A few of my favorite (crafty) things: knitting.

11 Mar

I definitely haven’t been crafting for long, but in the years I’ve spent, I have found some products I love and look for every time I enter a craft store. My tried and true favorites that will never go out of style – at least not to me.

As far as knitting products go, you have to have needles. There are so many different choices now that it is enough to make someone’s head spin – plastic, wood, bamboo, aluminum – it all comes down to personal preference. I have used all of them, and wood and bamboo pulled at the yarn too much for my liking, and plastic is a little too hokey. My favorite needles are 14 inch Boye aluminum single poits. They’re affordable (at $2-4 per set) come in all different sizes (and packs of 3 sets at Wal-Mart), yarn doesn’t pull or separate, and that click (though annoying to some) helps me remember that I am actually getting something done. Along with single points, Boye puts out something wonderful for both knitting and crochet – and that is the Needlemaster kit. Inside one of these kits are all of the needle ends, middle cables, and accessories needed to knit just about anything in the round. The accessories are great on their own – the stops can be used to create extra-long single points (useful for scarves knit lengthwise), and the cables can be connected to help with huge projects (at current, I have three cables connected in order to finish a blanket). Priced at around $70, the kit is worth every penny. And as I said, they haven’t forgotten about those who crochet – there is a Crochetmaster kit as well.

You may want to slaughter me for this, but I have a confession to make: on a typical basis when knitting, I use almost exclusively acrylic and cotton yarns. Why? Well, for one, I’m broke (most of the time) and it’s accessible, and for two, I think that natural fibers are better when knitting clothing, larger pieces, and things you want to be one of a kind. To be honest, I’m just not there yet. Much of what I do is the same patterns in different colors, or simple projects that I don’t want to invest a lot of money into. Financially, it’s looking like a while before I’ll be able to afford much when it comes to expanding my craft. For yarns, my go-to for most projects is first Caron’s Simply Soft line. The colors are great, the yarn is amazingly soft (so it is not false advertising by any means), the price is right, and the pieces I’ve knit with it stay together beautifully. Most of the colors offered are solids, but they have put out several variegated shades that are absolutely wonderful, even just to look at. The only complaint that I have with the new variegated line is that the skeins aren’t as big as those of the solid colors, so it takes twice as much yarn to complete a project. Most critics say that blocking isn’t really necessary with acrylics, but I ignored the blogs and water blocked each square of a baby blanket I knit with Simply Soft last year, and it made a definite difference in how the piece both finished and looked. There’s my two cents on my acrylic yarn preference.

Over the past year, I have absolutely fallen in love with knitting dishcloths. That is achieved with 100% cotton yarn, the most prevalent brand being Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream. There is nothing better (though Bernat’s Handicrafter comes a close second). With various choices when it comes to variegated, striped, solid, even scented shades (there are a lot of s’, no?), there is not another yarn brand that will give you more for your money. A ball of Lion Cotton in the same size as Sugar ‘n Cream’s Super Size ball will cost you about double the price. Wal-Mart has begun stocking S’nC, and one ball of solid yarn is $1.47, regular price. Even Jo-Anns stores don’t charge that little. Beyond that, if your local Wal-Mart doesn’t stock Sugar ‘n Cream, there is a second brand called Peaches & Creme (exclusive to Wal-Mart from what I’ve seen) that is comparable and at about the same price point. There is no easier yarn to use and find than cotton, and these brands are available all over the place. Simple dishcloths are available everywhere, but watch this space for a surprise tutorial shortly.

Knitting is not all I do (if you’ve ever checked out my projects on either this blog or Facebook), and the other crafts I work on deserve just as much credit – so watch for a post on that coming soon!


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