“As You Wish” wrap: Ta-da!

Here’s my last FO for 2014:

As You Wish knit wrap completed by Hannah at notyouraveragecrochet.com

It’s the As You Wish wrap/shawl by Boo Knits (available on Ravelry for a small price).

Yarn used: KnitPicks Hawthorne Fingering in Belmont colorway, 1 skein

Needles used: US 7, 8, 9, and 10, respectively

Size: about 64″ across once blocked (163cm)

As You Wish wrap - more photos and link to pattern at notyouraveragecrochet.com

The wool/nylon blend yarn is nice and soft, and the colorway is GORGEOUS.  The photos don’t really do it justice.  It’s a pretty decent price over at KnitPicks, too.  It blocked nicely and has a lovely drape:

As You Wish wrap - more photos and link to pattern at notyouraveragecrochet.com

This wrap/shawl is a good weight for winter here in South Carolina; we’re averaging lately in the 50s and 60s (F) so it’s not near freezing or anything.  For other, chillier areas, this would probably be good for Spring or Fall.

Here’s a photo of the right side of the work:

As You Wish wrap - more photos and link to pattern at notyouraveragecrochet.com

And the right side of the ends:

As You Wish wrap - more photos and link to pattern at notyouraveragecrochet.com

I really like it, and the pattern wasn’t hard to follow — it wasn’t frustratingly difficult or boringly easy.  You really do mix and match parts of the pattern to make the shawl quite literally as you wish.  For details on exactly how mine was constructed, visit my Ravelry project page and check out the notes.  And can you believe this decent sized wrap just took one skein of yarn?  I’m really happy about that.

Well, Thanks for stopping by, that’s all I’ve got for today!  See you soon!

DPNs vs magic loop method

dpnsvsmlThis is my review on which method I prefer for knitting in the round: DPNs (double pointed needles) or the magic loop method (using circular needles).  If you’re new to knitting, maybe this post will be helpful!

For those who don’t know exactly what each method entails — both can be confusing — KnitPicks has beaten me to making a good explanatory video on how to knit both ways:

And I know it may look like it, but I’m not sponsored by KnitPicks… I just like their needles and they had the best video I could find.  That video also includes knitting with two circulars, but I’ve never done that so I don’t have an opinion on it either way.  Let’s get started.

double pointed needles

Double pointed needles (DPNs) have been the traditional way of knitting small-ish objects in rounds for a very very long time.  Think socks, hats, mittens, Easter egg decorations, whatever small tubular things you can think of.  Let’s look at some pros and cons:

pros:

  • Most patterns for circular small-ish objects are already written for DPNs because that’s the traditional way.
  • You don’t have to deal with the “wings” of the magic loop method.
  • DPNs are available in very small needle sizes.

cons:

  • DPNs can feel like you’re wrestling with a pointy wooden spider, especially when you’re just learning.
  • Because there are more transitions between needles than with the magic loop method, there are more places where your tension could be off, potentially leaving ladders of loose stitches all the way down your project.
  • DPNs often aren’t available in the larger needle sizes.
  • There are many possibilities for your yarn to slip off the needles, since they don’t have ends.

Not looking too good, huh?  Let’s check out the other one:

magic loop method

The magic loop method is a very new technique, so many patterns do not have specific instructions for it.  Sounds bad, but let’s see:

pros:

  • With a little practice, you can adapt patterns written for DPNs to suit the magic loop technique.
  • You don’t have to juggle as many needles as with DPNs.
  • You don’t have to worry as much about your work slipping off your needles because there are only two possible ends to slip off of.
  • Circular needles are available in larger needle sizes.

cons:

  • Circular needles sometimes aren’t available in small sizes.
  • Those “wings” can take up a bunch of space.
  • Tension issues can still take place — for instance my transitions from one half of the work to the other are always really tight, making it harder to slide the needles through.

OK, so DPNs have 3 pros and 4 cons, and magic loop method has 4 pros and 3 cons.  I guess then that my personal favorite would have to be…..

