MacChick - all messages by user

12/9/2003 1:18:58 PM
That luscious Pinguoin I used it for socks for my daughter, but she says they are too itchy... but oh, the lace shawls I`ve made with it... they are going to be the most heavenly Christmas presents for my nieces!!! Making shawls with it is positively addicting!!!
12/14/2003 2:41:01 AM
Easy Lace Shawl Method! I just finished making every female in my entire family mohair lace shawls for Christmas... one was red, too!

Pick out any lace stitich you like, then simply increase until you have enough stitches for one motif in that pattern, place markers before and after the motif. Keep increasing, and keep your increases outside the markers. When the sections outside the markers have increased enough to make another motif on each side, move the markers out and now you`re knitting 3 motifs... continue until you run out of yarn!

Begin this way:
Cast on one stitch, k1, M1.
Knit the next row.
Every other row will be plain knitting.
Every increase row will be a M1 after the first stitch and before the last stitich of the shawl and at any two other locations of your choice.

This works with ANY stitch pattern you want to use; it`s pretty much the straight Mary Thomas formula. I have found that vertical lace patterns are especially flattering on the wearer and accent the triangular shawl wonderfully... the basic Vine Lace out of the Barbara Walker (book#1) is excruciatingly easy and soooo lovely!

Also... you CAN knit these shawls in the round (VERY fast!) with 3 steek stitches; you just chain-crochet up the first steek column and down the third, then cut up through the second... beautiful, and no messy edges. A good clear diagram of this is at Schoolhouse Press website:

http://www.schoolhousepress.com/Techniques/techniques.html

Hope this is helpful
12/14/2003 2:45:03 AM
lacy shawl I inadvertently started a new thread in attempting to respond to this one... See "Easy Lace Shawl Method"
12/14/2003 3:12:37 AM
Knitting Needles I think sometimes a particular yarn or project seems to work better with a natural needle (wood or bamboo) while other times a slick metal needle is the better choice. Wood and wool in the hands are very good for the soul, somehow. But a nickel plated steel is the ultimate if you`re doing a speed project...

I LOVE those impossible-to-find Noble ebony and rosewood needles... they are as smooth as marble... not like the Susanne`s wooden ones. I believe it is because the wood has been aged for some thirty years, being the leftovers from making woodwind musical instruments... they have to withstand moisture and cannot warp or crack lest the instrument be ruined. The long aging shrinks the wood`s pores, and this is wood that will buff out to an incredible gloss, never split, crack or warp. I also like that they don`t use those gold-colored metal joins on their circs... I have had those come off, tarnish (they`re only brass) and actually rub greenish black onto the yarn.

For metal, Addi Turbos are nice, but I actually like the Inox Xpress better... same super-slick nickel finish, but less than half the cost... AND the circs have much finer, more flexible cables than the Addi circs do.

I always go for circs, because you can use them as circs OR as straight needles... it saves having to buy that size all over again.
12/14/2003 3:12:37 AM
Knitting Needles I think sometimes a particular yarn or project seems to work better with a natural needle (wood or bamboo) while other times a slick metal needle is the better choice. Wood and wool in the hands are very good for the soul, somehow. But a nickel plated steel is the ultimate if you`re doing a speed project...

I LOVE those impossible-to-find Noble ebony and rosewood needles... they are as smooth as marble... not like the Susanne`s wooden ones. I believe it is because the wood has been aged for some thirty years, being the leftovers from making woodwind musical instruments... they have to withstand moisture and cannot warp or crack lest the instrument be ruined. The long aging shrinks the wood`s pores, and this is wood that will buff out to an incredible gloss, never split, crack or warp. I also like that they don`t use those gold-colored metal joins on their circs... I have had those come off, tarnish (they`re only brass) and actually rub greenish black onto the yarn.

For metal, Addi Turbos are nice, but I actually like the Inox Xpress better... same super-slick nickel finish, but less than half the cost... AND the circs have much finer, more flexible cables than the Addi circs do.

I always go for circs, because you can use them as circs OR as straight needles... it saves having to buy that size all over again.
1/4/2004 7:26:02 PM
What are your favorite knitting books? Just wondering what are everyone`s favorite knitting books?
1/5/2004 8:41:13 AM
ADDI TURBO NEEDLES You have really got to try Inox Xpress... they are the same wonderful nickel-plated steel, but at about half the cost... or less!!! (And on the circular needles, the Inox Xpress cable is much more thin and flexible, whereas the Addi cables are thicker and stiffer).
1/5/2004 10:20:22 AM
toe-up socks First, decide if you want short-row heels (heel and toes are made the same way) or socks with gussets and traditional heels. This pattern is for socks with gussets. Links at the end are for a variety of styles and include some short-row heel patterns.

