Creative Outlets: Hallowe’en!

The leaves are falling, a nip is in the air, frost greets us in the mornings and the countdown to Hallowe’en has begun.

Whatever anyone’s personal view of Hallowe’en might be, it has become an excellent opportunity to express creativity. Whether through costumes, decorations or parties I love to see people’s creativity shine at this time of year.

When my kids were small, I liked to make them costumes for Hallowe’en. Of course in our region, it’s very cold on Hallowe’en. So their costumes needed to be inherently warm or fit over a winter coat. As a performer and costume designer, I love any excuse to dress up in a costume. In a world that can be heavy and demanding, I firmly believe that we should take every appropriate opportunity we can to have some silly and lighthearted fun.

You don’t have to be able to sew to come up with a costume. Sure, if you want something elaborate, it helps. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money. It does help to give yourself a bit of time to come up with something. What you really need is a sense of humour and some creativity.

The thrift shop is a fantastic place to start.

  1. It’s best to make a few trips. The cool thing about thrift shops is that the stuff there is constantly changing.
  2. Watch for anything unusual. Perhaps a hat, a coat in an out of the ordinary colour, something that you could use as a prop to imply a character…
  3. Don’t let it pass you by! Because thrift shops have a quick turnover, if you see something unusual or cool, buy it! Go with cash and be prepared to grab the items that make you stop in your tracks. You might not use them this year, but if you leave them and think they’ll be there when you go back, you will be disappointed. If you think it’s cool for a potential costume, someone else likely will too.
  4. Let the unusual get your creative juices flowing. You need to give yourself permission to get out of your normal head space in regard to the clothes you see at the thrift shop.
  5. Think outside the box. A giant coat that would fit more than one of you might be worn over a backpack to create the impression of a hunchback. A bright red child’s coat might need some small black pompoms hot glued on it. Pair it with black pants or leggings and a black toque (beanie for non-Canadians) and you have a Ladybug costume.
  6. Don’t be afraid to cut things up. Don’t be afraid to reimagine what you see. A coat with a wild looking lining? Turn it inside out and be a Wild Thing!

Sometimes it’s worth it to purchase an inspiration piece.

  1. An inspiration piece in this context is something that evokes a character or an era.
  2. Don’t underestimate the power of a hat. A hat can transform normal clothes into a costume. Put on a suit you already own and add a fedora, a pencil thin mustache and a cane… Presto, you are suddenly from a whole other era. A distressed bowler hat? Get some grubby old work clothes in shades of brown and suddenly you might be a railway labourer from the 1880’s. A cowboy hat, a hard hat, a helmet, a bee keeper’s veil, a welder’s cap, a newsboy cap… you get the idea.
  3. Props can also give the impression of a character. They can inspire a complete outfit. Of course if you have to carry that prop around in your hands it will make it difficult to do other things. Oh, and I don’t recommend using a real Katana as a prop. Most venues frown on patrons carrying edged weapons in their establishments. And children with weapons…. hmmm… not a good idea. Costume shops often carry plastic swords and other interesting items that can act as your inspiration for a costume.
  4. A wig can transform you. Enough said.
  5. If you have any consignment shops in your area, these are another great place to look for inspiration pieces. You may have to pay up a little for an inspiration piece. However, it may mean that you can pull the rest of the costume together with items you already own.

Recycle, Repurpose and all that Jazz…

  1. It’s amazing what you can do with some cardboard, tape and spray paint.
  2. Throughout the year, keep an eye out for unusual items that could be used to make a costume. Old bleach jugs with the ends cut out could become the arms of a space suit. They can even fit over the sleeves of a winter coat you picked up at the thrift shop. Spray paint the whole thing silver? Tadah!
  3. Check out You-Tube videos of Cosplayers for inspiration in this regard. Cosplayers are genius when it comes to transforming what most people consider garbage/recycling into brilliant costumes. Use the words  “hacks” in your search. That will generally bring up cool work-arounds and creative (and inexpensive) suggestions. If you are not familiar with Cosplay, be prepared to see pictures of people dressed up as cartoon or video game characters. Many of the female costumes are based on Anime and can be rather revealing. So, your search will bring up these images. If you are looking for ideas for little kids, maybe do that search after they go to bed.

