Category Archives: needles

Nifty knitting things

When it comes to supplies, knitting has its fair share of stuff to stock up on. Needles and yarn, of course. A pair or two of scissors of some sort too. But then there are lots of things that you don’t necessarily have to have, but which can make knitting a lot easier – like stitch markers. And stitch holders. And counters. And something to keep your yarn stash and needles. Not to mention your works-in-progress. And then there are patterns – books, leaflets, downloads or however else you buy them. Knitting can be a fairly frugal hobby – you can buy inexpensive yarns and needles that work perfectly well, and there are plenty of free patterns to be had online. But it is nice to be able to splurge a little bit if you can.

I don’t buy a lot – nothing fancy or terribly expensive, although I do have to admit a weakness for Addi Turbo needles, because I love the slick metal needles and smooth joins. But I’ve discovered a few less expensive options that work almost just as well – the last pair I bought was from KnitPicks (the needles I’m currently using on my daughter’s socks), and I’ve heard of some others which I’d like to try someday, like Hiya Hiya or Kollage’s square needles.

I hadn’t originally thought much about stitch markers – I have a cheap package of them that I’d bought way back when I first started knitting but hadn’t really used much, mainly because I hadn’t needed to. Yet. On the smock top that I started recently, there’s a series of decrease rows. You don’t have to have stitch markers for them, but as I’m finding out – it makes it a lot easier if you do. And I also realized that the cheap ones I had don’t work very well because they’re made of thick plastic and it’s hard to knit over or around them.  So I went shopping on Etsy.

Oh my goodness, there are some beautiful things to be had on Etsy.com – and the best part is that they’re all handmade so you’re supporting other crafters and artisans. And prices can be really good too – I found a set of beautiful little stitch markers for only a few dollars. Not only do they work much better, with thin loops to go around the needles, but they make my project look prettier while I’m working on them. :)

StitchMarkers 003StitchMarkers 002

Speaking of Etsy, it’s also where I found my favorite knitting bag a while back – the shop is called KnittingsMyBag, and she makes knitting bags and needle cases that are sturdy, have lots of pockets to hold stuff and I love many of the fabrics she uses. My bag has held up extremely well for 1-1/2 years now and I wish I’d bought a matching one in a larger size when she had it available, because while this one is perfect to take along places and hold small projects, I’d love to have one to keep larger ones in too. I do have matching dpn case and little notions pocket that came with my bag though and love them as well.

KnittingBag

Up until now, I hadn’t had any good way to store circular needles, but this past weekend I visited a new yarn shop (new to me anyway) while in Holland, MI for a conference. It was a really cute shop and I could have spent much more time (and $) in there than I did, but I did find one thing that I splurged a little bit on with a gift card I’d won a few weeks ago. It’s a circular needle case from Offhand Designs and it holds a ton of circulars! Plus it’s got some dpn storage as well as a zippered pocket for notions and such. Perfect!

CircularCase

Don’t even get me started on yarn… And that’s the subject of a whole other post. I don’t have a huge stash – but that’s only due to financial and space restrictions. I love browsing through craft and yarn stores to see the different fibers and shades. And then trying to find the right project to match a specific yarn (or vice versa) – it’s one of the most fun parts of the craft.

I don’t have a stitch counter – and I’ll post more about why not and what I use instead in the future. I do have a small collection of pattern books – but I get most of my patterns from Ravelry or other online sources if I can. Having said that, I spent an hour at the bookstore a few weeks ago browsing through pattern books and looking for inspiration for a project and thoroughly enjoying myself.

There’s a lot more that can be said about the things that you use to knit and crochet with – and I’m sure I’ll get more into that in the future. It’s fun to be able to splurge a little every now and then – but also nice to not have to if you can’t. And to know that you’re making something useful as well in the end.  :)

Watch for my review of the new Sheep(ish) yarn from Caron coming up on May 28th!

OTN: Two projects at once

Stop the presses – I’m actually working on more than one thing at a time!

Well, kind of. Since I got kind of stalled out on the second glove that I was making and found that I was going crazy without some type of project to work on while waiting… I tend to be more of  a project-driven knitter, so I usually only work on one thing and not start anything new until the last one is done.

I ran out of yarn for the glove – or rather I knew I would run out of yarn, and as the color scheme began to not match as closely as I’d hoped, I figured that I would have a better chance of matching things up if I got the new skein of yarn now. But since the LYS was out of that particular color in the Mini Mochi yarn, I’ve had to wait for them to order more.

So here sits Glove #2 – but since we’ve had a weather warm-up this week, it hasn’t been a huge deal not to have these gloves done yet. I’m sure it will get colder again though (it is only February still…) – so I’ll certainly get some time to wear them after the second one is finished.

SecondGlove 001

What project did I start while I’m waiting? The one that I had put off when the weather turned so cold that I decided to do the gloves first – namely a pair of socks that I’d promised my 8-year-old. I didn’t have a size 1 circular needle to use for them at the time anyway, so I knit the gloves while saving up for and ordering one from KnitPicks. I’d been wanting to try out their Options metal needles and they’re cheaper than the Addi Turbo ones I was buying before (and love). Plus I’d heard that the KnitPicks cables are better suited to Magic Loop, so I was curious.

I’ll post my thoughts about the needle later on. But it’s working out very well so far and after several attempts (and frogging), I have the first sock moving along. It took me a little while to get a handle on the gauge – especially since I tend to knit tighter in the round than I do when knitting flat, so knitting a gauge swatch involved pretty much just starting the sock and knitting several rounds to see how it was going. More than once, until I got the number of stitches that I needed to start with figured out. I like this sock pattern – it’s from the book, Sensational Knitted Socks, and is one of the “Chevron Patterns for Self-Striping Yarn”. I’m adapting it for Magic Loop, since that’s the one method that the book doesn’t cover (it includes instructions for 4dpns, 5 dpns or 2 circulars). The yarn is called ‘Ty-Dy Socks’ from Knit One crochet too and this color is called ‘Cherry Cola’. So far it’s nice to knit with, although the yarn does tend to split a bit more than I like.

HannahsSocks 001

I’m going to be sad to put the socks on hold while I finish up the second glove, but I do want to get some time to actually wear the gloves a bit before spring, so they’re a little higher priority right now. I do like that these are small enough projects though that I can fit both of them in my small knitting bag at the same time. :)