Tag Archives: needle

Let’s Keep the Momentum!

Now that I’ve got my DPNs squared away, it’s time I did something (anything) with my circulars.

Right now (and, honestly for the last 15+ years), they’ve lived in one big jumble in this shopping bag.  It’s not pretty.  From time to time, I go through and try to match them up with their envelopes.  It’s a pain and I hate it, so mostly they’re just a big old rats nest hanging at the back of my closet. Don’t judge me.IMG_2103.JPGIn the back of my mind, I knew that there were circular needle holders out there- my mom even sells them. (She won’t let me buy anything from her shop, but you should buy from her.  Her stuff is amazing.)  So I pulled out the sewing machine and some fabric scraps and whipped up this bad boy myself.IMG_2093

It’s not the prettiest.  (In my defense, I picked my fabrics at night when the light was not great, and I thought the yellow was a better match, but still.  Also- rickrack?  Really?) But it’s functional and has already saved me a bunch of time.  It’s great seeing all the needles I have all laid out.  Weirdly, I have a lot more US3s than I expected, and a lot fewer US8s.  Funny how that goes.  At least now I know, and won’t keep buying 3s…

How do you organize your needles?

Getting those needles into shape!

I admit, this is a little bit of a silly one, but something that I’ve been needing to do for literally years.  I’ve done it.  I’ve officially organized my DPNs!  *Applause please.*

For a long time, I tried to keep my DPNs in their original packaging, but that was a mess.  It looked awful. I had packs of needles stashed everywhere, and I could never find the ones I needed.

Then several years ago, I put all my needles in one big ceramic jar.  I figured they’d at least be all in the same place.  I didn’t have to go rummaging through thirty-seven different project bags, or digging in my desk, or looking through my various pencil cases and backpacks.

And they looked cute! Bonus!IMG_2080

But that was quite a while ago, and in the interim, I’ve acquired *ahem* quite a few more needles.  (I don’t have a problem, you have a problem.)

I was digging through them the other day, looking for some US6’s, and I ended up so frustrated that my husband offered to help (looking through probably 100+ nearly identical needles will do that to you).  He immediately said “There must be a better way.”  Which made me realize that there must be a better way.

Why had it never occurred to me!?  I like to think that I’m pretty smart, but sometimes I question my own intelligence.

Anyway, I was thinking of what I wanted, and I knew I still wanted my needles out on display, and I wanted to be able to grab the size I needed at a moment’s notice (or at least without a half-hour long search and a lot of swearing).

Long story short, I ended up at Target, and found a “lipstick organizer” (Who’d have thought that was a thing?!).  It’s a short-ish organizer with 16 little spaces, plenty for each size of needle to have its own spot. IMG_2072

So far, it’s working great!  It still looks a little messy, but it gets the job done.  I think I might add little stickers or something to label the sizes, but for now, it’s working out OK.

I can’t believe I wasted so much time digging through that old jar… sigh.

How do you organize your needles?

My Poor Needles

I have a favorite pair of needles.  I bet you do, too.  They’re my go-to needles for probably half the projects I work up.  If I’m designing a pattern, or making a gift for someone that doesn’t specifically require me to dig out a different pair of needles, they’re the ones I go for.  I’ve even switched them back and forth between two different WIPs, so that I could work on two different projects at the same time.

They’re my Knit Picks Interchangeable Size US8 needles in Caspian.

They’re part of a set of interchangeables that I love to death.  It’s so convenient to have such a wide range of needles at my fingertips.  They come with extra cables in a couple lengths, so I always have the perfect needle for whatever project I’m starting.  (And the blue-green colors of the wood are so pretty, I can’t say no to them.)

I’ve had these needles for a few years now, and use them almost exclusively.  I love knitting with wooden needles, and only ever use circulars any more (straight needles drive me up the wall), so they’re perfect for me.

