Wednesday, 25 February 2015

All Kinds of Needles (of the knitting variety!)

Way back when I started knitting as an adult in 2009/2010, one of the contributing factors to me falling in love with knitting was the gorgeous Knit Pro Symfonie Needles.  I steadily collected a set of the interchangeable tips and absolutely loved them...

...until I tried the Knit Pro Nova!  Since I was mainly knitting lace and in finer yarns, I much preferred the slippier metal tips for faster knitting.   Despite their prettiness, I sold off my Symfonie to collect the entire set of Nova Interchangables and DPN's.

That was a several years ago and whilst I still much prefer metal tips, I've collected many more needles (or rather sets of needles!)

Photographed are: KnitPro Nova Interchangables (the pink handmade case at the back!), KnitPro Karbonz Box of Joy Interchangables, ChiaoGoo Red Lace Twist Interchangables, HiyaHiya Sharp Small Interchangables, Ultimate Medium Set and Fixed Circulars and Addi Turbo Lace Nickel Plated Fixed Circulars (aka Sock Rockets)  The glass pot contain my mix of KnitPro Nova and ChiaoGoo DPN's and my Clover Amour Crochet Hooks as well as random cable needles and Susan Bates Crochet Hooks.

The HiyaHiya Sets arrived today (hence the blog post) and as I am arranging and sorting so I can destash I figured I'd compare what I have!

Of all my needles I have to say I love the sharpness of the HiyaHiya Sharp tips.  They are ideal for lace and finer yarns and really lend themselves to fast knitting.  The cables are very flexible which is fabulous for magic looping and they have a nice weight to them in general which I really like...I prefer a slightly heavier needle.

The ChiaoGoo Red Lace Twist set is an absolute must have for me...the tips are a great weight, really sharp and I could easily have the Red Lace Set as my only set and be very happy.  The cables are thicker and less flexible than the others in my stash which makes them slightly less of a pleasure to magic loop with but it is still possible.  I know some people prefer the Spin cables instead of the Twist for this reason but I have enough options to not have tried that!

The KnitPro Karbonz are great for when you don't want to be using metal!  The carbon fibre is much less slippy (so great for silk or if you are using a much larger needle than the yarn calls for and want to avoid your stitches just flying off!) but the tips ensure you can still work with finer yarns.  They aren't an ideal point for me - they are the bluntest of my collection - but still lovely to work with. 

The KnitPro Nova are still fabulous needles and superb if you want a flexible and more budget option.  I have the complete set from the smallest short tips right up to the largest tips and love that I always have whatever needle I may need in my Nova's if I don't have them in other sets!

My fixed circular collection consists of the HiyaHiya Sharps and Addi Turbo Lace Nickel Plated (aka Sock Rockets) all in 100cm (shawl or magic looping) or 40cm (hat) length.

Having lusted after Addi's for awhile I decided to get fixed Lace Circ's instead of the click set when I found them on sale last year (even though the click key less cables did appeal!) I really loved the tip sharpness and cables but didn't like the brass finish at all.  I then found the Turbo Lace Nickel Plated Sock Rockets and loved them SO much more so replaced all my brass Addi Lace!  I have to say again, I would be more than happy with an entire collection of the Addi Sock Rockets or HiyaHiya reality I'm just very lucky that I have them all to choose from!  I've never particularly had issues with IC tips unscrewing as I have always knitted on IC needles so got in the habit of checking joins from the start. 

As for comparison of tip sharpness, I attempted a bit of geekery...

As you can see the bottom three (which happen to be my favourites) all have a similar point length and sharpness of tips.  I completely forgot to compare cables but again, the HiyaHiya and Addi are very similar.   

Now I just need to tidy them all and get round to destashing some!  My OCD dictates I need complete collections!!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Quiet Days and Busy Days!

I have no idea where the last couple of weeks have gone!  I seem to have done not much at all, especially on the knitting front.  I'm still sticking to my plans to not cast on anything new and, inbetween working on something for a friend,  have been continuing with the short row ruffle border for my Biellese Shawl.

