Getting to the Point

knit ndl blog 1Knitters can’t do without them, but there are so many types of knitting needles available, how do you choose?  I often tell people it’s a personal thing, but here is some information to help with the choice.

 

Straight – these are the style that most people think of when you say “knitting needles”.  They are basically a straight stick with one end tapered to a point and a knob on the other end.  Straight needles come in a shorter or longer length, to accommodate fewer or more stitches. I only use shorter straight needles (I’ll explain why in the next section).

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Circular –  these look like they have two straight needles connected by a string.  Actually, they are basically two short, straight needles with a flexible cable (often plastic) joining them. These have become my preferred needles. You can knit flat or in the round and they come in a variety of lengths (use longer ones for bigger projects like sweaters and afghans, shorter ones for hats, scarves and smaller projects).  The biggest reason I like the circular style is because of my hands and wrists and elbows. Circular needles are much easier on your joints (especially if you have arthritis or tendonitis). They are also easier to travel with, since your project can slide down to stay safely on the cable, and they are easier to store (mine are coiled in a tote bag).

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Double Point – these look like straight needles, except that they have tapered points at both ends. Double point needles are most often used for knitting smaller items in the round, such as hats, socks and sleeves of sweaters. I also like to use them in place of straight needles when knitting a small flat piece.  Many people are afraid of double points, but while they do require a bit more attention, and seem a bit awkward, they really aren’t that different.

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Knitting needles are available in a variety of materials too, including metal, wood, plastic and even a few more usual materials like bone or glass.

The Addi Turbo line of needles is one of the best out there, designed for experienced knitters.  I usually don’t recommend them for beginners.  They are a slick coated metal, so the knitting seems to fly, but if you’re not prepared, the knitting can fly right off the needles!

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I used to be a fan of the standard aluminum, but have fallen in love with bamboo.  The smooth texture, the warm feel of wood, and the way the yarn moves across the needles, but still grips is wonderful.  And bamboo is sustainable (one of those important Eco friendly words) because the trees can be harvested and then regrow quickly.  The needles also have a flexibility (which you don’t really notice) that makes them comfortable to use.

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You do have to take into consideration the yarn you’ll be using when  you choose your needles.  Sometimes I have started a project then had to change needles because the yarn didn’t move the way I wanted it to.  Some yarns slide too much on some needles while others won’t slide easily enough.  For example, chenille type yarns do not slide well on bamboo needles. If one thing isn’t working, switch needles so that you’re comfortable working.

One more needle tool you should consider:

Needle Gauge:  I’m on my third needle gauge – I am always loosing them!  They are a little investment (we have a number of options including one that sells for $2.00.) that is so helpful.  My Addi Turbo needles are marked on the cable with the size (of course I don’t keep packaging) but it is so small and partially worn off, that I can’t tell what size the needles really are without the gauge.  Also, I do have a few aluminum double point needles and no idea what sizes they are.  The little ruler on the gauge is also handy for measuring your gauge swatch.

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Go ahead and try a few things and find what works for you!

Happy Knitting!                                 by Cathy Mark

To find an item or event on our web page click on the highlighted words, and when you get to the page, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Put the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.

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Quilt-a-Doodle? Do!!

imagesOne of my most favorite things is quilting on my Handi Quilter!   And one of the most talented quilters I’ve seen is an Australian art quilter.  Helen Godden works on the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Sit-Down machine, but what she does also applies to the other Handi Quilters, (and even quilting on home sewing machines,) and I love to watch her quilt.

She has a really fun, free video you can watch on Handi Quilter’s website HQ Live called Quilt-a-Doodle-Doo with Helen Godden .  She’s written a coloring book, but not your usual coloring book.  It’s for Quilters, and it’s all adorable animals!  On the video, she shows you all her samples and demonstrates how she fills in the areas of her drawings.  You can download a sample, her adorable rooster part of which is shown below.

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After seeing that, I got her DVD and learned 50 different stitches!  We carry the DVD, 50 Styles of Quilting, A32398, and if you’re a quilter-

picture0005whatever way you quilt – you’ll enjoy it too.              Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page click on the underlined and highlighted words, and when you get to the page, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Put the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

If you signed up for our blog posts long ago, or you don’t get “WordPress” emails, please sign up again on this one.  It doesn’t split sentences or put photos in the wrong place.
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It’s 2017!

