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Posts Tagged ‘notions’

I have a new toy

I’ve already gotten the “Experimental Tool” from lesliewind.

experimental-tool

I think it looks even better than the Etsy picture.  It’s a lovely piece.

This is one of Leslie’s early takes on a combination knitting pin/cable tool.  She has a number of styles of knitting jewelry, which are all really elegant but out of my price range at the moment.   I’m not very experienced in Portuguese (or Andean, or Egyptian) style knitting  (where you tension the yarn in front of the work, by wrapping it around your neck or on a hook suspended on a pin or necklace), but it’s been on my list of techniques to master for a while.  When I saw that Leslie had an experimental tool at a reduced price I thought it would be a good time to give it a go.

aidez-cables

Aidez seemed like a good candidate, as it has areas of reverse stockinette ground for cables.

There were no directions with the necklace, so I tried slipping the yarn through in several ways for the pin knitting.  There were several workable ways, but I think I liked ‘underhand’ with the yarn through the large loop best.  I found it much easier than the last time I tried this method.  It’s comfortable and I was soon able to zip along even faster than Norwegian purling.

Leslie has it listed as the equivalent to a size 0, so I wasn’t sure how it would work as a cable needle for aran weight yarn, but I gave it a go, and I find it easier (and smoother) than the KnitPicks needle I was using.  Of course, this project just has a 2×1 cable, I wouldn’t want to try it for something much larger.  I also found it awkward to work a back cable while wearing the necklace (though it was fine when I removed it).  Still, it is a pleasure to use and attractive to wear.

The necklace was well packaged, and came with a nice note and a very generous selection of thank you gifts.

 

bag-o-swag

There’s an attractive gift bag, a ‘care’ tag which pays homage to handmade gifts, and a shawl pin (which was similar to, but distinct from, what she had in her shop at the time I placed my order).

heart-shawl-pin

It’s a simple and elegant design which holds securely.

I am very pleased with my purchase, and impressed with this Etsy shop, it’s an excellent source for premium knitting supplies.  Go take a look, and let me know what you think.

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Lots of Knitting!

Walderton

I finished the test knit of Michelle Stead’s Walderton.

0000100789_medium2

It’s a beautiful project.  I think it would have worked better with another yarn, the Neigborhood Fiber Company hand dyes are glorious, but they’re also heavily variegated, and the cabling gets lost in all the color noise, even if the texture of the main body is picked up beautifully.

The yarn is beautiful, but I was disappointed with the Rustic yarn.  It seems to have been cut (sometimes partially, others fully) into lots of segments.  My sister and friends have bought from Neighborhood Fiber Co and haven’t had any trouble at all.  Yes, I could have returned the skein, but it was a limited edition colorway*  which I had picked up over a year ago.  I didn’t discover the issue until I wound the ball, and so I decided to make do.

I probably should have stopped the project at 36 pattern repeats, which is what the pattern calls for.  At that length it hangs down in front, with the thin and thick ends layered to make a nice piece with the teeth on both sides.  As Michelle said she was curious to see it longer I kept going.  It’s a more conventional shawlette at this point, still very pretty, but not as neat.

I recommend the pattern when it comes out.

The final frustration with this project is that I seem to have mislaid my blocking wires!  I ended up just pinning it out.  I would have liked to run wires through the edges, then really pin the points out hard.  I will probably re-block this in the future when I find my kit.  In the mean time, I do like the way it turned out.

Aidez

I’ve had Aidez by Cirila Rose in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I bought the yarn for it (Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool) almost a year ago.

Yarn Choice

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It has a delicious odor, which much be what a freshly washed sheep smells like.

I don’t know why I got it in a tweedy colorway.  Especially after my experience with Walderton I’m concerned, but it’s lighter in color and I’m pleased with the visibility of the garter stitch in my swatch.

aidez-swatch

New Tools/Toys

finishing-needle

As you can see from the above picture, I decided to leave the ends unfinished and weave them in after blocking.  I also decided to try a new tool to work them in with.  I picked up a pack of Susan Bates finishing needles.

It’s a nice design.  The super giant ‘eye’ means you don’t have to try to turn the needle when you’re weaving super short ends (like if you find you’ve inadvertently played yarn chicken while doing a long tail cast on).   I usually end up re-threading the needle after each pass in those cases, but this makes that unnecessary.

They come in a pack of five, to suit yarn from bulky (pictured) down to lace weight.  My only criticism is the material.  I would have preferred recyclable plastic.

