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).

knit ndl blog 2

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).

knit ndl blog 3

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.

knit ndl blog 4

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!

knit ndl blog 5

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.

knit ndl blog 6

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.

knit ndl blog 7

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.

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 WordPress.  It doesn’t split sentences or put photos in the wrong place.
Add your email address above.  These emails are so much better.

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!

 

We’re Back!

It’s been a long time since we’ve written here!  You know how you sometimes really have good intentions, but you just don’t make it happen?  I have the same situation with exercising.  I was never lucky enough to find any exercise I enjoyed.  Several years ago, I discovered I could watch Sue Hausmann in my netbook while I walked on the treadmill, and I even went longer than my target time, to see the end of her show,  America Sews!

Unfortunately, my best laid plans to continue with exercising went by the wayside.

As did posts on this blog!

So now I’m walking on the treadmill again, (still watching sewing and quilting shows on my iPad as I go,) and getting back to our blog posts!  I’ve been promised help, which is good anyway, because that way we have more of a variety of topics.  Look for us about every two weeks.

This one is a short one, brought about by forgetting my own tip!  I wanted to pre-wash something I was working on for Quilts of Valor.  (We have QoV Sew Days at the shop on second Thursdays of the month starting at 10am- everyone welcome!)  Anyway, I just threw the fabric in the washer and dryer, and this is what I got!20160725_134143

Please read my tip in a previous post on how to prevent this from happening!

Agadget-cushionnd for my fellow cat lovers, here’s a phone photo of my beautiful Cagney, sister to Lacy.  The phone’s propped up on my Gadget Cushion, 909270.  More about that next time I write.

Erica

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

Did you know that you can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day??  Karen does a great job of updating that page every time she adds something.  Sometimes it’s brand new fabric, books, tools, accessories or yarn, and sometimes it’s what just went up on our Rummage Page or Bargain Ends of Bolts.  Sometimes it’s something that we expect in soon that you can pre-order.   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!  Many people have told us they bookmark that page, so they’re always up to date!

Quick Tip ~ Green Pin, Red Pin

My daughter, Cathy, showed me the quilt top she had just finished.  She does great machine applique blanket stitch and finds it really relaxing.  The quilt is “Andrew” from the book Fat Quarter Baby (A31813).  It’s so cute!  A31813 book

When I looked at it, I immediately thought it needed “Piping Hot Binding,” (23940) my23940b.jpg favorite way of finishing a quilt.  It puts just a touch of extra color at the inside edge of the binding, and brings the quilt to life.  It’s ingenious, and the tool that’s included with the booklet is the key.

Below is what the piping looks like on our quilt.

Here’s our Andrew quilt.  Isn’t it adorable?  Unfortunately the piping didn’t show up in the photo, but you can see it in the close-ups above.whale quilt

20160509_112719As I worked on the quilt, I thought I could share a few tips.  When you put the binding on with the Piping Hot Binding method, you’re actually working on the back.  I wanted to be sure I stopped sewing with enough tail to join the binding.  So I put the red pin in. Stop!

I also wrote about using colored Flower Head Pins when adding borders.  Find it by clicking here.

Something that makes joining binding tails easier is to fold the quilt at the beginning and end of the part you left unsewn, and pin.  That way the tails are closer together and you have more to work with.

quilt folded

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

Remember, 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.

I Glue it and Sew it!

I remember years ago hearing Aleene of Aleene’s Glue fame say, “if you can’t glue it, don’t do it!”  A dear sewing friend (well known in the sewing industry,) retorted with “if you don’t sew it, they’re going to know it.”

Well, with time gone by, we sew-ers both glue and sew!

For example, here I needed to fold my fabric under ¼” for a project I was working on. The easiest way I’ve discovered to do that is to draw a line at ½” in, press the fabric to that line, then lay glue inside it, and press it dry. I use my Frixion Pen (A20672) to make the line. It disappears with the heat of the iron. The glue I use is “Glue Baste It.” (44929) I like the fine tip because not too much glue comes out.combined rotated

I needed to add a zipper to my project, so again I used Glue Baste It. I pinned the zipper to my ironing board to keep it from moving around. Then I laid a line of glue, laid my folded fabric on the zipper, lined it up straight, and pressed it dry.  ( Then I sew to permanently attach the zipper.)Zipper 1 rotated20151022_145113Of course I add the other side using “Glue Baste It,” too.second side

BTW, this is the finished project. It’s one of three sizes of Hunter Design Studio’s Chunky Wee Zippy Pouches. (A30186)  The pattern doesn’t use glue, but these are techniques I use all the time and they can be applied to most patterns.Finished pouchIf you didn’t know about this, I hope it’ll be of help to you in some of your next projects.  Posted by me, Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter 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 “What’s New” 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.
Add your email address above.  These emails are so much better.

Here’s a Quick Tip About Washing Cotton Fabric!

I’m going to make a new purse, and I prewash my fabrics for clothing or purses. I happened to think that some of you out there may not know about this method of preparation.  I don’t remember who told me about it, but it changed my quilting life!

The tip is about avoiding bird’s nests in the drier. I wish I had a picture of that bird’s nest.  Well, I really don’t, but I’ve been there.

Before putting cotton yardage in the washer, cut off all four corners. Just an inch or so will work.1 with arrows

This is what the raw edge of one of my fabrics looked like when I took it out of the drier!  No bird’s nests at all!  What a relief not to have to try to undo the threads and clip them from those twisted fabrics! . (I try to take fabric out before it’s completely dry, and then spray with it with Best Press to press it.)edgePlease comment below if you do this already or have another way of solving the problem.

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter 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 “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.