Showing posts with label clover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clover. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Knitting Needles

People often ask about the needles I use in my videos, so I though I would just do a video about needles in general.   Below are links to several different brands and types of needles you can get.  Needles really are a personal thing, and the only way to know what works best for you is to try them.  I think I have tried just about every type there is, with only a few exceptions. I almost always use, and prefer, addi needles.  

If you are a serious knitter, I do recommend that you purchase a set of interchangeable needles.  Yes, it seems awfully expensive.  However, if you were to add up the cost of buying each needle size, in each length of circular needles, that would be far more than the cost of an interchangeable set.  With the set, you usually get all of the most commonly used needle sizes and cord lengths.  Also, most manufacturers  offer add ons - you can purchase additional cords and/or needle tips to supplement your set.  It really is a wise investment. You can find some fairly affordable sets, so don't think owning an interchangeable set is out of reach. 

If you by needles in Wal-Mart, Joanns, Michaels, etc. you will typically see the same stuff - Boye and Clover, and usually Susan Bates.  There may be a couple of other brands carried as well.  Your local yarn store may or may not also have these brands, and in addition you can find addi needles, rosewood needles, Knitter's Pride, Kollage, Chiao Goo.... it goes on and on.  And of course, you can find pretty much anything online.  (My favorite online stores are in the 'shop' tab at the top, and I also have some listed in my amazon store, which you can find in the right side bar.)

Needles come in many different lengths, some very short and some very long. You can get them in all different materials, such as wood, bamboo, plastic, acrylic and even glass.  You can get the standard round needles, and even square needles.  The square needles are touted as causing less strain on your hands, and create more uniform stitches.  I own a set of square DPNs from Kollage and have to say, they do feel pretty good in my hands.  

Some needles are very polished and smooth, allowing the yarn to slide with ease.  Others have a little bit of grab to them, making the yarn a little more difficult to move.  For new knitters, it can be a bit of a help to have needles with grab, as there is a lesser chance of stitches dropping off the needles.  The good old fashioned aluminum needles have grab, as well as bamboo and wood.  There are some needles out there that are made of those materials that are more polished than others, and so the yarn will slide easier.  If you see a needle that is really shiny, chances of it being nice and smooth are pretty good.  Nickel plated needles, like addi turbos and the Knit Picks Options, are very slick and smooth.  Yarn slides like a dream on these needles.  Depending on the type of yarn you use, and how you hold it, you may find that needles that have that little grab to them still allow the yarn to slide easily.  For instance, I once knit with Lion Brand Homespun on acrylic needles.  It was awful, I had the hardest time moving the yarn on the needles.  

I am not a needle expert, by far, but I have used a lot of different types that are available.  I'll give you some links to peruse.  I will also post a video below, if anyone is interested.  This list is by no means everything out there.  There are many, many more.  I suggest asking at your local yarn store, or if you know someone who knits, to give you a few suggestions.  Knitting boards (such as Knitting Paradise) are also a good place to ask around, and you should be able to get a good idea of pros and cons of different needles.  Again, it is personal choice.  I adore addi needles, but I have seen people posting about their dislike for them.  There is no wrong choice - whatever feels the most comfortable to you is the right needle.  Don't let someone sway you from a cheaper needle, simply because it is cheap.  If you like the cheap needles, then use the cheap needles.  There is no need to spend $32 for a pair of needles if you enjoy knitting with a pair of $5 needles.  The whole point of knitting is for you to enjoy yourself and relax and have fun with fiber.  

A word on needle gauges: Most brands have a needle gauge.  If possible, use the gauge for whatever brand needle you are knitting with.  It is possible that different manufacturers may have needles that vary slightly in sizes; if you use a Lion Brand gauge to check the size of a Boye needle, it may not be exactly accurate.  This is another reason doing a gauge swatch is very important if you are knitting a fitted garment!


Aluminum (available in the standard round needles, or the Artisan needles, which are square)

Susan Bates
Silvalume (Aluminum)
Luxite (Plastic)
Crystalites (Acrylic)
Quicksilver (made from a special heat-treated aluminum alloy)

Takumi Bamboo (also comes in 13-14 inch sizes)

Double Points:

Aluminum (available in both round and the Artisan square)

Susan Bates


Takumi Velvet (highly polished bamboo)

All of the above also have circular needles, made from the same materials.

Interchangeable sets:

addi - you can see all of the interchangeable sets here.  

            Artisan Nickel Plated system

Signature Needles - I am just providing the link to their main page.  They have single, double and circular needles, and you can "build your own" needles.  Choose the length, end cap, and point sharpness of your choice.  Pretty nifty needles, that carry a pretty hefty price tag!  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How to make Pom Poms

These were made with the Clover Pom Pom Maker

If you plan to make a lot of Pom Poms, then you will probably want to invest in some of the hard plastic pom pom makers you find in the craft stores. They are easy to use and come in all different sizes.  I find the instructions that come with Clover's tool a bit lacking, so here is a video.

This pom pom was made using materials you probably have around the house
If you only want to make a pom pom here and there, then it really isn't necessary to purchase a pom pom maker.  All you need to make your own pom pom maker is some cardboard, a pen or pencil, and two circular objects.  One should be a bit smaller than the other.  The size of your circle determines the size of your pom pom.  And you need scissors, of course.

With the larger circle, trace two circles on the cardboard.  Then, place the smaller circle in the middle of the larger one, and trace it.  Cut out each circle using the line of the larger circle.  Then, cut straight up to the line of the smaller circle, and cut that out as well. Finally, all you have to do is place the pieces of cardboard on top of each other, making sure the straight cuts line up.  Wrap your yarn around the forms until they are covered.  The straight cut you made will allow you to easily wrap the yarn around the cardboard.  The more yarn you use, the fluffier your pom pom will be.  When you are done winding, cut the yarn.  You will then need to cut a length of yarn to tie your pom pom together.  But before you can tie it all together, you need to cut it.  Make sure your scissors are sharp, and stick them in between the cardboard and cut all the way around.  Once all of the yarn has been cut, slip the length of yarn between the pieces of cardboard and tie a couple of tight knots.  Remove the cardboard and you have a pom pom !  Trim it up a bit if necessary.  Use the strands you used to tie the pom pom to attach it to hats, scarves or whatever you like.

You could use a plastic lid (from a coffee can, etc.) to make your pom pom forms if you want something a bit more sturdy than cardboard.  

And here is a video on home made pom pom making.