In the "why did nobody think of this sooner?" product development category comes the Knitter's Pride Dreamz from Webs, a large knitting supplies store. The needles, made of a laminate birch wood, are color-coded by size.
This may seem like a small thing to non-knitters, but if you've ever sorted through a set of similar sock needles, the sizes of which can vary by just a few millimeters in diameter, searching for a set of five that match, it's something of a Eureka! moment.
There's also an interesting product development story deducible from this launch. One of Webs' competitors, KnitPicks, also makes wooden needles out of a birch laminate, but theirs are multi-colored. Webs had market validation that knitters would buy brightly-colored needles made of this material, and likely no desire to step into the interesting legal thicket surrounding the KnitPicks design. Whether it was because they were consciously looking for a differentiator, or the opportunity for making knitters' lives easier just independently struck someone on their team, it's a super-smart choice, and deserves a spot on the top of any knitting designer's holiday wish list. (cough, cough)
(image from yarn.com)