Liz Corke Knit Design
I haven’t had very much to show you recently but I will soon. The shawl I’ve been working on is ready for the border at last, and then I just have to get on with writing the pattern, doing a second one skein version, photographing, testing and tech editing, then I’ll be able to show it to you at last! I have some gorgeous new yarn for the small version of the shawl and I’ll show it to you soon. I’ve also started swatching for my fingerless gloves. I love how they’re coming on. Keeping my floats loose enough at the back of my colourwork is a little tricky, but I’m getting the hang of it again.
What I wanted to show you today, is something very special that came in the post for me on Saturday. I’m sure you remember how much I was raving about my fixed ChiaoGoo circulars a few of weeks ago. They felt so much nicer to knit with, and didn’t give me any problems and I couldn’t bring myself to go back to knitting with my KnitPro needles, so I preordered a complete set of ChiaoGoo Twist Interchangeables. I was delighted when they arrived on Saturday – just in time for the weekend – and I think my squeals of delight might have been heard on the street outside!
The set is gorgeous! It all comes in it’s own really nice case – I’ll tell you more about the case itself later. There are 13 needle sizes in the complete set. Seven are the small sizes 2.75 mm, 3.25 mm, 3.50 mm, 3.75 mm, 4.00 mm, 4.50 mm, 5.00 mm and six of the large sizes 5.50 mm, 6.00 mm, 6.50 mm, 8.00 mm, 9.00 mm, 10.00 mm. There’s a set of stitch markers in four sizes, two keys for the cables, a pair of stoppers for the large cable and a pair for the small cable, and a connector for each cable size as well. Six cables come with the set, 14″, 22″ and 30″ in the small and large size. And finally, there’s a needle gauge and ruler hidden in the front pocket that I forgot to get out for the overall shot.
I really love this case. The front pocket holds the stitch markers, keys, stoppers, connectors and the needle gauge/ruler. It’s just big enough for everything. Inside there’s not just space for every needle size in the set, there’s overlapping pockets for any extra needle tips you buy later. Another really nice little detail is the needle size in US and mm stitched on to each pocket. It’s really easy to see at a glance which needles you have taken out of the set, and where they belong.
All the needle tips are laser printed with the size of cable they need [S] or [L], ChiaoGoo, and their size in US and mm. The cables are also laser printed on the connections with [S] or [L] and the cable length. One of the first things I had to do, of course, was test them out. In order to test them as much as I could, I decided to do a test swatch for my fingerless gloves. I’m swatching in the round doing magic loop using fingering weight yarn, and I love how it’s going. It did take a little while to get used to the stiffer cable but I’ve had no problems with ladders. I’ve also had no problems with my tips coming loose and I twist my needles a lot when I knit magic loop. Lastly, I’ve had no problems with my stitches catching on the connections – they’ve been really nice and smooth so far. All in all I really love my new needles! I took too many photos to put them all in the post, but you can check them out on flickr.
The weather has been absolutely freezing up here recently. I think we’re in for a cold winter this year, which means plenty of opportunities for wearing cosy knits!
The cosy lacey tunic I’m working on hasn’t made much progress this week, no more that a row or two here and there. Most of my energy is being funneled into my shawl which I’m really hoping to finish soon. I have come to a dilema though. I’m not sure whether I whould rip back a bit and make it a slightly smaller one skein shawl, or continue going and let it be a big cosy shawl. The third option is to do both and offer two sizes, which I think is what I am leaning most towards right now. Let me know what you think!
My brother’s birthday present for me and my husband was John Lewis vouchers, so we went shopping yesterday and got this huge pile of yarn! The dark grey is for my husband. He’s getting a Basel hat, provided I can alter it a little to fit his 24″ head and he’s getting a pair of gloves, although I’m making them fingerless and possibly with a shorter cuff. The blue and light grey are for me. I’m making myself fingerless gloves and a hat too, but I’m working out my own colourwork pattern for them. I can’t find any hat patterns where I like both the pattern and the shape of the hat, so I’m taking matters into my own hands!
I’m reading again this week. I felt like I’d fallen out of the habit of reading, so to get myself back into it, I treated myself to a new book on the Kindle. I’m reading The Belgariad by David Eddings, and I’ve only just started the first book. I love this series and I’ve probably read it about five or six times in the last decade. It’s good to catch up with old friends from time to time.
It’s freezing here this week. I’m planning my winter knitting – new gloves (maybe fingerless for me) and hats for me and my husband. I’m going to have a look at cowl patterns too.
My shawl is causing me a few problems – I seem to make exactly the same mistakes every few rows which is just careless! My cosy tunic is going well though. I’m about halfway through the lace portion of the tunic. I have no idea how the fit is going though. I think once I’m done the lace I’m going to put it on a lifeline and block it. While my blocked gauge is just about perfect for the pattern, my knitted gauge is a good few stitches smaller, so there’s no use in trying it on like this.
