Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.

4 Comments:

Bess, am in residence right now. Love catching up on your work. Started my private career as a geriatric care manager which oddly enough is providing for alot of fiber art. Of course, my first client is one of the greatest knitters I know...Maybe I should specialize in only fiber art clients!!! Anyway, have still resisted the spell of the socks. Most knitting is for my 20 year old - see the bolero in the new Knitscene!!!! However, I do see everyone else's socks and feel desire - desire, I think to find my old Priscilla's handspun sock pattern that was perfect! Maybe this week.... Stay cool!

By Anonymous Glenn across the River, at 8:07 AM  

Dearest Bess,
Thanks for the KP needle review - your words add to the ones from KR/Clara as a "good knitting seal of approval" for me. I look toward more lace knitting in the future & these needles sound mighty good.
Your Monday at the Library sounds quite worthwhile - you made a difference in the lives of your patrons & that's a beautifl thing.
XOXO

By Blogger Martha, at 10:04 AM  

I may give Little Town a try - you reminded me to go back and read the Laura series again, swooning and sighing over the Golden Years as I always do, and grumbling over the First Four Years as I always do (it's a mess of trash compared to the others). I've decided this year I'll look up the other women's books that are listed - Rose's story, and Caroline's and all the women before her... but I will be sorely disappointed if they are more First Four Years than the magic that is the other stories...

By Blogger Amie, at 11:32 AM  

I'm so glad you enjoyed "The World's Fastest Indian"! I watched it recently and thought it was excellent - well worth watching. Anthony Hopkins again did a marvellous job of portraying the main character. Even his accent was fairly authentic-sounding!

KathyR (from KR and New Zealand)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 PM  

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006  

Needle Review Down Near the Bottom

Happy Birthday USA.


Hope you can all stay cool. It’s mega-hot around here, the first really hot spell we’ve had so far this summer. Sunday was supposed to be hotter than yesterday but I spent it giving the porch it’s annual superscrub, which means I was up and down the step ladder with bucket, brush and garden hose, and pretty much soaking wet, during the worst of the heat.

Tackling the porch is the one of the major hurdles of the summer. The porch faces north and takes the brunt of winter weather. Even though we keep the doors shut, it fills with leaves and bark and, as spring creeps in beneath the cold, pollen and dust. Since half the scrubbing involves reaching up with soapy brush, there’s a constant trickle of soapy water rolling down my arms, along my ribcage and into the band of my shorts. Though the job need only be done once a summer, it’s very taxing. Last year, in the wake of Heart Attacks, I didn’t get around to it. Instead it got a Guy’s Cleaning - which means BD sprayed it with Clorox and then hosed it down. That will certainly take away the mildew - but it doesn’t get the porch clean - something BD and I define differently - in classic Dave Barry tradition.

There came a point on Sunday afternoon when the muscles in fingers, wrists and arms told me they had reached max effort - that more scrubbing would do damage rather than build strength. Alas - there were still 3 panels of screens to go and all the porch furniture. Needless to say - no fiber play took place on Sunday, nor any blogging nor other forms of keyboard activity. Instead, my evening meal consisted of watermelon and Alieve and Monday at work was too busy helping the dozens of people with reading emergencies to require much finger motion.

I couldn’t believe how many people thronged into the library in 5 short hours. Maybe the heat drove some of them, but I was sweetly justified in my decision to open when more than one patron told me she’d had to wait for a day off to get by the library at all! Lots of whole family units came in, as well - moms, dads and kids together. Yep yep - it was the right decision. But lawsee it was busy!

And because all I had a chance to do was flit between registering kids for the summer reading club, issuing new cards and checking books in and out, my wrists and fingers got a nice rest. As a reward from the hand goddess, waiting in the mailbox when I got home was the package from KnitPicks containing a pair of size #1 circular needles. The package was a large 8.5x11 envelope with cardboard backing and their label doesn’t say KnitPicks on it, but something like Craft America Group. This is bad. I’m on any dozen crafty mailing lists and I almost threw this away unopened. Almost, fortunately, for inside were two little plastic envelopes with my new needles.

There is a superior review of these needles on this week’s Knitters Review so I need not wax lengthy on these needles but I will make a few comments.

First - you notice the cable flexibility as you are taking them out of their package. It slinks out of the cellophane envelope (which you may as well trash - it is definitely not a storage bag) like cooked spaghetti. This is a very nice feature for those of us who’ve had to dip our new circulars in boiling water to get them to uncoil.

Next - the shanks are nice and slickly smooth - and long enough. I have big hands - I wear size 8 gloves. I can’t stand little shanks and often knit circular garments on 2 long circulars rather than one 16 incher, because the shorter needles have shorter shanks and by the time I’ve finished a hat, my every finger aches.

The joins are perfect. My tiny Lorna’s Laces sock has been loaded onto the needles and you can push all the stitches onto the shank without any catching, dragging or manipulating with fingernails. As good as the Addi join.

The tips are very sharp. When knitting socks on 2 thin circs, as I move from one circular to the next I sometimes have to push the left needle tip back out of that first stitch as it moves onto the right needle, using the tip of my right index finger. Clara had warned about this problem in her review so I wasn’t surprised when the sharp tip pricked my finger. Still, I don’t want to make a habit of this. In spite of the marathon porch scrubbing, pain usually works as a motivator with me so the next time I used my fingernail to push the needle through. If it continues as a problem, I’ll put a bandage on the index finger. This is definitely a needle you should never leave in a chair seat. If you ever sat on it, you’d need to go to the emergency room. Be Careful.

I only knit one round on the sock because I wanted to wet set all the kinky yarn that had once been a badly knit short row heel. It’s dry now and I’ll knit a bit on the sock today. If my opinion changes on these needles, you will read about it here.

What I will say is that Inox needles are in big trouble. Their sharp tip and slightly lower price were often the deciding factor when choosing a needle brand, in spite of their stiff cables and rough, uneven joins. Sometimes you won’t want sharp tips and there’s no reason to knit with lethal weapons if you aren’t making lace or tee-tiny cables in tight fingering weight yarn. The soft blunt face of an Addi Turbo will suit you much better - and besides, those of us who want them, already have lots of ATs. I do think the ATs will have to come down in price if they want to compete for the serious knitter’s $. Wooden needles are unlikely to suffer much competition. Wooden needle fans will always insist upon their bamboo, their maple, and their exotic woods. Boye and Susan Bates have the big contracts with Walmart, Ben Franklin and Michaels. When you have a needle emergency at midnight on Sunday - that’s what you’re going to have to buy.

Yes. I have had needle emergencies and yes I have bought Boye circular needles and yes, I give them away generously as soon as I can free the project from their stiff, metallic clutch.

But when you have the time to order - when you were going to order needles anyway - that nice low price and the excellent qualities of the KnitPicks needles are factors likely to be decisive.

As for the sets? Well. I’m not much of a needle set purchaser but I believe I’m a rarity. And I could change. And the option to purchase only as much of a set as you want is tempting. I think the KP folks have done it again. It will be interesting to see how it effects the rest of the knitting universe.

A last bit of good news from TheCastle. Our wheat was harvested yesterday. My gift to that great god, VISA, will be offered in a timely manner.

Have a safe happy holiday - may it be cool enough for pleasure and warm enough for love.

posted by Bess | 7:22 AM
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