I’ve also ordered an “experimental tool” from lesliewind on Etsy.   This is a fingering weight combination cable tool and Portuguese (Egyptian) knitting hook.  I’ve been curious about the front-yarn method for a while, and she makes absolutely beautiful stuff.  Besides, I’m always interested in beta-testing (even if I am a curmudgeon at times).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Kate Spade giveaway.  No new giveaways entered.

file_medium2*The Windchester-Sandtowne colorway was introduced for a limited time in 2015, proceeds went to help rebuild neighborhoods damaged in the Baltimore Riot (insurrection), which took place in early May (right around the time of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival). Another reason I decided not cause a fuss, even if I was annoyed enough to post about it here – it’s a good gesture, and a good company – I know these things happen, I’m just going to whine a bit.  (back) 

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This is Not TV Knitting

I Got Cocky

I’ve become a bit arrogant about the Walderton shawl.  It’s an eight row repeat, and there are 36 repeats in t he shawl.  It’s not an overly complex pattern, but there are four parts to it – two distinct borders, a body section (where the increases are) and a cable section.  It took me about 20 repeats to get the whole thing down.

Last night I took the shawl with me to ‘craft night’, which (as it often does) turned into ‘game night’.  I decided I could knit and play Wiz-War at the same time.walderton-boo-boo

I don’t know how I managed it, but I purled rather than knit for the first few stitches of the body section of this row.  That could have happened if I’d just been listening to podcasts, but I didn’t catch the error for another inch and a half (3 centimeters) of knitting.

Keeping Calm and Knitting On

Fortunately, I keep a well stocked notions pouch in each of my project bags.  I had already figured out what the pattern should look like wale-by-wale*, so that saved a step in the repair process.  It was just a matter of dropping the stitches down, then picking them back up the right way round.

 

knit-fix

Knit stitch

purl-fix

Purl stitch

You would think this would teach me a lesson about mindful knitting, but I have to admit that it won’t.  I will just accept that making the occasional repair is part of my process, and allow myself time to do that.  Fortunately, I paced myself well on this month long project, the deadline is six days from now, and I’m about 90% done (with the option to knit extra repeats if I choose to do so).  I’m calling this a win.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts giveaway for August/September, so I entered the September/October giveaway (15 October).  I also didn’t win the Manos giveaway.  I signed up for the Sonic Knits Yarny Bingo (October), and the Sweet Paprika Instagram giveaway (tonight).

*Wale: a single column of stitches in a knitting procect – those stitches which would unravel if you were to drop a specific stitch. (back to top)

 

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The Mighty (Small) Pen

I have always loved stationery stores.

It’s not the smell,exactly  I think I loved the stores first, then loved the smell by association.  It’s a dry, subtle smell, really rather neutral if you stripped away the memories, but it still makes me happy nonetheless.  I don’t expect everyone I meet to be equally happy in stationery stores, or all that interested in pen reviews.  I plan to return to my more usual fare in the next post.

Recently I’ve been putting together a collection of pens to carry with me in various small pouches and bags (notions and other.  Here’s what I’ve got at the moment, plus one which is on the way.

Implements of Destruction Writing

Five Pens

Pilot Varsity

Varsity Open 500 Varsity closedIt’s an inexpensive, disposable fountain pen.  At under $5 it was the perfect pen to pick up and cart around as a way to explore whether or not I could manage to run a pen dry before I lost it.  The reservoir is noticeably lower now, so the experiment seems to be working.

This is the only full sized pen I’m discussing today.  It’s about 5 1/2″ long capped, 5 3/4″ when ‘posted’ (with the cap positioned on the non writing end of the pen).

I’ve used fountain pens in the past, and was worried that this one might leak.  It doesn’t, possibly because it doesn’t have a removable cartridge to install badly.  Nor does it have that ‘scratchy’ feeling I had half expected.  I like this pen a lot, but will probably replace it with something more permanent when it does run dry.

Fisher Space Pen Stowaway

fisher closedfisher open 499px fisher posted Yup, it’s a space pen!  Pressurized refill cartridge, writes upside down or underwater or in space or wherever.  It is 4″ when closed, 5 1/4″ posted, it’s the smallest and least expensive space pen I’ve found. The Bullet is about the same length, and possibly prettier, but it’s also much wider and about twice as much.  The Stowaway is $10 at REI.

This was the first ‘mini pen’ I got, and it convinced me that it was possible to do them right.  It writes much more smoothly than most ball point pens do, and feels like a full sized pen in the hand.

FedEx Keychain Pen/Stylus

Fedex closedFedex open 440I don’t know that this little glittery pen has a name, I found it at the counter of the FexEx/Kinko’s store.  It came with a keychain attached, but I removed that so that it would fit in a small notions pouch.

