Friday, December 30, 2011

Dreamz Interchangeable Knitting Needles - my evaluation

Dreamz Interchangeable Knitting Needles

Do you Dreamz in color? I finally had the time to try the new Dreamz wooden interchangeable needles and I found that I like them very much.

A bit of background first. The first interchangeable needles that I can remember were offered by Boye. The needles were steel, each size being a different color. The man designed the needles for his wife, he then designed a hard resin set where the needles snapped into the cords and he named this set after his wife, Denise. The Denise company was sold a while back to a family who has taken this set and made many changes. The Denise set has been one of my personal favorites, and the standard by which I measure other needles because I find them comfortable to use. The one complaint that I have is it is sometimes hard to read the needle size especially on the older sets and i have to admit that since I owned several (4 ) from before I started my business I often am working with the older sets although I did buy myself one of the Pink sets that supports breast cancer and the markings on the newer needle are much easier to read .

The Dreamz design is similar the Boye set and the same as the Knit Picks set but at a better price. The needles are colored wood with each size a different color. This means you can easily match up the pairs. Unlike the Boye set the cable is soft and flexible and the join to the needle is amazingly smooth. The needle tips are just pointed enough to make them easy to work with but not so pointed that they will split the yarn. Each cord comes with a small tool that can be inserted into a small hole to help you tighten the connection.

The set comes in a zippered plastic pouch with sleeves to hold the needle points and a removable pouch to hold the cables. End buttons and tightening tools are in small zip lock bags.

The basic set offers needle sizes 4 though 11. Also included are needle markers so if you transfer your work to a holder you just slip on a marker to let you know what size needle you were using.

All of this is priced at $82.00
http://patchworkfrog.com/dreamz.html. You can add to the basic set the chunky set which has needles US 13, 15, and 17 tips plus two cords, 24" and 32 " four end caps, two keys, and a flat envelope style carrying case that you can put into the larger case that holds the delux set.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New From The Patchwork Frog

What is new at The Patchwork Frog

The Knitter’s Blocks from Coco Knits are back in stock We were only able to get the small set with 9 blocks right now as the company is having problems getting the larger set of 12 manufactured.

We also have our sweater weight blocking wires from Fiber Dreams back in stock. Another manufacturing problem caused these to be unavailable for a few months but we are happy that we now have them again. These wires are made by hand and packaged in long tubes. They can’t be shipped with many of our other products since they ship in a mailing tube so if you order several items the wires will ship separately.

We are now carrying a new line of yarn hand dyed in Canada by Tradewind Knits. We have Cat’s Pajamas and Celestial Merino. Both fingering weight. The yarns are so soft that you will looked forward to knitting just to hold the yarn. Check out the Sea lettuce Scarf pattern for either of these yarns. This is a pattern suitable for even the advanced beginner and it is a wonderful project to take along when you are traveling.

We have added lots of new patterns to our pattern page. No comments: Links to this post

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cottage Creations Patterns

I was sad to learn that Carol Anderson of Cottage creations is going to phase out some of her Creative Cottage patterns. Many of you may not know her name but have knit at one time or another “The Wonderful Wallaby” or one of her afghan patterns. Carol has decided that she would like to get to more of her own knitting as well as find time for some of her other interests.

The Creative Cottage patterns come in a small booklet format with a story line that reads through the various parts as you knit. They are not only easy to read and simple patterns but are fun to read as well.

One of the patterns that will not be re-printed once her supply is gone is the Log Cabin Afghan, which is one of my favorites. This is a great pattern for using up your stash and also a wonderful pattern to carry along since the motifs are knit one square at a time and then later knit together with a three needle bind off.

She is offering one new pattern called Celia’s Blankie that is a cousin to the Rambling Rows Afghan. This is another seamless pattern that can be knit with almost any weight yarn and can be made in a child sized version and also a dolly sized. This pattern will be in stock in about a week.

Priced at just $6.50 each, get your copy of your favorite patterns before the supply is gone.
http://patchworkfrog.com/cottage-creation-patterns-s.html

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What’s New at The Patchwork Frog


If you are looking for a quick fun project consider the kntted necklace and bracelet kit from Swallow Hill. There are enough beads to complete one project , but enough rayon to make several. Addtional bead soup may be purchased. I am certain that you will want to make more than one, I know I will.

Even though I do have some lovely jewelry there are times when I want something with sparkel but not so serious and more fun. I chose the crystal bead kit because Caribbean trip next month and I decided this would be the most neutral since I do not know what I am going to pack.

The beads come loose so the first thing to do is to string them on the rayon. If you use a bead mat and a dental floss threader the stringing goes quickly and is quite easy. The mat keeps the beads from rolling around and they are easily picked up on the threader that you can buy in any drug store. The kit comes with a big eye needle that also can be used.

