Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oh boy oh boy oh boy

If you've been paying attention around these parts, you've probably figured out by this point that I enjoy knitting socks. You've probably also noticed that all my current sock needles are wooden needles. I like the feel of the wooden ones, I like the look of the wooden ones, and I like that my KnitPicks sets were so reasonably priced.

I am, however, aware that there are other options available out there - namely, metal needles. My mother has several sets of those Aero inox needles that she used to favour, and these were the needles that she taught me to knit on. They made a neat sort of noise when they rubbed together, but that was about all I found appealing about those needles. I didn't like the way they always felt so cold, I didn't like the weight of them, and I didn't like the look of them. So when I returned to the craft many years later, I again found that I wasn't super keen on the looks of the metal needles that I saw, and stocked up on wooden ones.

And I knit happily.

At some point - years ago, now - I noticed a new metal needle appear. It was probably an ad on Knitty, and it was for Signature Needle Arts. The ad caught my eye because it featured a fantastic picture of the prettiest straight needles I had ever seen. I looked, and admired, and remembered that I don't have straights because I like the flexibility that circulars give me - I can knit flat, or I can knit in the round. So I dismissed the pretty straight needles.

Then, and I'm rather fuzzy on how this happened, I became aware of the fact that Signature manufactures double pointed needles. I briefly entertained the idea of getting a set in my favourite sock size. Then I saw the price of the set and rather quickly dismissed the notion. It ain't for the faint of heart. Besides, I reminded myself, I don't like metal needles.

After last summer's sock race, though, and reading all the testimonials from praising Signature needles for a speed boost, I started to wonder if maybe I was missing out on something pretty incredible.

That possibility rattled around in my head for, well, a few months, and then finally, a week before Christmas, I broke. I came to the conclusion that I wanted a set of sock-sized Signature DPNs.

Once the decision was made, I waited a bit longer to place my order - I was all ready to pull the trigger, as it were, a couple of days after Christmas, but ran into a weird credit card authorization problem, and that slowed me down long enough for me to sign up for the newsletter and learn about the 12 Days of Christmas promo they were running. Then I hung around, waiting for a promo that was actually useful to me, and on 5 January, I placed my order.

They were shipped on 6 January.

They crossed the border into Canada on 15 January.

And today, 22 January, my crazy obsessive monitoring of the tracking information rewarded me with an update saying, Out for Delivery.

After work, I walked up to the superbox, expecting to find a delivery notice that I would need to take to the post office to claim my prize.

Instead, I found a cardboard tube inside my mailbox.

Inside that cardboard tube was a little plastic tube:

(Please forgive the crummy pictures. It is dark, and also, I'm too impatient to wait for good light. And proper focus.)

And inside that plastic tube?

Woot! They're here! And so pretty!

So, even though I've got a few other projects on the go - I'm nearly done with a shawlette, I've started a cardigan for me, I've got a new video game knit - a pullover for me - on the go, there's another cardigan for me that just needs its sleeves, a pullover for my sister that is nearly through the body, and a pair of socks for my sister that need the heel and foot of the second sock?

I'm gonna wind up some sister sock yarn tonight with the intent of turning it into a pair of plain stockinette socks for her. Basically, I want to test these puppies out - do they really make me knit faster?

I'm not at all sure of how I can introduce some measure of control here to get an objective quantification of my speed. After all, it's not like it's summer and I'm off work and can just crank away.

Ultimately, though, that doesn't really matter. I've got a serious itch to play with my new toys. Nuff said.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

K'done: Wingspan scarf

Uhm. Happy New Year?

Pattern: Wingspan, by Maylin Tan
Yarn: Noelle's Noodles 100% Merino Superwash Fingering Weight, in Man with a Guitar
Needles: 5 mm / US 8

I snagged a copy of this pattern while it was still available for free - before the whole kerfuffle with Trendsetter Yarns that prompted the designer to change the way the pattern was offered. Apparently there's an upgraded version that can now be purchased, but I don't know what's in it since I worked off the old freebie. I didn't do any modifications - spent most of the time worrying about whether I'd have enough yardage to complete the seven triangles! Clearly, I did have enough - there's a small ball of leftovers here. Not enough for another triangle, but I made it with some room to spare. I didn't wrap my short row turn stitches, so there are little decorative eyelets along one edge of each triangle. I maintained the 16 stitch stagger between triangles, and I used the Chinese Waitress CO for all CO stitches.

That picture up there is the best that I could do at the time. Actually, I lie. I could have done better if I'd used the DSLR, but I am lazy and used my iPhone's camera instead. So there's not much detail to it, and the blue is likely a bit more blue than in real life. I did try to take another, and it's up on my Rav project page, but I don't like the result enough to share it here.

I enjoyed this knit - garter stitch with some interesting shaping going on - and my gauge was 20 stitches to 4"/10 cm, which is pretty loose for fingering weight yarn, so the scarf is pretty floppy and drapey - in my mind, that's what you'd want for a scarf. I never measured the length of the thing before handing it off to my sister. I must admit, I'm a bit ambivalent about the finished product - it's nice-looking laid out on the floor there, but I'm unsure as to how one might wear the thing. I'll let my sister puzzle over that one.

But anyway. This scarf was the one lone project that actually got wrapped up in the 2013 Winter Wrap-Up. All the other candidates are still on the needles. So much for that urge!

Fear not, though - there's another thing started and finished since the calendar rolled over blocking upstairs!