Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Yarn & Knitting’ Category

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Knit Pro Basix Fixed length circular needles.

Knit Pro: Basix; Fixed Length Cirular knitting needles

Knit Pro: Basix; Fixed Length Cirular knitting needles

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Knit Pro: Basix
  • Item number: Birch WD Fixed Circular (80cm-6.00 mm) 35332
  • RRP at time of writing: Around £5, price varies with needle size/cable length.

Reason For Buying

I need 6mm circular needle for my new chunky yarn, but because of my dexterity issues metal needles make my hands lock up and I found bamboo and plastic have too much drag on the yarn. Ideally I was after a light wood but I’ve got on so well with birch the search began for birch circular needles. In the past I’ve not considered Knit Pro as their wooden needles had very busy patterns on them. After a search brought up this new Basix range which are plain coloured, I went to their website and looked for sellers.

Pros/Cons

  • The Birch wood is warm to the touch, making them very comfortable in the hand, kind to sore hands with dexterity issues
  • Because these are a fixed length cable the needle is longer than the interchangeable ones in the larger diameters.
  • The transaction from wooden needle to cable is made of metal but it quickly warms to your hand and is not freezing like all metal needles. Very smooth and comfortable.
  • The needles are easy to store, and are ideal if you want to take your knitting out and about. They take up little space and you can’t loose a needle on route, or prod your fellow passengers if you are on trains etc.
  • The birch wood makes them beautifully light, which is also a great help if you struggle with your dexterity.
  • Light coloured wood, makes them easy on the eye and not distracting
  • Super smooth in use, no snagging or dragging on the yarn
  • The cable is an excellent quality too.

Cons

I have no cons to this product, just a request to the company to extend the range to the smaller diameter needles, so I can use them with DK weight yarns too. It would also be good if they brought in a 40cm length for socks/ mittens etc.

Build Quality

Fantastic. The birch needles have a beautifully smooth finish, super slick connection between the needle and the cable which is very comfortable in the hand. Nothing to snag on the yarn, or scratch at your hands. The birch is a wonderful material to knit with and kind and gentle on sore hands. I can see why there is so many good things said about this brand. The materials they use and their finishing is fantastic.

Value for Money

Excellent. These are very well made and from quality products.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes. I’ll be collecting more sizes in these needles.

Summing up

Although the connection between the needle and cable is metal, it is far enough along that only your little finger comes in contact with it and it does warm up in use. Its NOTHING like working with a metal needle. I adore birch wood needles they are so much kinder to my hands. Yarn moves smoothly across it and even with limited dexterity I can knit for longer with it.

I adore my Brittany needles but they don’t make circulars. I was also worried that in the larger diameters, that I would struggle with the extra weight of the needles. These Knit Pro Basix are the bees knees! The main I haven’t tried Knit Pros in the past was the vivid colours on the Symfonies or very dark patterned wood on the Rose wood ones. I like the idea of interchangeable needles, for the versatility and easy storage but the fixed overall length of the cables, result in very short needles in the larger diameters and I my dexterity couldn’t cope with the very short ones.

These Basix resolve all the issues I had with other needles in their range and I highly recommend them. I did contact Knit Pro EU before writing this, and they said they had no plans to produce interchangeable needles in the Basix range at this time. At the time of writing the following sizes available in the fixed length circulars in the Basix range:

Metric Sizes:

  • mm: 5.5, 6.0, 6.50, 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00, 12.00, 15.00, 20.00, 25.00
  • on the following cable lengths
  • cm: 60, 80, 100, 120, 150

Links

For lists of more Knit Pro suppliers, please visit the Knit Pro EU site where they list a worldwide list of retailers of their products

For reference, the Basix range are also available in straight needles, and double-pointed needles too.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

PS. Knit Pro if you read this; Pretty please extend the range of Knit Pro Basix fixed length circulars, this is a superb product and I would collect even more of them.

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

The Virtual Crafting Challenge theme for March 2012 is:

Yarns, Fibers & Textiles

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 this theme too.

Colours

  • Create something in your favorite colour
  • Create something in a colour you have never used before
  • This month’s birthstone is Aquamarine, try using this colour in your project

Products

  • Try out a different yarn to the type or weight you normally favor. There are some exciting fashion yarns around for something completely different. They knit up very quickly and often have patterns on the ball bands.
  • Fabrics; Had your eye on some wonderful fabric? Go get it and lets see what you create with it.

This doesn’t have to be an expensive project; lots of the manufacturers have free patterns you can download. Check out the Yarns tab at the top of the page, for links to yarn manufacturers.

