Saturday, November 05, 2005

More Circular Needles

I finally found my FAVORITE Circular Knitting Needles! The COLONIAL ROSEWOOD Circular Needles! Yes, they are pricey - very pricey - but are absolutely FABULOUS! The points are sharp, the join is smooth, the cables are soft (but not sticky), and DO NOT COIL! These are fantastic!

Here are some pictures:

The Colonial Rosewood in size US6 and the Colonial Bamboo in size US11

Points of the Colonial Needles

Join on the Colonial Needles

Holz and Stein Needles - Points
Rosewood Size US5 and Ebony Size US3

Holz and Stein - Join

Pony Pearl Circs (Orange)/Balene II (White), both size US11 - Points

Pony Pearls and Balene IIs - Join

See how Straight the Colonials are? They are the ones with the black cable.

The Clover Bamboo needles are okay, but I find the tip to be somewhat blunt. If you are working with lace yarn, you will go crazy with them (unless you sharpen them). The join on the Clovers is very similar to the Pony Pearl and Balene IIs, as is the cable.

I went to the LYS and looked at some Addi's too. I have decided that it looks like most of the Circs are now being made with a similar, if not the same join as pictured above, and the cables are all that stiff fishing line type material.

So - I have decided that my Favorite Circs are the Colonial Rosewoods, with the Colonial Bamboo following. I love everything about these needles - the tips, join, and high quality wood/bamboo used to make them - but I especially love the cable! The only downside is the price, but you get what you pay for!

My next choice is Holz and Stein. I like the woods, the tip and the join, but am not entirely thrilled with the cable. The price isn't too horribly bad.

Next I would choose between Addi Natura and Clover Bamboo. The stiff cables still drive me crazy. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I still like the Clover Bamboo, even though they are blunt with a stiff cable - there's just something about them. Maybe its the price.

I sort of liked the Tips on the Balene II, but not the cable. The plastic material isn't bad either, but I prefer wood or bamboo.

And last but not least are the Pony Pearls. I thought the tip was a little blunt, but manageble with the right yarns. Again its the plastic thing with me, its just not my all time favorite.

Oh Wait! - Lets not forget about the Denise Interchangable Needles. These are nice for travelling or quick projects - I like the tips and the soft cable, but the join drives me insane. I am constantly hanging up on the little finger cut outs at the join. I have been told to turn the needles slightly, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. The cable is soft and nice, but somewhat sticky. I have to push my yarn along to get it to go around. I find the needle length to be a little shorter than what I can comfortably work with too. What is nice about this set is the convenience. It is really nice to have the different size needles with varying lengths of cable, all packaged in a nice case that you can take just about anywhere.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Favorite Circular Needle?

I am on the hunt for the perfect circular needle. One with a nice point, cable which does not coil, and a joint which doesn't snag my yarn. I posted the question about What's the perfect circ? to one of the Yahoo groups and here are the choices of those that responded.

Addi Turbos – 6 votes
Addi Naturas – 3 votes
Holz & Stein – 2 votes
Aero metals – 1 vote
Clover – 1 vote
Pony Pearls -1 vote
Crystal Palace Bamboo – 1 vote
Nylon “Taffy” Needles – no longer being manufactured – 1 vote

So it appears the clear winner is Addi. - at least so far....

I am now trying out several of these needles. I just got back from the LYS and Boy-o-Boy did I get a deal! They had some Holz and Stein needles left (these are no longer being imported) so I bought what they had. 7 circs, all 40" long (which is fine since I really like the magic loop method) in different sizes ranging from US1-13. A few Rosewoods, and a few Ebonys. How much did I pay? Here's the best part of all - Only $10 each! Boy was I smiling on my way home! :)

So I of course had to try them out right away - and they sure are nice. Very nice point, great join, cable is a little stiff like most, but managable after softening in some hot water.

I have a set of Pony Pearls and Balene IIs waiting for me to try out too. They are waiting patiently in my knitting bag until I find just the right project. What I really should do is knit a swatch out of the same yarn on all of them, so that I am comparing apples to apples. Anyway, I'll post about those as soon as I try them.

Also, Colonial Needle has just introduced some new Rosewood and Bamboo circular needles which I am anxious to try out. They are premium needles at a premium price, so I am hopeful that I will get what I pay for.

Addi Naturas will be my next purchase...

In the mean time - I would love to hear your Circular Needle Reviews. Please post and share your experiences!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Women over 30...

I saw this on another Blog and just loved it!!!

