The Extra Stitches

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What's your poison?


The knitting variety not the jabby, stabby, hurtie variety.

There's a bajillion* and one materials that knitting needles are made from these days and everyone has a preference.

The ones I have in my collection are bamboo, metal and plastic.

My collection of needles, stored in a coffee jar.

Plastic would have to be my least favourite. They bend, the possibility of them snapping is greater and they're blunt tipped which makes them awkward to do decreases or lace work with, but brilliant if you're accident prone or just starting out and need that assurance that your yarn won't fall off the needle. Plastic is quite 'grippy'.

Next fave would be bamboo. They're light, warm to your touch and have a good point on them. But they can also warp and I have found my yarn can get 'caught' on them if I'm a bit rough and get a bit of a splinter happening. I didn't buy particularly expensive ones, so perhaps it's a quality issue in this case. If I forked out decent cash for them and they still splintered or cracked then I'd be pissed.

They're also good for a beginner. They have enough grip that the stitches stay in place but not so much that you have to push your stitches up every few seconds like with the plastic counterparts. The point on my bamboo needles is pointy enough to handle decreases easily, but not so pointy that my toddler will take her eye out with it.

Which, the likelihood of that happening is quite high. She's pretty clumsy.

My favourite would have to be the metal, or aluminum depending on who you're asking. They're good for basic patterns that you can speed through, have a decent point on them, are fairly easy to find and are relatively inexpensive. They also seem to agree with most yarns as well, with little to no snagging or splitting.

They do warp though, can be noisy to use and are quite cold and heavy. They're not a material I would recommend for someone who is arthritic in the hands.

They're my mothers fave, and she has carpal tunnel. She refuses to try bamboo or something smoother and lighter.

Stubborn fool.

There are plenty of materials and styles I'm yet to try, like the interchangeable variety by KnitPro. These needles look especially fancy. I'm also drawn to the shiny-ness of stainless steel and think they would behave in much of the same way as metal/aluminium.

I think it's funny how everyone has a preference, and that your knitting needle choice can be as individual as the knitter themselves. I guess another way to show off our wonderfully creative personalities right?

Tell me, what's your preference? Are you a brand snob? Would you say you're a go with the flow and knit with what's available? Are you an assess the needle type needed BEFORE commencing a project? Have you ever used the interchangeable needle variety? Did you enjoy it?

Do you want me stop the interrogation and let get on with your happy day?

Yea, I figured as much.

Green- Plastic, Silver/Grey- Metal, Brown- Bamboo

*A bajillion may or may not be a real number

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Project:White Baby Jumper

Only a week into the blog revamp and I have another post up.

Go Me!!

Shhh, let's celebrate the little victories.

My Aunty in the UK loves to visit op shops and find some nice vintage patterns for me and posts them over. At 10p a pop I really don't blame her.

Today, we'll be working off King Cole DK Pattern 635.

Not the best picture, but you can buy this pattern from this UK ebay seller here

Specs of material used:

Brand: Marvel
Colour: White
Fibre Make Up: 100% Acrylic
Buy it: It's Spotlight's in-house brand so you can only get it at Spotlight.

I did the V neck sweater pictured on the bottom of the pattern. I'm anti cardigans at the moment due to previous cardigan project disasters. For some reason I can't make nice button holes, but we'll file 'piss poor attempts at buttonhole making' under work in progress for now.

The pattern was really easy to memorise which, is good for me and my 'knit in front of the telly' habits. I must admit, I was disappointed that this pattern didn't have the nice left and right leaning raglans that its pictured cardigan cousins have, and the finished product does look a little 'boxy'.

If you're clever enough I'm sure you could work a nice leaning raglan into the pattern and adjust the sleeves to suit but for now I'll stick with what is printed in front of me.

I knitted the smallest size, which the pattern states is a 40 cm chest size.

Or giant if you have the intentions of knitting the project for a newborn, just like I did.

I used white because I didn't know the sex of my baby (I do now) and it was one of the few colours that I was in ample supply of.

Here's my finished result:

This is my image altered close up so you could see the pattern, I really need a new camera.

Not even knitting is safe from my *achem* 'photoshop' skills

Please note: The images above are before the item was washed and steamed pressed. I like to get a few items together before running a load in my fancy smancy Aldi brand wool wash (seriously this shit is the best and it's like $2.50!)

The images of the pattern have been brightened and contrasted to best show the pattern up close. I'm far from a photography expert and my little point and shoot camera is bordering on 10 years old. So, apologies for the shoddy shots.

For a return to knitting project debut, I'm really happy with the finished result. I did find it hard to keep in pattern while doing decreases, but if you're mindful about it and think ahead about what stitch types are coming up and what type of decrease is best you can get a very nice result.

I would happily make this pattern again and would definitely recommend a plain coloured yarn. The printed or Fair Isle types of yarn out there would make this pattern too 'busy'.

It's also a pattern suited for a boy or girl.

If you're fortunate enough to find this vintage gem of a pattern while scouring op shops and secondhand book shops please comment below with your finished product.

Or comment anyway cos you're awesome and would like to tell me I'm awesome too.


I mean it....

I'd get a kick out of it....


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

It's 2014!!!

I bet you're wondering where everything went?

I thought it's a new year might as well start the blog afresh. Reading back, I didn't like the tone of how I was writing about my projects. It sounded a bit Negative Nancy and Moan-y so, I thought I would start new and focus on the positives that knitting brings, not the negatives. Saying that, still expect plenty of swears.

I have a couple of knitting New Years Resolutions, mainly about how slack I've been lately.

  • Focus on one Project at a time- My aim is try to finish something before starting another. If I get too caught up in what I would like to do then perhaps keep track of a 'Knitting wish list' in a notebook or on OneNote or something similar.
  • Buy better quality- Due to only being on one income money has been tight. I've been buying lots of cheap yarn and not necessarily enjoying using it or been happy with the results it produces. I must remember to hang out for sales or scour the internet for affordable quality yarn. Think QUALITY not QUANTITY
  • Use up what I have- On a completely contradictory note, I want to use up what I already have. Even if I don't like it. If I only have little scrap bits left that wouldn't really be enough to make anything from them. Then I'll donate them to my daughters daycare centre for craft supplies. 
  • Try not to be too hard on myself- This is a massive one. I'm the personality type that expects perfection first go, I need to treat each project as a learning experience and keep in mind that an expert in anything was once a beginner.
  • Knit everyday- Even if it's only a couple of lines. I'm less likely to get bored with a project if I see it ticking along and growing a little bit each day.
  • Post more frequently- Self explanatory really, even if it's quick updates on projects or product/tutorial related stuff that I find

That's about it. I've been enjoying getting back into knitting and I definitely have been getting better at taking it 'one step at a time'.

Wish me luck in maintaining my goals and I'll keep you posted on upcoming projects.

I should hang one of these in my office