In fact, I think I might have used my US8’s a little too much.After more than three years of nearly constant use, and especially after I just finished my massive vampire project (3+ hours of complicated knitting every day for over a month), my favorite needles are starting to show a little wear. I don’t know if you can really see it in the picture, but the tips are not as smooth as they used to be, and the finish is beginning to wear off.  But, after so many years of faithful service, I can’t really blame them.  They’re still usable, but they aren’t quite as smooth as they used to be.

It’s funny.  I’ve lost needles, broken needles, and my dog has eaten (or at least chewed up) needles, but I’ve never actually worn out needles like this.  I feel like I need to frame them, or play taps as I lay them to rest at the bottom of my stash.  Or I could try refinishing the tips (though with my dismal knowledge of woodworking, that would probably turn into a fiasco).

Whatever I end up doing with them, they have served me well, knitting (probably) miles of yarn into dozens and dozens of projects.

(But, honestly, I’ll probably keep using them, because I’m cheap enough to not want to buy new needles, and they’re still not that bad.)

Do you have a favorite pair of needles?

Ouch!

At my “day job” (which hardly even counts as a day job, because it’s too much fun), I spend several hours each afternoon hanging out with elementary schoolers and teaching them how to use a sewing machine.  It’s pretty rad.  I love talking with them (they’re seriously goofy), and helping them figure out new skills.  The best part is when they finish a project they are really proud of, and they go around, showing each other their awesome projects (I had a girl finish an owl-shaped backpack a month ago, and she’s so proud, she wears it to class each week).

But, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in sewing class.  When you have more than a dozen 6- to 11-year-olds, sometimes things go wrong, especially with real-life sewing machines, scissors, pins and needles.  Each week, we get a couple kids who poke themselves while pinning something and need a band-aid.  Sometimes an especially tiny 6-year-old tries to carry their sewing machine and drops it on her toe.  And I’ve even had a couple kids sew through their fingers with the sewing machine, while they weren’t paying attention.  (I know… horrifying!  They’re both OK now, though.  Pro tip… always watch where your fingers go when you’re using a sewing machine.)

But usually, I manage to keep myself relatively injury-free.  Sure, I poke myself with pins as much as the next person, but nothing bad, no scars or anything.

Until last week.

I reached into a bag of fabric which I thought was pin-free.  It was not.  The pin sliced a 1-inch gouge on the side of my right index finger.  There was blood.  It freaked out the kids.  I had to step up and be all “No big deal, kids.  It totally doesn’t hurt or anything.”  But, I really wanted to be swearing like a sailor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis cut is exactly where I wrap my yarn when I knit.  (No!!)  I had to forgo knitting for about a week, so I broke out a quilt that I started a while ago, and worked on that instead.  It went well.  I actually made quite a lot of progress on it.  And, my finger was healing up nicely.

Until… the needle slipped and I sliced my finger open again.  Same finger, same size injury, just shifted over about a half an inch.  (I was at home, with no little kids around, so I swore loudly this time.)

So, I’m still on knitting bedrest, until my finger heals.  And, I’ve got to say, it’s not super fun.  I’ve still got that quilt to work on, but I’m itching to get back to my husband’s sweater, and a couple other projects I’ve been neglecting.  If only it didn’t hurt so much to knit…

What do you do when you can’t knit?

(And, don’t forget to put your name in the hat for a copy of the Knit Picks Spring 2015 Collection!  You have until Wednesday morning!)

People are actually pretty great.

It’s been almost two weeks since the break-in at Casa del On the Needles, and things are going back to normal.  We’ve upped security, filed a police report, and begun to replace the things that were taken.  I’ll probably never get my class ring back, but I bought a new computer to replace my old one (which was on its last legs anyway).  I didn’t even loose that much data-a couple half-finished patterns, and a few hours work on an intarsia chart, but nothing I can’t replace with a half-day of work.

And, I got a surprise package in the mail from my friends over at Knit Picks on Saturday.

