Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Christmas in July: Yarns & Accessories

We're right smack in the middle of August. I waited three months for these goodies to come to me, and they've waited another three months to be blogged about. I wrote about receiving the needles first, otherwise the baby socks and other exciting projects wouldn't come into being.

First up, my Knitpicks Sunset Picnic Lace Sampler. Six beautiful colors! Actually I also liked the selections Sea View, Winetasting and Riverside Cafe, but was on a budget (needles before yarn) so I chose the brightest, warmest, happy colors. Of course I keep in mind that whatever is made of these yarns must be suitable for the tropics. I can't stop touching these, they're made to attract the hand, otherwise you wouldn't work with them or wear them. Knitpicks really tries to live up to their motto: "Passionately committed to affordable luxury knitting." It sounds like an oxymoron, the combination of the words "affordable" and "luxury". But if it means Knitpicks offers access to better quality materials to motivate the home knitter, I'm all for that!

Next, my Lacis Yarn Ball Winder. I remember mentioning in a previous post that I wanted a Royal Yarn Ball Winder as it was mentioned in Knitters Review, but when I discovered the price difference (Lacis at USD 27.99 vs. Royal at USD 34.99) I figured that the basic mechanism didn't differ too much between brands and ordered the more affordable Lacis. Locally available crochet cotton sometimes comes wound around a cardboard tube (Cannon, Anchor) and therefore I can't find the center pull to knit from. It's a major pain to have the ball rolling around madly and then getting all tangled up. After I've wound the balls (as needed) I just keep the working ball in a ziploc bag with the project needles to keep it clean and portable (stash in handbag and go). It can be addicting winding balls, but there's one area where they can't compete: winding frogged (read: unravelled) yarn while the project is still attached. That's where I use our nostepinne (made for us from a photo by our local furniture repairman). And I love this, because this is Joy's advance birthday gift to me.

I really wasn't planning to order these notions (Susan Bates Universal Knit Counter & Boye Balene II Stitch Marker Rings, both under USD 2), but Joy needed to make up a minimum purchase to avail of free delivery for sale items from Knitting At the moment they cost more locally than online, so I decided to get them. The row counter helps, especially when knitting to pattern, to shape. I've already used the stitch marker rings on the beginnings of a shawl project, just to remind me where I am in a 200+ stitch cast on (a fine yarn, better not make more mistakes than necessary).

And last but not least:

Lion Brand Pound of Love claims that you can make a baby hooded blanket using just one giant skein. Caron One Pound claims that you can make 4 full scarves! Don't you just love value! Best of all, they are machine washable acrylic. At first glance they seem a bit thick (worsted weight) for the tropics, but I don't think I'd complain if I snuggled into a finished afghan at the height of typhoon weather. I chose nice antique-ish colors so that either gender may benefit from a finished product. I still have no idea what that would be, but it's nice to have these on hand.

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