My Five Deserted-Island Knitting Tools, Part Two

This is Part Two of the list I started discussing on Monday, because one post just wasn't enough to contain all the goodness!

4. Interchangeable needle set

I  can’t claim to have tried many of these – although I think they’re worth it, they are pretty pricey.  And if you have a set that you love, you really don’t need more than one (maybe two; one set with blunter points and one sharper).

I only own the Chiaogoo Red Twist interchangeable needle set, and I really couldn’t be happier with it.  It might not be the best for every knitter: I think when you’re going to be spending $150-$250 on an admittedly very nice set of tools, it pays to think about what you really want, and do some research to find which set would fit your needs the best.  I like knitting with sharper points, and I prefer metal to bamboo. I also looked for needles with a very smooth join between the needle tip and the cable, and one that wouldn’t come undone as I was knitting. I don’t knit a lot of small-circumference projects with circular needles (I prefer DPNs for those), so I looked for longer cables and little connectors to join the cables to make even longer ones.  I wanted a well-designed storage case, with the tip sizes marked on the pockets – and on the needles themselves, come to think of it, to make it easy to identify them without having to measure. And extras like stitch markers are always nice, of course, but not essential.

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And that’s how I came to decide on the Chiaogoo.  I read reviews like the ones at Knitter’s Review, and looked at comparisons between the different sets on the market, and based on my list of wants (and my budget too, obviously) the Chiaogoo was the choice I made.  I am really happy with the set, as it fulfills all my specifications. They’re my go-to needles now, because they’re so nice to use, and I have nearly every cable in the set taken up in a project.

Although it’s easy to think that you could have a project for every set of needle tips in the set, that’s not true; you’re limited by the number of cables.  You can always buy more cables, of course, especially if you find yourself using certain lengths more frequently than others, but it might be better to limit yourself in terms of your ongoing projects anyway.  Or so the theory goes...

5. Cable needle

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You don't need an expensive one -- even a plastic set is fine, really.  Even in a project with a lot of cabling, the needle doesn't really get used as a needle very much.  It's mostly a holder, to be honest, and so the quality doesn't matter so much. I'd get a set of three, so I can best match the size of the cable needle to the size of the stitches.  There's really nothing worse than slipping a bunch of stitches onto a too-small cable needle, and having them fall off the needle and unravel quickly because they're under tension, and then you have to rip back because you're not good enough at reading cables to fix them...hypothetically speaking, of course ;)  I have tried cabling without a cable needle and maybe I'm just not that good at it, because I always end up losing stitches. I prefer to do my cables with a needle, because it saves me time and aggravation in the long run.

I've tried both the U-shaped cables needles (left above) and the flying-bird-shaped ones (right above) and they're both fine.  Nearly anything would do in a pinch, like a spare DPN, a bobby pin, a pencil...the possibilities are endless, assuming you have an endless supply of long skinny pointy things at hand.

My Five Deserted-Island Knitting Tools, Part One

Over the years, I've bought so many knitting tools, and these are the ones I reach for over and over and over again.

There are some really obvious ones I won't include in this list -- anything that's so essential to the craft it couldn't be done without it, like knitting needles and some kind of string.  Beyond that, I'd say well-designed and dependable knitting tools are maybe not essential, but so nice to have. I do get really rapturous when I talk about good tools; do you?

1. Stitch markers

There are so many kinds of stitch markers, and everyone has their favourites.  I've tried all different ones: dangly, metal, plastic, homemade, you name it. Lately the ones I love best are plastic rings, because they're smooth, don't snag, are cheap, and come in a million colours, and dangly snag-free ones made from beading supplies.

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I usually use one dangly one to denote the beginning of a round, if I'm knitting circularly, and use smooth plastic or metal rings to mark places where shaping will occur.

I also occasionally use locking stitch markers too, and the single way I use them most is to mark off divisions along an edge where I need to pick up stitches.  Say, for example, I need to pick up and knit 80 stitches for a collar. I'll use the locking stitch markers to divide the neck opening into eight sections, and then I know I only have to pick up and knit 10 stitches in each section.  I usually end up with a really nice pick-up edge, with the stitches evenly divided, and the correct ratio of pickup stitches. As well, I never have to redo the pick-up, because I can correct any spacing mistakes as I go and not have them all pile up at the end.

