Bamboo needles are nice and smooth so the wool slips along easily. I like metal ones myself - mine are ancient ones with the old sizing on them. I also prefer short needles, can't manage with great long barge poles!
Bamboo needles are fantastic for the following reasons:
1. The wool doesn't slide so much about so less dropped stitches.
2. They are lighter and less cold which makes hands happier. My clients with arthritis swear by them.
3. They look more glamourous and trendy, I think. More Monsoon, less daisy afgan. This is important to me since I outed myself as a knitter recently (am getting up confidence to knit in the playground, where I will see people I know).
4. I maintain that they are a bit safer if around little kids.
There are IME four drawbacks.
1. They do bend out of shape and stick to kntting a bit when wet. This is a problem for me because I knit when giving ds his bath.
2. They are more expensive.
3. I've found they often, but not always, knit as about 1/4-1/2 mm bigger than metal, so you will need 1/4-1/2 mm smaller bamboo than metal. Most patterns/wools give needle size for metal. But this is good as it forces you to actually do a tension square.
4. The thinner ones, I'd say 3.25mm and below, do break.
I love bamboo needles and would always knit on them. If you want to give them a go without shelling out 3 quid have a look in the charity shops, they often have a selection.
Actually, I quite like bamboo, but what I usually use is birch. How poncey is that. I really like wooden needles best- they're less clicky and slippy than bamboo. I greatly prefer bamboo to metal though, I can't bear the feeling of metal needles (especially with sweaty hands- Marina, we're twins )
I got most of mine from the US to be honest, but there are more available in the UK now. I have some (nice but a bit bendy) rosewood ones from Scottish Fibres - they also sell birch but don't seem to have many in stock. I've just done a search and these people sell them too, in the UK. They are expensive, I know, but so nice to knit with
OK, one more post and then I promise I will stop boring everyone witless about needles. One of the places I got mine from was Elann , who don't rip you off for p+p, and who sell some yarn incredibly cheaply. It's worth looking at because the dollar is so weak. I got a load of lovely alpaca from there for way less than it would have cost here, even after international shipping.
Lol at 'glowing' hands! I prefer metal as it keeps my hands cool, though I'm not generally a sweaty person. I'm surrounded by trees round here, which are currently being harvested so maybe I'll have to start making my own knitting pins. I just need to stop a stick lorry and ask for a spare trunk or two.
my word - i turned my back for an instant and you all went berserk. i never thought this would be such hot topic! off now to check out those sites and hopefully try out some different needles really soon.
ps. i feel almost like a knitting virgin as i'e never used anything but metal (and plastic when learning to knit aeons ago)