Tag Archives: knitpicks

Musings on Interchangeable versus Fixed Circular Needles

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I recently went through all my interchangeable and fixed circular needles to list and organize what I had (I feel like I’m always buying more US 4 fixed circular needles).  Doing so got me thinking about under what circumstances I reach for fixed circular needles rather than my case of interchangeable needles.  Here’s the quick version: when I’m knitting lace, cables and/or knitting with thinner yarn, I reach for my circular needles.  Most other times I reach for my set of interchangeables.

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I started knitting in July of 2010 and during that year all the yarn I used was DK weight or heavier and I didn’t knit any lace or cables (thank you Ravelry for the trip down memory lane).  At that time I was using a few fixed circular needles (mostly for hats), some straights and some DPNs.  In October I ordered a try it set of interchangeable needles from Knit Picks (where you’d get 3 sets of tips and 1 cord) and in January of the following year I ordered my first set of interchangeable needles.  During that year I was mostly using my set of interchangeables for lace knitting.  From 2012 through 2015 though I gradually transitioned from using my interchangeables for lace and cables (and anything fingering weight or thinner) to using fixed circulars.

Note: If you’re looking into which brand of fixed circular needles is right for you, check out my comparison review here.

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Retrospectively, I’ve done this for a few reasons:

  • Having had a set of interchangeable Knit Picks needles come apart at the join, I am somewhat fearful of this happening with lace or cables.  While I know how to fix dropped stitches in lace and cables it is still a major pain and time suck.  If it happens on garter stitch or with thicker yarn, it’s not that big of a deal but with lace it is.  And by far I mostly knit lace.  I do use the little key to tighten my cords to the tips but I still sometimes find the cables start to come loose.  I sold most of my Knit Picks interchangeable needles in favor of my Chiagoo sets but even those require tightening.
  • I mainly knit lace shawls and cowls out of fingering weight yarn which means I tend to need to the same size needles in the same lengths for many projects.  So, I’m not having to buy a ton of fixed circular needles for my knitting (although in the interest of full disclosure I have a fair amount of fixed circular needles).
  • I find less snags at the join on my fixed circular needles than my interchangeables (because on the interchangeables it can snag at the cord to tip join and at the tip base to stalk screw together join.
  • I like being able to grab the one or two needles I need, toss it in the project bag and go.  I don’t need to carry around my interchangeble set on a regular basis.
  • On a per basis, the fixed circulars are usually cheaper than buying an interchangeable cord and tip (at least for Chiaogoos).

So, it appears that for my primary knitting, I’ve just found fixed circulars to be the best fit.  I DO use my interchangeable needles for more simple (no lace, no cables) projects, especially those that have a thicker weight yarn.

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I think interchangeable sets are great when you start knitting because it allows you to buy the least amount of needles until you settle into your “normal” knitting.  That comes with the caveat though to ALWAYS tighten your tip to your cord (assuming the brand you use joins in that manner).  As you progress as a knitter (especially if you have problems with joins and/or needles separating), it’s not a bad idea to try some fixed circular needles in the size(s) you use most often.

What types of needles do you reach for? Does it depend on the project or yarn? I would love to hear what your experience has been.

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Finished Objects – Kittens

A little finished project – knitted knittens!

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Tell me those aren’t the cutest? My boss in Colorado is a cat person but they don’t have any cats at the present time (multitude of reasons).  So, I knit these kittens with the rationale that they don’t require feeding or litterboxes, don’t shed, are soft to pet, and don’t require care when she’s out of town.  I sent them off to her with some brownies and muffins.  The gray and white kitten is intended to resemble a cat named Jasper she had as a child.  The pattern is for a solid colored cat so I knit the black cat first, then did some experimenting to get the white on the feet, belly (can’t see in the pictures) and face.

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Moving on to the details.

Needle – US 2 or 3 straight needles

Pattern – Kitten Knit Pattern (Ravelry pattern here) from Amy Gaines (AmyGaines on Ravelry). I looked at a couple different knitted cat patterns and liked this one the best.  There are a fair number of pieces (six) – I think the seaming and assembly takes more time than the knitting.  However, it does sit up on its own and the knitting itself is pretty easy.  Pattern is $3.00 US on Ravelry.

Yarn – I knit the black one out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted (merino wool), using the serrano color for the collar.  I knit the gray one out of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted (blend of corriedale and merino wool), I think in the Lace Ice Heather color, but I’m not positive.  Personally, I don’t think the Wool of the Andes very soft and wouldn’t use it for next to the skin, although the Swish was amazingly soft.  A 50 gram ball of either yarn is 110 yards. I used the following colors: Cloud, Brass Heather, Chestnut, Bittersweet Heather, Firecracker Heather, Pink Posy Heather and Rouge .

