Friday, December 10, 2010

Mid-December Already, Really??

WHOOOOSH -- anyone else feel like life is passing by much too quickly? Wasn't it just Thanksgiving?

There are finished sewing projects to show, but sadly not photographed yet. Probably due to the very cold weather we've been having -- need the extra light you get from photographing outdoors, but don't really want to be outdoors! Later then.

How about a recipe for a holiday treat instead? Here's an easy to make version of caramel popcorn that's a near relative of the commercially available Poppy***k. Hmmmm, spelling it out that way makes it look like a slightly naughty word, doesn't it? Anyway, here it is:

Baked Caramel Corn

  • 1/2 cup popping corn
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking SODA
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of roasted, non-salted nuts, if desired

Pop the corn, using your favorite method -- I use an air popper, and make it in two separate batches. Leave it plain -- no salt or butter. Place the popped corn in one or two large roasting, or cake pans. If you're adding nuts, just sprinkle them over the popcorn.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.

Into the melted butter, stir in the sugar, corn syrup and salt.

Bring the mixture to a full boil and while keeping it well stirred, cook for about 5 minutes. Take it off the heat, and stir in the baking SODA and the vanilla -- mix well.

Pour this mixture over the popped corn, and mix it up really well. Work quickly, as it thickens as it cools.

Place corn in a 250 degree oven and let bake for one hour -- stir it well about every 15 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool.


No recipe, but here's something else I was experimenting with -- homemade marshmallows.

They weren't bad, although I think my marshmallow guru Brendan does them better. He generously shared his recipe, and some tips, so next time they're sure to be fabulous! The thought was to coat homemade marshmallows with caramel and then dip them in some bittersweet chocolate. I got as far as covering the marshmallows with caramel before deciding it wasn't going to work as well as I wanted. Had a bit of marshmallow meltage, but basically it was a sticky (but tasty!) mess. Ah well, and on to the next experiment!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knock It Off!

So, I'm in a national clothing chain -- perhaps one named after the science of humankind -- and I see what I consider to be a cute, plaid skirt. Not being the target customer for this particular emporium, however, there are a few things about it that make it 'not quite' for my particular, oh, let's call it maturity.

All is not lost though for a woman with a sewing machine (or two), a yard of plaid, and New Look 6843. Trace off the front pattern piece -- draw a few curved tiers (don't forget to add those seam allowances!)breathe easily with a new, lower, thinner waistband, and voila:

Inspired by, but not a copy of, that cute, plaid skirt. Color me pleased.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bobbing to the surface...

...after being slammed by a nasty virus. Whew -- glad to be feeling better.

So, how about a couple of finished projects? First up, Cerisara by Bonne Marie Burns, the design talent over at Chicknits . Yarn: Classic Elite Premiere from the stash -- gosh, I LOVE that color!

Interesting, all-in-one construction. You may need to pay attention in a couple of areas, but trust in the directions and you'll be just fine. I'm a big fan of Bonne Marie's work -- very wearable clothing with a current look.

It's always fun to try a new yarn, and next up is a cute little beret from the folks at Quince & Co. The yarn is sourced from fiber produced in the US -- also spun here. I used Osprey, which is their aran weight. It was delightful to work with, but did lose a little color with wet blocking. I look forward to trying one of their lighter weight yarns in another project. This beret only needed one skein, so it was ideal for testing a new (to me) yarn -- the pattern was simple, and easy to knit.

No additional work done on the vintage Elgin sewing machine, but I hope to have it ready for viewing soon. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get it to sew!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Can this patient be saved?