2. Clover bent tapestry needles

 I have all kinds of tapestry needles, but the gold bent-tip ones are my favourite

I have all kinds of tapestry needles, but the gold bent-tip ones are my favourite

I've got so many tapestry needles, but this is the one I always reach for.  It's not sharp, so it's perfect for hiding ends without piercing the work (if that's what you want to do), duplicate stitching, and grafting. Not only it is blunt, but it's somehow exactly the right bluntness so that you can get it wherever you need it, and it doesn't go where you don't want it to.  The eyes are huge and easy to thread; the shaft is smooth and never catches your work; the bent tip is excellent for lifting and poking exactly where you want. They come in a set of two (though I hope you never lose one) in their own perfect carrying case. Best ever!

 

3. Clover locking row counter

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Again, I've got tons of row counters, because I always have so many projects going at once and use a counter with nearly every project.  However, this is my all-time favourite ones: they lock so you don't get any accidental clicks when you carry the project around (or when your three-year-old decides to get click-happy with your counter), they're durable, and they click very satisfyingly.  I don't use this, but they do also have a place to attach a string, should you want to keep yours around your neck.

That's my first three; I'll tell you all about the last two on my list on Wednesday.  See you then :)

The Heart of a Stasher

Nearly everyone stashes yarn -- it certainly takes a lot of self-control to only buy when you're ready to start a project, to finish that project before you buy any more yarn, and to pass up a deal.  More self-control than I've ever had, anyway, and more than most, if the stories in A Stash of One's Own (edited by Clara Parkes) are anything to go by. 

 Could this actually be the world's biggest yarn stash?    Image by Mochimochi Land

Could this actually be the world's biggest yarn stash? 

Image by Mochimochi Land

But we can stash other things, like knitting patterns, which Shannon Reed writes about at Slate.  I don't stash patterns exactly the way she does, but I can definitely relate to the feeling of collecting way, way more patterns than I will ever be able to knit.  I buy knitting magazines because I am worried they'll go out of print before I can get to the patterns in them.  Never mind that the garments are more likely to go out of style before I'll have the time and/or inclination to knit them!  And digital patterns -- forget about it!  I've got a hard drive full.  Even though they don't take up much physical space, there is a lot of digital clutter there, as they're not organized and not easy to search. 

Reed has a pretty forgiving view of her pattern-stashing habit:

Looking through knitting patterns asks the least of all: to daydream of a world in which I have time to knot string enough to cover everyone I know and love.

I think I need to take a harder line with mine.  At heart, I'm just a big stasher -- a hoarder, really.  I'm always saving stuff just in case.  But lately, I'm just not ok with storing a whole bunch of stuff "just in case" I might have time to knit it one day -- it really just comes down to prioritizing what I make space for, whether that space is physical or digital (or mental, for that matter).  I think I need to cut down on the pattern-collecting, and I also need to better organize what I have. 

Maybe a Dropbox or Google account would help with the digital side of things, and Jen over at Grainline Studio has a post of how she does that with her sewing patterns.  Evernote is another good option (read how one knitter does it).  And for the physical patterns, I have hanging files and binders for the loose patterns, magazine files for the magazines, and most everything is documented in my Ravelry library so I have a crude way of identifying which patterns I own in a printed format.  Ideally, I'd have everything in one place, like everything digital (which seems more logical), but that might mean more work in either scanning the printed patterns I have or buying digital versions.

How big is your pattern stash, and how do you organize it?

Year of Twelve Sweaters Update

The knitting continues, slowly.  For the last month or so, I've  had a lot of stiffness in my shoulders and neck -- enough to give me headaches, and enough that, whenever I picked up the needles, my left trapezius would start to throb and I'd have to stop.  So no more marathon knitting sessions, sadly, and that's put me way, way behind on my goal of finishing twelve sweaters this  year. 

There are two sweaters I can finish without much knitting, so I'm going to put the gears on with those while I deal with my sore muscles.  Stretching my neck and shoulder muscles every day, twice a day or more, has helped.  I kind of made up my own sequence of stretches based on targeting the muscles that are the most painful for me, and this yoga lady helped a ton.  I kind of adapt the stretches based on how much time I have and/or where I am.  While the pain is slowly receding, I'm still not able to knit the way I could before, which makes me so sad. 