This is for all you ladies 30 years and over.... and for those who are turning 30, and for those who are scared of moving into their 30's...AND for guys who are scared of women over 30!!!!...This was written by Andy Rooney from CBS 60 Minutes. Andy Rooney says: As I grow in age, I value women who are over 30 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over 30 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?"She doesn't care what you think.If a woman over 30 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it.She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.A woman over 30 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 30 give a hoot what you might think about her or what she's doing.Women over 30 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.A woman over 30 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. Women over 30 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 30. They always know.A woman over 30 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 30 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one! You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.Yes, we praise women over 30 for a multitude of reasons.Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of 30+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress.Ladies, I apologise.For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free". Here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage, why? Because women realise it's not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage.Remember:"It's better to have loved and lost than to do forty pounds of laundry a week."

Monday, September 05, 2005

Making Progress

Wow! Its really working! The FlyLady system has actually got me going. I am on my way to having a clean and tidy house! Yippee! What I found was that I really had to sit down and look at where all my time and energy was being drained. Yep - the computer. Now that I have greatly limited my time on it, I am actually getting things done, spending time with my kids, knitting and spinning, and just plain feeling better.

Here is what I did this week....

A pair of mittens for my Son - pictured before and after felting/fulling. I used Naturally Colourworks yarn and the Fiber Trends "Snow Country Mittens" pattern, size US 11 DPNs. It worked wonderfully! I am so pleased with the outcome of these - and my son loves them.

BUT WAIT - There's More! (See how much fun you can have when you're not online?)
A small pouch - using Luxury DK wool/mohair yarn and Fiber Trends "Pouch and Belt Bag" pattern, size US 10 DPNs. This yarn is FABULOUS for felting! I absolutely love the way it turned out! Next in line - A hat and some slippers! :)

And some handspun stuff I did while demoing at BOW...
And finally - Here's a picture of the Possum Lace Shawl I started on our road trip... It's an easy pattern, but I'm having too much fun with the felted stuff!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Me? An Addict?

Hi - I'm Christine and I'm a Web-a-Holic.

I spend countless hours each day checking emails, working on my website and occasionally this Blog, checking emails again and"surfing" the web. I have 5 pages of Yahoo groups (simple list) which I subscribe to.

I have denied the effect this is having on those I love the most. I've been blinded by the screen - not recognizing that my children and husband miss me and want to spend time with me. Wondering why in the world the kids get upset when they see me entering the computer room.

My house is in shambles. I need to read just one more email, add one more product, or see one more site - and then I'll get to it... Meanwhile the dishes are piled high, the workshop floor has disappeared, kid's toys are everywhere, weeds in the garden... Why is it that keeping house seems so ENORMOUSLY difficult these days??? Why is it so time consuming???

My mind has become as cluttered and disorganized as my home. I don't know where things are, I am forgetting things within seconds of being reminded, stress is beginning to take over and -"silly me"- I can't figure out why. Where has all my time gone?

I forgot how to relax. Put me in front of a computer, and I'm closed to the world around me, much like a happy clam in it's shell. Get me out of the house for a vacation, and it takes 3 days to finally forget about the damn computer waiting for me at home. THREE DAYS to begin to enjoy myself again. BUT, as soon as we walk in the door --- you guessed it -- computer is on with me parked like a zombie in front of it. Imagine trying to enjoy a one day outing when feeling pressured to get back home - "To take care of business".

Sleeping? What the hell is that??? Isn't 5 hours a night enough? Why the hell would I be grumpy? I went to bed early and got 6 hours.... (What are these Dark circles under my eyes?)

And what about doing the things I love most? Family time, spinning, knitting, felting, dancing.... They have all fallen by the wayside. A project which normally should take a week or so to complete, now takes months. It has become another source of stress. Why is it taking me so long to finish??? Once again, I don't have the time. Where has my creative spirit gone? Has it been sucked into this computer too? My initiative to create has been vastly diminished. What once was sheer enjoyment and relaxation has become burdensome and unenjoyable...

My life has turned to complete CHAOS! (Completely Helpless Against Online Surfing)

BUT NO MORE!!!!!!!!!

My computer time is now going to be greatly limited. I MUST GET BACK TO MY PRIORITIES!!! My priorities are FAMILY, HOME, and HEALTH.

I will play with the kids FIRST
I will clean the house
I will get enough sleep
I will RELAX once again!!!

For those of you who can relate to this - Please - do yourself a favor, turn off the computer NOW! If you have read this far you might be an addict too....

THANK YOU to the Blessed Soul who suggested I visit the website. I was trying to figure out why my home was so cluttered... But after implimenting just a few of FlyLady's suggestions - and some SERIOUS Soul Searching on my part - I have come to realize my real problem... It's ME - and my choice to spend this much time on this damn computer...

Recovery begins with just one step at a time.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Favorite Cast-on?