So, I get a call from a friend -- this and that, and "Oh, by the way, I saw a treadle at a local junk store for $25" -- isn't it great to have such caring friends? I rushed over to check it out, and, well, what do you know? -- there were 2 treadles for $25! Not sure my friend even noticed the one in the back, but I sure did. And, despite the owners entreaty that I could have them both for $40, I came home with this:

I'm not sure why, but for some reason it really spoke to me. It's probably in the worst shape of any of the vintage machines I have, and I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to get it into working order, but I thought it was worth bringing home. The cabinet is in fairly rough shape too, but I like the Craftsman type styling of it. The machine head is raised from inside the cabinet by lifting the cabinet leaf -- there's a chain lift mechanism underneath (rusty as all get out). I do have the drawer knob that appears to be missing, and it has a few (rusty) rotary style attachments in one of the drawers. I managed to open the sliding plate, and there is an intact shuttle inside, and presumably a long bobbin, as there is a bunch of thread emerging from the shuttle. So, looks like my next project is all lined up!

And totally changing subjects -- how about a little old vs. new technology?

The new should be apparent -- the old is represented by the little sewn case. Yes, I am silly enough to spend a bundle on the Kindle, and too 'thrifty' to pay extra for a little case. So I took some scraps and cranked (literally) one out on my wee little Singer 99. Works just fine, used up some scraps, and you can't beat the price!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sewing with silk

Last year's trip to China by Mr. Minglingyarn yielded some silk yardage as a souvenir for me (isn't he thoughtful?), and I finally got some of it sewn into a project. I think it works extremely well for a lightweight robe, yes?

This was my first time sewing with charmeuse, and while it was certainly slippery and ravelly, it wasn't as bad as I expected. And, oh my goodness -- this stuff feels absolutely amazing on! It's made me think that a blouse from charmeuse would be divine. I have a small amount left over (of this particular fabric), perhaps I can eke out a camisole and 'unmentionables' to have a travel sleep set. It would have made a fabulous lining for a jacket also. Ah silk, the Queen of fabric!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Before the first leaf falls...

...autumn knitting begins. First finished project of the new season -- Cross-over Rib Top by Sally Melville. Knit in Koigu PPPM and PM. Pattern available from (I've linked before -- check previous post if you're interested in this pattern).

There was one small error in the pattern (a missing decrease), which hopefully has been corrected by now. I had emailed Sally about it, and apparently it was supposed to have been corrected some time ago, but had slipped through the editing cracks. Apparently Patternfish claims that they will notify purchasers of any patterns they sell about future errata -- this was not my experience, but perhaps others have been more fortunate.

And, as promised, a quick look at the latest vintage machine!

It's a Necchi BU Mira -- from around the middle 1950's -- straight stitch and zig zag, but none of the fancy stitches of the WonderWheel models. I'm toying with the idea of removing the motor and setting it into a treadle, but for now it's still tailed (electrical). There are some who dislike the green color, but luckily j'adore! At this point, there isn't that much room left for new acquisitions, so I'm thinking this is it as far as numbers go. (That hysterical laughter in the background - surely you can hear it? - is Mr. MinglingYarn. For some strange reason he isn't buying that last statement!)

Edited to add -- I received an email on 7 September from Julia Grunau at Patternfish apologizing for any inconvenience and explaining the (small) problem with the pattern. Thank you; I appreciate the communication. So that others will be aware of how the pattern updating works, I have copied a portion of her email below. I'll be returning to the site in future, and I hope others will check it out also. Karen

"Whenever an updated pattern is issued, the buyer will see a notice in their pattern stash saying that a new version is available, and the user just has to click to download it. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, but as far as we know, all is now well."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eventually she hopes... will all come together in perfect harmony. Until then, here's a photo of the random pieces of Sally Melville's Cross-Over-Rib top.

You'll notice that the original is done in all one color of Koigu -- my version, however, is not. I'd like to say it was a deliberate design decision, but in truth, that's what I had. I've collected quite a few random skeins of Koigu over the years, probably with an eye to making socks -- or knitting something modular, but somehow they just never got knit. So, we shall see. It's an awful lot of knitting if it doesn't work out!

The back has a third color introduced, (a darker shade of olive), with the two yarns of the fronts blended at the bottom. This was done to tie together the colors of the front, and, more importantly, to ensure that there would be enough yarn to knit the back. Here's hoping!

