Knitting, review

I am a metal needle convert

I use to swear by bamboo needles. This stems from my hatred of plastic needles. When I bought my first pair of bamboo circulars I thought my two choices were bamboo or plastic and I wanted nothing to do with plastic needles anymore.

At first my bamboo needles served me well. They were sharp and more substantial than any plastic ones I had used. So when I needed needles in a different size I naturally gravitated towards bamboo.

About a year ago that changed. I bought a interchangeable set that was made of laminated birch. My yarn slipped so gracefully over the laminated needles and the points were much sharper than my aging bamboo needles. This needle set was my gateway drug into the world of metal needles.

At Christmas time my then fiance and I were headed to Florida for a week. I had a lot of knitting I wanted to get done and I wasn’t sure that my old bamboo needles would last the entire trip. (They did! In fact, my bamboo circs are still kicking though it is clear they are not long for this world.) I did not have time to order needles off of Amazon or Knitpicks so I headed to my LYS. When the woman behind the counter asked if I wanted metal or bamboo I said metal, on a whim.

Metal needles changed my life. They are like knitting magic. Yarn glides so easily over my needles that it practically cuts the time needed to complete a project in half! Okay, not really but I really do knit faster with metal needles.

I have looked back a couple times. I’ve knit a couple projects on bamboo needles since Christmas though I’ve almost always regretted it. I am slowly increasing my collection of metal needles and that will take time but from now on metal needles will always be my preference.

Bamboo or acrylic needles still have their place. The TSA is less likely to confiscate your knitting if it’s not on metal needles. If you’re going to an event where you will have to pass through a metal detector like a concert or professional sporting event a metal alternative needle is preferable.

Quick Post, ramble

Ravelry Project Pages

I am torn. On the one hand I like Ravelry project pages because I can keep track of my projects but on the other hand I hate updating my project pages. I just can’t seem to keep up with them. I’ll be going strong for a couple months and then I fall off the Ravelry band wagon.

I’ve started documenting my projects on Instagram pretty religiously but it’s not the same. I can’t bog down my Instagram feed with all of my notes and modifications. Nor can I simply not record these things because that leads to mistakes and careless errors on larger projects.

No, I cannot simply ignore my Ravelry project pages. I have to get my butt in gear and get them up to date.

Knitting, review, tutorial

Sewn Bind Off

In my last post I talked about how much I hated the look of Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bind off. Lack of a better bind off option had really turned me off toe-up sock knitting. Not only is Jenny’s bind off unappealing to look at, it is so stretchy that the cuff no longer holds the sock up on the wearer’s leg. In my opinion this sliding down completely defeats the purpose of knitting a cuff for your sock in the first place.

Enter, the sewn bind off. It’s still not as aesthetically pleasing as a cast on edge but it looks way better then Jenny’s super stretchy bind off. Plus the cuff actually retains its shape, which is a definite bonus.

Tutorial 

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You need to leave a tail that is three times the width of your project. Since a sock is round you need to remember that the circumference is twice the width of your project. I left a tail that was six times as wide of the top of my sock when it was laying flat.

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After cutting the tail I thread it through my yarn needle. Yes, that needle is orange and no, I didn’t buy is with the intention of doing tutorials. I thread the needle through the first two stitches purlwise.2017-03-31 12.55.27

Next, I thread the needle through the first stitch knitwise and pulled the stitch off of my knitting needle.

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Then I just repeated the last two steps all the way around. It left a nice edge that was stretchy but not too stretchy.

I hope this post helps those of you who are looking for an alternative to the sewn bind off!

Knitting, Quick Post

My Current Works in Progress

I, like every knitter I know, catch cast-on-itis every now and again. I’d like to think that I’ve been good about new cast ons lately but it’s all relative. Here is a list of my active WIPs and their current status. Hopefully, this post will help me get my behind in gear and free some needles.

1) The Classic Oak Cardigan

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This cardigan has been on my needles the longest of all my wips. I started this cardigan in November because it was so supposed to be a wedding gift for my husband. By our wedding in January I had almost finished the first sleeve. I let the sleeve sit in my knitting basket for a couple of months before I cast on for the body.

When I cast on for the body I thought I was using a US size 7 circular needle. Turns out it was a US size 5! Luckily, my husband was in between two pattern sizes and I opted for the larger of the two sizes. The smaller needle resulted in a sweater that is going to fit him much better than I had planned. Unfortunately, this meant I had to frog the sleeve I had nearly finished.

Currently, I am less than and inch away from starting the arm hole shaping! I am so excited to be almost done with the body. I knit the cardigan all in one piece and it was almost an overwhelming amount of cables.

