Category Archives: Tools

WIP Detail Shot #5

The post is dedicated to Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. I’m using the method to bind off the underbust ribbing on my Peacock Eyes Cardigan. (No, the pattern doesn’t call for underbust ribbing, you are quite correct. But due to being about 400m short of yarn for the full length cardigan, I decided to do a cropped version.)

I first used this technique on my Cinnabar neckline and I love it – it really is Surprisingly Stretchy™ and guarantees a not-too-tight bind off without having to faff about with going up a needle size or whatever. And look how crisp the corners it makes are:

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For those of you who are concerned: my ‘working stitch’ on the bind off is being held by one of those cool padlock-esque stitch markers, somewhat camoflaged in the photo above. I’ve discovered it’s a lot easier than relying on a single, loose stitch staying on the other end of a circular needle.

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I really must get some of these myself, actually. These are on loan from K, and they are fantastically useful.

There’s a way to go on the cardigan yet. I’ve got to pick up on both front edges for buttonhole bands and then use whatever yarn I have remaining to do do some short sleeves with ribbed cuffs. I’d been hoping to maintain the three-quarter sleeves of the original pattern, but alas it is probably not to be. If only I had shorter arms…

WIP Detail Shot #2: Hairpins Save The Day

Having spent the last post talking about some ‘proper’ hobby tools which make life easier, let me present the totally non-specialist accessory which has saved my knitting bacon on many an occasion already:

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Yes, my friends. The humble hair pin*.

Picking up dropped stitches has never been easier. The round bits on the end mean that you don’t snag your yarn, while it’s still slim enough to thread through the next stitch up if you need to.

Observe my latest case in point: one jumper, bound off, finished! But the collar turns out to be too short for my (admittedly long) neck, resulting in more of a jewel neckline than a proper collar. So I need to unpick the bind off and rip back far enough to pick up a row of stitches again, having established that I cannot for the life of me work out how to insert a retrospective lifeline into linen stitch. To add to the difficulties the yarn is 100% wool (= fuzzy) and very loosely plied, meaning that when I pull it sometimes just breaks off.

But hairpins save the day and I’m ready to start knitting again: (please excuse the awful colours in the photo)

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Phew.

Oh, and the best thing about hairpins? I always have at least three on me at any one time. Personal style must sometimes be sacrified for the greater good.

*Hair grip? Kirby grip? Whatever.

Tools of the Trade

The WIPs having been coming on even more slowly than normal. I promised myself that I wouldn’t turn this into a depression blog, so let me present to you some things that I’ve been buying lately…

First up, a ball winder.

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It’s not that it’s not possible to wind skeins of yarn by hand, but it’s a faff, so when I was offered the chance to buy this one second-hand on Ravelry for £10… well, let’s just say it arrived in my pigeonhole at work the following Monday! Ball winders also have the advantage of producing caked yarn, which is immensely satisfying in my opinion:

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(Isn’t that gorgeous? It’s hand-dyed, also from a Ravelry destash, and destined for a Peacock Eyes Cardigan at some point.)

On the sewing front, I spent some birthday Amazon vouchers on a couple of chalk marking tools. Traditional tailors chalk frustrates me at how quickly it bluntens, and it’s not exactly quick and flowing in its application so I decided to try out a Prym double tracing wheel (left) and a Chaco chalk liner pen (right).

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I’m really pleased with both so far, and hope that the double tracing wheel is going to speed up my use of Burda magazine patterns somewhat. Both mark nicely (amusingly using an identical wheel mechanism – guess the same component must have been purchased by both retailers), although with the double tracing wheel you need to make sure that it’s level and that you apply enough pressure on both sides equally – and you really need a hard surface underneath, so I’ve been placing a magazine under my fabric when I want to mark it up at the ironing board.

Not sponsored, etc etc.. Ha, wouldn’t that be nice?!