  Image from  Evolved Pilates

Image from Evolved Pilates

So this is a cautionary tale, really -- take care of yourself and do preventative exercises for your hands, wrists, shoulders, neck, and other postural muscles, because otherwise you end up having to give up knitting temporarily.  Take a break from knitting every half hour or so if you don't already, and give your poor, hardworking muscles a rest.  And when you do knit, watch your body position and posture, like this physical therapist recommends.  There are some other good stretches for knitters, with clear pictures and a video, here

Since I've been sidelined due to what I think of as an occupational injury, and since my project deadline was arbitrary and self-imposed, I'm going to give myself an extra month to finish.  I've got enough sweaters in progress that I think I can make it, and this is kind of my gift to my neck and shoulders.   I'll get to work on sewing on buttons and snaps, and installing my first zipper, and that will put two more sweaters (Montview and Killybegs) under my belt by the end of the year.  I have three more that will require actual knitting (my Schnee, my Alafoss, and my Lizzie sweaters) but it's all straightforward and I think I can do that in January.

Meanwhile, I've decided on my year-long project for 2018.  Even though I won't make my deadline for this year's project, I found it really focused and motivated me to get things done, knitting-wise.  So I'm going to take on a new project for next year, which I'll announce toward the end of the month.  Happy knitting, everyone :)

Knitting Sleeves on Top-Down Sweaters

How was your Halloween?  It was a snowy one here:

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Apparently this isn't unusual for Edmonton, according to my MIL, but I don't remember a snowy Halloween since I moved here (in 2004).

I'm in the midst of two top-down sweaters, and while I always enjoy doing the body knitting, I really, really, really dread the sleeves.  You're knitting a small circumference in the round, which means DPNs, and the multiple points of the DPNs are constantly getting caught in the body of the sweater.  The sweater yoke and body is heavy, and keeps pulling on the sleeves, which is also a nuisance.  And, probably the thing I hate the most, knitting in the round means the body is constantly twisting and needs to be untwisted, so every couple of rounds you have to lift this terrible heavy thing and let it untwist.

First-world problems, I know, and luckily Karen Templer at Fringe Association has a few good ideas.  First, knitting the sleeves before you've done most of the body.  And, come to think of it, there's no real drawback to doing this.  You are probably already confident the yoke part fits anyway, and if it doesn't, it's as much work to frog the body as it is to frog the sleeves.  And her second is to knit the sleeves flat.  This way, you're not turning the sweater around and around, having to untwist it.  The only "drawback" is a seam to sew at the end, but it could be worth it because the knitting of the sleeves themselves won't be so awkward.  It's a bit too late for me to try these ideas on my True Friend sweater, as I'm on the cuff of the first sleeve, but I'm going to give knitting flat a go with my Schnee sweater (I'm about to cast off for the body). 

Tip: Holding Pattern

 

I knit socks on DPNs, one at a time, like they did in the olden days.  I don't usually suffer from second-sock syndrome, but it is sometimes a loooong time (months, say) between finishing the first sock and finishing the second.  And so I keep good notes on shaping at the toe and the heel, and on any patterning, but often my bind-off edges don't match.  I use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, which works beautifully, but somehow my tension is often not the same between the two socks, or I manage to wrap the yarn differently -- in any case, the bind-off edges don't always match between the two socks.

So I started putting the first sock on scrap yarn when I get to the part when it's time to bind off, and then I cut more than enough of a tail to finish the bind-off edge and weave in.  Then, when the second sock gets to the same point, I do the bind-off, then immediately repeat the same process on the first sock that I finished.  That way, I get matching cuff edges!

 You can see the scrap yarn (in dark blue) holding live stitches, and the long end I left for binding off

You can see the scrap yarn (in dark blue) holding live stitches, and the long end I left for binding off

Project Bags Galore

Are you a project bag person?  I have about a million (give or take one or two -- it's hard to keep track).  Each project gets its own bag, and I usually put in the pattern, the WIP, any spare balls, and tools or accessories.  

I have sourced project bags from a myriad of sources.  Most I've made myself; they're just drawstring bags or zippered bags, sometimes with pockets inside, sometimes not.  I've recruited cosmetics bags to the cause, and also random nice tote bags.  I did notice recently, though, with all the sweaters that I've been knitting, that I don't have a lot of sweater-project-sized bags.  Most of mine are the right size for a pair of socks, or a hat or mitts, but when I get up to 5 or 6 balls of yarn, I'm mostly in tote bag territory. Not that there's anything wrong with tote bags, exactly, but I worry because most of them don't close at the top, and so it's easy to lose stuff.  Okay around the house, not so good for travelling.  And if I'm at home, I prefer a basket or bin for a large project, anyway. 