Make it up…

A little makeup goes a long way to imply your character. There are lots of costume make-up tutorials on You Tube.

Put it all together and you’ll be on your way in a great costume. And bottom line, it’s about giving yourself permission to be playful in a world that generally expects us to be anything but. Have fun!

Happy Making!

 

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Let’s Show Designers Some Love!

Designing is both a skill and a creative art form. Whether the designer’s work results in a building, a chair, a garden or a garment it’s important that we respect it. Not just anyone can create a design. Today I want to celebrate designers.

Designing requires more than just coming up with a cool, innovative or creative idea. It takes a lot of trouble shooting, math, trial and error, frustration and perseverance. There are probably a zillion design ideas that will never see the light of day. And it’s because it’s a lot of work to take it from idea to item.

Truly original ideas are very rare.

Generally, anything that is designed is going to have similarities to existing items. If we focus on knitting patterns as our example (since that’s my daily focus) let’s face it, a cardigan or a sock have to be a certain way or they won’t function as required. So you have your basic structure that immediately limits how creative you can get. If it isn’t essentially a tube with a 90 degree turn in it and one closed end, it won’t be a sock. (I know, you can have a tube sock without a heel… you get my drift, though.) Obviously, there’s a lot that a designer can come up with to create a beautiful sock that is different than others. That’s where the talent, vision, skill and perseverance come in!

Recently I started looking for local knitting designers. I want to support them by selling their patterns in my store. So far I have purchased patterns from Raquel Oliveira of Squamish, BC and Knox Mountain Knit Co. from Kelowna, BC. Their designs are lovely. I encourage you to check them out on Ravelry or come and see them in my store.

Raquel Oliveira

© Knit It Out

Joy     Cocoon     Shannon     Stawamus

Knox Mountain Knit Co.

© Knox Mountain Knit Co.

Cedar Creek Cowl     Biggie Hat     Granby Mitts     Fintry

I have personally been inching away at a cardigan design for small children using a particular construction technique. After spending months of all my spare time, (obsessively) I have one size completed (using chunky weight yarn). I used three different yarns respectively, abandoned one of them, knit and frogged many, many times. I tested the pattern more than once and had another person test the pattern as well. It was revised multiple times to correct the errors we found. That was only one size. Yeah, I can “math” the others to some extent, but they still all have to be test knit to be certain that the proportions will be correct. The math in knitting is not exact. It’s a lot of work.

I already have a full time job (being a knitwear designer is not a particularly lucrative way to make a living! cough, cough… LOL) so all this happens in my down time. It takes care and focus to write a good pattern. Often when I have down time, I am too tired to have the focus needed. Often, I’ll get the bones of the design down so I can go back to it later and write it out properly. I have a collection of those, waiting to be finished. I still absolutely LOVE designing. I truly love the actual writing of the pattern every bit as much. And that (as any knitter knows) is an art form too. A well written pattern is worth a thousand poor ones. Once the actual written pattern is created, it requires photos and formatting. That takes a whole other set of skills and a particular eye.

What I’m trying to say is that designers who create beautiful patterns that we can follow to make practical and lovely items deserve our respect and support.

When you find a design you like, show that designer some love! Buy their pattern.

We can protect designers by avoiding those sites that take you down a rabbit hole for the promise of a free pattern. Those sites often don’t even own rights to the patterns they are giving away and it means that they take away from legitimate designers the means to support their creative endeavours.

Next time you are scrolling Pinterest or Ravelry take a moment to really appreciate the endless hours designers have spent turning inspiration into a tangible pattern.