I was reading one of the EZ books, and found out that the cast-on method I use most often, is the least desirable method (at least to EZ)... Humph!... I rather liked it..... So it got me wondering, What are your favorites and why?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Twisted Knitters 1st meeting

Tonight was the first meeting of the Twisted Knitters at a little coffee shop about 20 minutes north of here. Three of us were there, and we had a wonderful time! I really enjoyed meeting the ladies, and look forward to our next gathering. A funny thing happened while we were at the coffee shop - Some neighbors from a few streets over (which hubby and I had just met yesterday) walked in the door! Imagine our surprise when we saw each other. To make a long story short, I plan on inviting them over for a BBQ to get to know them better. (I guess you had to be there for it to be funny.)

I finished the lace top! Yippee! It turned out to be too big though, especially around the neck, so I improvised and added another I-cord around the neck edge. It worked! and it looks adorable. Here's a picture. I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to wear it. WHEW!

Other news is that the Kromski Spinning wheels which I ordered arrived yesterday! I had all three assembled and tested out before going to bed last night. I Love these wheels! I'm trying hard not to slobber all over them, and can't seem to pick a favorite as of yet. All I know is that they are all beautiful and spin wonderfully.

When I get my box of UFOs a little more under control, I will be ordering the rigid heddle loom from Kromski. It seems its time to learn to weave.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Spinner's T-Shirts


I designed some spinners shirts, and just got them back from the silk screener. They are SO CUTE! I just love these - I hope you do to. And they are so comfy! I put one on right away, and it feels so comfy cozy in today's heat!

The hemp lace top is almost done too! I should be finished by tonight or tomorrow. I'll post when its blocked and finished.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Wow - I can't believe how time flies. Its been over a month since I last posted. Sheesh!

So whats new? Lots of things! I am now in love with Catalina yarns. I keep petting the sample skeins they sent me, and today I finally ordered some! All thier yarns are so heavenly soft, and wonderful quality. I can't wait to knit some up. I'm planning something for my daughter out of the alpaca/silk blend, but I'll have to wait and see what it tells me it wants to be. This will most definitely be a xmas gift...

In the mean time, I'm about 2/3 of the way finished with a cute little lacy top out of sport weight hemp. I'm always amazed at how some yarns turn out when knit. This hemp is one of them, and the other was some of my handspun bamboo. Both start out real stiff, but as soon as you knit them, they totally change. I know after washing it will be totally different again.

This is one of the things I love most about working with fibers. It's always a mystery as to how it will turn out in the end. I love to watch the transformation from fiber to art unfold as a fiber goes through the many stages of creation, and then seeing the final culmination of one's efforts. I am constantly amazed at each step of the process, first the washing and fiber preparation - seeing the fiber unviel its true self from beneath a layer of grease and dirt (yes lanolin too). It almost seems like the fiber is being liberated by its nakedness and relishing its newfound freedom. Next is the dying and color blending. This to me is like putting on make-up. When done properly with care and attention, the most desirable attributes are accentuated. Perhaps the sheen of a fiber will predominate, or the tactile softness of a fiber will be further enhanced visually with a soft color. Does this make sense? Next of course is the manner in which the fiber will be used. Is it yarn? felt? or just simply roving? As it moves from being a ball of fluff to its new form, watch how it's attitude changes. It's as if it has a new sense of self, filled with confidence and ambition. What does this fiber want to be when it grows up? Then the final step of the metamorphosis - The actual construction of the new masterpiece. Almost like watching a butterfly emerge from the cocoon. Is it knit? woven? or something else? Does the fiber relax into its new shape? or does it resist and try to do something you didn't anticipate? Sometimes a new spark of life comes out of the new form, or perhaps an essence of peace and tranquility. The natural energy of the fiber has combined with the thoughtfulness and creativity of the artist to become a new entity...

...Okay...... quite a tangent I went off on... Now back to the latest stuff.

I'm now a Kromski dealer! I couldn't resist the beauty of these wheels. I took a Minstrel for a test drive, and was really impressed by it. It turned out to spin completely different than I anticipated. I was very pleasantly surprised. The quality of construction is excellent, especially when you consider how ornate these wheels are. Plus the great thing is, these wheels are quite affordable. I think they are a great value for the money. I would highly recommend them. So, to make a long story short, I am now a dealer for thier wheels. I have three(!) wheels on the way. The Minstrel, Prelude and Polinaise. If you're ever in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and try one out!

I'm also getting ready to add some Jacquard dyes to the store. As if I didn't already have enough stuff! I can already envision the color adventures I'll be having once it arrives!

All in all, I'm having a really great month on both a personal as well as professional level. Thanks to all of my wonderful family, friends and customers who make this all possible.