Remember how I said the thieves took my set of interchangeable needles?  Well, the lovely folks at Knitpicks (Hi Stacey!) took it on themselves to send me not one, but two replacements:

A set of gorgeous blue-green Caspian needles:91078102[1]And, a set of luminous Sunstruck needles:90613101[1]My old set were Caspians, and I’d used them for more than a year when they were stolen.  I am a snob when it comes to needles, so I was a late adopter of the whole interchangeable needle thing.  It seemed like they would be more trouble than they were worth- wouldn’t the cable fall out?  Wouldn’t the yarn snag on the joins?  They couldn’t work as well as advertised.

But, I have to say, I absolutely love them.  I use them for almost every project I make.  Circulars are better on my wrists, and the dyed wood needles are fun (I’m a sucker for bright colors).  And, there’s nothing better than deciding you need a US10.5 or a US5, or whatever your spur-of-the-moment project requires, and just going to your needle case and pulling out exactly what you want.

So, thanks, KnitPicks!  I know these needles will get lots of use!  (And, everyone else, I totally recommend getting a set of interchangeable needles.)

Needles that Rule

J0yDjiKJust a quickie today, something silly and fun.   I stumbled across this ad from the fifties for the “Measure Knit.”  They’re knitting needles with markings for inches, so you can use them as rulers.  How smart is that?  I’m always loosing my tape measures, so having a ruler/knitting needle hybrid would be super useful.

And, if the ladies in the ad are any indication, these needles are more exciting than a barrel full of monkeys.

On the Road Again

It’s summer, and that means it’s time for road trips! It’s time to get the heck out of Dodge and take to the open road with nothing but a couple bucks, your faithful hound dog, and a skein or two of your favorite yarn.

(Or, if your boring, like me, it’s time to walk over to your local park and sit in the grass with a can of coke and a skein or two of your favorite yarn.)

I usually have a travel kit set up, but I make a point to restock and update it at the beginning of the summer. That way, I can just grab my project bag and head out the door on a whim.

So what do I keep in my travel kit?

I keep a little tool kit at all times in a tiny zippered coin pouch. It includes scissors, a handful of stitch markers, a couple yarn needles, a couple cable needles, and a few tiny stitch holders.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, I can throw my tool kit in whatever project I’m working on. In the summertime, I favor lacy shawls, socks and other small projects (call me crazy, but I’m not into having a big old sweater or blanket on my lap in 80 degree weather.  And yes, I know, I’ve become a total hot-weather weenie when I think that 80 is hot).

I have a stash of several kinds of sock yarn, a bunch of sets of sock-sized dpns, and a couple favorite project bags. When I need an emergency project for the road, I’ll grab a bag, throw in my tool kit, a set of needles and a ball or two of sock yarn (an adult pair of socks takes up about 100 grams of wool), and I’m out the door!  If you like knitting from patterns, think about printing out copies of your favorites, so you can have them ready to tuck into your project bag at a moment’s notice.

How do you take your projects with you when traveling?

Don’t ever stop knitting: Joining part 4

We’ve been talking about joins for a while now, and we’ve already got a bunch of options.  But, because you can never have too many options (or skeins of yarn), I’ve got one more for you.  It’s at the upper end of fiddly-ness scale, but in specific instances, it’s totally worth it.

Check it out:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnravel three or four inches of the end of your old yarn.  (This works best with multi-plied yarn, rather than single-ply.)  Separate the plies out.  Leave the new yarn intact.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake a thin tapestry needle and carefully sew each of the plies one at a time into the end of the new yarn.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATry to sew the plies into the new yarn along different paths, weaving them together to form a nice, sturdy join.  Be patient with yourself; this can be tricky to do. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPros: This join results in an invisible transition (no ends to weave in!) that doesn’t rely on getting spit everywhere.  This join also works really well with non-feltable yarns (like acrylic and cotton).

Cons: Probably the most complicated and tricky join we’ve talked about.  It doesn’t work super well with single-ply yarn (but you can make a bitchin’ spit join with single-ply wool).