Thursday, November 12, 2009

more needle reviews: Hiya Hiya fixed circulars, Addi Lace, Addi Clicks

For a long time, I was resistant to buying circular needles with tips longer than 3.5". Any longer, and I found that knitting triggered my tendonitis issues due to the angle at which I had to hold the needles. This limited me to Addi Turbos (and the occasional Inox) that were 20" or shorter.

When I was just knitting toddler-sized items, this wasn't a problem. But this year I've been much more interested in expanding my knitting repertoire. I bought some Hiya Hiya needles over the summer because I needed some longer needles to make Delphine, and I didn't want to drop a bunch of money on Addis only to find that my tendonitis was going to keep me from using needles with 5.25" tips. I was really happy when I found that I could use the Hiya Hiyas comfortably. I liked them--a little pointier than Addi Turbos, but not so much that they hurt my fingers. Not quite as slick, which was a slight downside since I had to spend more energy and time getting the stitches to move where I wanted them to, but the join was smooth and the price was right.

My LYS had a 30% off sale on the Fourth of July, so I splurged on a couple of pairs of Addi Lace needles. I've been pretty wary of sharp-pointed needles since poking a hole in my finger with Addi Turbos a couple of years ago (there was blood and everything), but apparently I've modified my grip and technique enough since then to safely use pointy needles. These needles are really lovely: they have that wonderful Addi slickness and join, and the points really do make it easier to work with thinner yarn.

I also tried out the 9" Hiya Hiya fixed circulars. They took a bit of getting used to, but I finally figured out that I could prop the base of the tip against my ring finger of my right hand, and that eased my death grip on the needle tips, which had been causing tendonitis flare ups. They aren't my ideal solution for sock knitting, but they are definitely faster than using DPNs.

Then Addi came out with their new case for the Clicks a month or two ago, and I finally caved in and bought a set. I had been buying unusual needle sizes in Inox (locally available, unlike the HHs, and at a similar price) for one-off projects, and it had been irritating me to have all these random non-matching needles lying around. Plus I had been holding out for the HH interchangeables, but after hearing that they came unscrewed during knitting, I didn't want them anymore. That had been my major problem with the Knit Picks Options interchangeables, and had driven me wild.

The Clicks are a dream to work with. They haven't come loose while knitting, not once. I can just knit without having to think about it at all. The join is perfect. (That was my other beef with the Options: even if the tip didn't unscrew all the way off, there would be enough of a gap to catch and snag my yarn.) I haven't tried magic looping with the Clicks yet, so I don't have an opinion about the cable flexibility. But given the projects that I've got lined up, and the huge variation in needle sizes, I think the Clicks are worth the money.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

we are unamused.

For about a month, I've been chipping away at the February Lady Sweater when I have a few minutes. I'm using Sirdar's Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran for it, which I got at a huge discount at Sock Summit. I used six skeins for a shawl and liked it, so I decided to go ahead and do the FLS with another color as planned.

It's lovely soft yarn, with great drape. Coil spun, so it has a bit of a tendency to snag. But the main problem is that out of the seven skeins that I've used so far, all of which are allegedly from the same dyelot, two are much lighter. I tried to hide the transition in the lace section, but it's still fairly obvious. I can't look for more yarn from the same dyelot, because what if I just end up with more of the lighter stuff? Alternating skeins doesn't work, as it makes it look sort of striped.

A little disappointing, I have to say. I've got 10 skeins in DK weight left (yes, it was a *very* good sale) but now I'm a little apprehensive about starting another project with this. Color consistency was not at all an issue with the shawl, so I don't know how this third batch will turn out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

debuting at the Loopy Ewe

I've been excited about this for months, but since I have a healthy sense of paranoia caution, I didn't want to say anything until it actually happened.

Sheri of The Loopy Ewe saw my yarn at Sock Summit and asked me to dye for her store. Of course I said yes, and I'm thrilled that my yarns are part of her lineup now. The Trillium heavy worsted yarn made its debut today, with sock yarn to follow this winter.

Hurray for reaching a business milestone!

Friday, November 6, 2009

if you talked to me at the Whatcom Weavers Guild sale ...

When I was standing in line, waiting to check out my inventory at the end of the Whatcom Weavers Guild sale a couple of weeks ago, a woman asked me if I had any more roving at home, since all of my brighter braids had sold before she'd gotten there. I started to answer, but got crazy distracted by the checkout process (as my dad says, I am a batch processor, not a multi-tasker--little old-school mainframe joke for you geeks out there).

Anyway, if you're reading this, the answer is yes, and I'm sorry that I forgot to give you my contact info. I have a bunch of fiber (and yarn, for that matter) that I didn't bring to the guild sale, since I only had 60 Guild tags to use. Didn't want to be a hog and bring more than that.