Monthly Archives: May 2011

New favorite comic

Saw this (tweeted by stash, knit, repeat) this morning:

(Check out other comics by PARA ABNORMAL here.  But be warned:  Time spent surfing and chuckling cannot be refunded!)

Note to self:  Wood needles in case of vampires.  Must locate some silver needles in case of werewolves…

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Prototype

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My husband calls my gauge swatches “prototypes.” At first I was amused by this, but really, he’s right. A prototype is a proof-of-concept, something that validates what you’re attempting. And isn’t that what a swatch is?

So what *is* this mysterious blob?  I am currently working on Every Last Yard, which is a lovely, seamless top-down sweater by Amy Swenson.  I’m using Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn (in Celadon), which is simply heavenly stuff.  (I’ve made two scarves out of it and am already thinking about what I can knit next with it!)  I’m making pretty quick progress on it, so more pictures to come soon!

Tools

Stitch MarkersA lovely and talented friend of mine gave me this wonderful set of stitch markers the other day:

Aren’t they neat?  I know I will enjoy using them.  Not only are they attractive, they’re  a knitting tool that will make my projects easier.  (I can’t imagine tackling a complicated lace project without stitch markers.  Ouch!!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about knitting tools lately.  My husband loves to say that you need the right tool for the job, and I think this one of those cliches that became a cliche because it’s so frequently true.  When you have the wrong tool (or the right tool in poor condition) a simple or enjoyable task can become tedious or frustrating, and the results may not be what you hoped for.  If you’re going to chop vegetables, would you prefer to use a dull, rusted knife with a flimsy blade or a well-balanced knife with a good, sharp edge?

Knitting tools are no different.  Good tools can make your knitting easier and more enjoyable, and can help you finish your projects faster and obtain the results you want. 

So what tools are in your knitting bag?  First off, of course, are your knitting needles.  I blogged about my new pair of Signature knitting needles the other day.  They have very sharp, slick points, so I can execute even tricky stitches like k3tog or p2tog tbl with ease.  The cables are very flexible, and they turn freely where they join the needle, so my stitches won’t become tangled or distorted. These needles are expensive, but they make lace knitting easier and more enjoyable for me, so I think they are well worth the price tag.  I also have two sets of Signature double-pointed needles that I use for sock knitting.

I also use and enjoy my Knit Picks nickel-plated needles.  They are also very slick, so even bulky sweater yarns glide along them with ease.  The interchangeable needles make it easy (and afforable) to always have just the right length of cable, and I have found that I can swap between the circular needles and the double-pointed needles as I work from sweater to sleeve without worrying about changes in gauge.

As you can tell, I prefer metal needles.  I started out knitting with wood needles, but my stitches were so tight that I felt like I was fighting to move the yarn along the slightly “grippy” surface wood needles provide.  But I know other knitters who refuse to use anything but wood needles; they find metal needles too slick or too cold or too inflexible to use comfortably.  Still other knitters prefer needles made of plastic, carbon fiber (the same material used to make Stealth Bombers), or even milk

So I’m curious… what needles do you use?  And why?

Sheep & Wool

I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend with some good friends, Carla Kempert and Hope Ramsay.  I had so much fun that I’m still smiling, four days later.  What could be better than a day spent with friends indulging in a shared addiction interest? 🙂

MDSW-2011Here I am fondling some yarn in (I think) the Cloverhill Yarn booth.  Note Hope’s amazing Fair Isle vest!  She was stopped repeatedly by people wanting to admire it.  One woman told her it was as good as the first place entry in the show!

I bought more yarn than I planned.  Spent more money than I planned.  Came home with yarn and buttons and new knitting needles.  (And allergies, sunburn, and sore feet, but hey, those trifling inconveniences are more than worth it!)

So… what did I get?

The Haul

Three skeins of Minerva (50% merino, 50% bombyx silk) from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, colorway Storm Clouds. Sweater pattern to be determined soon!

Two skeins of Bugga! from Sanguine Gryphon, in Sooty Dancer and Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz (gotta be a Douglas Adams fan to get that one; I might have bought it just for that!).

One skein of Northumbria from Miss Babs, in Sugilite.  (The colors are a little washed out in the picture; it’s shades of pewter and taupe and a gorgeous dusky mauve.)

Buttons from Jennie the Potter (blue) and Melissa Jean (green).

And new knitting needles (circular and double-points) from Signature Needle Arts (which aren’t in this picture because I already put them to use!!).

I spent Mother’s Day sitting in the backyard with my feet up, working on a new project (which I cast on entirely as an excuse to use the aforementioned new Signature circular needles, which are an absolute dream to use).

This is a modified Haruni shawl.  I am using the plain Ishbel body with the Haruni petal border, and adding beads to the flower stems and edges of the petals.  I think it’s going to be gorgeous!  (I actually didn’t get as much knitting done as I’d hoped, because I had to keep stopping to admire the colors in the yarn– Sundara sock yarn in Lunar Landing.)

If you’re a mom, I hope you spent Mother’s Day relaxing and indulging in one of your favorite interests (and/or chocolate!!).