I recently got some Laurel Hill Knitting Needles and I have to say I think I’m in love. The company makes straight knitting needles and crochet hooks from sustainable exotic woods. They are produced in Vietnam in a facility that is “environmentally friendly and safe; all members are treated with dignity and respect.”
The needles I’m using now are size #4 (US) and they are remarkably flexible and springy. I’m making the Lace Ribbon Scarf from Comfort DK yarn which is splitty enough to be fiddly. I originally started the scarf on some bamboo circulars and abandoned the project because the needles hurt my hands. The Laurel Hill needles give me no trouble at all, though, and I have even noticed they don’t rub against a certain spot on my finger that I’m used to. The needles are very smooth and don’t catch on any of the fuzzy fibers, slick enough that I don’t have troubles when I SSK, but still grippy enough that I’ve had no trouble with the needles sliding out and dropping stitches. I really enjoy working with them. The only downside I can see is that the wood the needles are fairly dark, meaning I won’t be knitting anything black on them in the evenings. I have to add that I’ve gotten so used to working with circular needles that I’d forgotten that I find scarves are actually easier to knit on two straight needles.
The crochet hook I have is equally appealing, the wood is far nicer to look at than my usual plastic standby, and the hook feels warm in my hand.
You can read more about the company at Laurel Hill Online and you can buy the needles online only at KnittingStuff.Net. I think a set of Laurel Hill knitting needles or crochet hooks would make a nice upgrade gift for a knitter who seems to already have everything.