kiwiknitter's blog

Crochet Hooks

I must confess to being very spastic when I try to use a crochet hook. I can inflict far more damage with the bloody hook than I could ever do with a pointy needle. It's no wonder that I took up knitting instead of crochet.

At the NZ Knitters' Weekend, I met Jenny King who is an Aussie crochet designer. She is a lovely person and a fantastic crocheter. She has commissioned her own line of bamboo crochet hooks which are beautiful, and if you must use one, lovely to hold. I ordered and just received mine and I'm so pleased that I thought I'd alert others here about them. The hooks are bamboo with very nice hooks ends. I only use crochet hooks for repairs and have not, until now, found any that I could use easily. Somehow, the hooks are cut just right for me.

So, I biffed the metal and plastic hooks I had in my knitting tool kit and added these lovely wooden hooks. I think it's a bloke thing but I love quality tools!

Have a look at her site; you won't be disappointed:

She is such a great person and talented fiber artist! If you order from her, tell her "Hi!" from me!

YouTube Fancies

I came across these these YouTube vid's this arvo and thought MWK lads might enjoy them:

Men Knitters:

It's good to laugh at ourselves:

Portugese Knitting (like knitting with 2 crochet hooks):

Addi Turbo Lace Needles

I'm not a lace knitter (at least I don't add the extra stitches on purpose) but Christine (knitmaniac) showed me this website and I noted that Addi has added lace circulars to its line of knitting needles. Maybe this is old news, but I thought I'd put it forward here in case some of the lace knitters didn't know.

...and the woolly horse your rode in on!

At last my “woolly horse” aka “jumper board” but not to be confused with a “woolly jumper” (Aussie boomer joke) arrived from the Shetland Islands. I believe it is originally a Shetlands invention and is discussed in books about Fair Isle knitting; a pattern to make your own is in “The Fair Isle Knitting Handbook” by Alice Starmore. I’m not skilled enough to build my own so I bought this. It is really quite an interesting piece and I used it recently to block the Scalloway Yoke jumper. It worked brilliantly. I was able to adjust for my size and block the garment to fit. Because the air can reach all sides, the garment dries very quickly. I purchased it from Jamieson & Smith and it wasn’t cheap but given the amount of knitting that I do, I felt the money spent was justified. A benefit for me is being able to block a garment knitted in one piece. When working with Shetland knitting wools, the garment must be washed for the wools to soften and of course it assists to set stitches and the FI design. I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t work with an Icelandic yoke jumper but I had no problems. I know that a number of knitting yarns don’t need blocking but Shetland wools definitely need it. In fact, I’ve read in numerous sources that Shetland knitters don’t consider a garment finished until it’s washed and blocked.

Scalloway Yoke Jumper

1. This is a pattern from the book “The Art of Fair Isle Knitting” by Ann Feitelson. I love this book and I like this design. This is my first real stranded knitting project worth mentioning.

2. The knitting wool is from Jamieson & Smith in the Shetland Islands (Scotland) and they are lovely to deal with. Very nice emails and phone conversations and speedy service. Given the fantastic colour palette of their knitting wools, I reckon they have become my supplier of choice!

3. The Shetland knitting wool was so different from the knitting wools I’ve been using. It feels “hard” to the touch, just like the home-spun that I had purchased a while back. But, unlike that horrible home-spun, this wool knits beautifully. And, once washed in only water, it becomes very soft to the touch.

4. It’s my experience that Shetland wools need to be wound into balls. When pulling from the centre, I ended up with lots of yarn spew which usually was tangled as this wool tends to knot up easily. It was too risky to trust the skeins to pull cleanly.

5. It is a 2-ply that knits as a 4-ply. I know that there are several MWK members who will knit jumpers in nothing larger than a 5-ply. I can now see the advantages of knitting a stranded multi-colour pattern with a smaller wool. The pattern stands out so much better and there is a definition and intricacy of the knitted design that the larger size wools can’t achieve (in my opinion).

Knitpicks vs Addi

I've been hearing lots lately about the Knitpicks circular needles kit. It looks pretty nice and I'm wondering what others have to say about it, especially in comparison to the Addi Turbos. I have a huge investment in the Addi Turbos but my objection is that the memory of the coiled cable is too strong and even with the hot water method of relaxing them, they still revert to the coiling. I like the Knitpicks idea of having a goodly selection in a smallish case. The difficulty with their product is that the smallest needle size is the 3.5 mm and lately I am using even smaller sizes. I also understand that the tips are quite sharp and I wonder about that. The bamboo set looks nice but I never use bamboo any more. Anyone care to give their opinions?