Thursday, September 27, 2007


First off, I just finished a pair of anklets for my daughter from Zarina washable baby wool. It’s very, very soft. The ball band says to use size 4 needles, and my swatch was dead on gauge. The problem, however, was that that size needle led to a super stretchy fabric, which would have made the socks sloppily large. I went down to a size 2 needle, and, due to the stretch, was able to use the same number of cast on stitches for a tidy pair of anklets.

Then, I bit the bullet, so to speak. I’ve been desperately in need of putting my knitting tools in some kind of sane, predictable, adult order. Some time ago, my husband bought me a carpenter’s tool bag for a gift, since I had envied the stay-open top and multiple pockets. I knew I’d need further internal organization for the needles and such because having them flop around inside would not really solve the problem. I already had one fabric needle case for straights, but I didn’t like it – there weren’t nearly enough slots for all my needles, there certainly weren’t enough spaces for my dpns, and I couldn’t see inside of it. Also, being opaque, I was likely to open it upside down and then things would fall out and need to be size-checked and put back in – very often. Highly annoying.

So, I went on an online quest. I searched many, many online knitting suppliers and finally found what I was looking for at Elann. They carry Ashland Sky Knit Stick Sacks, which are made of very heavy duty frosted plastic with durable fabric trim, in a wide variety of styles and sizes. You can look at their wonderful offerings here .
(This is the circular needle sack, into which I just shoved the packs of circs to make sure I had enough space for them all)

I got my Stick Sacks two days ago and was so inspired by their high quality that I started sorting and loading my excessive hoard of knitting needles into them within 24 hours. I would not have believed it possible, because I really do have a LOT of needles, including numerous multiples of some sizes (which comes from buying stuff for a nickel at thrift shops/garage sales, and then spacing out on which ones I have when I go to a real yarn store, and buying more of the same), but I was able to fit every single need I own into the stick stacks. And I can see them without having to unfurl the sack. It’s wonderful!

One of the nicest features about the sacks is that they each have a deep flap which covers well past the exposed part of the needle while it’s in its compartment, so I could just about juggle with them and nothing would fall out. The slightly textured plastic holds them in place pretty well, too. I am extremely pleased with them and recommend them to anyone who has more than one set of needles – they have a “multipack” for fairly new knitters who may have only one or two of each type – single points, dpns, circs, etc. You can locate either an online store or a knit shop near you, which carries their goods at the link above. They also have sacks for crochet supplies.

It was a huge load off my mind to have all my needles in good order for once, and in one location, so I made good use of the carpenter’s bag, which is big enough for my folded up ball winder and swift, too. My worktable is now fairly clear, and I feel much easier about my supplies being protected from marauding children and baby dogs, and I can FIND things now, right away!

So, mind at peace, at least to some extent, I swatched the gorgeous Blue Heron beaded wool. The ball band says to use size 7 needles, so here’s the swatch on 7’s.

It was wonderful to work with – smooth on the fingers, and for a textured yarn, it knits up pretty evenly. Even the back looks nice!

(P.S. -- I am a sucky photographer, but I mean well)

I think I could easily go up at least one more needle size, if I wanted to, without it starting to look scrawny and overly gappy. I’m thinking of making a sweater for myself, especially since I picked up a copy of Big Girl Knits. Nice fitting tips and a couple of nice patterns in there for the fluffier amongst us. While I ponder the delights of a luxury sweater for myself, I’m swatching a pair of anklets for myself from Fleece Artists washable merino sock yarn in autumn tones. Oooh, it feels nice to spoil myself!

Knit on!

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