Here's a closeup of the back -- (clicking makes bigger)

It will take a lot more knitting until it's finished (34 stitches x 40 rows per 4" goes slowly around here!), but I'm powering through, because I have some absolutely lovely Color-Changing Cotton from Wolle that I can't wait to get started on.

And who knows? Maybe there will be a photo of a sleek Italian vintage sewing machine to feast your eyes on soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sew it goes...

A new shirt -- Stats: PATTERN - New Look 6407
FABRIC - woven, non-stretch 100% cotton
ALTERATIONS to pattern - lengthened torso, narrowed shoulders (but maybe not enough - sigh)
BUTTONS - vintage (maybe 1940's?) medical uniform buttons - think high-necked Ben Casey type shirts (oooh, just dated myself with that cultural reference!)

There was supposed to be a cute cotton skirt to go with it. Hah! I was attempting a side-wrapped straight skirt from an OOP Stretch & Sew pattern. It was easy to sew, fit well, looked good...until I tried to walk in it, and then it made a silly little 'tent' with each step - not a good look! Ah well, sew it goes...

Meanwhile, take a look at these cute little zippers from Japan - (click makes bigger)

Hopefully there's enough detail for you to make out the cute little zipper pulls on the outer zips (that's scissors and a vintage sewing machine) and how the center zip has lacy edges (not as easy to see, sorry!). Found them while reading another blog - they're from an Etsy seller in Japan. Leave a comment if you're interested in knowing who/where and I may be kind enough to look it up for you. I don't have a clue what I'll use them for, but I couldn't resist!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Look Ma -- Crochet!

See, I do still work with yarn -- and very lovely yarn it is too!

Stats: Color Changing Cotton 4-ply from Wolle. Colorway: Sunburst 2 Amount: 2 50 g. balls Pattern: a scarf from Ondori Crochet Lace, a Japanese crochet pattern book. Hook used: 4 mm - F

Of course you know there has been some sewing done -- but that's a post for another day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Up and Running! (Or, does she even work with yarn anymore?)

It is most definitely not pretty, but it's done!

Here's a closeup of the urethane belting I'm using instead of the traditional leather treadle belt --

Now the question becomes -- do I let Mr. Minglingyarn attempt a cutout of this top (so the machine will sit more conveniently flush with the table), or do we leave well enough alone? Understand, our woodworking skills are nil -- still,it would be more convenient. Of course,if I follow through on my attempt to get a serger up and treadling I would need (yet another) solid top for that. Decisions, decisions! At any rate, kudos to Mr. Minglingyarn -- it really must be love for someone with 10 thumbs to even attempt this -- love you babe!

You would think that perhaps I was done with sewing machine clean ups/fix ups, but no. There's a little matter of a Singer 500a (nicknamed The Rocketeer by collectors) that needs a bit of attention. That tricky enabler Margaret was responsible for this one -- she really wants to make sure I can never tease her again about her herd of spinning wheels!

It doesn't appear to be in very bad shape -- although Margaret mentioned that the previous owner had said that there may be a part missing. It will probably be a display piece -- at least for a little while longer. Too many actual sewing projects lined up at this point!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lean, green sewing machine


Stats: Singer 185K, straight stitch only machine, three-quarter sized, formerly electrical - now with motor removed and operated by a (repro.) hand crank. Machine is circa 1958, and is mounted in its own wee table. This one is also from Kilbowie, Scotland, so I guess I have the makings of a clan.

As any long-time visitors will doubtless already know, I seem to have a bit of a problem when it comes to vintage sewing machines -- as in, I just can't seem to resist them! But really, take a look at her all cleaned up and tell me she isn't a cutie --

Took a bit of elbow grease to get her looking decent (inside and out) but she's well on her way. While I love the idea of hand cranking her, I'm not too keen on the (not so cute) look of the black crank with Chinese lettering, but there you go -- you do what you need to do. The original green hand wheel was swapped out for a spoked hand wheel from one of my other machines. There are instructions on line for drilling out a space for the hand crank 'finger' so that the original hand wheel can be used, but sadly my tool skills are not up to that (at least right now).

