Tag Archives: knitting needles

Yarn Is My New Boyfriend

Ever since I broke up with my boyfriend this summer and really got back into knitting and sewing, my mom has been joking about how I’m having a relationship with my yarn, fabric, knitting needles, and sewing machines.  When you think about it, I’ve been with knitting and sewing for far longer than any relationship that I’ve had with a man.

Of course, my latest relationship would have ended regardless of my piece on the side, but a big part of it was my boyfriend’s lack of respect for my prized knitting and sewing tools.  He was generally careless, but when he managed to bend two pairs of Addi Turbos, dent the cover of one of my Harmony Guides, ding my sewing machine, and rip a vintage sewing pattern, I was more upset than usual.

He said that his bending the knitting needles and Harmony Guide was really my fault because I had left them on his spot on the couch.  I asked if he had seen them before he sat down, and he said yes.  I asked why he didn’t move them, or ask me to move them, or sit on the unoccupied other end of the couch, and he couldn’t answer.  We hadn’t even planned on seeing each other that night, and I’d said that I was going to be working on baby gifts for my cousins, but he still wanted to come over.  He also got mad later that evening when I proceeded to work on said baby gifts while we watched a movie.  When I asked why he was upset, since he’d seemed fine with it when we were on the phone that afternoon, he explained that he had assumed that I would find the movie too interesting and not knit in order to watch it.  (Non-knitters have such quaint ideas about movies.)

He did apologize for dropping a heavy book on the extended table for my Brother, thereby dinging/bending the little tab that secures it to the (then 2-week-old) machine and tearing a pattern piece that I had sitting on the table.  He then started to explain that if I had an organized bookshelf, he would have known where to put the book, and we could have avoided this whole problem.  He also said that I shouldn’t have been upset that he had bent my machine because he had helped me to get it back to my apartment after I bought it that summer.  Can you see the logic there?  Because I can’t.

Of course, I’m not a perfect housekeeper.  My life isn’t totally organized, and I fully admit that I probably shouldn’t leave knitting on the couch and that my bookcase could have a more logical organization system with fewer books stacked in front of and on on top of it.  (Actually, I may need a new bookcase.)  But when you’re dating a man who won’t let you see his apartment because it’s so messy that he’s afraid you’ll break up with him over it, a disorganized bookcase is the least of your worries.

I’m not sure if he was being intentionally passive aggressive with this nonsense, or if he was really so totally clueless about his surroundings that it didn’t strike him as foolish to sit on a stack of knitting supplies, or drop a hardback textbook onto a sewing machine.  Now I get to live with damaged equipment, but at least I don’t have to deal with him any longer.

Sewing and knitting are often frustrating, but at least they behave logically.  Wool felts when you wash it wrong, and cheap acrylic pills.  The sewing machine stitches an uneven seam when the tension is off.  Addi Turbos are slippery, Clover bamboo needles are not.  And on no occasion will any of these things sulk for weeks without telling you what’s wrong (well, maybe the sewing machine will), or leave dirty socks on the floor in the dining room, or disappear during your cousin’s wedding reception because it’s just too stressful.

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Why I Need to Organize My Knitting Supplies

I have lots, that’s why.


This isn’t even everything.

The circular needles are the worst.  The bin that I have them in right now is an upgrade from the small pouch that they used to be in, but it’s still far from perfect.  (Plus, it’s really saying something that a rinsed out salad container is an upgrade.)  The cables get tangled all the time, and it’s impossible to find the right size without going through the whole pile of needles.  I could keep them in their individual pouches, like I try to do with my Knit Picks Options tips, but the bin is a bit bigger and it lets the curl in the cables relax.

My double points also get a bad deal.  I don’t have very many (only 4 sets) but they, and my crochet hooks, and my ruler, always get put in the aluminum cannister that holds my shorter straights.  The cannister is too long for them, so when I need to find a set, I have to dump the whole thing out.  My long straights are getting a bit crowded in their PVC pipe holder although it is at least the right length for them.  Also, since starting to use the holder, I’ve gotten several more sets whose sizes aren’t stamped on the end.

