Yarn, toys and accessories

I’ve been working on a baby jacket lately, it’s almost done and I’ll post a picture of it soon but meanwhile some more goodies came in the mail.

I placed an order with Knitpicks for some lace weight yarn. I’d bought a book called “Victorian Lace Today” by Jane Sowerby and Alexis Xenakis and had a hankering to try knitting some of the beautiful shawls in the book. I discovered Knitpicks from the Internet group Ravelry. This knitting community has everything you can think of in the way of information for knitters and crocheters. Anyhow there are quite a few lace shawl projects finished and on the go by members of this group so I decided to take the plunge as it were and order some lace. The shawls are not supposed to be that hard to knit, you just need to concentrate on what you’re doing (famous last words?).

The yarn was quite reasonable but of course one thing lead to another and add the currency exchange plus shipping and of course boom my little order was soon over a hundred dollars.

I ordered three lots of yarns, three skeins each, one lot in the baby alpaca and six balls in Shadow a 100% merino yarn.

Knitpick’s “Shadow” – Midnight and Jewel.

Of course these hanks of yarn needed to be wound into balls so I ended up purchasing a ball winder.

Ball winder

However to use the ball winder a swift is required. The function of a swift is to hold the hank of yarn firmly and to rotate around as the yarn is being wound off of the swift into a ball. Unfortunately these babies cost a lot of money and no way was I spending $77 to buy one so I found a link in Ravelry to a blog where the lady had created a homemade version of one.

Homemade swift with a hank of Alpaca Cloud – Smoke on it.

The swift did work well but as I found out it was easier to feed the yarn off of the swift (stationary) into one hand held above the swift while cranking the ball winder with the other hand. The only problem came at the end when there wasn’t much yarn left on the hank and it slipped off of the swift. Normaly it wouldn’t matter but this was fine lace so of course it got tangled right away and I had to stop and unravel the whole mess.

Knitpick’s Alpaca Cloud lace weight yarn, colour smoke, very very soft.

I knew the lace weight yarn was very fine but until you actually see the stuff it’s kind of shocking how light weight this stuff really is. It should be very interesting knitting this I’m either going to love it or hate it. I probably only should have ordered the one colour but since I was going to pay for the shipping anyway and the Shadow was only $2.99/hank, I ordered more.

Well since I’d ordered the lace yarn I had to order the really nice needles with the slim points to knit it with (translate more money) and while I was there I tossed in a few more accessories.

Needle tips, cables, stitch holders.

The needle tips connect to the cables. They sell an assortment in a case for a reasonable price but since I was already looking at spending yada amount of dollars I kind of balked at putting out the money. I did the math and found out I really wasn’t saving any dollars by buying the kit. It was like getting a free carrying case if you bought the kit so why bother? I figure I won’t need several of the needle sizes in the kit anyway so why not just buy the needle sizes as I need them?

It’s funny because my brain was telling me there was no advantage to buying the kit but I was having a hard time letting go of the idea. Is this a case of brainwashing by being constantly bombbarded by marketing ads that make us think “it’s a deal, it’s a deal”? Another reason behind getting a couple of needles instead of the kit was that I wanted to try out these circulars and see how good they really are. The cable is supposed to be very flexible and without memory so it is easier to handle, we’ll see how it works. Until then…


8 responses to “Yarn, toys and accessories

  1. Ohhh love the yarn and what stunning colours. It does look very fine so it will be interesting to see how it knits up. My Grandfather made up a hank holder for Grandma many years ago. A cross piece of wood with wooden pegs for holding the wool in place and it turned on a faily solid base. It was brilliant. Now when I want it I can’t find it and I think it has possibly been thrown out in one of many moves. Now I use the kids as Hank holders and I wind the balls by hand. It’s very satisfying to see a ball grow in your hands.

  2. The yarn looks lovely, and I know what you mean about purchases getting away from you! But how can you resist?!

  3. Hi Karen, Love the wool and I really would like a yarn winder but didnt realise I needed a thingy as well, perhaps I will go back to suing the back of chairs!

  4. The ball winder I got can be used as a hand-held as well. I just used it to wind up some yarn from one of my centre-pull balls so I think you could use it with the back of the chair or get someone to hold the hank for you. I think the swift just makes it easier to use the ball winder. I’m not into knitting in a big way so didn’t want to spend the money on a swift and I think if you don’t knit a lot then it’s probably just an added expense although winding a hank of lace yarn would take forever as there is 440 yards in one hank.

  5. Such neat supplies you have Karen. I’ve always wondered how they made balls of thread. Now I know. Cool!

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  8. Sandra Fiegi

    Karen – I LOVE knitpicks, too. I have started collecting the wood circular needles with the cables. On the last order I got a pair of sock needles, too. It’s fun to see we have that in common, also.


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