Tag Archives: knitting needles

OK, I’m fickle or picky, maybe both- 5/14/2018

Over the years since I started knitting again in earnest and spinning, I have bought and sold much equipment trying to find the perfect fit for my pleasure.  Everyone eventually finds the equipment that pleases them the most and everyone’s favorite is equally disliked by others, or just indifferent to it.  It would be great if everything could be tried out for a while first, but like with cars, furniture, appliances, etc. sales are the goal.  With spinning, in some areas, you can find a local store or fiber fest that may have several manufacturers and models of wheels, but trying one for a few minutes in a store doesn’t really give you the knowledge you need to fall in love or dislike with it.

I have learned that I don’t like metal knitting needles and crochet hooks.  Most of the metal needles react with my skin chemistry and produce a mild odor that I find unpleasant.  Carbon fiber and wood suit me better.  I only use circular knitting needles and whether they have fixed tips or are interchangeable, the flexibility of the cable is important.  I have tried many brands and have settled on Lykke and Karbonz as my favorites.

With spindles, I have tried wood top whorl, bottom whorl, Turkish, Russian support, and Daelgan (Scottish) style again from many craftsmen.  Some I liked okay, the Turkish I have kept for the longest, though it is usually just used for plying.  Since I started spinning and went to my first fiber festival, I have desired to own a drop spindle crafted by Tom Golding.  A few weeks ago, I ordered one off of Etsy, a large spindle with the whorl looking like a flock of sheep faces with a bright bronze ring.



I liked that it spun for a long time, but found it a tad too heavy for my use and sold it quickly for what it cost.  But I wanted a Golding and went directly to his website and ordered one that is a bit smaller and lighter.  It came today.


The slightly smaller whorl, solid top, and lighter weight appeal to me more and allow me to spin the finer yarn that I like to spin on spindles, plus it came with some delightfully playful fiber to sample. My two spindles are here to stay, the rest have found new homes.

In the decade that I have been spinning, I used only spindles at first, then met a group of spinners and fell into the rabbit hole of spinning wheels.  Like needles and drop spindles, they have pluses and minuses.  My first wheel was a wonky old wheel that had been repaired by a friend who learned to spin on it and sold it to me to learn on.  It was a decent little wheel, but the bobbins were very small and the wheel itself slightly warped.   It went on to a friend to learn on and I bought a travel wheel, actually a large wheel that folded somewhat and fit in a huge backpack.  I liked that wheel for it’s appearance, it fit in well when re-enacting,  but there were some things I wasn’t really thrilled with and it was loaned to the friend who bought the wonky wheel which came back to me when she bought the folding wheel.  I used it long enough to find a used wheel I liked and it was probably one of my favorites, but it didn’t fit in when I was at the historic house and I didn’t want too many wheels, but I bought a 200+ year old wheel to take there and tried to make it a functional wheel.  I got it working with the help of a spinning wheel restorer, but it was hard on my knees and hips and I sold it, sold the non historic wheel, and sold the wonky wheel to a local teen that wanted to learn, and bought another that required me to assemble and finish it.  That wheel goes with me to historic events, but has very small bobbins.  Somewhere along the way, Jim bought me an old Great or Walking Wheel.  That one stays at home because of it size and is still being made totally functional.




And a month or so ago, I tried and fell in love with a tiny little wheel that fits in a large canvas tote, has huge bobbins, and is probably the favorite wheel I have owned.


I am done.  I have my perfect spindles, needles, hooks, and more wheels than I need, but one that fits the historic spinning venues, one that looks awesome in our log home that is fun to play with, and one that travels well and that I just love.  Plus enough fluff and yarn to keep me busy for quite a while.

It is time to be satisfied with the knitting and spinning toys, uh tools that I own and spin and knit on.  IMG_20180420_124357

Olio – July 24, 2015

Olio – a miscellaneous collection of things.

This week has been a bit cooler with nights that invited an open window over the bed and a light cover in the early morning hours. A week of weeding a bit each time a harvest run to the garden is made. During my weeding a grabbed a handful of poison ivy where the corner of the compost bins had been without seeing it.  I thought we had eradicated it. Since I developed a significant allergy to it about a decade ago,  a quick return to the laundry sink to scrub up was in order. I mostly removed the urushiol oil from my hands but I must have brushed my hand against it before and have a small spot of rash on the back of one hand. This morning I took plastic bag with me and using it as a second glove, pulled and bagged it.  I’m sure it will reappear again as some root broke off.

As happens each summer, about the time you can hardly give away another summer squash, the plants begin to die off, one by one. One day the plant looks healthy, the next they are a wilted pile, a sure sign of squash borer. I love summer squash, Mountaingdad doesn’t favor it so much, so their loss doesn’t bother him. There are many quarts frozen and two yellow squash and all 4 Bennings green tints, this one . . .


are still thriving. The bees love the huge yellow squash blossoms and their hum accompanies me with natures song as I wade through the hip high plants to pick the veggies.

I am getting a few cucumbers, not as many as I would hope and every once in a while one escapes notice until it gets so large it is tossed directly to the chickens. They seem to appreciate the fresh veggies too.

Just as my beans are beginning, something has gotten into the garden and nibbled a half a row down to stubs.  I suspect the deer realized the electric fence was off, it is back on now, but there is also a tiny bunny who flees each time I go to the chicken pen and it could easily get through the welded wire fence.  I hope it doesn’t get so fat it can’t get back out of the garden.

A friend gave me a sack of pickling cucumbers in exchange for a sack of summer squash (don’t you love bartering?)  and I made two half gallon jars of lacto fermented dill pickles. They are fermenting on the kitchen counter for a few more days before moving to the root cellar.


They will be so good with sandwiches and diced into meat or egg salads.

With two knitting projects going, I haven’t been spinning this week, so no progress on that front. It wouldn’t take me long to finish the Coopsworth and have it ready to wind into balls to knit.

The sweater sleeve is growing inch by painful inch. I blame the hot weather for not working more on it, when in reality, I hate knitting sleeves. Round and round in endless boring rows having to stop every couple rows to turn the whole sweater body over in my lap a few turns to keep from having a tangled mess.

The sock however is progressing nicely. The leg is done and after taking this photo, I started on the heel flap. Usually I do after thought heels, but this sock fits so nicely (I’ve made them twice before) that I follow the pattern.


I have been playing with this sock as I go. I usually knit socks two at a time using one long circular needle with the Magic Loop technique, but I started this one on two shorter circulars half the stitches on each needle. I tried a few rows on a 9″ circular which was okay too, but I transfered the sock to double point needles to do the heel. In the past , I have felt like I was playing with pick up sticks, the kids game, when using them, but this time, I found the rhythm and I think I may be a convert. Unfortunately I can’t comfortably use metal needles and a size 1 bamboo needle is so thin it looks fragile. Bet I break a few.  Perhaps I should lay in a supply of them.

We ended yesterday with a 2 1/4 mile walk on the Huckleberry Trail.  This is an attempt to get us both back in shape, to improve my strength and try to help Mountaingdad with his balance issues.

Loving life on our mountain farm.