I stuffed the kittens with poly-fil and attached the safety eyes and bell.  My project page on Rav is here.

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On The Needles – September 2015

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What’s on my needles right now!

Skipped this post last month (again) but now I’ve actually got new things on the needles!  I’ve been very project monogamous lately so one thing is done and barely anything else has been worked on.  So much so I didn’t both updating some of the pictures.

    • Florence Cathedral Cowl – I actually finished something (yea!) but since it is a new design you won’t see a post about it until it is published next month.  I know I said it would be a shawl but the stitch pattern was pretty adamant it wanted to be a cowl (with lace and beads).  Who am I to argue? I finished the knitting last week, wrote the pattern Friday night and took pictures on Sunday.  Next step is tech editing and test knitting, both of which just take time.  I’m aiming for an end of October pattern release at this point.

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  • Super secret project #1 – I’m getting ready to start (just waiting on the yarn, which should arrive today) but am not going to be posting any details here or on Instagram because I can’t swear the gift recipient wouldn’t see it.  Two skeins of fingering weight yarn and is from a new book I got last month.  It is for the recipient’s birthday, which is in early November, so hopefully I’ve got plenty of time.  Says the world’s slowest knitter.
  • Big Chunky Comfy Hat – Just a quick hat so I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  I’m about four rounds in but am not sure it will be big enough so I may be starting over.  Yarn is Malabrigo Rasta (super-bulky) in the colorway Plomo which is a purply-gray color.  Pattern (free) is Big Chunky Comfy Hat by Nomad Yarns.

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  • Super secret project #2 – This one isn’t quite as secretive because I told the gift receipient earlier this year I would knit it for her.  So she just doesn’t know what it will look like.  I’m knitting for her one my wide cuff wire beaded bracelets.  Need to be done by October 9th.
  • Caprica Socks – Back to knitting socks.  This have gone cold.  I’ve put maybe an inch on them since July? Just not something I’m loving right now and I think its because I really don’t like little dpns.  I did order a small eight inch circular to try knitting socks with but need to ball up some other yarn.  If those go better these will probably get frogged.  These are toe-up but I’m not following a pattern, per se.  It’s slow going but I have some more self-striping sock yarn I want to use, which is motivating me.  Yarn is Knit Picks Felici, a super soft merino/nylon blend, in the colorway Caprica.

  • Diadem– Post new cowl, this one is now back on the front burner. Brief reminder – this is the shawl I’m knitting for my friend Patty in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  And she’s making good progress on the socks so I better hurry this up! Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald.

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  • Scarlet Capelet – This is hanging on the back burner, like way back there.  I picked it up briefly and did get gauge still so that’s a plus.  I like it well enough but its hit the point where its large and cumbersome.  This pattern (Scarlet Capelet) is also by Heather Zoppetti.  The yarn is Miss Babs Northumbria Aran in Vlads.

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  • Starshower Cowl – I got a little ways into this.  I need good light because the handspun is so dark.  I selected this to use my blue/purple handspun from Spinner’s Cottage.  The pattern is Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis.  It looks like it will be a cool knit – a cowl with a twist.  It is designed to be able to be worn around the shoulders.

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  • Color Affection Shawl – Frogged but haven’t started over yet.  I still want to knit it (at a tighter gauge) but other things are more interesting right now.

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On The Needles – July 2015

What’s on my needles right now!

UntitledSkipped this post last month but now I’ve actually got new things on the needles!

      • Midsommer – This is my main focus at the moment and I’m just about done.  Like I should be done this week (maybe even tonight).  At Patty and I bought the same yarn at Stitches Midwest a few years ago and each bought beads.  She said earlier this summer “hey, why don’t we try to get this knit before Stitches this year.”  I love knitting with beads so I said “heck, yeah.”  This hasn’t been going smoothly for either of us.  The pattern is written for lace weight.  We’re using fingering weight, which should make the shawl bigger.  As its written the shawl would be very small, even with fingering weight yarn instead of the lace.  I repeated an extra section and if I hadn’t been so far into it I would have ripped out and restarted on a larger needle size. Even the amount of yardage used in the pattern doesn’t make sense in regards to how its knitting up.  Very weird.  Anyways, yarn is Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering, a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, in colorway Fat Fish Blue, which is a vivid electric blue.  Pattern is Midsommer by Sivia Harding.

  • Caprica Socks – Back to knitting socks.  Getting these started was a massive PITA.  After pleading on IG for some help the suggestion of using Judy’s magic cast on on a circ and then switching over to DPNs worked.  These are toe-up but I’m not following a pattern, per se.  It’s slow going but I have some more self-striping sock yarn I want to use, which is motivating me.  Yarn is Knit Picks Felici, a super soft merino/nylon blend, in the colorway Caprica.  Knit Picks discontinued Felici last year but presently has brought it back as a special edition.