Follow the designs all the way to the designer’s actual page; respect their copyright. Or purchase them from a brick-and-mortar yarn shop that purchased hard copies directly from the designer. The prices we pay for patterns are a pittance relative to what it takes to create them. If a designer is really lucky they might sell enough of each pattern design to cover the cost of producing it. There are so many designs available that competition is fierce. We need these amazing, creative individuals in our world. Let’s show them some love!

Happy Knitting!

 

Who Flipped the Switch?

Wait a minute! It was warm and now it’s cold. It’s like someone flipped a switch and the seasons are hurtling us toward winter. AAAAAACK!

I looked out the window this morning and the mountains around us are snowy. I’m not talking a wee bit of dusting at the very top, either. I’m not ready; and here it is coming up to Thanksgiving and I’m supposed to be all thankful and grateful and stuff. I’m feeling so conflicted!

Okay, so here’s me, taking some long deep breaths. After spending a couple hours between chat and phone calls to the phone company to try and sort out my account, (I won’t go into gory details. I’m sure you feel my pain.) I’m reaching to pull myself out of this not-so-thankful-and-grateful head space I have found myself in. More long deep breaths. I can do this, I know I can!

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh… thinking of beautiful new yarn; flowers; knitting projects I get to make; people I love…. Yes! it’s working!

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And you know what, I do actually love snow. I love skiing and if we have lots of snow up in the mountains it will create a good base for the ski hill. That’s a good thing too. There we go. I’m feeling a lot better already.

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It’s funny how the nature of life is that there will always be curve-balls of all different shapes and sizes coming at us, no matter who we are or what we do. And it can get you down if you let it. And some days you can roll with it and move on relatively effortlessly. Other days it’s tougher. Yet, there are always reasons to be grateful. It just takes a bit of reaching, you know? I know that I’ve got a pretty wonderful life. I really am very happy about that and I’m grateful for how tremendously blessed I am.

Chalk it up to the human condition.

At the end of the day, I guess we just need a little bit of time to wrap our brains around what’s going on, so we can adjust accordingly. Sometimes, it’s a graceful shift and sometimes it just ain’t pretty. On the days when it ain’t pretty, the challenge is to not let the stuff that has us off base spew out onto other folks who have nothing to do with what’s frustrating us. Everyone knows what it’s like. Everyone can relate. Knowing that makes it easier.

The big thing I have to remind myself on the Murphy’s Law days is that for me to wallow in a crabby mood is nothing more than self-indulgence. And the silly thing is that it doesn’t even feel good to be there. I catch myself with an internal rant going on. That doesn’t feel good either. That rant is so self-righteous. Yet it doesn’t do me any good. It just keeps me spinning around in the muck. It takes a deliberate choice to give myself a shake and reach to let that stuff go. Sometimes it takes several tries to get to where I can step out of the muck and stay out.

And it’s such a relief.

Once I settle back into my usual happy self, it’s such a huge relief. All that negative stuff is really draining.

So today, I salute everyone out there who is having a “Who Flipped the Switch” kind of day. Anyone who got thrown off balance by some stupid curve-ball that life had the gall to throw at them. I feel you! You’re not alone. This too shall pass! I know you know all that stuff. We all do. Sometimes it just helps to know we’re not alone in this messy thing we call life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Well it Ought to be Obvious…

I love to design. Whether I have a ready-to-go idea in my head that is easily executed, or a vague sense of what I want to express in a design, the creative act of designing fills me up. Sometimes, exploration leads to some fun and interesting outcomes that I would never have thought of. And sometimes, a design is accidental.

I haven’t done a whole lot of knitting since Tour-de-Sock finished. I still have the same projects on the needles, though my Whoopsie shawl is very close to completion and my Plan A (Take 2) second sock is now on the needle. Legolas is still in hibernation along with my Alecia Beth cardigan and my watermelon shawl. They are all waiting patiently at the back of the store. I knitted up a couple doll cardigans to test out some yarn samples that my rep sent me to try. The work in my store ramps up once summer is over and the number of sewing jobs increases. Often by the end of the day, I’m too tired to knit. (It takes a lot for me to be too tired to knit!) So progress has ground to a slow crawl.