This was at the halfway point of 50 ruffles - I've done another 10 or so since then so on the homeward stretch!

We had a lovely trip up to Lincolnshire to see my dad this week, with the added bonus of seeing my sister and four of the smalls cousins too.  It's such a shame we can't get up there more often as the kids LOVE it - although I think dad needs adequate time to recover from the noise and mess of 8 of his grand kids descending on him all at once!  I do miss the quietness and serene beauty of the Lincolnshire Fens.

Whilst I may not have cast anything else on from my list, I did succumb to some lovelies in the Wollmeise stocking on Friday!  After selling another wrap I had some PayPal and found the perfect combination or Pure 100% for my 3 Colour Cashmere Cowl - Maus Jung, Maus Alt and Zarte Knopse!!  Can't wait to cast these on and I'll easily have over 100g of each colour left for another project too.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Bigger Hat for a Bigger Girl

A long time ago (Decemember 2008 to be exact!) I brought Rachael a Hudson Hat from hyenacart.  It was to be the first of several Hudson Hat's the kids have had and whilst in reality is now too small, Rach still wears her original hat in bed (don't ask!) most nights.

In December I got a couple of bargainous balls of Lion Brand Amazing in the Muana Loa colourway.   I'd already promised to knit a new Hudson but don't keep a lot of worsted/aran weight yarn in my stash.  My original plans involved a scrappy handspun hat but Rach loved the Amazing yarn when it arrived so who was I to argue!

I have to say whilst I LOVE the pattern which is super easy and quick to knit - I really disliked the yarn!  It had a huge tendency to felt with itself (worse than Noro IMHO!) and whilst the colour way was lovely there was a brown section which I, in retrospect, should have cut out as it really broke up the flow of the purples and pinks and not in a good way.

That said the curly girl is already in love with the finished hat (wore it to bed last night as well - what an honour!) so it's not all bad.  Plus this is the third of my WIP's form my WIP Accountability post that I have completed YAY!!  I should probably finish my blanket next but will see how my wrists feel as that's definitely a pain inducing project!  I am determined to stick to my plans to finish as much as possible before I cast on anything new and so far so good!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Dyeing for a Change!

Sometimes, despite having yarn planned for a project for ages, I get a tad indecisive!    After digging through my yarn drawers last week I happened upon the yarn I had set aside for my Pop Spots shawl.  This once again set off my OCD radar as I wasn't one hundred percent happy with the yarn.  I'd seen some mini skeins which were gorgeous but would require the purchase of several sets to have adequate yardage and despite having some yarn funds from selling a few bits, I was a bit reluctant to spend so much on MORE yarn for a project I kept changing my mind on.

So in my infinite wisdom I decided to spend my money on some more acid dyes and undyed yarn and dye my own!

I decided to try the All In One Easifix Acid Dyes as I could get 10 of the 10g pots really cheaply on eBay, which gave me a range of colours to play with.  I normally use Jacquard Acid Dyes but have also got a few Ashford dyes in my stash as well.  I'd pretty much decided to go with a classic rainbow for the Pop Spots and decided to dye 100g skeins which will give me more than enough for the shawl and hopefully enough for a couple of mini skein sets too. The dyeing also meant my rather niggly wrists got a break too!

I'm really quite pleased with the results!  These are dyed with Scarlet, Orange, Autumn Gold, Leaf Green, Ultramarine and Plum.  And I couldn't resist a couple of 50g skeins in Lime and Magenta!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Another FO - Orla Mitts

Another completed project for the start of the week!  Despite very niggly wrists I cast off my Orla Mitts this weekend and after a wash and block I'm pretty pleased with the results (although still very critical of my tension whilst knitting colour work)

The finished mitts are beautifully warm despite the lack of fingers!  Given that it's yet again snowing outside I should probably consider making gloves with fingers but they're a bit like socks in my opinion - a necessary evil I would rather avoid!  I ended up using just 85m of the main colour and 25m each of the contrast colours so it's a great stash busting project if you have partial skeins lying around.