Small is right, here.  It’s 3 1/4″ long.  Since it’s made to go on a keychain it does not post.  The stylus works on some touch screens but not on all of them.  I don’t know what the glitter is all about, and there’s no obvious way to refill the pen.

Not too unreasonable, considering that I got it for $2.75.  I got it to fit in a tiny notions case, and I’ve found pens I like more which are small enough, so I’ll probably replace it with something a bit larger when it runs dry.

Ohto Petit-B

ohto posted 654ohto closed ohto open 377Another tiny pen for under $10.  I was a little disappointed with the ‘ball point’ grittiness when I first got this one, but either I got used to it quickly or it worked out with use.

This one is almost as slender as the Stowaway, but is only 3″ long when capped.  It posts at 5 1/4″, so is a pretty good length for hand feel.  Ohto manufactures refill cartridges for it.  It’s the perfect length for the Lantern Moon knit-kit notions pouch.

Xonex Piccolo

xonex refill xonex open xonex postedFor $12 this pen set me back more than any other on this list.  It’s crazy small, about 2 1/4″ long capped, 2 3/4″ posted.  I can write with it OK, but it wouldn’t be comfortable as a serious letter writing or journalling pen.  On the other hand, it fits beautifully into my Nancy’s Knit-Nacks case.

Do you have a favorite pen?  Do you like cheap disposables or something more substantial?  How about some of the new, super modern pens out there, anyone use those?

I’d love to hear what you think, but I’ll probably be back to blogging about knitting soon.

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The Pattern Posting Lessons

It’s been almost a week since I posted the Vexing Socks pattern.  More than 500 people took advantage of the coupon code, and three missed it.  People visited the blog to get the coupon code, and many of them took a look around the blog.  I don’t know how many ‘followed’, but there wasn’t a noticeable uptick in comments.   I had one individual ask if I would knit the socks for him.  (The answer to that was no).  Two of my test knitters linked their FOs to the pattern in the Ravelry database, and it’s in 9 queues with 96 favorites.  Not bad.

If I do publish any more patterns I think I will do the coupon code thing again, but just for three days (since the vast majority of the activity on the pattern took place over the first three days).  I think, on the whole, it went well.

In Other Knitting

I finally succeeded in using the crochet cast on for Kris Hanson’s Dino Cap. I’m having a lot of fun with this project.  The toddler’s parents are big fans of the Washington NFL team, so the cap is in burgundy and gold.  I’ve called my Ravelry project “The Dino Who Shall Not Be Named” in honor of the current controversy.  I cast on in gold, but switched to burgundy in the middle of the first earflap (just after the decreases).  Since the short rows in the flaps are done without yarn overs or other methods of smoothing there is a built in picot edge, and it makes a nice transition point.  I switched back to gold and did the same process for the second flap.   Knit to the same depth in burgundy as I had in gold, and attached the working edge to the cast on edge with a three needle technique.  I’m rather pleased with the results.

Nameless Dino Hem

Space and Organization

Five Explosion

That cool snail thing you’re seeing is a Debra’s Garden needle gauge. The blue blob is a yarn bra – which is pretty helpful when you’re working with cotton in particular.

I’m making good progress on the cricket sweater as well.  I’ve worked through the underarm decreases on the back, and I’m

enjoying it very much.  I’ve already switched that project into the new project bag. It did still fit into the previous bag, but the Illustriation shawl was cramped in the next smaller bag, so I did a bit of shuffling around.

I also had to admit that the Altoids box was no longer working as a notions tin.  I had blown the hinges on one, and replaced it with a new Altoids tin, but even handling it gently I had trouble getting it closed consistently.

So I replaced that with a Lantern Moon knit aid case.  I already mentioned that I had ordered up a Namaste Better Buddy to have one notions case per project bag, and that came in as well.

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My sets obsession has driven me to order yet another Debra’s Garden gauge so that every Project Bag which is actively in use can have one clipped to it.  I know it’s pretty silly, but that’s what I’m doing with it.

I could go off and talk about the pen and notebook thing, but I’ll save that for another time.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the Thick and Finn, Swan’s Island or Kangarth knits giveaways.  I entered a giveaway from Hands Occupied for a skein of Silverspun yarn (30 October).

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At least, one eBay vendor thinks I am.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been indulging in a bit of online retail therapy lately.  One of the (too many) things I’ve ordered was a set of yarn snips which was (according to the listing*) probably small enough to fit in the largest of my Lantern Moon notions pouches. I got an email with a tracking number so I started tracking the package.  The snips cost about $4, by the way, including shipping, so obviously this must be a high stakes issue, right? (Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands and am a total information junkie.)