So when I looked online for large project bags, and found pretty limited options, I set out to make my own.  I have so much fabric and actually, a project like this doesn't take much (about a half-metre each of two fabrics, one for the outside and one for the lining).  It doesn't take much time, either -- each of the bags took me about an hour and a half.  I went for drawstring style over zippers because I'm always afraid of the yarn getting caught in the zipper, and because I just upsized my usual drawstring pattern, eyeballing a lot, so that was pretty quick. 

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Ta-da!  I'm very happy with the results, even though I have already had to wash the zebra one (I spilled coffee on it this morning!).  This shows how big they are, next to a couple of sock-sized project bags:

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And you can see a bit of the matching-ish linings here.  Each one fits a full sweater in progress, which is perfect.  I'm a big fan of the soft drawstring bags, since I'm usually stuffing a project (or more!) inside a purse or backpack.

In other news, we've had such strange light in the past couple of days (and for most of the summer, actually).  When the winds are just right we get smoke blowing over from the forest fires in British Columbia, and it makes the sunlight look very pink. 

Sweater Ten, Installment Two: Schnee

I made some progress on this last week, while on the road to Jasper and to Mount Robson.  I've finished all the shoulder shaping (lovely short rows!).  It's a seamless top-down sweater:  you cast on stitches and knit the back to the bottom of the armholes, then pick up stitches for each of the fronts and knit each of those down to the bottom of the armholes, and then you join everything together on the longest and strongest circular that you have, shape the armpits, and continue to knit the body down to the bottom hem. 

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That's where I'm at now; in the endless moss stitch of the body.  The sweater is getting pretty heavy, though having it on a circular helps -- I can't imagine doing a sweater like this on straights!  Wool isn't even a particularly heavy fibre, but altogether I've put, I think, 2.5 balls into it so it feels pretty heavy.  And, though it may not look so in the pictures, the semi-solidness of the yarn is becoming more apparent the more I knit, which is nice.  

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In the picture above, I tried an easy way to keep track of the decreases at the armpit; I took out one locking marker per pair of decreases, and then attached that marker to the decrease as I did it.  That way, I couldn't forget how many I'd done and how many I had left to do, and it would be really obvious if I forgot a decrease.  I've seen this tip other places but haven't tried it until now, though I think I will continue to use it.  This would be super handy for any shaping, like for a sleeve, or armhole, or waist shaping, or even on a hat.  I recently bought these Clover locking stitch markers http://www.clover-usa.com/en/knitting-and-crochet/140-locking-stitch-marker.html  and I love them; they're sharp-tipped and smooth, and, as with all Clover tools, really nice to use.  You don't even need anything fancy to do this, though.  Safety pins would work, though I'd be careful with the coiled kind.  Even a paperclip would work, if you're careful. 

Sweater Two, Installment Four: Montview

So close to the finish on this one!  Seaming is done, weaving in is done, sweater is blocked, buttons and snaps are purchased.

I had actually never seamed reverse stockinette stitch before this sweater.  I was reading a book of Deborah Newton's and she said that as seaming reverse stockinette often produces an unattractive "gutter" at the seam, she will do a stitch or two in stockinette at the edge, in order to have neater seams.  I did only read this after I'd finished all the knitting for Montview, but am keeping it in mind for my next non-stockinette sweater.

Since I didn't do any stockinette edge stitches, I had to seam reverse stockinette.  I found some excellent tips from Twist Collective (article in PDF format here) and in Arenda Holladay's article here.  The latter article instructs you to seam every row (unlike when you're mattress-stitching stockinette stitch and can seam two rows at a time), so that all the rows align correctly, while the Twist Collective article says to seam two rows at a time.  I ended up cheating a little bit, especially when easing the sleeves into the armholes (where the rows don't line up exactly because of the curves), but it looks good, overall.  Nothing anyone would notice anyway, wink wink. 

Weaving in the ends was pretty straightforward but it was strange sensation to be weaving ends into stockinette (as reverse stockinette is the public side of this sweater's fabric).  I always felt like I was wrongly weaving ends into the "right" side of the sweater, funnily enough.

I then wet-blocked.  The yarn I used on the collar was unwound from another sweater, and as I failed to wash it before knitting, it was pretty kinky and the knit fabric rumply.  So I wet-blocked by soaking (in warm water and wool wash), rolling between two towels to press out all the water, and then drying it on foam mats for, like, a week.  I'm not even joking; it took that many days to dry completely and my craft room smelled like a wet sheep for that long.  I think I have to change up my blocking method a bit, maybe press out a water a second time, with a dry towel, or maybe try steam-blocking.  I do like how crisply it dries with wet-blocking, though, and it's so easy to reshape when it's wet.

