Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tools Are Important

Alrighty fiber friends - you know how much I LURVE me some awesome knitting gadgets, needles, and notions.  Buying the best quality you can afford is always a must.  Don't put a second mortgage on the house to get the tools you really want, BUT don't skimp on something you can afford.

In this video, I wanted to show you just how worth the extra pennies it was to buy decent gadgets.  Previously, I would've schlepped out my manual ball winder and umbrella swift, which together cost me about $75.  To wind this particular skein, which is 1100 yds of lace wt, would've been exhausting and taken me forever - especially since you want to keep the same rate and tension when winding to get a nice cake.  But with the Boye Electric Ball Winder and the Oregon Woodworker Table Top Swift (which cost me approx. $120 for the pair), you can see just how simple it is to wind 1100 yds of lace wt yarn!

A few other tips - I LOVE me some Signature Needles.  But at $40/pr, can not obviously afford to buy several pair at one time.  So, a good way to build your collection is to set aside $40/month and just buy a pair a month.  For me, I cut out other frivolous spending to accommodate my Signature habit.  But $40/month or $40/every other month is a lot more doable for most people.

T-pins drive me crazy!  I purposely buy "rust proof" blocking-approved T-pins, only to have them eventually rust and leave nice little rust marks on my projects, which are virtually impossible to remove!  So, if I start to see rust, I get rid of them all or re-purpose them for other things.  Then I re-buy the same number of T-pins.  This way, all of my T-pins are the same age.  I only buy what I regularly use for a project so that I don't have some unused pins and some really used pins.  This keeps my projects free of rust marks.  Nothing is worse than spending all of that money on a nice winder/swift, gorgeous yarn, luxury  needles, and then spending hours upon hours knitting and blocking only to have rust marks on your projects.  Trust me!

Because lots of knitters use T-pins (and LOTS of T-pins) when blocking, more and more knitters are going to blocking wires which are threaded in the project and then pinned to mats or boards so that the T-pins aren't actually pinned to the yarn.  A nice set of blocking wires will run you $40 or so.  (More or less depending on what you want in the set).  I bought a crummy, "cheap" set of blocking wires and because of that, I don't use blocking wires.  So invest in a nice set that you will use!

So buy the nicest tools you CAN AFFORD.  Like I said, the object isn't to have really nice knitting materials, but be living in a tent because you had to sell the house.

Knit on!



  1. A tip for the T-pins? Coat the pin-part with clear nail polish. It will prevent rust and, while it's a pain, it's not like you have to do it more than once! (Because, even with blocking wires, I still use my T-pins.)

  2. Do you know if they will come out with size 2 sig needles?

  3. A friend of mine ran some tests with pins (soaking in fresh and salt water for several days, checking every few hours for rust) and discovered that the pins designed for bridal bouquets have a markedly longer rust-free life than even rust-free t-pins. Also, they have lovely diamond or pearl tips, which makes blocking feel as decadent and amazing and special as knitting with all those lovely tools!


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