offers an abundance of different sets. As you start out, you probably might want to invest in one of their standards sets. These come in a beautiful little pouch and typically contain:
- 8 needle tips
- 4 cables
- 1 needle cauge
- 2 grippers
- 1 pin
- cable connectors
If you buy the small set, you get needles size 2.75 mm up to 5mm and I do feel that’s plenty for the money. However, European knitters might miss 2.5mm and 3.00mm needles but you can switch to the next size 0.25m above or below – or you can use these odd sizes to fill in when you cannot get gauge.
I really don’t understand why there is just one cable key included, nor why there aren’t any cable stoppers. You have to buy them separately and Hiya Hiya is the only brand that does not include them.
That being said, the bags are quite spacious and offer a second row of slots where you can fit in even more needles (these slots will be occupied if you buy one of the big deluxe sets). I love the two big compartments each bag comes with. There is room for all the accessories and more (especially compared to the addi and Chiaogoo pouches which always feel too small to carry extra accessories).
I do wish there was some embroidery indicating the needle size (like ChiaoGoo does) and I am not sure what the velcro blind protecting the needles is for. It doesn’t keep them from falling out. To me, it just feels annoying. You have to remove it every time you open your pouch and it keeps you from seeing the needles at a glance.
The Hiya Hiya interchangeable knitting needles are available in two different materials: Stainless steel and bamboo. Both are super light and perfect for knitters who want to reduce the strain on their wrists.
Unlike all other brands I have reviewed, Hiya Hiya doesn’t comment on the actual aloy they are using. It appears to be standard stainless steel – so probably a chrome & nickel alloy. While it might be a bit confusing, both the steel and the sharp sets are made from the exact same material.
The stainless steel appears to be polished but not coated. It’s rather smooth, offering the faintest bit of drag. The needle size is etched (probably via laser) into the body of the needles and that certainly does come in very handy – even though the letters are a bit difficult to read on the smaller sized needle.
The steel needles are hollow inside. While this does make them super light, it also means they are not the most durable – especially when it comes to the smaller sizes. For me, everything below 3.5mm does end up crooked over time. The problem is less pronounced when it comes to bigger needles. And, of course, I do have to admit that I am a tight knitter and probably apply a bit more force to my needles than the standard woman.
I’m less convinced when it comes to their bamboo needles. At first glance, they look reasonable enough but my set had many needles with less-than-perfect bamboo wood. Some of the needles also had small ridges and little dents.
Again, HiyaHiya does not say where they source their bamboo, so we are left speculating about what’s up with these natural blemishes. One out of the 16 needle tips in my set, one was also crooked right from the start.
I mainly love and use my HiyaHiya needles because the tips are just so super sharp. Despite some other flaws, these needles are my absolute favorites when it comes to lace and shawl knitting.
The Hiya Hiya tips are by far the sharpest on the market. Sharper than addi, sharper than ChiaoGoo, sharper than Knitter’s Pride, and even sharper than Signature Needle Arts. The difference is quite noticeable!
If you are someone who pushes the tips with your fingers (or you just don’t like sharp tips), then you should probably opt for the steel tips/steel set. I do feel, however, that the name could be a bit less confusing (why not call them standard tips?). For comparison: The steel tips will be roughly as sharp as the sharp tips of most other brands. So, still pretty sharp but maybe not stiletto sharp.
The tips of the bamboo needles are also pretty sharp but not extraordinarily so. Still, it’s a nice tip that allows for fast knitting while still being sharp enough to handle more advanced stitches and patterns.
When compared to other brands, there is barely any difference. The taper of the ChiaoGoo bamboo needles is quite a bit longer but the tip itself is more or less just as sharp.
What I personally really like is that the tips are available in three different lengths: 3-inch, 4-inch, or 5-inch. Especially the small size is pretty rare don’t the market and is really great for small-circumference knitting (or small hands).
Important: As you can see from the picture above, I am not sure if you should take the indicated size too literally but it’s still nice to have three sizes. Together with the cable, a 5″ needle will be 13cm long, a 4″ needle 9.5 cm, and a 3″ sock tip will be 7.8 cm long.
The joins between needle tips and cables are pretty smooth albeit a little bit peculiar. There are many small indentations and tapers along the way. The yarn glides across them effortlessly and – at least in my experience – never catches but you still notice the join when you glide across it with your fingernail.
Interestingly enough, there seem to be two versions out there. The newer cables seem to have a little bronze bit in between. Not sure why and what that is good for. It certainly looks even busier. Again, those don’t catch the yarn either. Both versions have a lifeline hole in the socket of the cable.