  • Un-named shawl – I’m working on a new shawl.  Pattern is mostly drafted – now I just need to knit it!
  • Diadem– Put this one on the back burner for now but I want to get back to it soon. As a bit of backstory, I dislike knitting socks and my friend Patty doesn’t always get along with lace (would be hard for you too with 3 dogs, 1 cat, 2 bunnies and 2 kids).  So we decided to swap skills.  We each bought our own yarn and I am knitting her a lace shawl and she is knitting me socks.  I actually started another shawl but got real worried I would run out of yarn.  So switched over to this pattern which I’m loving.  Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald.

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  • Scarlet Capelet – This is hanging on the back burner now too.  I picked it up briefly and did get gauge still so that’s a plus.  I like it well enough but its hit the point where its large and cumbersome.  This pattern (Scarlet Capelet) is also by Heather Zoppetti.  The yarn is Miss Babs Northumbria Aran in Vlads.

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  • Starshower Cowl – I got a little ways into this.  I need good light because the handspun is so dark.  I selected this to use my blue/purple handspun from Spinner’s Cottage.  The pattern is Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis.  It looks like it will be a cool knit – a cowl with a twist.  It is designed to be able to be worn around the shoulders.

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  • Color Affection Shawl – Frogged but haven’t started over yet.  I still want to knit it (at a tighter gauge) but other things are more interesting right now.

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Finished Object – Alluvia Felted Tote

I finished! I finished!

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I finally finished this.  I started on it in March but got distracted by the KAL shawl and some spinning, then ran out of yarn.  The ten feet of i-cord was made bearable by a Clover Wonder Knitter.  I now love that little tool.

Moving on to the details.

Pattern – Alluvia Felted Tote (Ravelry pattern here) from Alaskan Purl. I’ve had this pattern for a while but hadn’t got around to working on it. The pleats and different colors make knitting interesting and felting it makes for a sturdy bag.  You could use any set of colors for a truly unique bag.  Make sure you have plenty of yarn for each color.  Pattern is $1.99 on Ravelry.

Yarn –  Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted (WOTA).  WOTA is a blend of corriedale and merino wool. Personally, I don’t think it’s very soft and wouldn’t use it for next to the skin.  A 50 gram ball is 110 yards. I used the following colors, from the base of the bag up: Coal, Onyx Heather, Firecracker Heather, Claret Heather, Amethyst Heather, Lullaby and Lake Ice Heather.  NOTE: The pattern has been updated since it was originally published to add yarn because people were running out.  I had the amounts called for in the revised pattern and still ran out on one color.

Post felting and drying, I’m very happy with the bag and its size. Next time I would make the straps longer and possibly make the bag itself a bit bigger.

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On The Needles – May 20, 2014

What’s on my needles right now!

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More later about vacation and traveling with your knitting.  Or your spinning. Or your angora bunny.  Ok, not the bunny.  Back to my needles.  Here’s what is in progress.  I have one other scarf/shawl barely started but don’t even have a Ravelry page set up for it.  So I’ll catch it next time.  Obviously I need to catch finishitis sometime soon.

  • Firehawk Shawl – So this is still in process.  This two color shawl has an interesting construction.  You knit the long lace border edge then pick up stitches along it to knit the body of the shawl.  I’m still working on border (see photo above) but love this shawl and the yarn. The pattern is Firehawk Shawl by Heather Zoppetti and the yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Amber Glass and Blue Lagoon.
  • Scarlet Capelet – I’ve been working on this poor thing for over a year.  I started it, put it aside, picked it up, put it down – you get the idea. This pattern appeared in the 2011 Jane Austen Knits and is a hooded cape.  I’m unfortunately not as excited about it now as I was but I do plan to continue working on it.  This pattern (Scarlet Capelet) is also by Heather Zoppetti.  The yarn is Miss Babs Northumbria Aran in Vlads.
  • Alluvia Felted Tote – A felted bag/tote out of different colors.  It’s worked from the bottom um and I’m on the third color (just finished the second pleat).  The pattern (Alluvia) is from Allison Haas.  The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted in the colors listed on my Rav page.

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  • Mysterious May KAL – My local yarn shop (Nomad Yarns) is doing a a knit-a-long with a mystery shawl.  All we know is it will be a semi-circle and it involves self-striping worsted weight yarn.  I got behind from being on vacation and then decided to re-start to clean up my starting edge.  So, long story short, I’m just now finishing clue 1 and clue 4 gets released Thursday.  So I need to seriously catch up!  The pattern is here and I’m using Ella Rae Classic Superwash as my solid and Knitting Fever Painted Sky as my stripe.  Rav page showing what colors are here.

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