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See you tomorrow

Hi All

Just a heads up to those who only stop by at the weekend to let you know that there will be a new exciting blog post right here tomorrow.

 

I’ve missed you all lots and am bursting with new projects and ideas to share with you.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you tomorrow

Billie :)

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A Time To Heal

Welcome Back

Regular readers will know that I have problems with RSI. Back in May my foolish attempt at crochet really set off the RSI in both hands in a big way!  I’ve had little use of my hands since. Anything needing  fine motor skills like writing, typing and holding things is causing a lot of pain. I’ve learned repeatedly over the years that battling on in such situations is not a good plan and only means that recovery will take even longer.

As a result of this I need to take some time to heal and recover. I’ll post when I can and once things settle down and I get my dexterity back then I can get back to art and paper craft which I’ve not been able to do for quite some time now.

In the mean time, calendar pages will continue and do check out the tabs at the top of the blog which are full of fabulous blogs, retailers and tutorials by myself and others.

Wish me a speedy recovery and I’ll see you soon

Billie

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Knit Picks: Options; Sunstruck Wood. Interchangeable circular knitting needles

Knit Picks: Sunstruck; Options. Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

Knit Picks: Sunstruck; Options. Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Knit Picks: Options; Sunstruck wood
  • Item number: 90613
  • RRP at time of writing: $84.99

Contents

  • Needles: These are the sizes in US measurements and mm rather than the old UK sizing but there are lots of charts that will convert the numbers for you ;)
  • UK: 3.50, 3.75, 4.00, 5.00, 5.50, 6.00, 6.50, 8.00
  • US: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11
  • Cables: 2 each of the following sizes; 24″ (60 cm), 32″ (80 cm)
  • End Caps: 8.
  • Cable keys: 2

The case they come in can be used to store the needles and has a separate pocket style case, for the cables and end caps. This smaller case will easily fit inside the main one and there are plenty of extra pockets in the walls of the case, to add extra needles as you collect them over time.

Knit Picks: Sunstruck; Options. Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

Knit Picks: Sunstruck; Options. Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

Reason For Buying

I find metal needles too cold and because of RSI issues this makes my hands lock up. Plastic needles gave too much drag with the yarn, so the search began for wooden needles. I have enjoyed knitting with light coloured birch wood needles (straight ones) in the past  but REALLY wanted to get an interchangeable set of cirular needles.

Circulars were a good plan because the weight of the project is in your lap, rather than on the needles but all the ones available in the UK were bright swirling colours (Harmonies/Symfonies depending on the branding). These too were unsuitable because of vision issues, which makes bright colours strobe like optical illusions.

I continued my search and found these Options in Sunstruck wood, on the Knit Picks website and fell in love with them.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Birch wood
  • Light coloured, no more optical illusions from multi-coloured laminates
  • Smooth finish to wood and metal joints
  • The metal connectors between needle and cable are super smooth and because they are in constant contact with your hand, warm up and have given me none of the chilling factor that I get from metal needles.
  • Versatility. Wide range of sizes to cover many yarn types. You can also get cable connectors seperatly that will join more than one cable to another, to add even more length options, if you need to.
  • End caps, so you can take the needles off when you travel or to store a project.
  • The needles are small in size which makes them easy to store.
  • Very light and comfortable to use

Cons

At the time of writing I have found no suppliers or importers are bringing them into the UK :(  Knit Picks only deliver to USA and Canada. It was only because someone I knew was going on a trip to the USA that I was able to get these. {You know who you are and that I am eternally grateful}.

Build Quality

Fantastic. The needles are superbly finished, totally smooth wood. They feel silky in the hand without having a high gloss finish that could be distracting. To describe the colouring, I’d call them standard birch colour with visible but not raised ginger in the grain.

Value for Money

Excellent. If you are lucky and live in the places they are delivered to, you have the option of buying individual needles so you can try them out to see if you like them before you get the whole set. That option also means that should you suffer any breakages you could get extra ones. I love the full set as all the sizes are so useful, now I can choose whatever yarn I fancy rather than having to remember which needles I have and only buy yarn that I could use with those.

