Monday, 5 March 2007

Tool talk and sticky fingers!

Having knitted a complete sock with my new bone needles, I figure it's time for a tool review. Remember though, that this was my first time with circular needles, which I found quite challenging at first, especially holding five of them in the 2.75mm size on such a small project. I was worried about teh needles slipping out as I read somewhere that metal needles tend to do that, so I bought myself a bone set to try to avoid that, since the wooden set would have cost me an arm and a leg. Unfortunately the bone sets only had four needles in a pack, and the pattern called for five, but luckily my needle stash (including lots of odd needles handed down to me from my beloved Nan) was able to pull through with a 3mm metal needle. I know, a size up from the set I was using but the tutorial at told me that one needle a size larger or smaller shouldn't affect gauge at all as the needles rotate through the work. Phew! Upon opening my new bone needle package, a strange and strong aroma filled the air. My husband thought it was an electrical burning smell, but I don't mind it - it smells like knitting to me! Or perhaps a slight undertone of piano keys, which I like too. Not sure why the bone has such a strong smell, but I am sure it will fade with time so Andrew no longer notices it while I knit away next to him while watching TV. I am a metal needle fan from way back, as I like the stiffness since I am a tight knitter and broke or bent many a plastic needle in my teens, before giving up on them completely and spending teh extra $$ on metal sets. However with the discovery of hand died yarns on the web, I began to expand my needle collection with a few pairs of bamboo needles. I experimented with these while knitting 8 - 10 ply soakers and absolutely love them for the feel and for the resistance to thread splitting that they seem to provide. I have also used tortoiseshell needles (given to me by Nan) which flex a little too much for my liking and are a little blunt in the smaller sizes. So in comparison to metal, bamboo, tortouseshell and plastic, the bone needles are probably very high up on my list of favourites. They are stiff like the bamboo and metal, but with a little bit of flex, not too much, just enough. The stitches slide easily along them and I didn't lose a single stitch to the needles dropping out. Although, it didn't happen on the metal needle either so maybe my tight knitting style protects me from that. I can imagine they'd be much nicer than metal in the winter when the needles are cold, and the pointiness was just right too. I split a few stitches along the way, having to undo and restitch a couple of times but it wasn't too band. The pack says that the needles grow with you just as you will grow to love them the more wear they get. Well they were right. I give them a 4/5.

No knitting tonight (I have decided that I have to either embroider the bunnies or graft the toe of the sock before I can start the next sock or finish the soaker's leg bands) so I procrastinated and tried my hand at dyeing with jelly. Here is my creation, looking rather like a sticky mess (and feeling like it!). I will update with more photos once the skein is rinsed and dried and looks more wool like. It is just a scrap 25g ball of Patons dreamtime I had left over from a previos baby project. I had 2 and a half of them all ready to dye but thought I'd perhaps be best to start with just one. Might make a pair of baby booties with it as I have no idea what else youy can do with just 25g of wool - open to suggestions though! Now, I think I may have started yet another crafty addiction... Wait till I get my hands on real wool dyes or koolaid!

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