MacSox: Toe-Up Gusset Pair of Socks
(2 socks knit simultaneously on 2 circs)

A Note on gauge: Measure the length of the foot, subtract 1", then multiply this by the number of stitches per inch (spi) you are getting with your chosen needles and yarn. This number is 100% or "Sock Total" for one sock.
Some common sizes/gauges are provided in the pattern instructions: Child (6" foot, 5" sock @ 6spi), Woman (9" foot, 8" sock @ 6spi), Woman (9" foot, 8" sock @ 7spi), Man (10" foot, 9" sock @ 6.5spi), Man (10" foot, 9" sock @ 8spi)

TOES: Cast On 10 stitches to the sole needle, knit one row; repeat with a second ball of yarn. Pick up the cast on sts with the instep needle, knit across first sock toe, then across second sock toe. Pick up sole needle; knit across one toe, increasing at beginning AND end of row. Repeat on the next toe. Continue to knit around, increasing at beginning and end of every row for 5 rounds, then increase once every 4 rounds until each sock reaches total diameter. (For ea sock: total = 30, 48, 56, 60, 72, i.e.: 16, 24, 28, 30, 36 sts instep ndl, and 16, 24, 28, 30, 36 sts sole ndl.)

FEET: knit to a length that is about half the foot diameter, then begin gusset increases, using markers (if desired) to differentiate original section from gusset sections. (Split-ring markers work best here, or just a tied loop of contrasting yarn, so you can easily remove it later.)

GUSSETS: Continue to knit around the whole sock, but work increases only on the sole needle, inc one st on each end of row. Work an increase row once after 4 more rounds, then after three more rounds, then after two more rounds, then every other round until you have increased by about 25% of original number of stitches on each side (rounded up to an even number) (4, 6, 8, 8, 10 sts on ea side; 8, 12, 16, 16, 20 new sts total; 24, 36, 44, 46, 56 sts total on sole ndl).

From this point on, work on the sole needle only, leave the instep needle in “standby” mode until you get to the ankles. Work HEEL, TURN, and FLAP of one sock, then do the same on the next sock.

MAKING HEELS:
Use markers to designate a middle section, the HEEL sts, that is 80% of the original number of sts on needle (rounded to an even number) (12, 20, 22, 24, 28). (A tied loop of contrasting yarn works well here: it’s flexible enough not to get in the way and easy to remove later.) While making the heels, your work will stay within the heel markers; the actual “turn” will happen as you knit across slipped stitches and increases.

ROW 1: k across to new marker, ending with inc 1. Remove the marker, slip the increased stitch, replace the marker (so inc’d st is outside the marker).
ROW 2: mirror-knit (or turn and purl) back across to the other new marker, ending with inc 1, Remove the marker, slip the increased stitch, replace the marker (so inc’d st is outside the marker).

Continue knitting and mirror-knitting back and forth, as in rows 1 and 2, moving the markers after each new inc’d stitch, until sole is about* 1” less in length than foot circumference.

Shape* the remainder of the heel by slipping one stitch (instead of increasing 1 st) and leaving it outside the marker at each end of each row. Continue knitting in these ever-shorter rows until sole is full length (this usually equals foot diameter).

* Personal preference. Here are the extremes. At a gauge of about 5.5 spi, if you begin the shaping immediately (i.e.: don’t use increases; just use slipped stitches/short rows), you would end up getting down to rows of only a few stitches, resulting in a pointy “pocket” for a heel (basically a pointy “toe” at the back end of the sock). If you choose not to use the shaping, but to continue the increases for the full length, you’ll have a square heel. Somewhere in the middle are the rounded heels.

HEEL TURN & HEEL FLAPS:
Remove all markers. Count out a central section equal to original number of stitches, place new gusset markers on each end of this section. Knit across slipped stitches and increases until you get to the new gusset marker; absorb 1 from gusset sts (moving this marker out by one stitch). Mirror-knit back to do the same on the other end of the row.
Repeat, knitting and mirror-knitting back and forth until all of the gusset sts have been absorbed (and gusset markers have been moved right off the needle) and the sole needle is back to its original number of stitches. (16, 24, 28, 30, 36)

ANKLES: Resume knitting around from sole needle to instep needle until desired sock height or until you run out of yarn!