6indpnset0to3

DPNs!  Surprised?  That’s just my personal preference.  Many people who are frustrated with DPNs are very grateful to have an alternative such as the magic loop method, and honestly I’m glad it’s an option, too.  However, since both methods are relatively awkward it’s really just a matter of what works best for me.  I don’t have as many tension issues with DPNs, and for me the magic loop method just takes up too much space to knit comfortably next to others.  Also, if you get wooden or bamboo needles you won’t have to worry so much about your stitches slipping off, since they’ll have a nice grip to them, thus pretty much eliminating that con, in my opinion.  Considering that some pros and cons weigh more or less than others in importance, my favorite is DPNs.  Plus, DPNs look really complicated to everyone else, so they’re impressed by our mad skills.

Since it’s really just personal preference, which do you like best?  Do you have any pros or cons for either method that I didn’t mention?    Any questions?

I hope this post was both entertaining and helpful, and as always, thanks for stopping by!  I’ll have something on crochet next time!

KnitPicks needle set review

I’ve had the Options Sunstruck Wood Interchangeable Needle Set by KnitPicks for long enough to review them.  Here’s the set in all it’s beautiful glory:

I got a couple of extras, like extra cables, ID tags, and cable joins.

I will confess I was a little worried at getting the whole set without trying any of their needles out beforehand, but I’d heard/read good things about them, so I was mostly confident.  The set was expensive, but I saved 19% buy buying all the components together instead of buying them separately over time, so to me it was worth it.

what the set contains:

This set of laminated birch needles contains needle sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, and 11.  There are two metric sizes between 10.5 and 11 that are not included (7mm and 7.5mm).  They have the 7mm tips sold separately but do not offer 7.5.  The set also includes two each of the 24″ cables and the 32″ cables, a vinyl needle case, a vinyl cable case, 8 end caps, and 2 cable keys.

the review:

So smooth and beautiful!

love this set.  Now I’ve never had an interchangeable needle set before, but I can confidently say that I wouldn’t even bother trying other brands out because these are just perfect.  The cables are very flexible and [so far] do not kink up while knitting like my old ChiaoGoo fixed circulars sometimes did.  The joins from cable to needle are smooth and don’t snag yarn.  The wood is silky soft and smooth, but since it is wood it has a nice grip to it.  I like wooden needles because they are lighter than aluminum/nickel so they don’t weigh your work down, they stay nice and warm in your hands, and they have that good grip on the yarn so you never have to worry about your stitches sliding off (even with double points).  The tips of these needles are way pointier than the ChiaoGoo needles, as you can see here:

ChiaoGoo on the left, KnitPicks on the right.

Getting into stitches to do complicated twists and cable work is so much easier with these pointy tips!  The difference is amazing!  Also, I think that since these KnitPicks needles are made of laminated birch, they will be stronger than the ChiaoGoo bamboo needles (which would sometimes chip at the points during tight sections and cause an awful lot of problems).  Also, the caps are really handy — it will be great to be able to keep my projects safe, secure, and on the cable while I use the needles for something else!  That’s one reason I wanted the interchangeable set instead of fixed ones.  The cable keys may seem unnecessary, but they help make sure the cables are screwed into the tips nice and tightly for use.  The cases are OK — they’re just regular clear vinyl, but they get the job done.  Maybe someday I’ll spring for a beautiful cloth needle roll or something, but for now this is just fine.

availability of Sunstruck needles:

Since the Sunstruck needles are relatively new, they don’t have any double point sets like the Harmony needles do.  Hopefully they’ll make some soon, because while I’m sure the Harmony quality is the same as the Sunstruck, I really would prefer my needles to not be multicolored so that I can see what I’m doing better.  I think a set of Sunstruck double points would definitely be in my future if they make them (and if they don’t, I might end up getting the Harmony ones anyway because I love the sharp points).

that’s it!

So that’s my review!  If you’re in the market for a set I’d highly recommend this one.  It may be a little expensive for poor grad students like me or others on a budget but I think the quality is worth the price and more.  I love them, and I think they will last a very long time!

Thanks for stopping by, hope you pop in again soon!

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