Surfaces

  • Create something you can wear
  • Add fibers or yarn to alter an item of clothing
  • Use Textiles/fibers or yarn to decorate a card project

Techniques

  • Knitting, there are some superb tutorials around the web, if you have wanted to learn how, try it now :)
  • Crochet. Check out You Tube for tutorials on how to crochet
  • Sewing. You Tube is again the place to go for inspiration and tutorials for textile projects
  • How about making a bag?
  • Perhaps find out more about quilting.

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 :)

Links

For inspiration around the web, have a look at my Textiles and also Yarns tab at the top from here you will find some interesting sites you may not have found before.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Over on Pheonix Knitting forum they suggested trying something totally new for 29th February. For this challenge I decided to try making a hat. I’ve had success with the Cowl made from the Cowl’d and Frosty Morning pattern and had made alterations to it to create a short version for a neck warmer. So wondered if I could make a hat from it too. This is what happens when you bring a kid up on Blue Peter ;) they develop a good ‘what if’ gene hehe.

I had a look through my Knitting for Dummies book and decided if I copied the decrease rows from the 60 stitches downwards from page 138 (Three way hat). Then I should be able to turn the cowl in to a hat. It worked!!!

The ‘What If’ Hat

My First Hat

My First Hat

I’m going to try to make some coordinating mittens soon too, then I’ll have a matching set.

Its turning quite spring like here, we have crocus and daffodils to keep the snowdrops company in the garden, and the wild birds are playing kiss chase. Even the collard doves have been attempting some token nest-building, well trying to stash large twigs in the conifers ;)

Spring Crocus

Spring Crocus

Sorry I  didn’t get a post up for friday, the tutorial I had planned needed a photograph taken and there just hasn’t been good light for it. Have re-scheduled it for next month, so it won’t go to waste ;)

Links

I mentioned the pattern I started from, here is a link to it and the book I took the info about decreasing from too.

So, as leap years only come round occassionally, what will you be trying for a leap of faith? Would love to see some of your projects.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Recently I shared a picture of the lovely new James Brett yarn I bought, today I’d like to share how I found the Birch wood circular needles.

Needles

Well that’s a whole story in itself. Regular readers will remember how much I adore my Brittany birch needles, this has not changed but I wanted to knit a cowl and possibly mittens later on, so I needed circular needles and sadly Brittany do not make them. Knit Pro are scorching the search engines and other than bamboo or VERY expensive Lantern Moon needles, are all that were around.

Thanks to Irlens syndrome which is what causes my dyslexia, I cannot focus on busy backgrounds, so found Knit Pro’s Symfonie needles far too bright. The only way to try their rosewood circular needles was in complete sets and the wood on those is very dark. The other thing that concerned me about the interchangeable needles was the very short amount of wood that was left visible in the larger diameter needles. The overall length of regular interchangeable needles is said to be 11cm, but this includes the metal attachment section at the rear of the needle. In the larger diameters by the time you take off the metal section and the pointed end of the needle where it tapers, there was precious little wood before your hand rests on metal. So although they do look like an excellent idea, my dexterity was not going to cope well with so little needle to get hold of, any more than my wonky eyes could cope with the patterning.

THEN, after a visit to the Knit Pro European website ,I discovered that the manufacturer also make an uncoloured fixed length circular needle. The name is Basix, in fact the Basix range also includes straight needles and like Symfonie the name is for the colour way. These are lovely, birch wood, light in colour, warm in the hand and a decent length at 15 cm long :) After searching online, I found they are stocked by Art of Yarn and I bought mine from their Ebay shop. I’m very pleased with them and will be writing a full review of them once I’ve had a good play with them.

Knit Pro: Basix; Fixed Length Cirular knitting needles

Knit Pro: Basix; Fixed Length Cirular knitting needles

At last, nice quality needles, well made and no busy or dark patterning. I did email the company but at the time of writing they have no plans for producing the range as interchangeable needles. On the upside this has resulted in a better ‘in hand’ length of needle, so I’ll take the hit of having to buy lots to get the different sizes. Check out the links below for more details of the retailer and the sizes available from Knit Pro.

Links

Best wishes and thank for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Before Christmas I saw the most beautiful yarns by James C Brett, called Marble Chunky and I fell in love with them. The search for wooden circular needles began and now I’ve found Knit Pro Basix and got some in 6mm size, I treated myself to a ball of Marble Chunky in colour MC 6.