She was quite stiff and sluggish when I first got her home, but cleaning made a big difference. I removed a huge wad of felted lint from around the bobbin case, and now stitch quality is quite nice. Also while cleaning I discovered an old red label that stated "repossessed machine" -- how sad is that? I always like to learn a little of the machine's history, but the person I bought her from wasn't her original owner. In fact, although she sews, she bought this machine several years ago in order to use the cabinet as a table -- never even threaded her up. Ah well, different strokes...

Now, what shall her first project (with me) be?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A New Project

My merry band of vintage machines has been growing, and we've reached a critical point -- I really need another treadle. I'd like to get the zig zag machine set up, and I have a mechanical serger (overlocker) that I'd like to try as a treadle too.

I've been searching around locally for something suitable (you do NOT want to pay shipping for a cast iron treadle!), but haven't been having much luck. These things seem to come up in cycles -- either there are many available, or there are none. Luckily for me, fiber pal Margaret has come to my rescue! She has generously given me a treadle stand from her mom's estate -- isn't that nice? It's been outside for a while, but is in pretty good shape for all that. A little online research leads me to believe it's from a Singer model 12 cabinet -- which would date it from some point in the late 1800s -- maybe the 1880s? At any rate, it's older than all of us, so wish me luck getting it all nicely cleaned up and running! I'll need to come up with a table top of some sort, which may be challenging for a gal with no woodworking skills, but we'll cross that bridge later.

There's been some knitting, and a little crocheting, but sadly no photos of that. So how about a little sewing photo?

McCall's 6122 sewn up in a silk dupioni. The fabric was machine washed and dried prior to cutting out, and it seems to have held up just fine. I'm not a big fan of having to dry clean blouses, so hopefully this will allow me to give it a gentle machine wash and hang to dry. The fit was pretty good right out of the envelope -- I think narrowing the shoulder seam was the only tweak I did. The hidden button placket falls a bit low for my taste, but a snap should solve that minor quibble.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And up...

Finally managed to get the little wall hanging quilt bound and mounted in the stairwell. (Thank you Mr. Mingling Yarn for great ladder work!) Colors may be a little off due to the lighting. This was pieced using the small hand crank sewing machine, and quilted using the larger Singer 66 Red Eye treadle. Nothing fancy, it's from a kit (Tonga Dimes from Keepsake Quilting), but I think it will brighten up the stairs just a bit. I downsized the quilt to fit the space, so I have a few blocks left over that will (eventually) become a pillow top.

It was a real pleasure to do the piecing on this -- almost makes me wish I were a 'real' quilter! Lots of control over the work, and it wasn't a problem at all to manipulate the fabric while turning the hand crank. I'm really enjoying that little machine.

The actual quilting was a little more challenging. For me, it was almost like patting your head while rubbing your tummy to get a smooth treadling motion going while guiding the quilt under the pressure foot. It's not too bad I think, but I did simple straight lines and perhaps not as many of those as I would have liked. Not sure if it's that visible, but here's a close up of the blocks -- (clicking makes bigger.)

And in the garden -- here's what we're harvesting now!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

If You Have the Machines... might as well use them. Here's a little summer top that was sewn with the smaller hand crank -- The pattern is "Sencha" from Collette Patterns. Sewn in a rayon batik, view 2 with neckline tucks. I lowered the neckline just a bit, and also lowered the waistline front tucks. I'm not sure this is the most flattering of styles for me, nor the best choice of fabric (it wrinkles like a maniac!), but the pattern itself was well drafted and easy to sew.

Also finished is the "Ming" jacket from Doris Chan's new book "Crochet Lace Innovations". I used Nature's Palette yarn from Classic Elite -- probably discontinued, as I bought it quite some time ago on closeout. The sleeves were shortened, and the bodice lengthened a bit. Another nice design from the talented Doris Chan.

