New Tools

One of my new philosophies has to do with having the tools you need to achieve the results you want.  Can I weave tapestries with a picture frame?  Yes, but I will not like the process or the results.  Given that I have decided to invest in a couple of tools to make my crafting life a bit easier and my results a bit better. Before I get to the actual reviews, a disclaimer, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products below.  I purchased them using my own funds, I am not making any profit from these reviews/products.

Recently I have decided to up my knitting and crochet game.  I have started with socks, but I hope to progress to garments like cardigans, shawls, and sweaters soon.  Learning Tunisian Crochet, filet crochet, and lace knitting are also on my list of projects to work on.  With fitted garments gauge is extremely important.  To this end I have invested in the Akerworks Swatch Gauge, but I went all out and invested in the knitting tool kit.

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This includes, tape measure, scissors, two darning needles, knitting needle measuring tool, locking stitch markers, and various magnets across the back in addition to the gauge swatch tool.  Essentially this is everything that I would need to knit or crochet on the go in one compact tool.

The stitch gauge has the numbers engraved on the side that is facing down toward the fabric, but they are engraved backwards so when the tool is being used the numbers show in the right direction, but there is no real explanation as to what the numbers are.  Going horizontally across the top there are the numbers 1-4 and under the horizontal line are the numbers 1-10.  Comparison with a ruler proves that 1-4 measures inches while 1-10 measures centimeters.

The tape measure can be slid out of the compartment that houses it, but can also be easily used from its nest in the tool.  The scissors have comfortable finger holes as well as proving themselves quite sharp when put to the test against yarn.  The darning needles in addition to the stitch markers are standard but since they are metal they stay where the magnets put them quite easily.

When my studio is completed I believe that this will have a place stuck to the metal rack I intend to install.  The swatch gauge will be just at home measuring picks per inch as it will stitches per inch.

I have been lusting after the Eszee twist tool for about 2 years now.  Spinning is still my main passion, however all of the math tends to intimidate me.  No longer!  With the Eszee Twist tool I can measure the angle of twist, but more importantly I have a gauge which I can put my yarn on and have a  fairly good idea of what the wraps per inch are going to be without making a mini skein of yarn.  This kit comes with much more than just the measuring tool, it has a bookmark, knitting needle gauge, yarn tracker, in addition to a user guide that does double duty as an Everything You Need to Know to Get the Yarn You Want guide.

In addition to explaining what twist is, s twist, z twist, and angles of twist, this guide goes on to explain different yarn constructions such as 2 ply, 3 ply, Navajo plied, core spun, cables, worsted, and woolen.  The part that I find most useful is the simple math needed to calculate what size your finished yarn will be.  This simple formula was well worth the investment, but the guide and other tools provide everything you need to gain a deeper understanding of yarn construction.

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Yes, they are stitch markers.  Actually what they are is a charm bracelet I purchased through amazon and repurposed using some split rings and lobster clasps.  I just love the BBC production of Sherlock (except the last season and I HATE Mary) so I wanted stitch markers that reflected me.  However, I did not want to spend $5 for one to three stitch markers that really had little to do with Sherlock.  So I found a charm bracelet, there were 20 charms on it, a little manipulation, and I have 20 stitch markers that I thoroughly enjoy.  Since I made the entire batch in less than an hour I can certainly see the appeal in buying up a lot of charms and making these by the hundreds.  I wonder if I can recoup some of my yarn/fiber expenses by starting a stitch marker business?

Happy Crafting!

51 Yarns to Spin Before You Cast Off by Jacey Boggs Faulkner

Before getting into a review, I have to state that this book ROCKS!  So does the contest Jacey Boggs Faulkner is running on Ravelry, Instagram, etc. to give away subscriptions to her magazine Ply.  #PlyMagazine

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Yarn is not nearly as simple as non-crafts-people would have you believe.  “There’s like, bulky, and really tiny, right?” ; “What do you mean linen is from a plant, it’s a cloth right?” ; “Doesn’t that hurt the sheep?” ; etc.  There are plenty of non crafts people that have a clue, so I’m not putting all non crafts people down, just the ignorant ones, lol.  Because of this, for you non crafts people, if you have a SO or loved one that is into any fiber craft, pick up this book so you can start to throw around terms like low-twist singles, coil yarn, or z twist with ease. Or at least have a clue of what they are talking about when they throw those terms around.

For people interested in crafts already, or active crafters this is a great book.  Originally I was going to say, if you like/love/live & breathe spinning then this is a good book for you, but scratch that.  If you have any interest in fiber arts/crafts then this is a great book for you.  I imagine that there are plenty of K&Cs (knitters & crocheters) that see the Koigu yarns (very pretty yarns that seem to come as singles a lot of the time) and have not known that this is only one kind of yarn.  Why should you use 2, 3, or 5 ply yarns?  Why aren’t there many 20 ply yarns?  This is a worsted weight yarn, what do you mean worsted spun?  Etc.  I think that this should be titled 51 Yarns to spin & Knit/Crochet/Weave before you cast off, because I think that any fiber artists would benefit from a deeper understanding of the yarns available for their crafts, how they are constructed, and why they do what they do.

In Short, BUY THIS BOOK!  READ THIS BOOK!

Day of Shopping

Saturday I bought YARN!  I live in rural western New York and as such the closest we have to a LYS is Joann Fabrics.  This past Saturday I had an opportunity to go to Erie, PA.  There were a couple of yarn stores that I wanted to hit, and boy was I happy I did.  Yoy cannot see it well from the photo but the first yarn, going left to right,  is super sparkly, the second will be great to ply with, and the third contains Hemp.  I hope to knit up the hemp so that my students get an idea of what a yarn containing hemp will be like.  I bought all three of those from the Cultured Purl.  This is also a great chance to play around with adding yarn to my stash in Ravelry, it was fun and easy!

The other LYS I stopped at is Rustic and Refined.  I was really lucky there, she was having a sale on Louisa Harding Angora mix yarn.  I was able to get two balls of two different colorways.  I hope to make scarves from them, they are so soft and pretty.  The last purchase I made there is the pretty yellow Linen Cotton blend yarn.  Again I hope to knit these up so that my students have an idea of what a sample of a linen blend yarn would look like.

I also wound up going to a local comic book store, much to my surprise I wound up finding four different older weaving books to add to my growing library.  I did spend some time in Barnes and Noble, I managed to find a soft leather bound notebook that I hope will be good for keeping track of my fiber desires.  I love that even though it is leather I can fold it up to stuff into my bag.

I am so very pleased with all of my purchases, I cannot wait to knit and block these samplers.  I have a Hokett 8 dent mini tapestry loom I am going to warp with 10/2 cotton to see if the angora makes a good weft at 8epi or if I have to try 12 or 16 epi.

I might have some very exciting news in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Happy Crafting!

New Center Pull Ball Winder

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I just got my Center-Pull Ball Winder today!  It works amazingly well.  Alright, so I’m using a paper towel holder to hold my ‘bobbins’ of toilet paper rolls to create a center-pull ball with my newly created yarn.  I absolutely love this new bobbin winder, it works so beautifully quickly and creates gorgeous center pull balls.  I am so very happy with my new winder, and am looking forward to years of happy use.