Links to more toe-up patterns:

http://socknitters.com/toe-up/index.htm
http://www.knitlist.com/95gift/toe.htm
http://www.wiseneedle.com/knitpattree.asp
http://ingridknits.tripod.com/dt.html
1/5/2004 10:35:24 AM
Peruvian Wool I, too, am in love with this Peruvian Collection; my favorite so far is still the Highland Wool, but I can`t wait to try the 100% Alpaca and the Lama Blend. That Highland Wool was just precious to work with, though! I hope the colors that have run out will be restocked and that this will be available for a very long time! I`m telling everyone in my family to give me elann.com gift certificates for my birthday!
1/5/2004 10:46:53 AM
celtic cardigan I just want to say the pics of this project are soooo gorgeous! You should be very proud of your work; it`s really beautiful!!!
1/7/2004 9:49:49 AM
toe-up socks I Just Had to add this one more... they are so easy! Got it from an old leaflet distributed to women during WWI, but it`s been a common one forever! History`s #1 Easiest Toe-Up Socks Pattern: Spiral Tube (and if you make them for children, these will last long and not soon be outgrown!)

These are super easy and will form to fit practically any size foot , which is the reason they were part of the government`s list of "approved comfort items" in WWI. Women at home could knit these and send them to the Navy`s "Comforts Committee" in Washington, DC. From there, they would be distributed to soldiers who needed them.

• Cast On 8 stitches and knit one row.
• With a different needle, pick up the loops of the cast on edge and knit them as a row.
• Distribute all stitches evenly across your needles, and increase evenly, by 4 stitches per sock, every round, until toe cup is formed and sock diameter has reached full size, rounding off to a number that can be divided by four.
• K4, P4, all the way around, for four rounds.
• Every 5th round starts with a K5, to shift all the stitches over by one
(after the K5, it is P4, K4, P4 all the way around for four more rows)
• Continue up until you run out of yarn or have made the socks long enough.

A trim finish can be added by ending with a row of plain knitting, then a K2 P2 rib for a half inch or so at the top, just before binding off.

Since you aren`t sure how long your yarn will last, it would seem the easiest strategy would be to knit both socks simultaneously, something this patterns lends itself to quite readily.
1/7/2004 9:58:32 AM
ADDI TURBO NEEDLES Yes, the points are the same. I could swear they were made by the same manufacturer except that, as I said, the Inox circs have much nicer, softer cables.
1/7/2004 10:35:40 AM
compare addi turbos & inox xpress to clover bamboo please It always seems to me that some projects are better for the slick Inox or Addi, and others are better for natural materials.

A slippery yarn or a tricky stitch pattern or a Barbie-sized garment are the "precision" type projects that seem easer to control with natural needles such as wood or bamboo.

The opposite extreme is a big speed-knitting sweater out of heavy cotton yarn that just flies off those slick nickel-plated metal needles so fast you can`t even see the tips of your needles moving... all a blur. And you start racing to see how many stitches per minute you can do...

Everything else seems to lie somewhere between the extremes. For metal needles, I believe nothing is better than the nickel-plated ones, especially in sizes bigger than 6. For natural materials, I like wood, but cannot usually afford it, so I settle for bamboo.

However, Clover is my least favorite brand, ONLY because I use only circs, and the cables on the Clover bamboos are horridly stiff. So stiff they actually slow a project down by fighting against you all the time. The Addi bamboos are better, but not enormously, and Addis are way overpriced.

The Crystal Palace bamboos have buttery-soft cables that are a real relief to work from, and they are priced halfway between the Clovers and the Addis.

Now I have heard Plymouth makes a natural material circ in either bamboo or birch, but have never been able to find it online (there is no such thing as a LYS where I live). I would be interested in trying those out to see what the tips and cables are like. Also, WEBS has its own line of bamboo needles which are VERY reasonably priced, but I haven`t tried them yet, either... the Crystal Palace bamboos are so nice that I just keep going back to the "known good" for bamboo circs.

Anybody here know of a source that still carries the Noble rosewood or ebony circs? Now those were a thing of beauty! Not like the Susanne`s wooden needles, which sometimes spit, crack, or warp, because they are not made from aged wood. The Nobles were made of wood used for making musical instruments (now think about what an oboe or a clarinet is exposed to: long hours of having the inner bore soaked in condensation and spit... BUT if the wood warps in the least, the tone holes change shape... a warp or a crack is the end of the instrument`s usefulness... this is wood that gets aged for something like 30 years and the pores are reduced so much that it feels more like marble than wood after just a few months of use!) I could go on about those needles forever. I only have a few. I foolishly assumed they`d be available forever. They were about $17.00, so I didn`t buy many. Now you can`t find them anywhere.

