Designing Knitting

Colour Journal Project – January

I’ve been a fan of The Yarn Yard for several years now, and when I saw that the theme for the first month of her new project, The Colour Journal Project, was brights/rainbows I order some at once. I’ve always had a bit of thing for rainbows and when I was younger had a fine collection of rainbow striped socks. January was a dreary and difficult month for me, and a bit of colour does wonders in lifting the spirits.

I ordered the Toddy Sevens option, seven mini skeins in a solid rainbow. Natalie’s solid colours tend to be beautifully deep and intense, one of the reasons I like her yarns, and I intended to make something for my cousin’s new baby, so Toddy was a good choice.

My cousin and her wife are very geeky, they got married last year at a sci-fi convention, and I wanted to make them something which reflected that. I decided on a cardigan with tetris blocks along the bottom, and fortunately there were seven colours and seven blocks in tetris. After some head scratching trying to work out how to fit the blocks together, giving up on the idea of doing it in intarsia, and trying to explain what tetris is to my parents, I’ve made it past the border and onto the body. The baby isn’t due until May so I have plenty of time to weave in all the ends and work out how I’m doing the sleeves but I’m happy with it so far.

Tetris Baby Cardigan
Tetris Baby Cardigan in The Yarn Yard Toddy
©Rachel Gibbs




In Praise of Chiaogoos and Karbonz

Needle choice is a very personal thing, and something that one person hates might well be what works best for someone else. A conversation on Twitter the other day inspired me to talk about my favourites and why they work for me.

I used to be a big fan of KnitPro Symphonies, to someone who learnt to knit on grey metal pony needles they were really exciting: the ability to swap tips and cables, the quietness and lightness of the wood and the pretty colours. I built up a collection of interchangeables and dpns and they weren’t perfect but I liked them.

I prefer to knit socks on dpns and I found I kept breaking my needles, mainly my own fault, but with very thin wooden needles it’s somewhat inevitable. When I heard that knit pro were bringing out carbon fibre needles I was intrigued. Partly, it was my geeky side that found the idea of using such a new and technically advanced material for something as simple as knitting needles exciting, but also I thought it might solve my problem of snapped needles without being as slippery as metal. Doing a lot of my knitting on the move, on buses and in queues, needles that fall out when you’re not paying attention aren’t for me. I ordered a set of 2.25mm Karbonz, my favourite size for socks, and I’m really happy with them. They are warm and light like wood, and although the tips are metal they don’t click too loudly and I haven’t managed to break them yet.

KnitPro Karbonz
My current socks in progress on KnitPro Karbonz ©Rachel Gibbs

Everything other than socks I tend to use circulars for, they’re easier on my wrists than straights and very convenient, especially interchangeables. I found with the KnitPros that they would come unscrewed when I knit and that the numbers wore off and I was always searching for a needle gauge. I decided to try a few types, HiyaHiya Bamboo, Chiaogoo Spin and Pony Bamboo. I’d heard good things about all of them, so I got a set of tips and cable in each. It wasn’t a particularly scientific experiment since they were all in different sizes, which may have contributed to the results, but for me, the Chiaogoos came out top.

Chiaogoo, HiyaHiya and Pony needles
Chiaogoo, HiyaHiya and Pony needles ©Rachel Gibbs

I really like that the size is engraved on the needle and the cable tips, saving me from searching for needle gauges and tape measures. I found I prefer using a key to tighten the join. I wasn’t a fan of the rubber grips for the HiyaHiyas, especially since they don’t come as standard with the cables and have to be bought separately. I also love the swivel join, I think it really helps the tips not come unscrewed. The Chiaogoo tips are really smooth and slightly more rigid that the HiyaHiyas, particularly in the smallest size, which I like as I was worried that the HiyaHiyas would break. Not forgetting, of course, that Chiaogoo is really fun to say.

My Christmas present to myself was a full set of small Chiaogoos, and so far I’m loving them. What’s your favourite type of needle and why?


Follow Your Arrow Clue 1 (spoilers)

I’ve finished Clue 1, just in time for Clue 2 to start tomorrow. I chose clue A because I thought it was a more interesting construction. I like that it’s fairly simple so far, but interesting enough not to be boring. My concentration levels aren’t great at the moment so it’s a good fit for me.


New Year New Website

I don’t usually bother with New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because I’m atrocious at keeping them, but this year I decided that I want to talk more. So I decided a place to talk was a good start. I want to try and talk about what I’m knitting, thoughts about designing and general things that are going on in my life.

At the moment I’m working on Follow Your Arrow, the mystery knit along Ysolda Teague is running. I find the idea of a choose your own adventure knitting pattern really intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops. I’ve started with clue 1A using Eden Cottage Titus in Misty Woods, a nice fresh green colour.