I better hurry and finish some of these UFOs... More next time.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Busy as a Bee

Its been hectic around here, but I've been managing to chip away at my UFOs. The vest is finished, other than sewing on the buttons, and I've been needle felting up a storm this week. I plan on taking the latest sculptures to a May Faire this weekend for show and tell at my booth. I finished a woman holding her baby, and a beehive. Now I just need the bees... I started working on a clown face too, and its looking soooo coooool! I can hardly believe I made it! I think I have finally found my creative niche... Pictures will soon arrive - If I can just figure this out! (If anyone can tell me a simple way to get pictures into this I would appreciate it.)

I actually started some Spring Cleaning! Horray! If you can believe this, I really and truely SOLD some of my belly dance costumes! It was hard to part with them, but now that they are gone, I feel really good. I have the urge to replace them with a new spinning wheel. I'm seriously thinking about an Ashford Country Spinner, a Jensen Tina II or a Kromski Minstral. Decisions, decisions... I'm heavily leaning towards the Country Spinner. If only I knew where I could go test drive one... AH HA! I'll post to the Woolpack and see if anyone has one I could try!

OMG I almost forgot! In exchange for knitting the Zephyr Top, SWTC has send me some of thier newest yarns! I can't decide which is my favorite. First is thier Bamboo Feather yarn. Its like a double sided eyelash yarn, nice and soft, and it has such a pretty sheen. It almost looks like some silk eyelash I've seen. Next is thier Karaoke yarn, a 50/50 Soy Silk/Merino blend. You should see the colors they sent! Just Gorgeous! I just started knitting a little purse with it, and I love it! The funny thing is that it's a single ply - I can't stand knitting with single ply - but I think my mind has been changed. I can't wait to see how it felts/fulls.  Next project with the Karaoke yarn - Slippers!

Also I just recieved some sample skeins of Catalina Alpaca yarns. Ohhhhhhh are these soft! Like floating on a cloud. I predict another addition to the shop... :)

This brings up a question... What is most important to you when you select a yarn? Is it price, texture, fiber content, grist? Let me know what motivates you to actually purchase a particular yarn, especially when you shop on the net where yarn fondling is not an option.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Zephyr Top is finished!

At last, I finally finished this top! I thought it would never end. It's strange, because it is a really easy pattern, but for some reason it took me FOREVER! Of course it didn't help to come down with pneumonia for 6 weeks when the yarn and pattern first arrived!

This is a test pattern from SWTC. It's knit with thier 100% Cotton Beyond Bold yarn. This is the first time I've knit with it, and I found that it took me a while to get used to it. My stitches were coming out pretty uneven to start with, but once I tightened up my tension, the stitches evened out. It knits up a little stiff, but seems to have softened with blocking. I'm sure it will soften even more with a washing.

I'm now going to finish this vest that I inherited. A friend of mine had this yarn, I think its a cotton/silk blend, that she has tryed and tryed to make something out of, but it never seemed to work out. This vest was the final attempt, and when it came out too small for her, she finally got sick of it. Rather than tossing it, she gave me the vest to finish and keep for myself! The yarn is so soft! I feel happy and lucky to be the recipient. :)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Too much stuff

I've decided that I'm too busy and I simply have too much stuff. I feel like the biggest packrat I know! At the end of this month I swear I'm going to go through the house and do a major spring cleaning! That includes digging up all my UFO's and actually finishing them.

Right now the projects I'm working on include a test knit of the Zephyr top for SWTC (why I volunteered to do this, I don't know), a Pi Shawl, finish a lovely vest which was given to me, some new design ideas in felt, and a growing list of needle felting projects. Of coarse, before I can dig my needles into these, I first need to finish my tax stuff, have a birthday party for my kids, and do laundry (all tomorrow). Ah well. All in good time. If anyone comes up with a way to knit more time into the day, please let me know!!!

I'll put up pictures as I finish these UFO's and you can be sure I'll start posting some yard sale items to my website!

Geez it's late! Gotta get some shut-eye. Good Night!

Friday, April 08, 2005

I finally did it!

I've had so much fun visiting other people's Blogs, that I've decided to join you! It's much easier than I thought it would be. Whew!

So to tell you about myself, I'm a WAHM with my DH and two children age 2 and 4. Ever since teaching myself to knit in High School, I have loved working with all sorts of fibers. I learned to spin I think in 1991, but didn't do much with it until the past several years. My latest craze is needle felting. I absolutely love it! It really isn't difficult at all, and its so affordable to get started! I'm a huge fan! In fact, I'm starting to think about giving lessons.

THANKS for visiting my Blog! and I look forward to sharing more with you!