Lacy things

12 08 2009

(I’m tossing this into the “Tutorials” tag as well, as that’s where the proposed idea will likely go).

So today I went to the movies with some kuh-razy kuh-nitters. These were part of the group that gathers at Yes Yarn!.  The movie was Julie & Julia, a movie based on a book based on a blog (which, I suppose one could say, is based on a cookbook–though it might be a bit of a stretch).  My opinion?  Funny, cute, but if you’re looking for more detail to the plot than was explicitly shown in the advertisements, you will be disappointed.  Overall, however, I enjoyed it.  If you want a good light-hearted comedy, go see it.

Now, on to the main point of this post:  I have just ordered three KnitPicks needle tips with one cable and just purchased a pair of Addi Lace needles.  The needles are as follows:

  • KnitPicks Harmony Wood — US8/5.0mm
  • KnitPicks Zephyr Acrylic — US4/3.5mm
  • KnitPicks Nickel-plated — US6/4.25mm
  • Addi Turbo Lace — US6/4.25mm

The KnitPicks are interchangeables, and will be sharing a 40″ cable.  The Addi needle is on a 32″ cable.

I got different sizes because I figured that if I liked all of them enough to use, I could save some effort in getting specific sizes by already having a variety.

So here is the plan: I am going to pick comparable lace patterns for each size and work a segment of it.  Then, I am going to post a review of all four types of needles–which I like best, least, and WHY.  I know I’m not covering a huge amount of variety by just using these two brands, but these are the two brands whose names are tossed around the most.

I also have a pair of Boye circular needles, which I have been using for all non-DPN circular work to date–not that there has been much.  They are, I believe, size 8.  My only complaints are that the join between needle and cable are a little easy to catch stitches on, and the sudden change in size on the needle makes it difficult to slide stitches back onto the needle once they’ve been on the cable for a while.  If anyone is interested in me including these in the “competition,” please comment to let me know.

I think that I may do a video review, including some video of working with the needles.

So far I have only ever worked with aluminium needles, and aluminium or steel crochet hooks (mostly aluminium).  This will not only be my first branch out into the world of lace/circular needles, but also into nonmetal, or at least non-aluminium, needles.

EDIT: I think that this pattern (view on Ravelry) might make a good testing pattern, since it’s fairly simple, doesn’t call for exact gauge (so I don’t feel the need to worry a whole lot about sizing), and is free.  Please do comment with any suggestions for patterns to use.  (I chose a scarf/wrap worked in rows without increase/decrease in order to get an idea after only a few pattern repeats of the needle function/comfort of use.)  I will likely use a few different yarns just to be consistent of the relationship between the working gauge and the needle size (so no worsted with the US4 needles, probably.) but will try to keep these similar in texture.


Update + Shawl envy

27 07 2009

First of all, I’ve updated the “How to Read a Pattern” page in the tutorials section.  It has all the basics in it now, but I really think that I should go pick up one of my pattern books and see if I’ve really covered everything before I take of the “in progress” caveat.

In it, you’ll notice I indicate that stitch diagrams are in the Shorthand page.  They are not, as of right now, and in fact, I’m trying to learn to read them myself.  However, I plan for them to be in the near future.

Now onto the shawls!  I added about 50 shawls (exaggerated) to my favorites yesterday, and last night, I found one in particular that I absolutely adore, called Huivi.

Unfortunately, the pattern is in Finnish.  I’ve managed (with help from the internet) to translate the first row, and a few decreases, but that’s it.

So today, I looked at a few other patterns I had in my favorites.  First of all, almost all of the shawl patterns (that I like) are knit, including Huivi.  I checked out a few that I like, and discovered that the patterns aren’t written out besides the starting few rows… they’re diagrammed.

Recall that I am still learning crochet diagrams.

The nice thing about crochet diagrams is that they are standard (from what I’ve seen), even across US/UK boundaries: US sc and UK dc have the same symbol.  Translating between US and UK crochet patterns is easy enough, as long as you know which one you have to begin with, but it’s nice to have some common ground.

However, in the knitting diagrams… It seemed like each one had a different key.  It doesn’t help that I don’t know what some of the abbreviations are, so I end up scratching my head wondering what that little triangle is.  I can imagine someone trying to draw the single crochet stitch (US) and getting the shape that is on the diagrams… I don’t see how someone could get, oh, say, a triangle, or that cool little loopy square that Macs now have on the command key.  (Completely off topic, I find it hilarious when people get grumpy at me for saying “apple key.”  That’s what it was called back when I used a mac regularly!)

