So today in the Good News Journal was easy - in fact, I easily found TWO good news stories! Whaaattt?? Woot!
I am not going to lie - today, only Day 2 of my little good news journal, I had a tough time finding even one news story that could be considered "good news".
I finally settled on this, kind of the best of the worst plus a funny thing about Covid + the lovely silver stitch markers. I love them, so it's happy for me.
While it is good news that Grand Isle finally had power restored, it is not so good that it took 138 days. That's a lot of no power days. Such is life on an island in south Louisiana, where hurricanes routinely disrupt everyday life ("disrupt" is putting it mildly; I am, afterall, trying to be upbeat here).
I decided to start a "good news only" journal for my own mental health.
Today is Day 1: Omicron cases are way down in South Africa. Hopefully the UK, the US and the rest of the world will not be far behind! #goodnews
Which Double Pointed Needles are the Best?
Which double pointed knitting needles (aka, DPNS) to choose?? That was a question I asked all the time when I first started using them until, finally, enough time passed that I ended up ordering several different types (ok, pandemic shopping but, still.....).
This is my review of the needles I have used. Bear in mind, this is just my opinion....your mileage may vary!
Disclaimer #1: I am a sock knitter, almost exclusively. I knit a lot of socks on 9" circular needles but also use dpns regularly.
Disclaimer #2: I have only been knitting seriously for about 2 years....opinions could possibly change with more years of knitting.
Disclaimer #3: I am a fairly tight knitter which means I hardly ever have problems with my stitches falling off the needles (or the needles falling out of the stitches).
I knit mostly English style but sometimes flicking or Norwegian.
Price on Amazon about $13.00
* smooth (but, strangely, not as smooth as the Addis
* nice pointy needles (side note, you can also order HiyaHiya "sharps" which i did but returned; you could open a vein with those needes....+ have you ever sat on a super sharp steel needle? Ouch. No thanks, but you might love them if you are more careful than I am and don't use your finger to push the needle one way or the other)
* made of steel so, naturally, not as lightweight as Prym or Addi...which, by the way, you don't really notice until you knit with one of the others
These are wonderful needles and I use them a lot but, still, I prefer the Addis.
* not super smooth but smooth enough and, if I didn't knit so tightly, the stitches would glide but still, if super smooth is what you want, these might not be for you.
Pro or con?? the shape is triangle which is supposed to be better for your hands but I don't really think it matters much in this tiny size. (2.5 mm)
For me and the way I knit, the best double pointed needles are tied for first place with Prym and Addi double pointed needles in the lead and the HiyaHiyas in second place. The Addis for the weight and the smoothness, the Pryms for the weight and the super sharp (but not dangerous) little "teardrop" shaped tip. The Hiyas are extremely smooth which I love.
My least favorite needles are the Clover bamboo needles but I do use them in a pinch. Although lightweight, they are not smooth enough for my tight knitting nor are the points consistently sharp enough for me.
When we finished watching Schitt's Creek, we were so disappointed. What now?? What else could we watch that would even come close to this wonderful show? So, I did the normal thing & googled "if you like Schitt's Creek, you might like....." and one of the things that popped up was "Kim's Convenience".
AND, what did I do while watching? I knit of course! If not knitting, was make my sterling silver stitch markers...awkward seque! Click below to shop the handmade stitch markers!
Silver Stitch Markers for Knitting & Crochet
So many stitch markers!! Customers are calling them wonderful, elegant, useful, no snag, beautiful and other excellent adjectives - so happy my fellow fiber folks are loving these new silver stitch markers!
Did I mention that stitch markers ship for free? YES, all stitch markers (buy one set or 5) are now shipping at no charge to you...NICE!!
Knitting, like most hobbies and businesses, requires tools that you need to have at hand, ready to use all the time. I came up with this idea which keeps everything where I can find it (well, most of the time) and then later realized it is actually kind of a take off on the Victorian chatelaines that ladies used to carry!
Sterling Silver Knitting Stitch Markers
Larger sterling silver stitch markers or stitch holders for bigger, bulkier knitting or crochet projects! These will fit on knitting needles up to US size 15!! BIG NEEDLES!
Silver Stitch Markers for Knitting
These medium sized silver stitch markers are perfect for all sorts of knitting and crochet projects! They easily fit over US size 10 and work on all sorts of crochet projects. You could also use them to hold stitches, if you don't need them to fit over your needles - win win!