Last weekend I had the good fortune to meet Kim of Black Cat Custom Yarn in Chilliwack.

I had heard about her from a few customers that passed through Revelstoke and recommended her.

Kim is a talented yarn dyer.

Her partner wasn’t feeling well on the day that I was at her studio, so I didn’t officially meet him. The two of them work together and their colourways reflect the joy they have in what they do. I have placed an order with them.

The quality of the yarn and the nature of their colourways make Black Cat Custom yarns a worthy replacement for Malabrigo yarns in my store.

I’ll be carrying their basic sock yarn and “Let’s get Worsted” weights to start with. It was really tough to limit the order!

In a basket, she had a whole bunch of mini skeins of seconds. On the top were two skeins of red sock yarn. They came home with me to become a pair of socks for one of my grand-daughters. (That was her only request, that they be red socks.) When I got home, I cast on the socks toe up. I wanted to do a fun pattern in them but I didn’t want to put in a lot of effort. I didn’t want to fuss. I thought,

“hey, I could use a mock cable pattern on these”.

So I pulled it out and mindlessly began knitting the pattern.

The pattern that developed was lovely, but it definitely was not the mock cable pattern. I sat there staring at my three pattern repeats like a dunce, wondering what I had done. Are you laughing at me yet? Good heavens. Honestly, Judy! The mock cable pattern is knitted back and forth. Socks are knitted in the round. It should have been obvious! I was working off written instructions for each row as opposed to a chart. If it had been a chart, I would have adapted without even thinking about it. But because it was written out, the wrong side rows were written assuming you turned the work and knitted it flat.

It came out looking like corn rows.

I decided to call it Rapunzel’s Ladder. How fun is that? It just goes to show you. Sometimes, you don’t even mean to be creative and yet something completely new and wonderful emerges in spite of you. Creativity is a magical thing.

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I’m a pretty smart person, but there are times when I can be a bit dense or oblivious. I don’t mean to, obviously… but yeah… human condition and all that. This was definitely one of those times. And yet! Eureka! I have a pair of socks developing that are absolutely lovely. My GD will adore them. They remind me of my first pair of Dirndl socks from when I was a girl. The two skeins were not exactly the same, but because they have the mottled hand-dyed look, it works. I am excited to see her face when she opens up the package at her birthday party. And incidentally, I get to pick up my Black Cat Custom Yarn order when we travel to the Coast for GD’s birthday Tea Party.

It will feel like it’s my birthday too.

Can’t get better than that! ETA for the Black Cat Yarns at Judy’s Designs is November 1, 2018.

Happy Knitting!

 

Satisfaction!

Satisfaction. Say it slowly, emphatically: Satisfaction! There’s just something wonderful about that word. Something, well, satisfying! Every time I hear it, I can hear Mick Jagger singing in my head. I suppose that dates me, but oh well! Satisfaction is the word for today.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am always busy. I’m always doing, or making, or fixing, or designing something. I really like being productive. It’s very satisfying to me.

Years ago, I designed, assembled and sold cross stitch kits.

As such, I had a large supply of DMC 6-strand embroidery floss on hand. When I opened my store, I added those to the many things I sell. For a while, the hanks of floss sat patiently waiting to be wanted. Then this past summer, suddenly everyone was looking for floss.

I had around 70 or 80 colours and for anyone who knows about these things… that is a drop in the bucket of what is available. I told people that if they gave me a list of the colours they  knew they would need, I could bring them in. But often, I see people who are traveling through and can’t wait for the special order to arrive. I didn’t think about it much until one day when I actually opened the drawers and realized that they looked barren!

I pulled out the DMC shade card and began cross referencing the colours that I have against the card so I could undertake an expansion of my stock. That was a long and tedious task. Then, feeling somewhat overwhelmed, I logged onto my supplier’s website. That was when I discovered that the shade card is only a fraction of the available colours.

If I thought I was overwhelmed before, then I’m not sure how to describe what I felt after this realization set in.

