Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

19. April 2011 11:02
by Jobo
0 Comments

Woody Knitters: Hand Crafted Knitting Needles

19. April 2011 11:02 by Jobo | 0 Comments

On my last trip up to Belfast Mini Mills... I saw these fabulous wooden knitting needles!  The company is Woody Knitters, and the needles are handmade here on PEI. 

I had been wanting some smaller (both in diameter and in length) wooden needles, as I have read that they are excellent for lace knitting.  The wood is smooth, but grips the lace thread so nicely.  Also, the needles are so feather light, and very warm in your hands.  I have tried bamboo dpns before, and they were ok... I didn't appreciate the bendy feeling of working with them.  I tried a pair of ebony wood Lantern Moon needles also, but for socks, they just didn't work for me.  I broke 2 of the set before I finished an entire sock.  They looked lovely, but didn't hold up to my rough travel-knitting needs.

For lace however, I am very pleasantly surprised at how much I like the wooden needles!  These are a 3 mm diameter set, made from Ramen Wood, with a bead top.  The wood is silky smooth, finished with Tung oil.  This set is 12 inches long, so just perfect for my build.  (I think maybe short people have short arms too!  The standard 14 inch steel needles I use feel like they are too long for me to be comfortable)

  April 11 2011 014lily of the valley samle with wooden needlesApril 11 2011 010

I've tried a few samples now on these needles, and I find them quite enjoyable to use... and here's why:

- Sharpness: The tips are just the right level of pointy.  For fine lace work with even finer thread yarns, a fairly pointy tip is required for manipulating the stitches properly.  I've done various stitches, including K3tog in Orenburg-style stitches, and Nupp stitches in Estonian style samples. 

- Flexibility:  For lace knitting (where presumably the knitting stays put, in one location from start to finish, unlike socks, that travel in various states of completion for a month in purses and bags for on-location knitting) a little bit of flexibility is okay!  The bendy nature that I hated in sock needles, was not a problem in lace knitting.  Where you are only knitting back and forth, and not in the round with all of it's requisite twisting and manipulation, that slight "give" makes the process less rigid and actually more enjoyable!

- Grip:  Steel needles are tough, they don't break, but they are very slippery.  The smooth finish results in stitches sometimes slipping off.  Have you ever sneezed in the middle of a lace repeat, only to have a half a dozen stitches slip off one or both needles?  Have you ever dropped a stitch in the middle of something complicated and have to try and pick it back up?  Wooden needles, though smooth in their own right, are just that teensy bit Grippier than the steel needles, and seem to result in less stitch-slippage.  The thread moves cleanly along the needles, stitches behaving as they should, but I am finding that I drop fewer stitches, and have less accidental stitch frustration

- Weight:  Compared to the steel needles I had been using... these needles feel like they hardly weigh anything!  I used to find that holding up the heavier needles, at sometimes uncomfortable angles, to try and create more complex stitch patterns - that I would get sore shoulders, or tired arms.  Not so with the wooden ones.  The length might also have something to do with that though...  The size and weight are just more comfortable for some reason.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks... I bet I could snap these toothpicks quite easily, if I wasn't careful.  And also, I'm not sure how durable they will be for many uses.  Only time will tell, but I have really enjoyed them thus far, and have plans to use them for my first Haapsalu Shawl (Beautiful Estonian Lace) as soon as I can get the yarn spun :)

All in all, the best 14 bucks I've spent in a long time!

If you would like more information about this brand of needles, please let me know... I don't think they have a website, but I do have an email address to share if anyone would like to contact the maker!

12. February 2010 10:57
by Jobo
2 Comments

Sock Interlude - a simple pair of socks for a change...

12. February 2010 10:57 by Jobo | 2 Comments

saturn socksWith all of the crazy sock competition insanity going around... it was a very refreshing change to knit a plain pair of socks for a friend.

This pair was based on the most basic straightforward sock design I know.  The parts are all familiar and reliable, and I can work each section without a pattern or too much thought.  I don't even really need to watch my fingers anymore.

