Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Episode 18--Top picks from 2012



In this episode I talk about some of the tools and products that I have used this past year that have helped me in my knitting experience.  In future episodes, I will share some of my favorite websites, apps, and also knitting tips that have helped me this past year.

I want to mention that NONE of these products were given to me for free by companies.  These are all things that I have purchased or have been given by friends/family.  I am not affiliated with any of the companies represented.  Nor do I recommend any particular place to buy them.  The links I used are just one option for buying.  You can buy them wherever you find them.

1.  WPI tool.  I reviewed this in an earlier podcast, so to learn more about it, refer to Episode 3.
You can buy one like mine here, or do a web search on how to make one yourself.  If you don't want to make one, use a ruler.

2.  Knit Kards.  These have been helpful in keeping track of which needles I own, checking my gauge, the size of my needle, and so many more things (wash and care instruction symbols, casting on, casting off, etc.  I did review this in Episode 2.

3.  Finishing Needles.  These needles are great.  I don't mind weaving in my edges so much.  You can get a 4-pack on amazon.com of several different sizes, or a 2-pack.

4.  Yarn bobbins.  You could certainly buy them, but it's just as easy to make them from cardboard.  It's great to have a little extra waste yarn in your notions bag for using as life lines or to hold live stitches.  Before I used these, my waste yarn and floss was tangled up in my notions bag.

5.  Ball winders:

  • Manual ball winder.  Great for winding hanks of yarn into cakes of yarn.  Easier if used with a yarn swift.
  • Nostepinne or Nostepinde.  Great to wind smaller center-pull balls, transportable, and fun to use. I bought mine from Etsy.com.   A turkey baster can be used as a nostepinne as well.  Most people have those on hand.  Look on Youtube for tutorials on how to use one.
  • My favorite way to wind a ball is to have my local yarn store do it for me.  They have it all set up, and they get it done in a jiffy.
6. Knit Kit.  This is a great accessory to have while traveling, and it fits easily into a small bag or purse. It also doesn't spill over (like my notions bag does when I forget to zip it closed).  It does come in different colors.  I don't know how many, though.

7.  Fix-A-Stitch.  What a great tool to use for fixing dropped stitches.  You can read more about it on their website.

8.  Reusable Rubber Finger Gloves.  These are great if you have sores on your fingers, or the wool irritates your skin as it glides across your skin.  If you have sores on your fingers, you can apply lotion/medicine, and wear these and not have to worry about getting medicine on your wool.  I talk about them in my last podcast.


9. Stitch Light.  A great little tool to help you see your knitting better if you do not have good lighting.  They have top-knotch customer service, too.  Plus it comes with a handy little bag (many choices of colors/patterns) to store your notions.

10.  Polymer clay--I added this because I like to make buttons out of polymer clay.  I didn't have a button for a project, so decided I'd make one myself.  You can make a lot of different-shaped buttons for your projects from one square of polymer clay. Just remember that you should not used tools that you would eat/cook food with to make polymer clay objects.  I bought a small ceramic tile at the hardware store for under $1 to bake my buttons.  I also use that same (flat) tile to shape my buttons.  It is essentially used not only as the baking pan, but also the work surface.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Episode 17--Knitting Frenzy, and a Word about Posture



Wow, I have been BUSY for the last couple of months.  I have been knitting like crazy!!!

If you want to see some of the projects I've knitted, visit me on Ravelry.com, username TheWannabeKnitter, or go to the wannabe knitter group, and you can see pictures and links to the different things I've been making.

For the fingerless gloves I've been making, I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca wool.  I used a modified version of the "fetching" pattern (linked in the previous episode)

For the caterpillar scarf and heartwarmer cowl, I've been using Knitpicks Swish Worsted, perfect for kids clothes.

The shawl I made is called the Navdanya Shawl.  Not too difficult, but the yarn was not fun to work with.

For the guys in my family, I am making Manly Mitts and a Hat Fit for a Boyfriend.  They are made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Black and Gray.

I also made a Lacy Keyhole Scarf for my niece for Christmas.  I made one for my mom last year using Noro yarn.  This time it is done with Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  I also made a pair of modified fetching fingerless gloves out of the same color.

Between all these projects, and not mentioned on this episode are the massive amounts of dishcloths I have made for neighbors, friends, and family.  I've been using Granny's Favorite Dishcloths pattern.  It is super easy to make, and I LOVE using these in the kitchen.  As soon as the holidays are over, I am going to make a bunch for myself.

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I have been getting physical therapy for a pinched nerve and have found a theracane or the body back buddy a great tool to work out the knots in my back, especially if I am at the computer or are knitting for extended periods of time.  Even just a normal walking cane would also work.

I also found a very handy product (no pun intended) to help my fingers out when I am knitting or playing instruments.  They are gloves just for the fingers.