Friday, May 7, 2010

In The Beginning...

My fascination with vintage Singer sewing machines didn't begin with the 'people powered' treadles and hand cranks. No, it all started electrically --

This past winter I was having some major annoyance with my fairly new, top-of-the-line, modern sewing machine. So I started thinking "I need to get myself a good, reliable mechanical machine" and then started doing a little on line research about same. Cut to the chase -- a Singer 1200-1 on Craig's List. The 1200-1 is a version of the classic Singer 201 -- same machine, same motor, but a different foot control/knee lift configuration that was marketed by Singer as an "artisan" machine (think home sewing business, NOT industrial strength). Attractive price, good reviews -- bought it. Then started reading more about the machine and started getting very nervous -- specifically about the aged wiring/motor.

So, there she sat -- a classic vintage machine that I was too chicken to use. And that led to my current obsession with the non-electrics, which is a good thing, but I would still look over wistfully at what might have been. Until a few weeks ago when I contacted Jenny at Sew-Classic about something she had mentioned in a blog post. She replied, and in passing I mentioned the 1200-1. Long story short -- she cleaned and re-wired the old motor for a very reasonable price -- and now -- that old Singer purrs like a kitten and I'm no longer afraid I'll end up fried!

I can't say enough about how patient and gracious she was in the face of my total lack of knowledge about all things electrical. We aren't local to one another, so for her to work on the motor I had to remove it from the machine and send it through the post. Quick as a wink she had it back to me -- with a handy diagram and color coded wiring so that even a total numbskull like me could get it back together properly. OK, I may have had one small misstep, but she even walked me through that too -- thanks Jenny! I'd really recommend that if you have an old machine, or think you might want one, that you check out her site -- her blog is a gold mine of information about these classic machines, and she just may have that part or supply that you are looking for.

She may never win a beauty prize, but this ol' gal can sew!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Can Stop Anytime, No Really...

Apparently I wasn't quite done with vintage sewing machines. At least it isn't a heavy cast-iron treadle machine Mr. Mingling Yarn!

Pictured is a Singer model 66 "Lotus" hand crank -- aged 100 years -- not in bad shape for such an old gal -- some cleaning, a little oiling and minor tension adjustments and she cranks out a nice straight stitch. This model was also manufactured at the Kilbowie factory in Clydebank Scotland, just like her little sis Ailsa the model 99 hand crank. Here's a closer look at the vintage lotus decals --

Attractive, yes? The mister recently asked me "So, are you a collector now?" -- and that kind of stopped me in my tracks. I suppose I might be, but really, I prefer to think of myself as a rescuer of a tiny bit of sewing history. Obviously, for me sewing is a fun past time -- I don't have to do it, I don't need to do it -- no one will go naked because I haven't sewn them up some drawers, or hungry because I didn't meet my piece work quota. So here's a snappy salute to the women (and men) who've gone before -- we value your efforts, and we'll continue to value your grand old tools!

Photos to follow of a small wall quilt I'm working on -- it was pieced on the (99) hand crank, and quilting was treadled on the "Red Eye", and just as soon as it's bound I'll be proud to show off my latest "people powered" effort. Go Green!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

And a few more little things...

One of my fiber friends has been on something of a 'pioneer' kick, and her enthusiasm has drawn the rest of us into various endeavors. We've dyed fiber and yarn with natural plant materials, taken a class on simple cheese making, and now -- soap making. Well, if we're going to all the trouble of making our own soap, then I'd like it to be gift worthy. Hence the many facecloths. Hopefully we'll end up with lovely, sudsy soap (and no lye burns!) and can make up little gift baskets -- who knows, maybe I'll even throw in some of last summer's loofah harvest!

One skein of DK weight cotton (forgotten brand, possibly Elann house brand) yielded two crocheted cloths. On the left is a generic pentagon motif from one of my stitch dictionaries, and the pinwheel motif on the right is taken from a design in Doris Chan's new book "Crochet Lace Innovations" (Rosalinda top). (Excellent book, by the way, with several designs you'll see me working on in the coming weeks.) Perhaps it's a little too open for a cloth, but I loved it. In any event, it's for a face, not scrubbing out the oven, so...