So long story short, I’ve come back around to when I was just restarting to crochet, wondering one thing: Why aren’t there as many really nice shawl/stole/etc. patterns for crochet?  Doesn’t crochet lend itself more to lacy things?  Isn’t that why people go, “eck, doilies?” when they hear us mention crochet?  (Okay, so it’s more like “eck, toilet paper covers?”.  But I have to say, that little doll in her dress and hat in the bathroom was pretty cool.)

It just seems like we’re stuck in this idea that a crocheted shawl must either be granny square, solid, or mesh, and peppered with little flowers to remind people that it’s crochet, not knitting.  As though knitting is bad, and we wear ugly things because we’re better.

I’m told that anything that can be done knitting, can be done in crochet, though the opposite is not true. 

Now excuse me, while I drool over these shawls some more…


24 07 2009

I’ve started working on a tutorials section.  It’s all in progress still, and at the moment I can only put things that are entirely writing… no pictures 😦

But that does mean that the “Shorthand” and “How to Read a Pattern” pages are in progress… and soon I’ll be tackling the section on getting started (perhaps I’ll rename it from “The Basics”… “Getting Started” is more appropriate to the topic).

Now to make this postworthy, I should probably find something to talk about. 😉

I’ve made 44 inches of a 50-60 inch scarf, knitting.  I should be able to finish tonight.  I’m debating blocking it.  It’s acrylic, so the only real option is to spray-block.  Also, it’s washable… So I’ll need to wash it first (since it’s a gift, I need to anyway).  And if it’s washed again (which I bet it will be), the blocking would have to be redone.

So do I just wash it, dry it, wrap it, and call it done?  Or do I wash it, dry it, spray it, block it, wrap it, and attach a note saying, “If you want it to look like this, you’ll have to block it every time.”?

A conundrum.

Meanwhile, I just finished a (crochet) small bag.  It was going to be a dice bag, but Tobey sent me this wonderful knit bag, so instead I stopped it a little short, made a closing flap, and put my measuring tape and some stitch markers in it.  It’s now in my knitting bag (also known as my crochet bag; it does double duty), ready to go whenever I am.  It could also be a cell phone case… though it’s a bit bigger than the phones these days!

Hmm, how about some recent events in the yarny world?

Last week (was it only last week?), I went to the Knit @ Nite at Yes Yarn!.  Loads of fun!  Though it was a little odd, being there straight from work (still dressed up).  I hate knitting in my work clothes; it’s too hard to sit comfortably.  I was the youngest person there, unless you count the rabbit, Wellington.  The conversation drifted much like the after-dinner conversations my mother, my aunt, and I have on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Much like on those days, all or almost all the guys had drifted off to sleep or play, while we chatted the hours away.

I usually listen to music or put on a movie while I knit.  At the Knit @ Nite, I realized that I could go much faster while chatting (or listening, as I mostly did) than the way I normally do.  Why isn’t music okay?  Well, it’s always either Pandora Radioor my iPod.  Either way, I skip songs that I don’t want to listen to, and on the computer, I’m usually also surfing the web.

Do you surf and knit at the same time?

I discovered that the name of this blog is even more unoriginal than I had thought… I’d wanted to make a cute name that covered knitting and crocheting, that was simple, and had a nice ring to it.  “Hooks & Needles” makes me think of “pins and needles” (which could easily be a sewing blog!  Quick, someone claim it!).  Hence the subtitle… instead of “on pins and needles,” a way of expressing nervousness which can even indicate anticipation, we’re on hooks and needles!  Get it?

I’m so corny.

And it was after I’d put up my original image for the top banner that I realized how horrible the name could be…  I had cropped the picture so that there were eyes peeking over the needle.  It was kind of creepy.  Okay, it was very creepy.  So I cropped it.

A quick note about comments–I had it set to have me screen comments before they were posted.  That is not awesome.  I took off that option, and kept it so that if certain words are uttered, I have to make sure that it’s not flame/spam.  So far there’s only one, but if I start getting spams and/or flames, the list may grow.

That’s all I’ve got for right now 🙂