We hope your 2017 is a happy, safe, and healthy year!  And we hope you have time to do the things that bring you joy!

Take for instance, Bernie!  He joyfully receives a tummy rub!bernie

Cagney happily cat naps on one of my current projects!cagney

Lacy does the same!lacy

Please take a look at our newsletter.    We have lots of photos, (even some of people!) and our class schedule for this winter season.

There are specials on our sewing and quilting machines included.  We have something new,  “Fill My Machine Embroidery Bag,” that you might be interested in if you’re a “Happy Hooper.”  There’s also a new feature for hand embroiderers and wool lovers  called “Wooly Words,” from Cathy Mark.   And there’s lots more to look at.

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On Thursday, January 12th, our Quilts of Valor sewing group is meeting, and I’ll be teaching a free class on the “hot dog” method of making a presentation case, which is used to present the Quilts to veterans.  The same method is used to make pillow cases for a Case for Smiles that we take to the children’s oncology wards at local hospitals.  I’ll have instruction sheets detailing sizes and all the steps.  We invite anyone to come join us, at around 10am.  Bring your own fabric or get some here.  Bring your sewing machine and sewing supplies, or just come and watch and find out about our Group.

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But we’re in that “iffy” time of year now, where the weather could be a problem, so if there’s any question at all, call the store before you come to any of the classes you sign up for.   574-233-3112.

 

If you can’t come on January 12th and want to do the cases. join me for a regular class on January 24th, in the first of my “Just for Fun” sewing series classes.  Details are in our class schedule.

If you enjoy the cat pictures, as many sew-ers do, be sure to take a look at pages 15 and 16 of our newsletter, and send me your own Crafter Kitty photos.

Again, Happy New Year to all, and thanks for reading our blog.     Erica

Quick Tip!

I wanted to reuse this purple elastic with a new clasp. 1b The first one broke and the new one came with white elastic.  I couldn’t use that!  Anyway, I learned some time ago that I’d been using my seam ripper wrong, ever since I learned to use it in grade school!  I saw a video by Pam Damour, the Decorating Diva, and it changed my ripping life!

First you need to be sure you have a good, sharp seam ripper.  My favorite has always been this one (29273)5b 

I have one at my sewing machine, one at my Handi Quilter, and one at my computer desk.  That makes it sound like I’m ripping all the time, but I just like to know one’s handy whenever I might need it.

Take out a few 2bstitches first, and put the small end with the red ball inside the seam.   Then slowly move forward.

The inside leaves cut threads, and the other side has just a single thread.

The red ball keeps the ripper from making a hole in the fabric.  If you’ve been using your seam ripper backwards, too, try it a few times with some scraps, and you’ll get the hang of it.    It’s amazing!  Let me know how you like it by commenting below.

Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page click on the highlighted words, and when you get to the page, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Put the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Consider the Gadget Cushion!

My Gadget Cushions909270

This little inexpensive project is a really quick idea for bazaars and gifts.  I use it when I’m lying in bed to play Spider Solitaire and fall asleep!  It works for my Kindle, too.  I wrote a sheet of extra information about it for our Creative Sewing Club and I’ll share it with you here.   You’ll need the Gadget Cushion Interfacing, (909270) and a 10″x 10″ piece of fabric.  You can make two from a fat quarter!  There are instructions right on the interfacing, so no additional pattern required.  I used  Poly-Pellets, (A23347), as my filling to give it weight.  Then download my Hints Sheet and follow instructions and you’ll quickly have this helpful little Gadget Cushion!20161013_202353

And for my fellow cat lovers, here’s a photo of one of my sewing cats, Puccini, (“pooch” for short) supervising the filling of my Gadget Cushion.

Until next time, Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page click on the highlighted words, and when you get to the page, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Put the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

NOTE:  If you signed up for our blog posts long ago, or you don’t get “WordPress” emails, please sign up again on this one.  It doesn’t split sentences or put photos in the wrong place.  Add your email address above.  These emails are so much better!