Would I buy it Again?

YES YES YES. I desperately want to get another set as I’ve got on so well with these. I haven’t got the hang of magic loop and prefer to use the two circulars method for smaller projects.

Summing up

I know I was in love with my Brittany needles and if you want a comparison for coloring and smoothness these would be very similar. I ADORE these Options in the Sunstruck wood, because of the type of dyslexia that I have the highly coloured woods of Symfonies/Harmonies were never going to work for me. Also because there is such low light here in the winter or if you knit in the evening, the lighter coloured wood is so much easier to see to knit with.

Each needles is 4.5″ in length and the sizing listed on the cable is the final length with the needles attached to the cable.

These needles have been pure joy to knit with, so far I have used them with acrylic yarn and half acrylic / half wool both of which have been wonderful with no negatives. Fantastic with cotton which is another favorite  material.

An important point also, is that although they are intended for circular knitting because of the cable styles, there is no reason why you can’t do regular straight knitting on them. Instead of joining the work in the round, when you get to the end of the row, pass the needle to the other hand just as you would with straight pins and continue knitting. If you wanted to, because you have two of each of the cables you could attach one cable to the needle and add a cap to the other end of the cable if you still want to preserve totally separate needles for each hand.

Knit Picks: Options Sunstruck Wood.

Knit Picks: Options Sunstruck Wood. Needle attached to cable & end-cap

Links

Please, please Knit Picks send these to UK importers. UK importers of Knit Picks, please bring these to the UK – they are amazing. I ain’t too proud to beg ;)

Horray! Found a supplier that will ship to the UK. Check out Happy Knits from Portland OR

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

PS: Another option for lighter coloured needles that are available as fixed circulars are Knit Pro Basix. These are also pale in colour but so far they have only been available as fixed length circulars not interchangeable needles.

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Welcome Back

The Virtual Crafting Challenge theme for October 2012 is:

Season’s

Great I hear you say, but now what? Well for those of you who would like a few ideas to get you started, here are some  colours, products and techniques to help you choose, where you could go with this month’s theme. Feel free to use your own ideas for the Season’s theme.

Colours

Here in the UK we just arrived at autumn, so a warm colour palette of earth tones for us

  • Reds
  • Greens
  • Yellows
  • Browns

Of course if you live outside the UK you are likely to have a different colour palette to match your own current season, choose from that for your project this month.

Techniques & Styles

Lets go off the wall a bit this month, how about trying a different craft for the first time. Here’s a few to get your ideas going

  • Art be that painting/drawing or paper crafts
  • Jewellery making
  • Knitting. There are some fabulous yarns around in all the colours you can imagine
  • Holiday projects. There are plenty of holidays coming up, where ever you are in the world jump in early and save yourself some stress.
  • Baking. (My cooking is awful but I bet yours is great) How about baking up your favorite supper/pudding with seasonal products.

The most important thing about this challenge is that you have fun and explore. Don’t feel pressured to have a finished item at the end of the month. Explore different styles and techniques either in person, if you have the supplies, or through research, looking online.

You learn so much more when you take away the rules and just PLAY. Adapt this challenge to a creative style that interests you. Enjoy :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

This month on Create & Craft they have been talking about Get Britain Crafting, a new campaign to encourage people to try new crafts for the first time, or get back into crafts after a break. Inspired I began a shawl, but this has proved a bit of a big project. So I also began knitting some slippers. (They are the same height honest! It’s the way I stuffed them for the pic that makes them look uneven, DOH).

Winter slipper boots

Winter slipper boots

Regular readers will remember the slippers I knitted recently that I’d enjoyed so much. The pattern is on Ravelry by Yuko Nakamura called Non Felted Slippers.

Cozy Knitted Slippers

Cozy Knitted Slippers

Now its turned cold and my ankles were feeling chilly so I tried the pattern again and freestyled at the end. I added some 2×2 rib (knit 2, pearl 2) to the top of the pattern. This has worked brilliantly, they look good with 5, 10, 15 rows of that rib at the top. I’ve added 20 rows of the rib as I wanted to cover my ankles, but this also gives the option of folding the top down for a different look.

