Saturday, February 28, 2009

Knit Picks, Most Bodacious

I have always loved the relatively inexpensive yet quality products and knitting help offered by Knit Picks. Who have completely outdone themselves with this, they have all new accessories and some of the great finds are their ball winder for $19.99 and it's convertible, you can clamp it to a table or there is a handle attachment you can use instead. Usually they are at least $40 but more often than not I find them for over $60.

They now have a set of 15 stainless steel blocking wires w/T-pins also for $19.99, to go with that you need a blocking mats of course, and they have for you guessed it $19.99! Their mats are completely modular and break down for easy storage. The wires I think I've seen for as low as $25 other places but more commonly I find them for around $35 to $40, and the blocking mats are usually somewhere closer to $40 to $80 depending on the type.

Lastly there are the sock blockers at the fantastic price of $13.99, yep it's about 1/2 of what I normally see them for.

But don't forget their yarn, they have a variety of fiber types, it's all very economically priced, and I think the quality is pretty darn good. I mean you can actually afford to buy 10 balls for a project, and they have a good pallet.

Oh and their needles! Knit Picks Harmony needles are a laminated, multicolored, layered birch, and they have a nice point to them. Right now I only have 1 pair of these in size #3 and I LOVE them. I've always liked using bamboo because I don't loose stitches as easily and I just like the feel better. The problem with bamboo is that the points aren't all that sharp to begin with and only get worse over time, causing knitting difficulty & split stitches. The other problem is the give and lack of tensile strength in the smaller sizes, I've broken a couple, and permanently bent others. They also have a nickel plated set for those who prefer the slickness of metal. These needles are also very economically priced my size #3s w/32" cord were only $5.99, and I don't feel like I'm going to break them when I'm using them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My First Amigurumi!

Ok so I've made a couple of simple crochet projects before but nothing where my stitch count mattered or that I actually had to pay attention to what I was doing. But for a friend's birthday I wanted to make her a Cthulhu so I had to give it a shot. The biggest problem for me turned out to be that there is a crease at the beginning of each increase round that after ripping it out several times I was able to reduce the crease but it's still there, mocking me.

Before I try my next project I'm going to do a swatch and try just skipping over the stitch you'd normally place a slip stitch in and see if that fixes it. Unfortunately I didn't have time to troubleshoot it for this project, due to the fact that I'm a horrendous procrastinator, and in true procrastinator fashion I didn't start the project until 2 days before her birthday, brilliant.

I used a 20mm eye instead of the recommended 12mm (because I couldn't find cat eyes in a smaller size at my local craft store). I think it worked out well, it looks more like an innocent baby Cthulhu, though from what I found out in net searches there really is no such thing.

Once I had all the pieces made, and the body stuffed...

I used sock needles to position the arms placing the left one strategically over most of crease from the increase rounds. I left the needles in to hold the arms in place while I sewed them on.

Then It was time to wrap it and head out to my friend's party.