I do have to put in a set of snaps, and then a set of non-functional.  I think I'll do the snaps first, then the buttons over the snaps.  If you can believe it, I put buttons on my first couple of finished baby sweaters (lo these many years ago) with the yarn I knitted with.  I laugh now at how naive I was, struggling to pull thick yarn through the tiny holes of buttons!  I use sewing thread now, tying off with as many knots as I can manage, and the sewing goes much more smoothly.  I can't say I always do the neatest job, but the sewing is usually concealed under the button anyway.

Bewitching Stitch

I spotted this dishcloth pattern (free, by the way) and was mesmerized by the stitch.  I don't have a lot of use for knitted dishcloths (no knock on that, I know some people really like them) but I could imagine this stitch made into a stole or shawl or cowl.

I love how I've been knitting forever but I still see stuff that piques my curiosity and makes me think about how it was constructed.  The possibilities with knitting are so endless! 

The Case of the Biasing Swatch

I thought I was all set!  I decided I wanted an oversized wool cardigan, and after browsing through Ravelry I settled on Schnee.  I bought the pattern and then started looking for wool, finally deciding on Sweet Georgia DK.  It's superwash, semi-solid, and comes in quite a few colourways.   What took me so long was picking a colour I don't really have in wardrobe but that I would wear often (in that it would go with most of the clothes I already own).  I am usually really attracted to turquoise and grey, so I already have a few sweaters in those colours.  I chose the Black Plum colourway, which I feel will go with all the grey and turquoise in my closet. 

When the yarn arrived from Urban Yarns (I had an order big enough to get free shipping, and they managed to squish an impressive amount of yarn into a plastic envelope), I started swatching right away.  That was probably a month ago, and I'm still swatching.  Granted, I've been working on other projects since then, but still...

So this is what happened.  The sweater is knit in moss stitch, so I decided to use that for my gauge swatch.  I started with 42 stitches across, all knit in moss stitch, and partway through I could see the swatch was biasing: the left edge was leaning conspicuously.  Never mind, I thought, it will all come out in the blocking, and I kept knitting.  When I bound off and the swatch was off the needles, it wasn't square -- in fact, it was distinctly trapezoidal. 

I wasn't sure whether the leaning, called biasing, was due to the yarn or to my knitting style, so because the edges were so distorted, and because I remembered Deborah Newton mentioning in one of her books that she usually does two stitches in stockinette at the edges (to make seaming easier, but in this case I thought it might also stabilize the knitted fabric), I tried another swatch in moss stitch, this time with two stitches at each of the left and right edges in stockinette.  As you can see below, it was still biasing -- less, than the first swatch, but still biasing!  I did a bit of Googling (Margaret Radcliffe has some good tips here) and found out that if your stitch pattern is balanced (i.e. made of knits and purls, like moss stitch is), and your knitted fabric is still biasing, it could be due either to the way you knit or to the yarn being unbalanced.  However, unbalanced twist in yarns is far, far more common with single-ply yarns, and since Sweet Georgia DK is a two-ply, I didn't think unbalanced twist in the yarn was the problem.  However, to make sure of this, I embarked on my third swatch: a plain stockinette swatch. 

The stockinette swatch, not surprisingly, turned out just fine and square, and so I had to conclude that it was my knitting habits that were causing the biasing.  Amy Herzog's blog post was instrumental in starting me down this avenue of thought.  Thus, I began a fourth swatch, in moss stitch, with two stitches in stockinette at the two side edges, and this time, I formed my stitches in a more consistent way. 

Miraculously (or maybe not, it's really just physics!), the fourth swatch came out square and neat, and right on-gauge.  All that time, it was the way I was knitting.

The swatch saga is complete!  This seems like such a cumbersome process, but I am discovering more and more that it's the work you put in before and after the actual knitting of the sweater that makes the biggest difference to the finished product.  It's a lot of work to knit so many swatches (and I think I'll have to frog them to have enough yarn to finish the sweater), but it's still less working than reknitting the sweater pieces.

FLK Sock

Progressing...I'm still on the leg part of the first sock.  The reason I'm posting is because I was a lot further along, but I realized I had dropped a stitch three inches back.  There was a little ladder for a couple of rows, so I tried to pick up the dropped stitch.  Then, when when I got back to the place where I had dropped it, I tried picking up the rows with a crochet hook, but the knitting got too tight to mask an extra stitch.  It was pulling and looked pretty obvious.