Then there's a little fun project, a crocheted button necklace --

Nothing more than some buttons, leftover size 8 perle cotton, and a magnetic clasp.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Little things

'Blue Ocean' scarf -- Stats: Waikiki pattern available free from the web site. Size F crochet hook. Yarn used is Color Changing Cotton (CCC 4) from Wolle's Yarn Creations .

And a dainty little facecloth -- Knit from Rowan Linen Drape (discontinued). Pattern is Petal Dishcloth from Dishcloth Boutique.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What a cutie!

From the bonny banks of Clyde (Kilbowie, Scotland) meet Ailsa -- a Singer 99K hand crank, 3/4 sized sewing machine. This wee lassie was 'born' sometime after August 1, 1927. How she made her way from Scotland to a dealer in Texas to a new home in central Virginia is anyone's guess. She's a smaller version of the Red Eye treadle seen here previously, but powered by hand rather than foot.

Mr. MinglingYarn is probably hoping that this concludes the collecting portion of my current mania -- especially given the state of his lower back -- but you just never know, do you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Poor, neglected Cassidy

In all the excitement of trying out my new treadle sewing machine, I've totally forgotten to post about my finished Cassidy, although I did manage to get it up on Ravelry. So, just in time for it to be put away for the season...

Stats: Knit from Araucania worsted weight wool, purchased ages ago on sale at Elann. Pattern is 'Cassidy' by Chic Knits. No modifications to an excellent pattern, although I probably could have shortened the sleeves just a bit. If I'd finished knitting this one sooner it would have certainly been my "go to" sweater for cozy winter comfort. Love it!

Is it just me, or are we having a particularly nice Spring -- perhaps to make up for Snow-mageddon? Walking outside these days is like being in a ticker tape parade with all the cherry blossoms drifting down from above!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

At long last...

...some crochet!

Stats: free pattern courtesy of Naturally Caron (you'll have to Google -- too lazy to link!) 'Spa' yarn (acrylic/bamboo blend), smallest size. Mods: shortened by a pattern repeat in total length -- shortened sleeves by 4 rows. Another delightful Doris Chan design!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What a workout...

...but I have my first TFO (treadled finished object) -- a napkin!

More to come, but I was so excited to actually get it working that I had to show it off. I'm not sure that the stitching really shows that well in the photo (no close up lens, but you can click for bigger), but I'm really pleased with it. What is actually showing on the top of the napkin is the bobbin stitch -- since I was making a narrow mitered hem I wanted to see what I was doing and had the back side on top. I could have gone with a longer stitch length, and probably will for the rest of them. Unlike modern machines there is no convenient little numbered dial to set that -- you simply turn an unmarked screw one way or the other to change length. That will take a little getting used to! I have a feeling that I didn't get the leather treadle belt tight enough, so that will need looking after, but other than that -- what fun!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Look what followed me home...

...Can I keep it, Ma?

It's a circa 1922 Singer "Red Eye" treadle, not in the most pristine of condition, but I'd like to actually use it, rather than have it be a display piece, so that was OK with me. I've cleaned it up a bit, given it a nice drink of oil, and all that's left is to replace the leather treadle belt and the old girl should be good to go. I've been procrastinating on the belt replacement -- I'm not the most mechanical of people and recently almost set fire to myself while trying to repair a spinning wheel drive band (it was plastic; you need to melt it, yadda, yadda). Fortunately, no fire is involved in a treadle belt replacement, although I have read a hint about piercing the leather strap with an ice pick...

At any rate, I look forward to some 'green' sewing -- I shall laugh in the face of power outages! And who knows, maybe all that treadling will be a nice fitness regime? Heaven knows getting that heavy old cast iron treadle up to the second floor of our house was a real workout -- many thanks to Mr. Mingling Yarn who shouldered the lion's share of that load!