I mentioned last week that I was getting some 4mm fixed circular ChiaoGoo needles to try out. Although I like my KnitPro needles, the nickel coating was causing me some problems. My skin doesn’t like nickel. The main problem I had with this before I started knitting was that I can’t wear cheap earrings or my ears ached and swelled up. Luckily my KnitPros don’t cause me problems like those, but they do turn dark and feel very sticky after I’ve been using them for a little while and I have to polish them most nights. ChiaoGoos are stainless steel which pretty neatly gets around any problems with my body chemistry.
I really love these needles. I’ve been using them since Thursday when they arrived and they’ve just got better – including the fact that they don’t need polished at all. When I took them out the packet on Thursday, they didn’t feel particularly slick. Slickness is pretty important to me because I’m a tight knitter and slick needles make my life easier. Once I started using them, the needles polished up very nicely and now they’re really slick and smooth. One other thing I really love is that the size is laser printed on the needles – to work out which of my KnitPros is which, I have to use a needle gauge. It’s a small thing but it will save me a lot of searching for the needle gauge every time I need a different needle.
One of the big selling points of the ChiaoGoos is the cable, and I have to say I love it. It’s a thin wire with a smooth coating over it and it’s really nice to work with. So far I’ve not got tangled up with it at all and I haven’t had to worry about unlooping it every time I turn my work. The other thing I love is my pointy lace tips. They’re a good bit sharper than my KnitPros, and it’s making my k3togs so much easier. I’m really looking forward to getting a set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables to be my new regular needles.
(This is my own opinion and I haven’t been asked to review these needles, nor have I been given any free samples. In a couple of months time I might be able to find some disadvantages with the needles, but I hope not!)
I almost forgot to post today, and I have something for you at last! First though, my ChiaoGoo circular needle arrived yesterday, and I really love it so far! I’ll have a proper review for you next week.
At the craft shop a couple of weeks ago, I found a gorgeous colourful pack of fat quarters – and remembered to get matching thread for a change and more bobbins for my sewing machine, so I’m pretty well equipped for a change! The result is another project bag. I love making these. They’re so quick and easy to make and so useful too! This time I combined a plain pink fabric with stripy green and I could have a proper “feature panel” this time. I really love the contrast of the pink pocket on the green stripes in the middle of the pink.
This time I sewed it up along the bottom so that the panel is in the center rather than the side like my last one. I also couldn’t find my elastic, so the pockets are just have flaps until it turns up somewhere. I did something clever this time though – when it came to sewing up the top of the bag, I used the green thread in the needle of thesewing machine, and the pink on the bobbin underneath, so on either side the thread matches the colour of the fabric! I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, although of course it didn’t work on the panels and I couldn’t be bothered swapping threads all the time.
I had some help showing off my bag this week, as you can see. Holly decided she wanted to come and say hello again, and help to “model” it. I may have to keep her and make another monster, because I’m getting pretty fond of her. This week, I need to make more of an effort to get on with the rest of the monsters, or they’ll never be ready in time for Christmas.
Check out Tami’s and see what everyone else has been up to!
I decided to combine my Year of Projects, WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along posts this week. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my designs that I can’t show you, so I decided to wait till I could be more interesting! I’m hoping for a special package in the post today. I have a set of KnitPro Interchangeable needles, which I really love using but they’re nickle plated and don’t react well with my skin. I don’t have a serious allergy – I’ve heard of some people that get itchy or numb hands and arms from their needles – but my needles do tarnish very quickly and feel sticky so I end up polishing them every day or two. I’ve ordered myself a Chiagoo 4mm fixed circular to try out. They’re stainless steel so shouldn’t cause me any problems, but I’ll let you know all about it when it gets here!
Steve still isn’t finished, but I’ve cast on something new. I’m knitting my monsters with 3.5mm needles and dk yarn at a very tight guage so that the stuffing doesn’t poke through and my shawl with 4mm needles and fingering weight yarn, so I’ve cast on something to give my hands a break. I’ve started my second lacey tunic in aran yarn. With the last one I went around and picked up the cast on stitches and added a moss stitch border which I really like, so this time I added the moss stitch border from the start. I also used a new (to me) cast on called the “Old Norwegian”. It’s a variant on the long tail cast on and I really like how it looks. I went up a couple of needle sizes for the cast on and it feels nice and stable yet stretchy.
I haven’t been reading much this week, but I did get a new book last week. It’s Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. I really love this book. The spiral binding is perfect for a craft book and saves you needing to prop it open, and the photos that guide you through the steps and really clear and easy to follow. This is, of course, where I learnt about the Old Norwegian cast on.
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