Once upon a time, I made a sweater. It was very pretty and soft and cozy (and it was actually finished, it’s just that I don’t seem to have a photograph of it finished). I liked it very much. It combined some of my favorite colors and one of my favorite yarns and it was meant to be a cozy layering sweater.
I knit it with corrugated ribbing at the hem and cuffs, and applied i-cord along the edges. I had originally planned on getting nice pewter buttons and putting some i-cord buttonhole loops on one of the sides. However, I couldn’t find buttons I really liked so I decided to just use regular applied i-cord and put in a zipper.
In the end, though, it turns out that I was far too intimidated at the thought of sewing a zipper into my sweater. Nevermind the fact that I had already sewn lines down my sweater and CUT IT APART, sewing a zipper in was just too much to think about. What if the sewing machine ate my sweater???
After leaving the sweater to sit in my almost-finished basket for far too many months, I decided it was getting a bit ridiculous. I gave the sweater to my mom in exchange for her putting buttons, snaps or a zipper in if she wanted one. (In retrospect this was probably a good thing, because these colors are more “her” than “me”.)
Now, several years later, TECHKnitter just came out with a fantastic tutorial including instructions for how to KNIT a zipper into your finished sweater. Click here, read the tutorial, and get knitting (with zipper)!
Yesterday it snowed. Some friends got stuck along hwy 40, they couldn’t make it up a hill no matter what they tried, so they had to turn back and spend the night in Grande Cache. This is not what I like to hear. So, to distract myself, I am having a sale. Buy 2 patterns, get one free. The sale applies to all my self published patterns. If you and 2 friends want to get 3 copies of my ebook, Grande Prairie hats, for $40 rather than $60, send me a pm on Ravelry, I will hook you up.
I have been working on a few new designs lately, 2 of which have the option to include beads. I set up a handy little beading station, and thought I should share it with you all.
Here is a sushi rice bowl, the kind with the hole for the chop sticks, and my tiny Addi crochet hook. See how nicely and conveniently it fits? I will be using this set up for beading from now on. The hook just sits in place, and doesn’t fall out of the bowl, or roll away on the table, or fall between my leg and the chair. Whenever it was time to place a bead, I just grabbed the hook, jabbed a bead and slipped it onto the stitch, then slid the hook back into the bowl. It really sped things up for me.
See that? It’s a mess, right? I grabbed a handful of needles out of my needle bin to show you the variety of types that I have, and it made me think of something else. My needles are a mess. I have a case for circular needles, but I don’t like it because the pockets that you put the needles in are open at the bottom, so they just fall out a bit, and it’s not handy. So I just keep them all in a fabric bin/basket from Ikea. It’s not ideal.
What I really wanted to talk about is why it is a good idea to have a variety of types and materials in your needle collection. When I first started knitting, I bought bamboo needles in town, straights and dpn’s, because they are grabby and nice to learn on. As I got better, I bought Harmony needles from Knit Picks, an interchangeable set and some fixed circulars in the smaller sizes. Eventually I realized that I was never going to get gauge for socks using such giant needles as that, I mean, come on. 2mm? (US0) That’s huge. So I got some Hiya Hiya and Addi turbo lace circs in smaller sizes. The smallest needles I have are Hiya Hiya’s in 1.2mm. They are tiny. They are so pointy that I poke holes in my right pointer finger every time I use them, which causes my gauge to loosen up, so I usually just use the 1.5mm’s and hope for the best.
I have a beautiful set of rosewood straights (see photo) that I rarely use, and when I do it’s because I want to use the needles, not because they are best for the yarn. I could use them more if they were smaller, 4.5mm is not often called for around here.
I have recently branched out to try needles made of other things. Can you see the red cable in the photo above? That is my ChiaGoo circ, size 2mm, which I absolutely love for knitting flat, things like shawls and scarves, and for circular knitting that doesn’t require magic loop. The firm cable is great for that. I find it useful even for thread-like yarn, like most of the Habu I have in my stash. The nice thing about this circ is that it is the only one I have. I was trying to remember what size needle I had been using for a sample that I had set aside for a while, and couldn’t for the life of me think of it, but then I remembered the look of the grey yarn over a red cable, and knew immediately which one it was.
I also have one bamboo circ with a 60″ cable, a 2.25mm. I use it for spiral blankets. I am working on the third and fourth of such blankets, and am not using that circ for the fourth one because it is currently in the third one (which isn’t exactly a spiral, more of a square blanket in the round), and someone sat on my knitting bag and snapped the tip off, so I can’t finish that project until the replacement comes. It is funny how wrong the fourth blanket feels because I am using a fixed Harmony needle with it, and not my bamboo circ.
I only knit laceweight sweaters with square needles. I used a set with the annoying floppy cables for Camp Loopy last year and a new set with the firmer cable for Camp Loopy this year. They are very ideal for laceweight sweaters, and I have no idea why I love them so much for this, but haven’t tried them for anything else. It’s handy though, to remember what the cables looked like and know that they are the go to choice for any other laceweight sweaters I chose to make.
So I guess my point is this. Often the advice is given to find your favorite needles and buy a set of them, because you will never need anything else. I disagree. Different needles are best for different projects. Try a variety of them, because you never know what you will love and why. I haven’t used anything from my interchangeable set in years, and when I did use it, I only used a few sizes. Most of the needles have yet to be used. I should sell them, shouldn’t I.
So what needles do you always use for a certain type of project? Do you have any that you love for one thing, but have never used for anything else?
I have grand ideas, you guys, about the pictures I want to share with you. Unfortunately, I have barely knit anything at all for the past three weeks, and the little knitting I have accomplished is all Super Secret Stuff that Shan’t be Seen. Thus, I have nothing to share. Sad, isn’t it?
Never fear, however. Back-to-school night is Tuesday, and I already have my outfit all picked out – my Put Together tank from Camp Loopy Project 3! I fully intend to coerce a coworker into taking pictures of me so that I can share them with you. (Don’t worry, I also picked out a blouse to go under the tank, trousers for my bottom half and even shoes to complete the look!)
In the meantime – I’d like to live vicariously through the rest of you. I’d love to hear about your current projects. What are you making? What yarn are you using? Have you discovered any amazing patterns lately?
It was the second day of school today. So far I have met my goal of going to the gym every school day. I have also gotten design work done in the afternoons, although my mum is visiting so I have also been doing fun stuff with her. It’s going to be a good year.
Ever feel compelled to knit something, without knowing why? That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. Specifically, this: Scavenger. I don’t know why. I don’t have the legs for it. Even if I did, I’d never wear it. I have no occasion on which to wear it. I have a million other more pressing projects to work on, including some design samples and my sister’s wedding veil.
But I’ve had a few skeins of QED (a yarn from Sanguine Gryphon, now discontinued) that have been insisting, no matter where in my stash I buried them, on being this skirt. So last night, I finally gave in and bought the pattern. This afternoon, probably because I’m too sick to think about any of my other projects, I cast on. I’m almost done with the first panel. And you know what?…it’s barely going to cover my underwear when it is done…definite violation of the pants rule!…yet I just keep knitting.
Please forgive the iPhone photo…I’m just too busy knitting this to take a proper picture…
So…have you ever felt compelled to knit something, even though you have no need for it? Ever had yarn scream out insistently that it needs to be made into something, no matter how hard you try to ignore it?