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As always when I’m at a loss, I messaged my daughter (the one who makes my blog posts look fantastic every week). She suggested that there must be a list of the top 100 colours somewhere. Ummmm, why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, I was feeling overwhelmed and the frontal lobe of my brain was in shut-down mode. LOL

I contacted my supplier and asked whether it would be difficult for them to send me such a list. Much to my delight, Mari emailed me the details the next day. I printed it out and began crossing off the colours that I already have to determine what I should order. That was a long tedious process. The colour card where I had marked in my stock was not in numerical order; the top 100 list was clearly in a completely different order. But I got it done. Next was to go onto the website and place my order.

Did I mention that the top 100 is a drop in the bucket of the colours available?

I started filling in the order online. I was about half way through and was interrupted. By the time I returned to it, the site had timed out. ARGH!!! (Not the actual word I used, but well… you know.) So I started over. I was interrupted yet again. I got back to it in time and got another 20 or so colours in. I was interrupted again. It timed out again. DOUBLE ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH! This whole starting over was a nuisance! I was determined that I was not going to let anything stop me from completing my task. I had a near interruption, but I explained that I would spontaneously combust if I allowed my page to time out one more time, and my very understanding customer happily browsed the store until I was done. I completed the order and all was good. Satisfaction achieved!

Knowing I would need some place to store all these gorgeous hanks of floss once they arrived, we headed to IKEA.

I found the perfect cabinet in “Alex”. Thanks, IKEA.

My supplier called me and informed me that a few of the colours were out of stock. I told them I really didn’t care as long as there were lots of them on their way to me when the time came. She laughed and assured me that there would indeed be lots of them. I felt a little bad for the person who got stuck with picking my order in the warehouse… but not that bad.

When the parcel came in there were a dozen each of 75 happy, pretty new colours that all needed to be entered into the inventory. WOOHOO! That was a long and tedious task.

But I got it done! That was very satisfying.

As the computers were updating my point-of-sale software, I set to constructing my cabinet. I’m not sure what time it was when my husband dragged me away and said it was time to stop.

After much pondering, I came up with a design for drawer dividers. I used a cool new product called Kraftex (which I’ll tell you about another day). I sewed one for each drawer. Then came the sorting of the rows and rows of boxes by colour families and sequences. We organized them all into the trays (and one of my old 3-drawer DMC cabinets). Then mom made a list of how all the colours were organized into each drawer. We printed out labels and stuck them onto the tops of the drawer fronts for reference. I ran out of label tape before I got the colour family names onto all the drawers, but other than that, it’s all done.

This took place over a span of about 3 weeks. Each and every step of this process felt like a big accomplishment. Often I could only get things done a few minutes here and there between customers. Throughout, I was viscerally aware of the sense of satisfaction that came with finishing each step. And now, I have a beautiful cabinet with around 144 colours of DMC floss for my customers to choose from.

Satisfaction achieved!

And the Tour is Done!

Tour de Sock is all done for 2018. What a whirlwind of sock knitting! I thought I’d sum my 2018 Tour experience today. It’s been a lot of fun, a bit of frustration and a whole lot of learning.

Warm up: Miriam by Eeva Kesäkuu

We started it off with a warm up sock called Miriam. This stranded colourwork sock was a really fun knit. It had an unusual heel construction that made it just a little different and interesting. The combination of the colourwork with the style of heel was cool. It was important to carefully follow the instructions so the stripes were correct. I was concerned that the fit might be a little strange when I first did them. However, they fit beautifully.

 

Stage 1: Plan A by Adrienne Fong

Oh my, these were such a delightful knit! I have generally always used 2.5mm needles to knit socks. This pattern called for light fingering and I used fingering weight on 2.5’s; they came out huge. I ended up submitting my photos for the stage and then frogging them back to take out as much as necessary to make them fit. I reknit the toes and “Ta Dah!” they fit. I’m actually knitting another pair (on 2.25mm needles this time) and they are perfectly to gauge. I love this pattern. On my second pair I left out the twisted cast on. I found it just a little binding. Other than that, I think this might be my new go-to for a while. (Sorry, “Hermione’s Everyday Socks“; you’re in second place…. even though I still love you.)