- Top Down (cuff to toes design)

- 64 Stitches in a round

- Plain 2x2 ribbing for 2 inches

- Traditional Gusset heal over 32 stitches (half of the total round)

- plain foot, tapered to 12 stitches and then kitchener stitch to finish.

 

The yarn was Regia Galaxy "Saturn" in color 1578, basically a self patterning grey/green/purple yarn.  It didn't exactly knit up in stripes, but almost that way.  From what I gather the yarn is supposed to make stripy swirly patterns that resemble the look of a planet from space.

Initially, I thought maybe the yarn was going to feel itchy and/or traditional style wooly, but it did seem to soften some during the knitting process.  I chose to use this yarn specifically because of it's reputation for being tough.  The ball band even goes so far as to state that the finished socks will be "machine washable up to 40 degrees C, no felting, dryer proof with 10 years Regia-Garantie" so I hope they live up to their promotion.  The finished socks were knit on 2.75 mm DPNs, and the fabric still felt nice and solid.   Even after being carried around in my purse for a week, there was no sign of any fuzzing or pilling (don't laugh, I had a pair I was making from Bernat Sox that were junk and looked like they had been worn for a year BEFORE I was even done knitting them!)  I would definetly use Regia Products again, though I am not always attracted to the types of self striping/patterning yarns that they seem to be coming out with lately.

I wasn't crazy about the pattern that the yarn made... but these socks are for a man, so it does look sufficiently like camouflage style print to still be acceptable (so says my picky husband who thinks socks should be all one color - Blasphemy says I)  I didn't really do any special blocking on these, as you can tell, which doesn't make for great photos, but the recipient tells me they are warm and wooly, just the way he likes them!

21. October 2009 12:58
by Jobo
3 Comments

Neener Neener! Another finished Pair of Socks!

21. October 2009 12:58 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I think I may have found another favorite sock pattern… if that’s possible.  There is just something so curvy and feminine about the way the scallops work up… and they were so simple to work too!  A coworker said that the pattern looked much more complicated than my usual stuff, but honestly, I found these to be very simple and memorizable – and yet so satisfying!

 

 

1.  See that lovely scallop pattern?    2.  Pagewood Farms Yukon Hand Dyed Sock Yarn in ‘Santa Fe’    3.  Look up… wayyyy up to the ankle    4.  Gentle pooling in the stockinette stitch sole, pretty cool

The final verdict on the yarn:  so soo nice to work with!  I will actively search out this yarn again, hopefully soon if I can find a store that sells it locally.  The texture is super soft and smooth, and the bamboo fiber gives the yarn a glowing sheen.  They seem to just shine in the light.  As for color, the yarn did pool a bit in places, but was generally a nice spread out smattering of chocolate throughout the yarn.  Its difficult to know how a given yarn will react in different pattern situations, but It seems that this yarn is generally not a pooling one.

socksondeck

 

closeupheelI particularly enjoyed the heel portion of this pattern.  This was my first Wendy Johnston heel… which is a toe up traditional gusset heel that looks basically like the top-down gusset heel that most people learn to do first when they learn how to knit socks.  I haven’t really had an opportunity to wear these yet to compare the fit to other types of heels.  You can see in the closeup the neat and tidy way that the Kf&b increases look along the arch, and how tidy the slip stitch heel looks along the join to the rest of the arch.  If you haven’t tried this heel yet, I highly recommend it!  I’m not sure if all of her socks follow this format, but the next pair I tried of hers  definetly did.  This heel also resulted in a nice seamless / hole-less make up.  It bugs me the way that some types of heel construction leave little ‘holes’ at the ankle that sometimes need to be darned closed – these were no problem.

 

This sock project was my first entry in the ‘Sock Knitters Anonymous’ Ravelry Group… so Thanks to those lovely ladies for introducing me to Wendy Johnston’s patterns.  I really enjoyed my first Sockdown :)

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