I don’t have much in the way of knitting to show you today. I am working on the Entrelac Baby blanket (remember that?) which doesn’t really get much more interesting as it grows and I have hit a snag (again) in the SOTS II lace pattern – once again, I have tried to tink back a bit and messed things up even more than they were to begin with.
So, I figured I would show you a few of the things that I have acquired over the last few years of knitting that I simply can not live without.
When I first started knitting, I figured that books were too expensive and bought only magazines for the first year. However, I am now finding that books are where its at. I pick these up and knit from them much more often than a magazine and they are easier to find a certain pattern – such as a quick baby project – much faster than a magazine simply because they are organized by type of project.
The book I use most? The one I thought I would use the least for some reason – Last Minute Knitted Giftsby Joelle Hoverson. I simply love this book. I have made five of the projects from the book and have plans to make at least two more before I am through.
The first set of needles that I managed to get my hands on were a pair of straight plastic size 6US needles that I pilfered out of my mother’s stash. Now, my mom does not knit and so these had been hanging around since the 1970′s. I knit 2/3 of an acrylic baby blanket on them and they were so sticky and hard to use, I almost gave up knitting. Then I discovered the joys of interchangeable circulars. I got my Denise set first which was perfect for a beginning knitter as they are smooth and flexible, but still have some grab to them. Then, I got a set of Boye and I am finding that I prefer these to the Denise set as they are slicker and I can knit faster with them as my skill has increased. Of course, when Knit Picks came out with their interchangeable and the buzz that surrounded them was deafening, I knew I needed some of these needles. I have yet to use them, but as soon as I am ready to cast on for my next project (a sweater!), these will be my weapon of choice.
I think what I love most about interchangeable circs is the flexibility. You always have at hand any size needles and cables necessary for any project. To me, interchangeable circs offer the best bang for your buck.
3. A Good Bag
Nothing beats a good knitting bag. I am partial to Namaste bags, myself, but there are so many amazing options out there that knitters have almost endless choice. For Christmas, I received a Namaste Messenger bag in Mauve. This bag fits my needs perfectly. It is exceptionally roomy without being too large and has a number of inner and outer pockets that I can stash tools, yarn, and other necessary accessories in.
I also have a Namaste Jetsetter that I love and will be able to carry to and from work without a lot of questions as it most definitely does not look like a typical knitting bag.
I am currently coveting one of the Newer Namaste bags – the Malibu design. Too cute.
4. Finally, a Good Yarn
The right yarn is important. Now, don’t get me wrong, the right yarn doesn’t have to be expensive or made of the highest quality fibers, but it is extremely important to match the right yarn to the right project. Yarns have characteristics that should work to the advantage of the project you are knitting. I had very little understanding of this concept when I first started knitting. I wanted to knit Tempting but had no clue about the type of yarn that should be used. Consequently, I choose a good solid workhorse yarn – Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. This yarn, while amazing for felted projects and non-drapey garments, is not a great fit for Tempting. As a result, the sweater has sat, folded in my closet, for the last few years. It’s stiff like cardboard and rides up like you wouldn’t believe because of the lack of drape in the knit fabric. I think that yarn substitution is a learned skill and gets easier with each project. When in doubt, swatch the yarn you are planning to use before committing to making a whole sweater out of it. Once the swatch is done (be sure to make a generous swatch – at least4″ square) and look at the drape of the yarn, the thickness, the gauge and the overall effect of the yarn. I often swatch, wash the swatch and step away for a few days before I make my decision. Sometimes the best yarn pills or breaks down (causing those little bits of fibre to fly away and tickle your nose as you wear it) when washed. Every yarn has the right project. It’s up to you to find it.
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