 

Stage 2: Odensjön by Suzanne Sjögren

These cabled socks were an absolute joy to knit. The pattern was complex enough to be interesting, yet simple enough that you could memorize it and just sit back and watch the pattern unfold. I knit these in CoBaSi yarn. It was my first experience with this yarn and it was the perfect combination. I’ll be looking for more patterns from this designer.

 

Stage 3: Bicycle Race by Heidi Nick

Wowzers! Heidi Nick sock patterns are intricate works of art. Her charts are gorgeous and in full colour. You cannot let your attention flag on any of her patterns. Heidi’s trademark interweaving traveling stitches make for a stimulating project. They are so worth the effort. I made these with CoBaSi yarn as well. I adore them. If you are looking for a challenge, I encourage you to check out her designs on Ravelry.

 

Stage 4: Arctic Blizzard by Katrine Birkenwasser

The challenge continued with stranded colourwork socks. They are stunning! The random snowflakes mean that you can’t really predict or memorize any part of the pattern. It took tremendous focus and determination to complete these. They took me almost to the deadline to finish these. They are beautiful. It’s an unusual choice to use a short-row heel on a stranded colourwork sock. I actually changed to a larger needle for 10 rows above the heel to make it just a little easier to put them on.

Stage 5: Flibbertigibbet by Lisa K. Ross

I have to say that the predictability of the chart on this round was a huge relief after the previous two stages. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these socks. I plan to these again to give as gifts this Christmas. I love the combination of lace and cables. I see butterflies in this pattern. I hadn’t heard of this designer before, but I’ll be looking for more of her work. There is enough to sink your teeth into without it being too much.

 

Stage 6: Sidetracked by Kirsten Hall

Oh my! Kirsten Hall is so innovative. I love her creativity. This pattern is so very “out of the box”. These look like a ribbon wrapping around your foot. They are so interesting. The toe is done as a round toe. Once you wrap your brain around the chevron it’s easy and fun to knit. I did one spiral too many and then misread the heel instructions. I ended up with a ginormous heel. I kept going. I was away without internet access so I missed some pattern updates. Let’s just say, my sock didn’t turn out well. With work getting busier, I was feeling a bit burnt out. I was so disappointed, I set it aside and decided not to try meet the deadline. I still plan to complete this pattern. It really is very cool. I think I’ll knit sock 2 (which mirrors sock 1) first. Now that I know what to watch out for, I should be able to have success with that. Once I finish that, I’ll frog sock 1 back to the end of the fourth spiral and reknit the heel properly and finish them. I want to get them done before the end of this year. I am absolutely determined to finish them though. They look like they would be uncomfortable but they are actually very cozy and the “braids” don’t feel bumpy under your foot. Last year I got the cuffs of the final stage done and then threw in the towel completely. I may not have met the deadline to get points on Stage 6, but I will definitely complete it this year. I am not going to put a photo of mine up at this time because I am not happy with how it looks at all.

What a wonderful challenge the tour has been this year. It was so worth the effort. I learned so much and I have 6 completed pairs of socks (and am on my way to having a 7th pair) to show for it. My hat is off to the organizers, the moderators, the designers and all the folks that knit in this competition. Without all of them, I wouldn’t have had this fantastic experience. What a fun way to support Doctors without Borders! I’m excited to do it all again next year!

…I’ll be honest, last night I started a doll sweater, not socks.

Happy knitting!

Needles: Old, New, and Different

The final stage of Tour-de-sock features a very unusual sock pattern by Kirsten Hall called Sidetracked. I am determined to complete this round, despite my flagging motivation. I have tried a number of different needle combinations hoping to stumble on the ideal combination. I’ve tried some old, some new and some very different.

To put it into perspective, here’s a picture of this round’s socks.