I am headed to the beautiful rocky mountains of the West for Christmas.  I have been making a list of all the products, tips, etc. . . that have helped me out this year.  If you'd like to add a few of your top picks for 2012, send me an email at wannabeknitter@gmail.com.


Watch for the next episode of the Wannabeknitter's Top Picks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Episode 16--Announcing the winner of the KAL


Thank you to those who participated in the KAL.  SANTEAUX from BC, Canada won the drawing.

Also, thank you to Cindy for providing the beautiful bag as a prize.

I made 5 pair of "fetching" fingerless gloves for a "favorites" party.    I learned how to do an afterthought thumb from a lady in our LYS.

See you next time!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Episode 15


There is still time to participate in the Knitalong.  I will be randomly choosing one person to receive a prize, that includes a gauge, a book (The Secret Language of Knitters), and a gorgeous project bag provided (and made) by my good friend Cindy. Here is a picture of what the bag will look like:
Participate in the KAL, and you could get a
lovely project bag like this!
Rules:
1. Knit a dishcloth by choosing a skill you want to learn/improve.  
2. Post a picture of it on my Ravelry group, under "September 2012 Knitalong (KAL)", along with a brief description of what skill you worked on.
3. On October 1, I will randomly choose one person who has completed the above and you will win a prize.


Norwegian Purl stitch (for Continental knitters)-- I learned about this new method that I want to try out!

If you are ever near Columbus, OH this time of year, go and visit Young's Jersey Farm.  They have a large wool gathering every year.

I bought some lovely gradient yarn (cotton), dyed by Wolle's Yarn Creations.  Her blog is wollesyarncreations.blogspot.com.  The color ways is "Capri"

What I've been working on/FO:

Bella's Mittens (Twilight).  The yarn I am using is Debbie Bliss Glen.

My Annis Shawl is finished!!!!  See previous episode for details and links.  I'm starting on another one for my mother-in-law.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Episode 14: Wear it! Don't Eat It!

Don't forget about the KnitAlong that will begin September 1-30.  See last episode's show notes for details.

I'm almost finished with the Independence Day Pillow (Which should have been finished last month!)
See knitpurlhunter.com for more details.

The shawl I am working on is the Annis Shawl, which introduces me to two new skills--short rows, and Nupps.  I had a little bit of trouble with the Nupp stitch until I found the tutorial on how to do a Nupp with a *gasp* crochet hook.  Much easier now.

In this episode I feature a clip that I recorded at the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair of Paul from corny goodness.com.  He explains all about this interesting new fiber made of corn.  

Have a fabulous Labor Day Weekend and see you next time!

My daughter, decorating the alpaca mittens

Click on image to enlarge
Happy Knitting!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Episode 13: Knit-Alongs (KAL)



Here are today's notes:

Knitalong, by Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown.
The pattern I made is called Meathead hat

Donna Druchunas' class: Knit Shop Workshop

Knitalong project, Independence Pillow,  with knitpurlhunter.com
Michelle has great video tutorials for button holes, mattress seam, and invisible horizontal seams.

Wannabe Knitter KAL --Skill builder dishcloth
In September we will have a knitalong, and this KAL is specifically to build knitting skills.  The challenge here is to choose a skill you wish to improve (ie. purling, lace, cables, color work, etc. . .).  Cotton or a cotton/bamboo mix is the best type of yarn to use for this project, and is fairly inexpensive.

Knit a square using the skill of your choice, and then post a picture and an explanation of what skill it was you worked on.  At the end of September, I will do a random-number drawing and give a prize to one person who finished the challenge.    To be eligible to win, a picture of your finished project must be posted.

That's it!

TINK= "knit" spelled backwards.  when you have to undo a small section of knitted stitches, it's called a "TINK."

I visited the warehouse for www.yarnmarket.com

Twisted Sister yarn, colorways Zazu "Blue Curacao"

Tofutsies yarn is made from chitin (shrimp and crabshells).  It is supposed to be antibacterial, and great for making socks.  Warning:  DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH!!

Free classes on Craftsy.com:

Know your Wool
Short Rows


They also have free classes on Modern Buttercream, Sewing Machine 911, and Craftsy block of the month (quilting).




Saturday, August 11, 2012

The calming effects of knitting

I just wanted to say that sometimes I get feelings of anxiety and overwhelm because of all the demands in my life.  Today was one of those days.  It's been building up all week.  All this unpacking and organizing is overwhelming for me.  I finally got out a hank of purple yarn in my yarn stash, set up my swift on the kitchen table, and proceeded to roll up the hank of yarn.  My daughter helped me. I then sat down and started making a gauge swatch.  This particular yarn, hand dyed from Chile, is perfect for making socks.  I'm still determined to make myself a pair. By the time I finished the swatch it was way past midnight, but I felt a lot calmer.  I am amazed at how calming knitting can be.  It helps me keep my mind off the daily stresses of life and feeds my inner desire to create.