FLKSock2.jpg

So I ended up ripping back to where I had originally dropped the stitch, and thank goodness it was just stockinette -- it makes me cry inside when I have to rip back in a pattern stitch, especially a difficult one like lace or cabling, especially one that requires a chart, especially in fine-gauge yarn. 

Has this ever happened to you?  I think it's important to share knitting fails -- well, let's call them learning opportunities -- as much as successes, because we get better by making mistakes and figuring out how to fix them.

On Stashing

One morning, I had some glorious travel time to myself, so I took the opportunity to listen to an episode of the knit.fm podcast, hosted by Hannah Fettig.  This podcast is currently on hiatus, but the material in the old episodes, because it's geared toward educating knitters, is still (always?) relevant. 

The episode I listened to was about stashing, and Hannah's guest was her husband.  As they chatted about their respective stashes, they said a few things that got me thinking about my stash and my stashing habits.

First, Hannah talked about how much of her emotional life she found was tied up in her stash.  Since, for most knitters, every purchase is made with the idea of knitting something for a loved one, everything that we stash means something to us, and so it can be hard to let go of the yarn, even when we know it will never get knit and never get worn.  I had never really thought about this before, but I do believe it's true.  Knitted items aren't just pretty things for me now; I knit socks and sweaters for my husband and daughter so that they will be warm and feel loved, and so that they have high-quality items that will last them years (or at least until they outgrow them!).  That's part of why it's hard to get rid of things from my stash; even when I know I will never have the time to use the yarn, or when I know the yarn just won't suit the intended wearer, it's difficult to say no and let it go to a better home. 

Next, both Hannah and her husband talked about shopping for materials and stashing as a proxy for doing, and when I look at my behaviour, it's completely true: spending time buying yarn and knitting tools feels like I'm doing something productive, but even after spending a whole bunch of time shopping I haven't accomplished anything at all.  Realizing this, I resolve to think more about whether I will really use yarns before I buy them, and to spend more time actually doing the craft that I love, rather than shopping for materials. 

I think the most important thing now, for me, is to not be so impulsive in my shopping habits.  It's not that I can't buy yarn, but I should think about what I want to make, and whether I will enjoy making it and enjoy the finished product, and I should also consider whether I really have the time to do a project.  I'm feel more and more acutely, especially after having a child, that choosing to do one thing (I've been knitting a lot more since I started this blog) means choosing not to do something else (I spend a lot less time sewing and reading now), and because time is limited, I have to be aware of this and be picky about how I choose to spend my leisure time.

I've looked at some stash storage ideas before, but here's another inspiring one.  The one on the left is so inviting!  And it would be a great place to listen to more episodes of the knit.fm podcast. 

Photos from Knits for Life

Washi Tape to the Rescue!

I borrowed this book from the library, and as soon as I saw Floe, I couldn't wait to get started on it.  The construction is so interesting:  you knit the lace border in one colour, using short rows to gradually cast on stitches that will allow you to integrate the border with the body (in a second colour) as you knit it.  I've done mostly top-down triangular shawls, so I was really excited to try this new (to me, at least) way of knitting a shawl.

I prefer to knit lace from charts, but this book does include both the chart and the written row-by-row instructions for the lace border.  I'm not sure if I've seen this feature in other books with lace projects, but maybe it's becoming more common?  Good to have, in any case, because each method has its proponents.  I usually photocopy at least the chart, if not the whole pattern, and then put it in one of those plastic documents sleeves (to keep the coffee stains off it!).  Then I use one of my wide sticky notes on top of the plastic to keep track of which row I'm on.

Over the Easter weekend we went away, and so I packed up this project, and of course the sticky note became way less sticky from getting jammed in my backpack and carried around, so this morning I was looking for something else I could use to keep track of the rows.  Enter....washi tape!  Is there anything washi tape can't do?  You can see my bright green stuff above:  I stuck it to the top of the sticky note, so that it would be easy to lift off the washi tape and transfer it, and off I went.  So far, the tape is still sticky, but peels off easily and doesn't leave any residue behind -- all ideal qualities!  I also love that it's portable (i.e. it's light and it won't fall off).  Washi tape for the win, guys!  It should really be the first thing I go to from now on.

If you knit lace from charts, how do you keep track of which row you're on?