I am always looking for the perfect needles. Well, that's not strictly true. I have the perfect needles, and they're the Signature needles. (At least as far as DPNs go).
But sometimes I get tempted to try something new.
I saw a reference to the new Kollage square needles (pewter rather than bronze coloured, and apparently made in the USA). One knitter on Rav said that the points are sharp enough to rival the SNAs. So of course my curiosity was piqued.
I saw that they had them at The Loopy Ewe. They were out of 2.25 mm needles (which has become my go-to sock knitting size), so I ordered a set of 2.0 mm and a set of 2.50 mm (my second favourite size). They also had some Hiya Hiya sharp DPNs, but were out of the 2.25 mm, so I ordered a set of the 2.0 mm in those ase well.
[Hmm....do I digress on my soap tangent before or after finishing talking about the needles? I should probably be consistent and finish one thought before starting another...]
Well, the new Kollage needles are definitely pointier than the old Kollage needles, but they're still not quite as sharp as the SNAs. And the Hiya Hihas are not bad (the ones in the sock), but they also fall short of the SNA stilettos.
The weather here has been overcast or rainy for the last several days; even at noon it's dark and gloomy and almost impossible to capture decent photos.
After finishing the Wretched Who Scarf, I started the hat for the Lad and worked a couple of rows on my San Mateo. But I wanted to cast on a sock.
So I cast on Jazz Strings by Anne Hanson. I had a wound skein of BMFA STR in Sweet Pea already wound (used and frogged for one of the Tour de Sock failures), so I thought it would probably be a good choice.
I cast on 72 stitches on 2.25 mm needles. After completing the cuff (and adding rows 1-8 after the two 16-row repeats because I thought the leg ribbing flowed better after row 8 than after row 16), I switched to 2.0 mm needles. I started with the Kollage needles, but I gave up after about 6 rows. They feel a little weird. I'd forgotten that. I haven't used square needles in a long time. They just feel insubstantial and in danger of being bendy. So then I switched to the 2.0 mm Hiya Hiyas. That's what's in the sock now. They're smoother than the Kollage, so the knitting is faster, but they're also light and insubstantial feeling. I can't explain why the SNA needles (which are light -- other than the 2.0 mm stainless steel which are heavy) feel more substantial than the Hiya Hiyas and the Kollage, but they do.
Anyway, for now I'm using the Hiya Hiyas. I'm not in love with the knit the way I thought I would be. I think I have a touch of knitting ennui.
You can see the hints of green and pink in the yarn if you look at it. It's less subtle than I thought it would be. To me it just looks a little grubby. We'll see. At least it's light and makes a nice change from dark knitting.
I put the Jazz Strings aside in favour of starting another sock (which I'm about to frog because I just realized I forgot row 6 of the pattern repeat and I'm 4 repeats in. Sigh....), but I might pick it up again.
What I really want is something bright. Maybe I'll start again, now that I have all those needles freed up from my August sock-finishing flurry.
While I was ordering the needles, I ordered two of the 27 soaps in Jasmine Rose. I love both those scents, and I thought a combination would be divine. I really enjoy hand made soaps.
Princess wrinkled her nose in disgust. But she prefers hideous scents which I cannot abide, usually under the label of some celebrity.
It was probably just as well I didn't tell her about the detoxifying rose clay. [Um....WTF would THAT be? Rose is a plant and clay is a mineral. They're two inherently different things.]
Anyway, this stuff looks good enough to eat. In fact, it looks kind of like cheesecake.
Let me pause here to rant about the fact that there are some things about OS 7 which I don't love (or IOS 7 or whatever the stinking new Apple operating system is calleld). Since I upgraded my old phone to the new operating system, it takes so long to take photographs that half of them end up blurry. Case in point.
The instructions say to use this stuff for body and especially face. They also say to remove the rose petals before using. Presumably they have non-desirable exfoliating qualities, and possibly even thorns.
Okay, this stuff contains 5 different kinds of oil, goat's milk, rose petals, "fragrance" (which is presumably the jasmine, since there's no other reference to jasmine on the label), titanium dioxide and "oxide." Um, what KIND of oxide? That's like saying "chemical." What kind? Perhaps it's jasmine oxide and they dropped a word.
I wish I hadn't actually turned this over and looked at it.
Anyway, this stuff will be good in the shower. And if you use it on your face, you get built-in sunscreen...
Onward, I'm starting to get snarky.