 

The pattern dropped last Saturday at 4:00 am, my local time. I was printing off the pattern and had my first sock underway by 4:20. We planned a trip to visit grandchildren for the long weekend. I was determined to get as much done as possible before we hit the road around 11:00 am. I was grateful that the construction, although strange, was actually pretty fun.

I had the sock on a 60cm circular needle to start and worked the 12 active stitches with a DPN. It was awkward. I ended up with one circular and 4 DPN’s at one point. It was a very strong reminder of why I really prefer not to knit with DPN’s. It’s so easy to drop stitches off them. You don’t want to drop stitches on this pattern! By 4pm, I was feeling pretty done. With one sock barely half way done, I set the project aside and watched the scenery go by until we arrived.

I really struggled to determine how far to knit before beginning the heel and I have to say that I should have stopped a full wrap earlier than I did… which I couldn’t have known until after the heel was complete. By then, there was absolutely no way I was frogging anything. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take the wind out of my sails. They’ll take longer to finish but they’ll fit my very tall son when they are done.

 

I came home to a big pile of work. I’ve been plugging away in the evenings. I still haven’t finished the first one. I’m ready to begin the cuff, so I’m on the home stretch and the second sock will go easier since I’ll know what to expect. I have until Thursday at 10:00 am to finish.

So yesterday, I was feeling pretty desperate to come up with some way to infuse some fun back into this project. I had a shipment of needles come in and in that order were 25cm circular needles. My supplier was a bit short on numbers and there was one lonely 2.25mm needle among them. That’s the size I’m using for these socks. I’ve had customers tell me that these teenie tiny circulars are God’s gift to sock knitters. (I wasn’t convinced.) What with all the new stock, I had to rearrange the wall in the store to accommodate all the new stuff. In the process I stumbled on the sets of curved DPN’s I had all but forgot I brought in. I figured I’d try these out too.

I pulled out the Neko curved DPN’s. I was immediately disappointed. They are plastic. Sigh. So bendy! I am not crazy about bendy needles. I took a deep breath. I was determined to give them a fair shake despite my initial feeling. I looked at my Sidetracked sock-to-be: didn’t even pick it up. My daughter had requested a pair of socks out of some Lana Grossa Scandic yarn and I had that ball handy. I figured I’d cast one on to try the bendy needles out. These needles look like someone took their DPN’s and tried to bend them to 90 degrees. They are definitely different.

I began my Twisted German cast on, over two of the three needles; I usually cast on over two needles. It was awkward, although in all fairness, it takes getting used to something that is this unusual. By the time I had 15 or 20 stitches cast on, it got easier. It was challenging to get started on these. I found that no matter what I did I kept jabbing myself in the palms of my hands with one end or another. I’ve been knitting long enough to know that the first few rounds are always a bit of a pain and then it’s fine after that. So I continued. My yarn kept getting caught on one of the ends. I really don’t like bendy needles and found that the flexibility of these really irritated me. I assume that the point of these needles is to be an improvement on DPN’s. I’m not convinced. But bear in mind that I abandoned DPN’s for sock knitting a long time ago in favour of circulars. I got about 4 rounds of twisted rib knitted and I had to set it aside. I tried having the tips of the passive needle above the active needle, then below; I tried flipping it toward the back. I don’t know. I didn’t see any videos with continental knitting on curved DPN’s. Perhaps that’s the issue. I will pick it up again after the Tour is finished and see if they’ll grow on me. For now, the jury is out on these.

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I then picked up the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz 25cm circular and transfered my Sidetracked sock onto it. The sock fits nicely. The needle tips are short. I thought they’d put up resistance as I’d knit with them because the cord is so short, but honestly I didn’t notice once I started to knit. This needle is a huge improvement over what I was doing. Heavens! What a relief. I like a longer needle tip so I can use my pinkies to anchor my movements against the needles. These tips are too small to do that without scootching my fingers close together. That will take a bit of getting used to. But you know,  I was quite surprised, but I really do like these… a lot. The only downside is that they’re too small to try the sock on, unless you were to use two of them.

Happy Knitting!