Thread Thoughts

The Nut Graf knits, sews and attempts other crafts

My new Harmony needles arrived! September 16, 2007

Filed under: Knitting,Reviews — chengat @ 7:32 pm

harm1.jpg harm2.jpg
These are the new Harmony wood knitting needles from Knit Picks.

I always take knitting when I travel but I don’t bring metal needles because of airline security restrictions. So as soon as I saw these, especially with the psychedelic-cool swirly colors, I knew I had to give them a try. They come in interchangeable circulars, fixed circulars, double points (6″ and 8″) and a cable needle set. I got a couple of interchangeables, two double points and the cable needles. One nice thing with the double points, as with their nickel-plated ones, is they come in all the small metric sizes (2.0mm, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3.0 and 3.25mm). Those little mm’s can make a huge difference in socks (see my first blog entry). They also include 6, rather than the usual 5 sticks, in the package, just in case you break one.

I sometimes skimp on yarn, but I never skimp on tools. You know how you need different tools for different tasks? Well, as an ADD-knitter, I’ve amassed a wide assortment of circulars to accompany my various projects. Here are some of them, listed from top to bottom: Harmony, Knit Picks nickel, Clover bamboo, Lantern Moon Destiny in Ebony, Addi Lace (in a size 1), Colonial Rosewood.harm3.jpg
Here’s a close up comparing the tips: harm4.jpg
I haven’t tried swatching with the Harmony needles yet, but here are my initial observations:

My favorite double points for lace socks are the Inox, but they’re hard to find and pointy on the verge of being dangerous. I like using Crystal Palace double points and Lantern Moon’s Sox Stix for traveling, but the Lantern Moon tips are too blunt for lace (but great for stockinette and ribbing) and the Crystal Palace bamboos are not as rigid as I would like. The Harmony seems like a nice combination of the two. The tips are nice and pointy, the coating is slick like the Crystal Palace, but it’s nice and firm in the hand. I do wish they came in a 5″ like the Lantern Moon, though.

For circulars I still love my Addi Turbos for most knitting and the Addi Lace is great for lace, but, again, with airline security, I need versatile wood circulars. I’ve been using Colonial Rosewood and Pony Rosewood for lace, but the joins are not smooth and the cables are stiff. The wood (I chose ebony) on the Lantern Moon circulars are the best around (no surprise there), but they’re not pointy enough for lace or cabling. Again, this is where the Harmony needles seem to be better.

However, if I don’t have to get on an airplane, I think I’d still prefer the Addi Lace needles for lace knitting. Their coating seems perfect for lace yarns, not too slick. And the Harmony’s bright colors might be too distracting behind the finer lace yarns. However, I’d maybe use the Harmony for sock knitting using the Magic Loop method, since the slicker coating would make the yarn whiz right by.

Functionality aside, I still love the classic, elegant look of Lantern Moons. The Addis aren’t as pretty to look at but they’re the most functional. I prefer the nickel on the Addi Turbos over the Knit Picks. But the Harmony, well, just look at the photo above. It just pops out in the looks department. I think I’m really going to like these, but when I’m at home, my practical sense still tips the scales towards the Addis overall.

Lace knitting: Addi Lace 10, Harmony 9, Knit Picks nickel 8, Inox 9
Non-lace knitting wool: Addi Turbo 10, Harmony 8, Knit Picks nickel 9, Lantern Moon 7
Non-lace knitting cotton, silk and other slippery yarns: Addi Turbo 6, Harmony 8-9? (haven’t swatched yet), Knit Picks nickel 7, Lantern Moon 10
Looks: Addi Turbo 6, Addi Lace 8 (extra points for that pink cord), Harmony 9, Lantern Moon 10
Versatility: Addis 8, Harmony 9, Knit Picks nickel 10
Double points versatility: Inox 8, Crystal Palace 9, Harmony 10, Lantern Moon Sox Stix 7

P.S. I should also give a shout-out to Denise circulars. They’re great for airplane knitting. They’re versatile, light, have nice tips and look good (especially the pink set, with proceeds going to Breast Cancer research – a double plus). I just didn’t include them in the discussion here because I wanted to compare wood and metal needles. Plus, they don’t come in the smaller sizes.

P.P.S., I just looked on the KnitPicks site, and some of the needles are already backordered until the end of the month. I’m going to wait until the mania cools down to get some more.


Kids as knitting models September 11, 2007

Filed under: Kids,Knitting — chengat @ 6:03 am

Children are so fun to knit for — the novelty yarns and patterns, the bright colors, and best of all, small sizes. But the downside is you’ve got to finish the garment quickly before they outgrow it in a month or so. Luckily photos can help preserve all that effort. Children (and animals) are notorious photo subjects though. They’re impatient and move too quickly. Sometimes my son will sit still for a portrait, more often he’s running away. Here are some times when I managed to snag a quick shot:
“Please, no paparazzi!” (Ladybug hat on my niece knit by me from a Fiber Trends pattern, bear hat on baby Nut Graf not crocheted by me)

Is this cruel? We’re not even Irish! stpat.jpg (handspun yarn from Material Whirled)

natedog.jpg Dog sweater pattern by Monkeysuits using Cascade 220 yarn.

purplehat.jpg “Aw, mom, just let me eat!” (Lise hat pattern knit in SWTC Optimum DK, which is now discontinued)

“I’m trying to play and my pants keep slipping!” (Baby denim pants from Last Minute Knitted Gifts knit from Elann’s denim yarn)
bbear.jpg“Just let me sleep!” (Not to worry, Baby Bobbi Bear’s ears were later attached)

Is it too soon to think of Xmas knitting? (Xmas tree hat kit from Material Whirled and they’re already taking orders for this year) Notice the matching Xmas tree PJs — CHEEESY!
“Gotta go, see ya later!” bluestripe.jpg(sweater yarn and pattern from Llamajama bought from Kpixe.)