2) My Pull-Over

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I bought this yarn with the intention of using it for the owl cardigan from a collection of Harry Potter themed knits from Interweave but when I knit my gauge swatch the yarn was so dark it was really hard to see the stitches. I knew that if I knit a pattern with as much detail as the owl cardigan I would hate myself for using such a dark yarn. So instead this yarn became a simple pull-over. I improvised the pattern, like I usually do for simple pull-overs.

Currently, I am just below where I am going to join the arms and the body and begin the yoke shaping. I haven’t started yet because I haven’t had time to knit the arms yet. It’s a bad excuse I know but it’s the truth. Hopefully, I’ll get this finished in a reasonable amount of time.

3) Birthday Socks

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I started these Tuesday night and they are coming along fine. I don’t usually have a problem getting socks off the needles in a reasonable amount of time. There are are a few reasons for that. Socks don’t take very long. Compared to a sweater there are far less stitches involved. Also, a vanilla sock is super easy to carry around and knit while multitasking so my vanilla sock generally see more regular action than my other wips.

For this sock I am using my normal vanilla sock recipe. It’s a man sock so I used 64 stitches instead of 60 on a US size 1 needle. The yarn is turning my needles blue so I will definitely have to wash them before I gift them to get all the runniness out.

4) My Treccia Hat

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I am super excited about this hat. First of all, I have NEVER knit myself a hat before! I’ve knit a ton of hats for other people but never for myself. I also love the Treccia pattern by Michele Wang. AND this hat is knit of Voolenvine yarn!!! I love Kristen’s podcast and her hand dyed yarn is gorgeous. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a skein for ages and I finally managed to get one during her shop update a couple of weeks ago.

The hat is looking a bit stretched out because I accidentally ordered a 24″ circ instead of a 16″. I don’t know how exactly it happened my brain is just turning to mush.

Knitting, socks, tutorial

Create a Sock Recipe: Part 3- Toe-up vs. Cuff-down

One of the many decisions you will have to make when knitting your socks is whether you want to knit them toe-up or cuff-down. For me there is no clear winner here. Both methods are equally easy and each have their pros and cons.

I will say that I usually knit my socks cuff down. I have two reasons for this and they both are mainly aesthetics.

  1.  1. I really don’t like the way Jenny’s supper stretchy bind off looks and I have yet to find a bind off that looks better but is still stretchy enough for the tops of socks.
  2. 2. I like to knit a heel flat and gusset with my socks and while it is possible to do toe up I prefer the look and fit when they are knit cuff down.

Toe-up socks allow you to knit a sock that is pretty customize able in regards to size. Since you can try the sock on as you go it is pretty easy to create a sock that is exactly the right length. Another advantage to knitting toe-up socks it that there is no yarn chicken. In other words because you knit the important part of the sock first you don’t need to worry about leaving enough yarn to knit the foot. If you are someone who does not like scrap yarn laying around knitting socks toe-up might be the way to go since you can knit the leg until you run out of yarn.

Cuff-down socks are my personal favorite. I think cuff-down socks fit my feet better than toe-up socks do. I also really don’t like the way Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bind-off looks. Sorry Jenny, but I don’t find your bind-off aesthetically pleasing. Also, I think Jenny’s bind-off is a little too stretchy and does not hug my leg the way I would like. Maybe there’s a stretchy bind-off out there that doesn’t look bad but I have yet to find it.

Uncategorized

Why I Make Time for Knitting When I Don’t Have the Any

Like any hobby I knit because it’s relaxing and I enjoy it, the finished objects are nice but they are really just a byproduct for me. When I get really busy with school or work or both it can be hard to find the time to knit and work on my projects. Sure, there are days where the unfinished sweaters and socks feel like one more thing on my to-do list but those days are far and few between.

Most days I would much rather sit and knit than face my term papers or the endless stream job applications. But for me knitting is so much more than another way to procrastinate. A few rows of knitting in the middle of a hectic day can mean the difference between feeling busy and feeling swamped.

When I take time out of my day to knit and relax I return to my tasks refreshed and ready to get stuff done. Do I pay for that knitting time?  Maybe, taking a knitting break sometimes means dinner is on the table at Seven instead of Six. But how big of a price is that? Am I going to remember next month what time we ate dinner? No. Am I going to remember if I was stressed out of my mind with school work? Absolutely.

It comes down to priorities. When life gets hectic I have to decide if my sanity is more important than hunkering down and getting things done more quickly. There are definitely times when meeting a deadline means sacrificing a little bit of my sanity but most of the time there is nothing to gain by wrapping up at five instead of six.

Will this change next year when I am working in an office environment? Probably, but for now I am going to save myself the headache by making time for myself.