Need a different size stitch marker? Click below!
NEW! Silver Stitch Markers
New sterling silver stitch markers for knitting and crochet. I haven't been knitting long but I love knitting socks. Since I also love sterling silver, I thought I would create some stitch markers to use in my knitting. I love how these turned out. These are the smallest size I currently make and quess what? They are also perfect for crochet because they are open! No need to put them over a needle, although you can if that's your jam!
These sterling silver stitch markers were designed as a result of a special request. The extra small markers were too small, the medium markers were too large. So - the perfect size markers were designed - perfect for sock knitters or others who use small knitting needles (an crocheters who use smaller yarn)! These work with knittings needles up to US size 4! Perfection in silver stitch markers!
Oh, Hawthorne how I love you! Thick and rich, squishy and soft. I LOVE this yarn, available only (as far as I can tell) from Knickpicks online. The purple yarn in the photo is Hawthorne!
Oh how I love sock yarn from Fiber Seed! This was one of the first yarns I used to knit socks and, at the time, I didn't even realize how wonderful is was. Bouncy? YES! Slightly thicker than some more typical sock yarns? Oh, YES! Colors are great and always changing - this yarn is hand dyed. Expensive? Yes. SO worth it.
Having said that, I will say that I use a combination of hand dyed, more expensive yarn and some excellent so-call "commercial" yarns to knit socks. (I am looking at you, Opal, Regia and Hawthorne!)
Check out Fiber Seed...you can thank me later! ;)
New new silver stitch markers that will last forever? Click HERE to see!
I love Opal yarn to knit socks. For one thing, it is bouncy! It just feels puffy and wonderful to knit with. No problem with splitting the yarns as I knit. It is also a yarn that has been around a LONG time and knitters who use it will tell you that socks knit with this yarn will last awhile!
Also, the colors are wonderful. Any and all colors!
And price - very reasonably priced. I think I paid around $15.00 USD the last time I bought it but I think it's even cheaper on Etsy (if you are willing to wait for your yarn as it travels from Lithuanian, which I am sometimes will to do). AND that is for a ball that is easily big enough to knit a pair of socks in most any size with some leftover. Opal for the WIN!
My favorite yarns for knitting socks - turns out there are a LOT of great sock yarns out there and at lots of different prices. The prices matter to me because I tend to "collect" sock yarn and, at some point, I have to watch my yarn budget.
Here are a few general bits of info:
1. yarn for socks needs to be made for socks - so it will generally be thin yarn (small stitches make for sturdier socks)
2. sock yarn needs to have wool plus a little nylon for strength
3. very soft yarn (I'm looking at you, beautiful and cozy merino) tend not to last as long
4. mostly your feet don't care if yarn is slightly on the rough side or more soft. These days, I am all about the sturdier yarns. It takes a minute to knit a pair of socks so I want them to last awhile, yeah?
Hack? Be sure to knit yourself several pairs of socks so you can swith them up - that way, they all last longer!
Need stitch markers for all those lovely socks?
Go HERE to see my collection of handmade sterling silver markers!
One of the things we learned early in our trip was not to trust Google info about the hours any particular place was open or even whether it was open at all. This is especially true to restaurants but other shops as well.
Staffing shortages, illness (Covid, right?) and other factors contribute but, whatever the reason, we learned the hard way that, if you are counting on it, CALL before you go to make sure they are open.
Google, like many of us, is having trouble "keeping up" at this time. Just call.
And...for those hours in the car, bring a book or, better yet, don't forget your knitting!!! Need a new stitch marker or two "for the road"?? Go HERE to take a look at beautiful handmade sterling silver stitch markers!!
Food is an issue if a) you want to eat and b) you don't want to go inside to do so. Here are my top four tips:
1. Bring as much food with you as you reasonably can (and, yes, this means you will probably need an ice chest/cooler for milk, yogurt, whatever). I cannot over emphasize the wonderfulness (?) of having good food WITH YOU, in the car. Just do it.
2. Find grocery stores that will let you order online and pickup curbside - Safeway/Albertsons and Whole Foods are the ones we used but I think Kroger is with the program, too. Handy to stock up on such fragile things as bananas and, oh, all sorts of things you need
3. Find restaurants that will let you pick up curbside. Black Bear Diner was kind of our go-to when we were out west. Simple and fast and very decent food!