James Brett Marble Chunky Yarn

James Brett Marble Chunky Yarn

Personally I find actual wool itchy, however soft/fine etc people tell me it is, it still feels itchy to me when I’m wearing it. The sad thing is until now I hadn’t found any pure acrylic yarn in such nice colours as are available in wool. There are sooo many beautiful colour ways in this yarn that if I get on ok with it, I’ll be collecting lots more of them. Here’s a better picture of the colours in the ball I bought.

James Brett Marble Chunky Yarn

James Brett Marble Chunky Yarn

What are you making?

Well I really liked the Delores Cowl found on the Sixoneseven blog, so I’m having a go at modifying the number of stitches to see if I can make it in the James Brett Yarn.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a picture of the wrist warmers I knitted for Christmas for my MIL. The pattern was Sirdar Knitting Pattern 9135 I knitted a short version as an  alternative to regular gloves as my MIL uses a stick and finds gloves difficult to use with it.

Short wrist warmers. Handmade Christmas Gift

Short wrist warmers. Handmade Christmas Gift

With these, MIL can tuck them up her sleeve and just have the ends covering her hands but still have a clear palm for her stick.

Hope she likes them. The yarn I used was Sirdar Click; colour 181

Thank goodness for Brittany birch knitting needles, they are much kinder to my stiff hands.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Brittany; Birch knitting needles

Brittany; Birch knitting needles

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Brittany
  • Item number
  • RRP at time of writing: Around £5 depending on needle length and size number.

I’m reviewing; 4mm/ UK size 8/ USA size 6. The needle length is 10″ long.

Reason For Buying

I’ve heard that wooden needles are kinder to stiff sore hands. I have RSI and wanted to compare these needles to bamboo ones. Although I like the warm touch of the bamboo, the yarn drag was making life difficult. Also because the turned ‘art deco’ ends made them look very beautiful.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Light weight; 1 gram as opposed to 9 grams for a metal needle the same dimensions
  • Warm to the touch
  • Smooth finish
  • Beautifully turned ends
  • Made from birch from sustainable source
  • Yarn glides across them like it does with metal needles

Cons

  • Haven’t got any personally.

Not a con but something to consider; Wooden needles need to be treated gently and stored carefully to prevent damage as they are more delicate than plastic or metal. That is a general rule though not specific to this brand.

Build Quality

Brittany; Birch knitting needles. Detail of the turned ends

Brittany; Birch knitting needles. Detail of the turned ends

Superb build quality, the wood is smooth and beautifully finished. No rough edges anywhere.

Value for Money

Excellent. Not the cheapest material to buy your needles in, but for the quality of production and finish they are well worth it. You will invest a lot of time in your knitting, why not invest a little in some quality needles too.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally. I’ll be collecting more of these beautiful needles over the years. You need to try them!

Summing up

I adore these knitting needles! These birch needles won’t cure my RSI or the issues it causes, but they sure make knitting more comfortable than any other material I’ve tried. They are beautiful, the lightweight aspect and the warm to the touch feeling as you use them does indeed make them more comfortable to use. The super smooth finish means the yarn glides effortlessly across them without dragging or catching. It’s not hype; lightweight wooden needles really are more comfortable to use if you have stiff sore hands.

If you need more convincing here’s what to do next.

1. Find in your knitting bag or buy one pair of needles in each of the following materials; plastic, metal, bamboo and a pair of Brittany birch ones. Choose a size you will use a lot, so the extra needles won’t be a waste.

Make sure you get all these needles in the same dimensions for a fair comparison ;)

2. select a yarn you like to use (which will help you choose a needle size).

3. Don’t try anything fancy, just your favorite stitch pattern for about ten stitches and knit up a square.

4. Repeat this process for each of your needle types and you will find what works for you.

A lot of knitting is personal preference, if you like the slick of metal but find your hands lock up on you try the birch needles. If on the other hand you prefer plastic needles that hold onto the yarn more, then try bamboo.

The manufacturer’s website recommends these needles if you have dexterity problems, my issue is RSI and I definitely recommend others to try them too. They are a joy to use.

Links

Manufacturer:

  • Brittany Makers of  natural birch wood needles for knitting and crochet. Look at the turned ends, aren’t they just stunning. The single point needles are available in 10″ and 14″ in a variety of sizes. Brittany also make double-pointed needles, cable needles and crochet hooks too. Find out more about them from their website.

Retailers;

I’ve purchased my Brittany needles from; Norfolk Knits and also Yarnia Needle Crafts.

Here are some more online sellers of Brittany needles.

Check out my Yarns tab for links to more knitting related information.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers