Tag Archive | knitting needles

Review: SmartStix DPNs

I have made no sweater swatch, nor have I made progress on my current WIPs. Instead, I spent yesterday making something new and completely different. But I finished it, so it’s still a win in my book. I had some SmartStix DPNs from Knitter’s Pride I wanted to try out, and one more hat to make for my donation box, so I selected the Gooseberry Hat and a skein of superwash sport yarn from my stash. I’ve used the SmartStix before for mittens, and I find them perfect for that. So easy to measure cuffs and body length as you go!

But I wanted to try them with a different project, and even though I don’t typically knit hats with DPNs, it seemed like a good option.

IMG_5640These are the 5″ length, in size 4, and I will say they were a tiny bit short for a hat, even this baby hat. At this point, these DPNs are only available in 5″ or 8″ lengths, so while the 5″ are perfect for mittens/gloves (and would be brilliant for socks!) for hats I’d definitely buy the 8″ length. I loved being able to measure my progress so easily. Plus, even though the needles are aluminum, they aren’t super slippery like others I’ve used. They seem to grip the yarn just enough so the needles don’t go slipping out or the stitches sliding off. They’re lightweight, and the markings are laser etched. I have three sizes of needles and have used them all multiple times, and the markings are still clear and easy to see.

I’m definitely not as fast on DPNs as I am with circs, but I made this quickly enough and didn’t have to worry about switching when I was ready to decrease. They do offer the SmartStix in fixed circs and interchangeables, and I might like to try the 16″ for hats. I definitely want to try the size 1 DPNs for socks! Have you ever tried the SmartStix?

Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Knitter’s Pride, who generously sent me three sizes of 5″ SmartStix DPNs (retail value $38) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

I went to a yarn store

But I had a good reason, I swear! I’ve been working on my Spring Rain shawl with the Seaglass green and I’m obsessed with it. But I realized that the 24″ circular needles I started with weren’t going to be long enough for a full shawl. I have one pair of 2.5 interchangeable tips, and I found out that one of them is stripped and wouldn’t screw onto the cord. It just popped right off. Now, I couldn’t just STOP knitting that shawl, right? It simply wasn’t an option. First I tried to be good and went to Michael’s, because I’m rarely tempted by their yarn anymore. Sadly, size 2.5 is apparently not a common size, and they didn’t have it. I was going to have to go to a LYS.

I went to the closest LYS, which also happens to be the biggest, with two yarn stores combined in one huge brick building. So much yarn. I petted a lot of it, even carried a skein around for a while before putting it back. I was just there for ONE size of needles.

But.

One of the stores had a sale section. And in that sale section were needles! Addi needles, which I love! Well how about that?? They didn’t have the size I needed, but I found two other sizes that filled gaps in my needle inventory. Then I went straight to the ChiaoGoo circs, found the size I actually needed, and went to the counter, yarn free.

But.

They had a big display of new yarn up there, all spread out before the counter. Colorful new yarn, in bright pink and purple and green and blue and turquoise and it was all so PRETTY. And that’s how I ended up coming home from the yarn store like this.

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The yarn is March Hare, a worsted from Wonderland Yarns, in their new Luminous Collection. It’s super hard to photograph it well, especially since it’s pouring rain outside so I had to take the photo inside. But you can see their photos here, along with all the other gorgeous colors that I wish I had. It might be a cowl, or I might go a little mad and make a crazy colorful sweater with all of these.

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Bright, right? I may be entirely Bonkers, but all the best people are!

Addi FlexiFlips: First Attempt

I was super excited to find the Addi FlexiFlips on my road trip. I love knitting socks, and I prefer to use three 5″ DPNs, with a fourth as a working needle. I’ve tried 9″ circs and the tips are just too tiny to be comfortable to hold. I haven’t tried magic loop yet because it looks fiddly and weird and I resist trying strange new things. So these seemed like a great combination of DPNs and circs. As soon as I finished my current sock WIP, I grabbed the FlexiFlips and some sock yarn, and cast on.

Or rather, I tried to cast on. I got the needles on the first needle just fine. Then I split them evenly onto two needles. But then I couldn’t figure out how to join them like I would on DPNs. I fiddled for a little while before turning to the experts on YouTube. I found lots of videos on how to knit with them, but they all showed socks with several rows already started. I couldn’t find any that showed how to cast on and join in the round with these particular needles. But I’m not a quitter, so I knit the first row, slid two completed stitches to the next needle, and joined in the round that way. It was awkward, but I think it worked.

Once I got going, I realized it was going to take a bit to get used to them and to figure out how I wanted the needle not in use to behave. It took several rounds before I decided I liked to bunch the stitches onto the cable portion and bend the back needle so it was kind of out of the way. After that I was off and running!

One of the interesting features of these needles is that that have different tips. On each needle, one tip is more pointy and one is more blunt. That’s very versatile for different preferences…except it means I have to pause and make sure I’ve got the pointy tip each time I switch needles.

So far, these make for slower knitting than my DPNs. I can’t tell for sure yet, but I think my gauge will be a bit looser than with my DPNs, and I’ve got to be more careful about laddering, though I think that’s more about the learning curve and getting comfortable with the needles than with the needle design itself. I do like the metal, and it makes me want some Signature DPNs even more. And I like how they fit neatly in a project bag with no worries of stitches falling off! All in all, I wanted to love them, but I don’t. However, I like them enough that I’ll keep going with them through at least one sock and see if I’m comfortable with them after that.

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Have you tried the FlexiFlips yet? What did you think?

Thrift Store Treasures

Do you like thrift stores as much as I do? I forget to go very often, and I don’t find good stuff every time, but when I do? Man! It’s so much fun. Today was a GREAT day. I found two sturdy plastic bins for dog toys, a cheap blanket for the dogs to lay on, two sweaters, and two bags of assorted craft supplies. Those two bags are the best part, and that’s even after I set aside the old ugly spools of ribbon and small ball of scratchy acrylic yarn. Let’s start with the first bag, shall we? I grabbed it as soon as I saw the DPNs.

IMG_5342For $4.99, I got these treasures! YES! Those are indeed Addi Turbos! How about that?? The bamboo straights are a duplicate for me, but at that price, who cares?IMG_5343

Here’s the second bag. You can’t see the tag very well, but it was a whopping $3.99. And you can probably see why I snatched it up without even looking to see what else was in there!IMG_5340That’s right: another set of Addi Turbos!! Again, the size 9 bamboos are a duplicate, but the rest aren’t, and are great additions to my needle collection.IMG_5341

I’m pretty pleased with myself, guys. What’s the best thing you’ve found at a thrift store?

The Color Purple

What did I do with my busy busy day yesterday? Well, not knit, that’s for sure! Nope, I spent the day with my MIL, aka my favorite hairdresser, and emerged with a new hairdo! I thought about waiting to post until I could get a “better” photo, i.e. one with makeup and a nicer shirt and a better background, and then I thought, nah. This is me. This is what I look like on a regular basis. It is what it is. So without further ado, voila: IMG_5803If you’re wondering WHY the heck I would dye my hair purple, read this post from a couple of years ago. I loved my purple hair, truly. The only reason I went back to “normal” hair is that I was going on a big vacation to Washington D.C. with my mom and kids, and either I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that with purple hair, or I knew my mother would rather I not have purple hair in those photos. Not sure. In any case, I missed my pretty hair and decided to do it again and this time it will stick around indefinitely. It makes me happy.

I did manage to pick up some 5″ DPNs yesterday and started another fingerless glove this morning. They’re a bit more fiddly, but they’re much more comfortable than the 7″ metal DPNs I was using. The metal hurts my fingers after an hour of knitting. And since I had a Jo-Ann coupon, it was a good buy. IMG_5806

If you could anything wild and crazy with your hair, what would you do? What’s stopping you?

Back to the Fun Yarny Stuff

I am so humbled by the responses I’ve gotten to my last post about my fight with depression. So many people have thanked me and shared similar experiences, and though it saddens me to know that it affects so so many people, I’m encouraged that the more we talk about it, the more we heal and the stigma grows weaker. Thank you to all who liked and commented. You made my heart a little fuller and stronger.

But now I want to go back to a happier topic. I have lots of little knitty things to share. First of all, I’ve got FIVE new hats for my craft show! IMG_3502I’ve decided to add buttons to all of them. I was undecided at first, thinking they might discourage someone from buying one. But as my wise daughter pointed out, there might be someone who would be more inclined to buy it with buttons. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t looked at it that way, but it seems so true to me. The buttons make them stand out, make them more unusual. Sure, my button choice might not be what they would pick, but that’s okay. I only need one person who likes my choice. So now I have lots of buttons to sew on before Friday. Yikes! Friday. I’m a little nervous about this craft show. It’s a bigger two-day show at a popular venue. It should be well-attended, which is great…as long as I can put up an attractive display and a few people like what I’ve made.

Yesterday I got to have breakfast with my sister and nephew, which was delightful, and then we hit the thrift store to see what treasures we could find. I did well: I found a big stash of circular needles for only $2 each. I resisted the urge to BUY ALL THE NEEDLES and just came home with 5 sets. Sadly, in my frenzy I picked up two of the same, so I’ll probably just pass the extra on to my Knitting SIL. No, I probably didn’t NEED any of these, but they’re different lengths and it’s always handy to have a good variety of circs.IMG_3503I also found this gorgeous tote bag that looks kind of like silk. I have a serious tote bag addiction. I tried to resist but my sister encouraged me. “But it’s so pretty!” Yes, yes it is.IMG_3504
See, look at that hot pink lining! How could I resist? Definitely worth the $5.IMG_3505Later, the husband took the afternoon off so we hit a really cool vintage store downtown. I found another big stash of needles, both circs and straights, but this time I was strong and resisted. It helped that they were $4.50. Not a bad price, just not as cheap as $2. The only one I couldn’t resist was a fantastic set of bone knitting needles, hand carved in Nepal.IMG_3506It’s a more unusual size but seriously, how cool are they? They even have their own fabric zip-up pouch. The needles are a bit heavy but I’ll still be on the lookout for a project I can make with them soon.

So there you go, all the knitting stuff that’s made me happy the last couple of days! Now I need the time to actually KNIT.

My First Hitchhiker

Well, I broke my own rules. Instead of working only on current WIPs, I started a new project yesterday. I couldn’t help it. I’m going to a party tonight and I need a new simple travel project. (Yes, this is how you party when you’re old. You get together and eat, play games, and knit. I’m okay with it.) I also had a craving for garter stitch. The Hitchhiker shawl was near the top of my library and I had my new Frolicking Feet yarn handy, and before I knew what had happened, I’d cast on. It’s marvelous! IMG_2357I love that nifty sawtooth edge there, and the garter stitch is so squishy and dense with the size 4 needles I’m using, and wow those colors! This is my new favorite project and I’m sure it’ll be finished before I get back to those other, older WIPs.

But sadly, Hitchhiker is not a good travel project for me, at least not a good party project. You have to keep track of which row you’re on, and I’m not good at that when I’m distracted. So instead I’ll cast on for AndreSue’s KitKat Hat with some brown Malabrigo Worsted and that’ll be my happy mindless knitting for the evening.

And also sadly, I had another needle mishap. I have the worst luck with needles lately! Especially this set of Knitter’s Pride Trendz acrylic needles. I already have one with a broken tip, now I have one that came apart. Apparently you need to be very careful when you tighten these. IMG_2358I love the colors of these needles but they’re definitely not as durable as others I have. At least this one I can glue back together.

Oh, and big news in our house: the girl got her learner’s permit! IMG_2350Now I have to let her drive my car, eek! She’s been out once in my car and once in the husband’s truck, and actually she’s doing well. We’ll just stick to parking lots for a while, I think.