Please, be aware that the bamboo needles are inserted into a metal socket at the end. The transition is often less than perfect. Because the bamboo does get wider further up, it typically doesn’t really catch the yarn but I do feel the connection could be a little bit better.
That being said, I found it to become a problem when you are combining rather big bamboo needles with lace or even cobweb yarn. Then, this transition definitely DOES catch the yarn and I don’t think these needle tips are suitable for these kinds of projects at all.
I personally really love the Hiya Hiya plastic cables – even though they curl like madness. At the same time, they are super thin and very flexible. This makes them the perfect candidate for magic loop and especially traveling magic loop projects (but maybe less so for socks 2AAT).
Sadly, Hiya Hiya only offers this one kind of cable. So knitters only get to choose between different lengths. However, all cables are swivel cables. A little droplet at the very end/beginning of the cable ensures that the stitches glide across the transition quite effortlessly and I personally would say that Hiya Hiya has the best swivel cables on the market in this respect.
Important: Hiya Hiya offers three different cable sizes! You need the miniature cables for needle tips sizes 2.0 – 2.5mm, the small cables for tips size 2.75 mm – 5.00 mm, and the large cables for needle sizes 5.50 mm and above.
ChiaoGoo has a similar system and I do understand the need from one point of view. However, I do have to highlight that you need a whole range of cables for just three sizes: 2.00, 2.25m, and 2.50 mm. I do feel that is pretty weak. ChiaoGoo also has small cables but they go down all the way to 1.5mm and the do offer full small sets as well – and not just 3 sizes.
Certainly, Hiya Hiya does offer adapters so you can use bigger needle tips with smaller cables. Sure. However, this introduces another weak spot, another join that may unscrew, another transition, and another expensive purchase. On top of that, it also elongates the needle (can be a problem for small-diameter circular projects).
PS: I really don’t like the Hiya Hiya cable connectors either. They don’t have a little hole for the keys and it can be very difficult to unscrew them without the aid of pincers.
My personal biggest issue with these needles is the company itself. We barely know anything about it. The official website just mentions that it was founded by a passionate Chinese knitter called Qianer Huang in 2012. We also know that the manufacturer that produces the needles for Hiya Hiya is located in Shanghai China. And that’s about it. Nothing else.
Hiya Hiya did not respond (in any way) to my direct inquiries. Only the customer support on HiyaHiya-direct informed me that the needles are produced in a “sustainable factory in Shanghai” but wouldn’t disclose more.
Personally, I don’t think one should judge the quality of a product based on its origin. The days when “made in China” meant cheap trinkets are long past. Still, it’s 2023 and most consumers are interested in the story of a company, its stance on work ethics, gender equality, and of course, how sustainable the whole affair is.
Typically, when you don’t find any meaningful information, you can assume the worst. By comparison: Knitters Pride has a whole subsection of its website dedicated to the whole sustainability and equality complex. Hiya Hiya, on the other hand, sells its plastic cable stoppers wrapped individually in little plastic bags that come in yet another plastic bag (I do have to say that these stoppers are really well made and cute, tho!).
Summary of my Hiya Hiya review
All in all, I personally love the Hiya Hiya sharp interchangeable needles the most. They certainly have their flaws. I don’t like the pouches at all and the tips end up crooked pretty fast. At the same time, I do feel that the tips are the sharpest on the market. Lace knitting becomes such a joy with them. So I willingly accept that I have to replace the small tips once every two years or so (you can buy them separately).
The steel needles are quite nice as well. Since the tips are about the same compared to the major competitors, I would say that these sets only make sense if you already have a lot of cables and Hiya Hiya accessories to combine them with. Another reason could be that you really enjoy their flexible and thin swivel cables. Other than that, you might be marginally better off with Knitter’s Pride, ChiaoGoo, or addi products.
Personally, I can’t recommend the Hiya Hiya bamboo needles. No matter if it’s the quality of the wood, the join of the socket, or the general make-up of the sets – I do believe that all major competitors bring more to the table. Again, the only reason I could think of why one should buy these needles is the cables. They are quite nice if you ask me.
At the same time, I have to recognize that no two knitters are alike and the things I don’t like might be characteristics another knitter cherishes deeply and vice versa. So, if you are unsure, maybe just buy a small set or even just a single tip + cable (you can buy them separately, after all) and see if you like then.
Again, here are the shopping links for the different sets: