These are a few of my favorite things

Nope…no raindrops or whiskers, just knitting stuff.

I’m sure like anyone else with a hobby, there are a few particular tools in my knitting bag that I don’t think I could live without (including a couple recent additions).

Knit Counter App

I used to use a little red clicker to keep track of my rows. And I nearly throttled my husband’s best friend when he saw it on a table and just started clicking away because it was there. A much better solution came along for me after I got my iPhone. The Knit Counter App. This is, by far, my favorite app and the one I use the most (aside from The Weather Channel). It’s a pretty bit step up from my little red clicker.

I really love that you can track multiple projects at the same time. Another nice feature is that you can automatically count repeats of a pattern. I haven’t used it yet, but you can even track stitch markers.

Interchangeable circular knitting needles

I’ve talked about these before. My interchangeable circulars are Knit Picks Options in Harmony Wood. I have them in nearly every frequently used size and even have a couple doubles so that I can keep multiple projects on the needles at the same time. I don’t use regular straight needles anymore.

I prefer using these to straight primarily because the weight of a project distributes a little more evenly between my hands as I move back & forth. As for knitting in the round, I like the Options cables because they are very flexible and don’t have a memory (i.e. when they are wound up for storage you can still pull them out straight and they won’t spring right back).

Tiny “fix-it” crochet hook keychain thingy (Emergency Fix Keychain)

This thing is awesome! For a LONG time I used a small crochet hook to fix my dropped stitches, but about 6 months ago I bought this little keychain crochet hook “fixer” as an impulse addition to one of my orders (yes Knit Picks again). I heart this tiny keychain. I don’t think there are really any major pluses to using this as opposed to a regular crochet hook, I just love how cute and little it is and how nicely it fits in my accessory pouch.

Swift & Ball-winder

Another pretty recent addition to my “bag of tricks,” I have no idea how I managed without for such a long time. Actually I do know…I just avoided buying really nice yarn that had to be wound up. Well, no more. Yes, I will still be a frequent shopper of the craft stores and online places that sell less expensive, pre-wound yarn, but now I can go to the nice yarn stores and easily use my purchases. Yay!

PS – Trust me, Knit Picks still has no idea who I am and they have given me nothing. I just happen to enjoy their stuff and spend WAY too much money on their site. Oh, also Apple and the maker of the Knit Counter App have never heard of me.

New toys

In addition to the awesome and pretty yarn that I got with my birthday money, I also got 2 great new toys…a swift & a ball winder.  I had every intention of buying them at a local yarn shop, but when I got there they said that they didn’t have any and that they could order me one.  Rather than wait for them to order and have to go back there to pick my things up, I went back to Knit Picks (the site from which I order pretty much everything at this point) and ordered them from there (yay free shipping!).  I got my order the other day, but haven’t been able to try my new toys out until tonight.  How did I do without these things?

 

When I’ve had to wind yarn in the past, I’ve resorted to some rather “special” methods.  The first time, I had no idea what was going on and tried to just roll the ball by hand without putting the yarn on anything.  Yeah – I wasted probably about half of that beautiful hand-dyed skein trying to get all of the knots I created back out.  After that, I knew I had to use something to hold the yarn.  I’ve used backs of chairs, lampshades, even one of my daughter’s toys.  But now I have the proper tools.  Hallelujah!

I just wound 2 superwash merino wool skeins (gorgeous handpainted  rainbow yarn…more to come on these in another post) and 2 of 10 Ultra Alpaca skeins for an upcoming project.  I plan on winding at least 3 more of the 10 alpaca skeins tomorrow so that I can start swatching for the project I have in mind (another post on this too).