My needle gauge, rulers, stitch holder, and cable needles don’t even have a home.  I had to go dig them out from the bottom of a couple of my yarn stash bins just to photograph them.

So here’s the plan: I’m going to buy felt and make some cases for all of my stuff.  First priority is a case for my circulars, with pockets where they can be separate and relatively uncurled.  Then, I’m going to make three simple roll-up cases for my double points and Knit Picks tips, long straights, and short straights.  Last, my needle gauge, cable needles, and other accessories get a felt pouch from whatever fabric is left.  If I ever get enough crochet hooks to make it worth my while, I’ll make a little roll thing for them, too.

I’d like to do this while I’m at my parents’ house for Christmas, first because they have a rotary cutter and large cutting mat, which will come in pretty handy for all the rectangles I’m going to be cutting.  The second reason is that, while my new Brother (that’s him in the header photo) does beautifully with normal fabric weights, anything too thick makes him cranky.  My parents’ 1976 Sears Kenmore is a bit of a tank, and won’t even blink at a couple layers of felt.  I might have to spend longer getting the tension right, and it’s a pain in the butt to disengage the clutch to wind a bobbin on it, but once the initial set-up is done with, the actual work will go faster.

My pointe covers haven’t progressed any further since last post, so I won’t bore you with another photo.  I have been productive with putting together a good fuzzy pants pattern, though.  I’m using a combination of my favorite traits from my two old pairs, and I have a Doctor Who DVD, so progress this evening on both fronts should not be insignificant.

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How Two Circular Needles Changed My Life

When I first learned how to knit in the round, it was on a set of four aluminum double points that my great grandmother had.  I hated it.  I kept on poking myself in the wrists or in my stomach when I tried to rest my arms, and my ladders were epic.  Granny told me to give the yarn a little tug when I was doing the first stitch on each needle, but there were still ladders.  To this day, I hate double points.  I can handle them now, since my gauge has both loosened up and evened out, but I still poke myself when I’m not paying attention, and I still get the hint of a ladder.

Six years ago, I decided to knit myself a pair of gloves.  I’d knit mittens before, but they were always knit flat and then seamed up the outside edge, if they were finished at all.  The intended gloves never came to be, because after I’d divided the stitches into fingers I discovered that my hand proportions are all off and nothing was going to fit, but I did discover that the magic loop was a clearly better method than the dreaded double points.  Shortly after that, I knit myself a pair of mittens using the magic loop and some black yarn that I had on hand.  They were loosely based on a pair that my mom’s cousin had knit for her in college and which had never fit me because they were small on my mom’s tiny, dainty hands and I have gigantic, manly hands.

Then I was using the magic loop for everything.  This was the era of not finishing anything, so there isn’t much to show for it, but I did get pretty good at wrangling those needle cables into the proper shape.  I recognized that I was suffering from second mitten syndrome, so I tried to knit two mittens at once using the magic loop.  It was an epic failure.  The ladders made a comeback in a big way, my gauge tightened up like crazy, and the project got abandoned for all eternity to the black hole that is my under-bed zippered storage thingy (aka the cover that come on my mattress pad).

For my pointe shoe covers, I did some research and decided that knitting two at a time on two circulars would be the option for me.  (Credit goes to Sheron Goldin’s 2 Socks on 2 Circulars for the method that I used to cast on.) After checking out the technique on an ancient, stiff-cabled circular from Granny’s collection and a Knit Picks needle whose cable keeps popping out, I decided that it was worth it to buy two Addi Turbos, both US 8, in 24″ and 32″.  (I love Addi Turbo needles.  I love them especially now that they’ve changed to the more flexible blue cables.)  I made a variety of swatches in a variety of cable patterns, and cast on this morning using a 2×2 rib with a mock cable in each rib every 4 rows.  It’s the simplest of all the patterns I tried out, but for trying a new technique, I think that might be the best idea.

I also wound my gigantic skein of Caron One Pound into two yarn cakes, put them in a plastic bag with the top tied off, and cut holes for the yarn to go through.  The best part of this is that I can pick up the bag and haul it around without worrying about the yarn getting twisted and tangled near the balls, and the yarn cakes lie flat so the bag doesn’t roll around.

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