I got some odd text messages about it:

TextsThere was more detailed information including time stamps on the USPS tracking web page which I found puzzling.  (Did I mention that I must have too much time on my hands?)  Yesterday, when my poor overworked mail carrier dropped off the yarn from Cast-Off chemo (which is totally yummy, by the way):

Merino RibbonI asked him about the other package. Tracking said it had been out for delivery several times, but neither he nor I had seen it.  He agreed it was strange, and suggested I call the post office.  So I phoned the office at 21044  The postal worker hummed while she was logging into the system (I told her she was giving me personalized hold music) and then got very confused, and went to speak to her supervisor (the system didn’t give me any hold music at all, just periodic buzzing…) and then came back and explained what the issue was.

She said the package was addressed to USA, 21045, and nothing else.

I gave her my name and address again.  We’ll see if it actually gets here Monday or not…

* At the time of this post that listing has been updated with a length half an inch longer than the previous one, so probably not).

Commitment Check

The Ravelry Shop will have been up for a full week tomorrow.  The fish pattern had four downloads on the first day (including my own ‘trial’ download) and two since.

Now to publish the Vexing socks, edited to acknowledge the testers, and give it a promo code, which I will publish here.  I will have that done by Sunday, 25 October.

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Life is full of frustrations

Well, the not-ready-to-talk-about project has hit a snag.  I feel that I’m handling it pretty well, but I’m not quite ready to blog about it yet. Other areas of my life aren’t much easier. This morning DH dropped me off at the Motor Vehicles Express office.  It’s a mile and change from home, across the street from a weekly coffee-and-yarn meetup I like to go to.  The office had barely opened, so there wasn’t too much of a line.  The clerk couldn’t give me the duplicate title I needed, but she could write down the information I needed to order it online.  This was about what I’d expected, so I thanked her, tucked the slip of paper in my wallet, and went on the knitting meet up.

The meet up was fun.  I don’t know the other knitters (and crocheter) very well, but I’m starting to.  One woman there has a daughter who’s been a PCV twice, who is just starting a job teaching English in Indonesia.  We met each others, and both daughters, at previous meet ups, so we swapped stories and that was good.

I tried multiple times to create a provisional cast on for a lined toddler cap.  Honestly, I should be able to do this by now without referring to the internet, but no… no such luck.  I gave up and worked on the cricket sweater for my husband instead.

After I walked home, the paper was gone.  It must have fallen out of my wallet when I got my coffee.  Totally my own fault, but I didn’t want to walk down and back again so I called it a loss and I’ll just have him drop me off again tomorrow.

This afternoon I got the letter Abby sent me before leaving for Senegal.  It was lovely, but I found myself crying again.  This is going to be hard.

Knitting News

So now I have four WiPs, one for each project bag.  I expect the sweater is going to get too big for the largest bag pretty soon.  Even if it doesn’t, I have bought yarn for the Aidez, which is much bulkier.  So I ordered a new project bag.

The Exploding Tardis Project Bag from AmeliaXJIoy’s Etsy shop

Honestly, I think missing Abby has prompted a big bout of ‘retail therapy’.  I invested in a second CritSuccess counter ring (this one in blue – so pretty!). I also got a swift cover from Slipped Stitch Studios, because I’ve been kicking myself for missing the chance to get that one in the Exploding Tardis print.

So now that I’m going to have a fifth project bag, I naturally had to order a notions case to go with it.  I was torn between the Namaste “Better Buddy” case and the Lantern Moon “Mindy Pocket” case.  They’re both kind of expensive for notions cases, but they’re cheaper than drinking…

Anyway, I ordered the Namaste online, because I noticed that retailers were kind of low on stock.  Then someone at the knitting group told me that they’re stopping production because the Pleather doesn’t wear well.  Oh well, we’ll see how long I can get mine to last for.

Following a conversation on Ravelry, I’ve decided to add a pen and notebook to each of my notions bags.  Post it notes for the small boxes, handmade notebooks from Etsy for the larger ones.

4 map bound mini-journals from Carta Papiera on Etsy

For pens I’ve gotten a Fisher Space Pen stowaway (a neat, compact pen), an Ohto Petit B (a really pretty, tiny pen), a Xonex Piccollo (wow! is this thing tiny) and a keychain pen/stylus (the last of which I found at the checkout at FedexKinko’s).  The Namaste buddy is bigger than any of my current pouches, so I’ll probably get a larger writing implement for that.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Mooglyblog “Cast Off Chemo” CD, but I did bid on (and win) a cowl kit their eBay fundraiser.  I entered a drawing for a chocolate hamper from Plutonium Muffins (21 October)

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