Well, I just want to end this by saying that which needles you choose is sometimes a matter of why you are knitting, too... if you are knitting to soothe your soul, there is nothing in this world like wood and wool in your hands. It just connects you back to everything that matters.

So I always have at least one project I can grab that is wool on wood needles. (It`s good medicine on days when you are worried or just when the background noise of men yelling at football games is screwing with the ambience!)
1/7/2004 10:46:20 AM
Inox Xpress I wish it was here! (Imagine being able to get Inox and Crystal Palace needles at the same place where you buy all of your yarn!)

Prices are between $5.85 and $6.95. MAKE SURE YOU SPECIFY INOX XPRESS... (the plain or teflon coated Inox are not fun to work with in sizes bigger than about 3 or 4... and in a size 9 or bigger, they feel like a rubberized coating that won`t let the stitches slide!)

Here are some sites that have them:

http://www.needlepointjoint.com
http://www.yarn.com/webs/knitting/knitting2.html
http://www.schoolhousepress.com/
http://www.yarnatwebsters.com/ktools-needles.html
1/7/2004 11:38:00 AM
compare addi turbos & inox xpress to clover bamboo please merribee, yarn heaven and Needlepoint Joint all had them last year, but by the end of the summer, none of those places were able to get them anymore... however, I`ll try again, because things may have changed.

Have you ever had the gold-colored joins on a Susanne`s rosewood or ebony needle go bad? I just had my second bout of this... first it tarnishes (and the brass underneath actually rubs greenish-gold yuck onto the yarn) then it falls right off... oh, for those Noble needles!!!

And I just have to try the Plymouth! Thanks!
1/8/2004 7:05:45 AM
ebony or rosewood Color is really the only difference. If you knit pairs of things on two circs, it`s nice to have two different colors so you don`t accidentally start knitting away on the wrong pair of needles. But if you only use one at a time, then it doesn`t matter which one you choose. However, the ebony is very, very black, so if you are using dark yarn and are sometimes knitting in rather dim lighting, the stitches can be difficult to see. Conversely, if you find you are usually working in light color yarns, the ebony will make knitting in almost-darkness a real breeze!

Then, too, if you are seeking these for wood-and-wool, good food for the soul thing, then you might prefer the rosewood simply because the wood`s grain is sometimes so lovely (after exposure to hand and wool oils, it develops an even deeper reddish-brown with marbled swirls of golden grain sometimes peeking through), whereas the ebony is far too dark for any grain to ever be visible.

In case this helps you in your search (and do let me know if you find any place that has these needles!), the manufacturer is Holz and Stein, out of Germany. The U.S. distrubutor used to be Meunch Yarns, but they apparently had difficulty getting stock on a reliable basis, so they just dropped it... don`t know if this is the real reason or not... I know that the folks at Needlepoint Joint used tell people that they just sometimes take awhile to come in, and nobody minded that... in fact, the Noble Ebony single points used to be their top-selling knitting needle. But I`ve never been on the distribution end of a business, so I don`t know what kind of problems that must have caused.
1/8/2004 7:13:33 AM
bates quicksilvers vs. inox xpress and addi turbo What I like best about the Quicksilver is the price!!! I mean they are cheaper than a department store Wright`s needle, yet the cables are just fine to work from, not that stiff plastic stuff they use in a Wright`s, even though the price would make you think so!

BUT they are not the same as a nickel-plated. To get the idea of a nickel plated, look at the darning or tapestry needle you use to sew up holes or graft shut openings or whatever... usually those are nickel-plated. They just really are the fastest and slickest thing going, I think.
1/8/2004 7:16:20 AM
Peruvian Wool This is the best piece of info i have heard since November!!!! I CAN`T WAIT!!!!
1/8/2004 7:40:38 AM
compare addi turbos & inox xpress to clover bamboo please Gosh, it`s hard for me to say... it depends upon the guage you like to knit at and the yarn weight you like best. What size do you currently use most? Some people say work on getting the sizes you don`t have yet, but there`s also the theory that you need extras of the sizes you use most... so you can have more than one project going... a mindless one for some occasions (like the grocery store checkout line or the dentist`s office) and a pay-attention one for other times like a long road trip or a weekend alone...
1/8/2004 7:58:40 AM
compare addi turbos & inox xpress to clover bamboo please Gosh, it`s hard for me to say... it depends upon the guage you like to knit at and the yarn weight you like best. What size do you currently use most? Some people say work on getting the sizes you don`t have yet, but there`s also the theory that you need extras of the sizes you use most... so you can have more than one project going... a mindless one for some occasions (like the grocery store checkout line or the dentist`s office) and a pay-attention one for other times like a long road trip or a weekend alone...
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