Warning, finding a place that will do curbside sounds easy but it is not. A couple of times we had to zip in to pick up pizza....it was too late, we were too hungry/cranky to mess around with trying to find curbsite. Nothing is perfect all the time.
4. I need to say again: bring food with you. Bring PLENTY of food with you. It will bring you peace and joy at the end of a long day of doing whatever you do on a roadtrip.
Always bring things to do on those long drives through west Texas....or eastern Montana. When I say "bring things" I always mean "bring your knitting with you"!!! And yes, you need plenty of stitch markers because might (surely you will) lose a few in the car as you go. Stitch markers?? Go here to see my oh so cool handmade sterling silver stitch markers for all your knitting needs!!
So let's just talk about this one right off the bat, shall we? During a pandemic you may not feel comfortable going inside a gas station (or anywhere else) to use the restroom. At the beginning of the trip I was determined not to go inside anywhere there were other people. Later, I relaxed a little bit and "cased the joint" before I determined whether I wanted to go inside. Mainly, If there were a significant number of people inside, I opted out.
All that to say you may find you need an alternative to going inside to use the bathroom. You're a guy? No problem, find the nearest tree, right? Girls have a bigger challenge but I am here to tell you that your good friend, Amazon, has your back! Search things like "female urinal" and you will find several to choose from.
Oh, yes and bring knitting or something else to do "on the road". Want to see sterling silver stitch markers?? Click HERE!
Here is something to think about that will make things go faster: can you go up a half size or a whole size in needles? I almost always use size US 1.5 (2.5mm) needles to knit socks. On these socks, I decided to go up to a US size 2 (2.75mm) and just see what happens. They are for my son so I think they will be fine and, with this Hawthorne yarn, it is working great so far. Just something to consider; it won't work with every yarn or every project but if it will work, it will speed up your sock knitting!
Here is a another tip for faster knitting - use great yarn. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, "indie" or hand dyed yarn. It needs to be nice & "bouncy" and plenty of commercial yarns are excellent. My top two favorite mid-priced yarns for socks are Hawthorne and Brown Sheep Sock.
The yarns I am currently using to knit socks (pictured above) are Hawthorne (the gray one) and West Yorkshire Spinners, which is also a great sturdy sock yarn just not as nice as Hawthorne, IMO.
For more tips to knit socks faster, click HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE
Another tip to knit socks (or anything, really) a little or a lot faster: scrunch up those stitches on the left needle!! If you control the stitches with your index finger, they won't fall off the needle. If they do, not the end of the world - take a deep breath and slowly and carefully pick them back up (bonus tip - keep a smaller knitting needle or big sewing needle handy to use when you need to pick up a dropped stitch or two - genius!).
Click below for more great tips to speed up your knitting!
A simple but crucial tip: check your work often. Just pause and look at what you have done for the past couple of rows. Why you ask? Well.....I was working on this very simple 1x1 ribbing for a sock cuff. I thought it was going great - what could be easier, right?? Then I just stopped and looked at what I had done. Yep, you guessed it, there were 2 purls together 2 rows back which of course threw off everything going forward from there. Sigh. I picked back the stitches one at a time and started again. The photo above is after recovery - I was too disappointed to feel like taking a photo of the actual errors.
So, fixing errors will NOT make your sock knitting faster. What will make it faster is not making (obvious) errors in the first place. Carry on & knit, fellow brave knitters.....:)
Here's another little tip - decide on the heel flap pattern you like and stick with it. Don't waste time deciding which type of flap to do - pick one & stick with it! When you are someplace you can't knit (can't imagine where that would be) you can explore the various options for heel flaps. Use your knitting time to knit those socks - not to make design/style decisions! ;)
More tips to speed up sock knitting! Two things: metal needles (especially HiyaHiya - so smooth!) and small circulars (I use 9-10"). Will you lose a few stitches on the metal needles until you get used to them? Yes, you will, but ONLY until you get used to them! Take it slow at first but know that you will get used to it! Fast, faster, fastest! GO!
I am Laura Teague, a metal smith, knitter and sewist living and working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and traveling the western US whenever I can!