And on a seasonal note --dare we hope?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


...I seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole again. How about a needle review to make up for lost time?

I have previously reviewed the Options Harmony (wooden) interchangeable needles from KnitPicks. To recap: LOVE the sharp points, LOVE the price, like the flexible cable and HATE the fact that the needles pop out of the metal connectors at inopportune moments. Yes, KnitPicks is very good about replacing defective needles, but that is small comfort when you are dealing with a lap full of slippery lace stitches. So, that's not a brand that I would feel comfortable recommending, despite some very attractive features.

My next stop at finding a reliable interchangeable needle was at Webs. Their Valley Yarns brand of needles are made from bamboo (a favorite material of mine) and are available in sizes 3US (3.25mm) to 15US (10mm). Two different cables are available -- thin, for needle sizes 3 - 6, and a thicker cable for all other sizes. They come in 3 lengths, 16, 24 or 32 inches, however for $1US you can buy connectors that allow you to combine cables (of similar diameter) for longer lengths. A set of all needles EXCEPT size 3 is available for $109US -- I purchased my needles/cables individually in a couple of sizes that I use frequently.

Hopefully you can see in this slightly blurry photo (click for bigger) the difference in point sharpness -- KnitPicks Harmony is the top needle, two different sized Valley Yarns needles are below. Can you also make out another nice aspect of the Webs needles? They have their sizes printed on the needle -- no more hunting for a needle gauge! At the very bottom of the photo you can see the part of the KnitPicks needles that gave me such a fit -- the metal connector, from which the wooden needle spews forth. Notice that there is more than one connector there, which represents more than one occasion that I've had a problem with them. Sadly, this doesn't represent every occasion they have failed, only the ones I didn't replace, or re-glue.

So, what's my verdict (and please remember that these are MY opinions, your mileage may vary!)?
Well, first and foremost, the needle tips are blunter than some others you may find in the marketplace. That might be a real deal-breaker for many knitters -- I thought it might be for me, as I really enjoy knitting lacier stitches. However, while using them to knit a lacy shawlette (Haruni) I didn't find the blunt tips to be much of a problem for me. Hmmm, have I been poking holes in my fingers from sharp points all these years for no reason? Be aware of this though, should you decide to try them.
Next the cable -- LOVE, LOVE these! They are clear, and hollow tubes, and they are nicely flexible. NOTE: I only used the thinner cables, as I was using smaller sized needles. The joins seemed nice and smooth (and SECURE) and nothing untwisted or came apart from the metal connectors while in use. Now, granted this was one use, however, my problems with the other brand showed up (in every case) during my first use of the needles. So, on that score I have high hopes for this brand. Fingers crossed!

All in all, I was very pleased with this purchase. Yes, they are blunter than I would like, and that may prove to be a problem for some projects, but I think for most applications (the points) will be just fine. Cables are great, connection seems good, good range of sizes, decent price (although a bit higher than KnitPicks) -- so, well done Webs!

I'll repeat, these are my honest, no affiliation, opinions. Your experience may be different, and I'd love to hear other knitters experiences with these needles, so don't be shy about expressing your opinion if it differs from mine!

And speaking of Haruni --

Stats: Jojoland Melody, slightly over 3 balls.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Lost Weekend

No, not the Ray Milland kind (classic movie reference), but rather hours of knitting time spent on a cardigan front band that turned out to be Just Not Right. My own fault entirely, but painful nonetheless. So, instead of a photo of a completed Chic Knits Cassidy, how about a couple of little knits heretofor unseen?

Basket Whip Cowl, a free pattern from Classic Elite yarns. Knit in Frog Tree Hollow alpaca.

Or how about Chic Knits Mondo Cable Cap? Knit in Mountain Colors Mountain Goat (I 'think' -- the label is long since gone), Ruby River colorway.

There was much more to show, however in a fit of computer housekeeping I seem to have deleted those shots. Why is it I'm never compelled to do actual house housekeeping?