I ordered a skein of String Theory Colorworks in the Continuum base from the Loopy Ewe as well. It's in the Oenology colourway, and I really like the two samples I've seen knitted up on Rav. I ordered a skein of Shalimar Breathless fingering in the Tamarillo colourway. Because of the crappy weather only the group shot shows the Shalimar in something close to its accurate colour.
This is the closest I can get for an individual photo, and it's half in shadow. The bottom non-shadow half is kind of close to the actual colourway, but it's softer than how this appears.
I decided this afternoon that I should probably get cracking on the Lad's hat. I had two uneven sized balls of yarn, and the small one was nearly out. So I knitted to the end of it and cut both yarns. Then I weighed the remaining ball and then hand wound a ball which took approximately half of the remaining 45 grams, joined the new yarn and carried on.
Since I wasn't really using a pattern, I wasn't sure how to go about the decreases. The Stephen West Pom Pom It! pattern didn't help, because it says to switch to plain stockinette in a contrasting colour after completing 8.5" of the main colour. I found something (2x2 Ribbed for His Pleasure) which decreased in three spirals, but with 120 stitches, it was going to resemble more of a santa cap if it only decreased 3 stitches per row. So I charted out how I figured the decreases would go.
So that's what I did. And voila! A hat. (Still sans pom pom. I have to get to Michaels to buy a pom pom maker. My own attempts with cardboard circles are woefully pathetic. They look like something Charlie Brown would make).
The Lad wore it out when he and Princess went to get groceries, and he saw one of his friends there. The friend noticed the hat and complimented him on it. The Lad told him I had finished it mere minutes before. Now the friend wants one. The Lad has told me I can't do it for nothing or just for the cost of the yarn. He wants me to charge for it. Whatever. I may or may not do one any time soon. It feels too much like obligation knitting.
Anyway, I think next time I might either bump it up to 4.0 mm needles or add perhaps another 10-16 stitches. It's stretchy but tight. I did ktbl / p ribbing, and with the folded brim it looks odd. I probably should have predicted how much fold up there would be and done those 16 rows (or whatever) in k / ptbl to make them match up when folded. I think in future I should also learn how to do a provisional cast on. I think that would look more professional.
I could probably have knit a few more rows as well before starting the crown decreases. But all in all, for something that was basically sans pattern, I'm pretty pleased with it.
I have come to the conclusion that it is in fact Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Montauk Monster, and I held it double on 3.75 mm needles. That does seem to work out to worsted weight. So that's handy to know. I have no shortage of fingering weight ....
Since I seem to have lost my sock mojo, I might try another hat. I saw one the other day and was absolutely smitten with it. Here's the pattern photo from Rav. It's Voleur by Beth Kling.
Isn't that incredible? It's worked on 2.5 mm and 3.0 mm needles.
Hmm.....Must go investigate.
So that's what's new for this week, folks.
I hope everyone had a great Halloween. The one thing that really irritates me (the ONE thing, really? There's only one?) is people who have poor Halloween etiquette.
In fact, let me do a little Halloween rant here. (Technically it's a Hallowe'en rant, but no one uses the apostrophe anymore, so I'm in a lonely minority and mostly I just don't bother).
What is with the candy greed? Over the years, the size of the containers has gotten larger. When I was a kid I had one of those plastic orange pumpkins with a handle. When it was full, that was it. We were done. I used to be gobsmacked when very tall teenagers would come to the door with pillow cases. This year there were actually kids who came by with black garbage bags. (That's bin liners to you, Roo...) The absolute greed of it appalls me.
But I was similarly appalled by a kid who came to the door with a pretty sizeable bag. And there on the sidewalk was his father, carrying FOUR identical bags which were already full. The father was obviously the kid's candy mule.
I figure once you're in junior high, you're too old to go door to door. So that's when I give out the single crappy candies. I give the cute kids lots of candy.
But the point I was originally getting to is that once the lights are off, it's a pretty clear indication that a) the occupants aren't home, or b) they've run out of candy and have nothing more to give, or c) they don't want to be handing out any more candy and are doing other things like eating dinner or watching tv or knitting.
At 8:00 we turned the lights out and let the dogs out of the knitting room where they had been cooped up for 3 hours. The house was pitch black. I made sure not even to leave the upstairs hall light on.
Around 8:20 the doorbell started ringing. And that always sets the dogs off. They were barking and braying. Quinn went down and opened the door, and there were six trick-or-treaters who appeared to be looking for candy to get them through their university midterms or whatever they should be working on. So Quinn had to run back to the kitchen to get candy from "our" stash to hand out to them.
If I had my way, I would have given them simulated bacon bits and sent them packing.