Winter slipper boots with folded down top

Winter slipper boots with folded down top

As long as I understand what I’m doing, then I do enjoy and find knitting relaxing. My RSI hampers how much I do, but small projects on larger needles like this, work up quickly and so build confidence. This pattern would suit a new knitter, other than knit stitch and pearl stitch and of course casting on and off, the base pattern (without the rib top) only has knit 2 or 3 together and also to. Slip, slip, knit, wasn’t a bit like I thought it was and woohoo to my knitting book and You Tube tutorials for explaining it.

There are lots of new fashion yarns around now, for those wanting super fast project and are ideal if you are totally new or have limited dexterity as you don’t need to worry about tension but get the hang of knitting techniques. You Tube has a great selection of tutorials, just type in the technique you want to learn into its search box. I’ve put links to sites I use a lot or have found helpful in the Yarn tab at the top of the blog.

Links

  • Yarns (My knitting tab, which has links to; manufacturers, retailers and tutorials too)
  • Knitting Tips by Judy Highly recommend this channel, great demos filmed from behind Judy so you see what you would see when you are knitting. She explains things really well.
  • Ravelry If you are new to knitting Ravelry is a fantastic online community people share projects there are forums and lots of freebies on there for knitting & crochet too.
  • Pheonix Knitting forum. A super friendly forum, a great place to chat to other knitters and swap ideas.
  • Get Britain Crafting
  • The Knitting Book. THE best instruction book for all kinds of knitting. Step by step photos.

Now we have long winter evenings to ‘look forward too’. Why not give knitting a try, snuggle up with your favorite TV show/music and create something wonderful for yourself, or as gifts for friends & family. A handmade gift really does make someone feel special. They know you have given the gift a lot of thought and your own time, a precious gift that cannot be purchased in a store.

How about you? What have you been making lately?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Earlier in the week, I gave you a selection of cards to help you gather supplies for your own custom-made creative retreat. In today’s episode; Follow your Dreams.

I know not all dreams are possible, but some ARE. Take one small step toward your dreams and it could change your life. Dreams are important, follow your dreams, the small ones, the achievable ones. The ones that will lead you to the bigger ones you never thought possible.

Print out the next set of cards to help you find your dreams. Write them down and you will then see the smaller steps that take you towards them.

Staycation Turned Art Retreat: Part 3; Follow your Dreams

Staycation Turned Art Retreat: Part 3; Follow your Dreams

How to Use

  • Click on the Download image you want to print, to open the picture to full size.
  • Right Click with your mouse and choose ‘Save As’ from the list of options.
  • Once it is on your machine, you can print it as, is or open a Word Processing programme and insert the image. This will give you more control of the final size of the page.

Options

  • You can of course use the retreat concept for any kind of creative style not just art.
  • Print out the new page and gather your dreams for S.T.A.R.

Hope you are playing along with STAR, what are your dreams?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

If anyone spots Olympic Archery of whatever kind on a freeview available channel, pretty please can you tweet me?

@BillieCraftRoom

I’ll RT so others can see it too. Here’s my Twitter channel: https://twitter.com/BillieCraftRoom

I then promise to stop posting stroppy tweets bemoaning whats going on, where did the archery go.

The plan being with enough of us keeping an eye out, we’ll notice if it comes on.

Somewhat off topic today, and I promise the ONLY blog post I’ll make relating the Olympics., not everyone is a fan and that isn’t what this blog is about.

Reason being; DH has tasked me with recording all archery coverage available on freeview during the games. This was fine when I could set it and walk away but the schedlues have gone to pot and now you need a bank of TVs like on Springwatch to have any hope of finding whats on and when. Perhaps a crystal ball would be of more help. Have tried ‘following’ BBC sport etc for updates but until this morning they didn’t say a word about schedule changes.

We have limited internet access so haven’t the option of watching it online nor do we have satalite, just freeview, so here is my request.

Many many thanks

Billie

Back to more creative projects and posts next time x.

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