The Bottom Line
The Boye Needlemaster set provides a range of needle sizes and cable sizes in a convenient carrying case. Some knitters swear by them, while others hate the way the needles go together.
If you want to buy your interchangeables locally, Boye may be your only choice since they are widely available at the chain crafts stores. But if you're willing to shop online, there are better options out there
- A wide range of needles sizes, from US 2 to US 15.
- Needles are color-coded so it's easy to see which two go together.
- A good number of cable lengths allow you to make needles 20, 24, 29 or 36 inches long.
- Different sized cables can be purchased separately.
- Couplers allow you to make even longer cables by connecting two together.
- The points are difficult to screw into the cables tightly enough and often come unscrewed.
- The cables may be wider than some of the very small needles, making knitting awkward.
- Metal points are somewhat heavy and cold, especially on the older models.
- The Needlemaster includes knitting needles in US sizes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13 and 15, with four cables.
- More cables, points and accessories (including connectors and ends to make straight needles) can be purchased separately.
- Needles are color-coded and come in a zip-up case for maximum portability and space saving.
- Aluminum needles are durable and firm, but also somewhat cold to the touch and inflexible.
Guide Review - Boye Needlemaster
Boye was probably the first interchangeable knitting needle set to come on the market, and it's the first most knitters come in contact with, since either individual pieces or the whole Needlemaster set are available at most national craft chain stores.
The Needlemaster is a good choice for value. The set really gives you a whole set of knitting needles in almost every size you could want, and with a variety of cables that can be attached to each other to make different lengths of cable. This is perfect for knitting large objects like blankets or wraps.
A perennial problem many knitters have with the Boye set is that the needles never attach to the cables tightly enough, resulting in needles that detach from the cable while you are knitting. A little metal piece like a paper clip is supposed to be inserted into a hole in the needle as you twist it onto the cable, but this has never worked for me and I know I'm not alone in that frustration.
I have a very old Boye set that I inherited from my great aunt by way of my mother and grandmother. Most of the original cables are gone. You can order replacement parts (including an adapter that allows you to use old points with new cables) by mailing this form.
The Needlemaster needles are not my favorite interchangeables, but I do still use them, especially for big, flat projects when the ability to connect cables is appreciated. I just always have to remember to tighten my tips at the beginning of each row.