Since I wasn’t sure how to figure out the amount of beads I would need I decided to string them all. The problems with doing this is that you have to stop and slide the beads down on the rayon as you work to give yourself thread to work with. I decided that I preferred this to making joins in the work. You can use the Russian join for a strong, seamless join if you want to string only part of the beads. If you do this you will have to cut the rayon, string more beads and then make a join in the rayon to attach the two parts.

http://patchworkfrog.com/SwallowHill.html


The pattern calls for casting on 90 stitches and tells you that you will end up with a necklace of approximately 15 inches that will stretch a bit longer from the weight when you wear it.. I knew that I wanted something longer so I cast on 110 stitches. My finished piece measures about 21 inches ( see the picture). When I cast off all the stitches according to the pattern instruction I made a tiny knot at the end of my work and I left a long tail of rayon, twice the length of my finished piece that I am going to use to whip stitch the two long ends together to form a rope. I will then twist the rope to coil it so that the rows swirl.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review of Knit Swirl by Sandra McIver

I drove for an hour to a yarn shop that was hosting Sandra McIver author of Knit Swirl. She had most of the coats and jackets from the book available to try on. It was fascinating and wonderful to be able to see how each one fit and figure out which one was your own personal choice as a “first knit” since I can see that after knitting one you will want to knit more. I had a hard time choosing but I finally picked two and maybe three that I plan to make. Five years of work went into the development of creating the concept of the rounded jacket structured as Sandra McIver pictured it in her mind. Knit from the outside in and creating the shaping by decreases.

My dilemma is that I have two baby blankets, two shawls a coat and a Kimono and an almost finsih jacket on my needles right now and I really need to finish all of them before starting anything else. I wish I could knit faster and nothing else to do all day. So many projects and so little time, Sadly I won’t be starting my swirl just yet although I have picked out my yarn.

If you have been following my blog I made a similar type jacket a few years ago. That one was knit in two pieces, a circle and rectangle and then put together. This also had very little seaming but I have to admit that after trying on the Knit Swirl I think the fit and shaping is nicer. My original pattern came from a Korean company Zaol that is now out of business and the pattern was offered for free on the internet but is no longer available. The circle was knit using short rows which I find fun and easy but it took a while to knit the whole circle and the rectangle was simple and straight but a bit boring. I wasn’t entirely happy with the sleeves as the cuffs were a bit wide but after looking at the Swirls I have an idea of what to do to fix the problem.

The Swirl is knit all in one piece and has one seam to sew when you are finished. You cast on an enormous amount of stitches and work from the outside in. The beginning of the swirl is slow knitting because of all the stitches but as you decrease it goes faster and faster and then you get to the center where you bind off part of the circle leaving a center section knit the back and sleeves flat. The book diagrams and explains everything so that even a beginning knitter can handle this if they are okay with working so many stitches. The patterns are knit in a series of welts that you keep track of by just counting. You mark the beginning and end of the circle with a colored marker.

There are two basic shapes, a circle and an oval which are either centered or off center centered which means the opening is in the center which creates a larger collar and or off center (more near the top) which makes the collar and lapels more narrow. The off center oval makes a longer back and there is even a very short bolero style perfect for a summer jacket. The patterns are offered in 3 sizes, small medium and large. According to my measurements I would be a small but as I tried on the samples I quickly decided that I liked the slightly larger jackets with more overlap room so I will be knitting a size two. With each pattern she tells you what yarns were used for the samples and how much yardage. All are knit in worsted weight yarn on #8 needles but you will need a cord length of at least 40 inches to start in order to accommodate all the cast on stitches, over 600. She explains how to use two balls of yarn for your cast on. There were lots of women in the store all trying on the jackets and it was interesting to see that they looked good on everyone, short, tall, thin, heavy with large bust or small.

After trying them all I decided that I would either knit a longer coat called Silken Dreams, knit in Tilli Tomas yarn with beads that is a bit more dressy since the alternating welts are knit with a beaded yarn. or Copper Collage. I have some red merino/silk in my stash if I decide to make this one. The third one that I thought I might like called Silhouette In the Sun. I will be anxious to learn which ones you like the best.

I hope some of you get the book and knit a Swirl for yourself . http://patchworkfrog.com/books.html
Thea

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finding the best Basic Yarn

In Search of the Perfect Basic Yarn

We all love the speicaly yarns that our eye is drawn to when we are looking at yarn but often they sit in your stash because after purchasing them you aen’t sure what to make using them. It seems that mot of the time I find a pattern with some interest and what I need is basic yarn in solid colors. Every company seems to have them but many are expensive, put up in small balls and require lots of balls which equals lots of money.

I have been searching for the perfect all around yarn. The go to yarn when you want something basic. I looked for something that would have a good feel, nice memory and easy care. My final vote is Ella Rae Classic and Ella Rae Amity.

Classic is a wonderful basic wool yarn that will meet your every need. Both knit at about the same gauge.

Amity has a touch of wool , 25% but is mostly acrylic, 75%. Has great yardage at 200 yards per skein and knits up on a # 8 or #9 US needle. It is great for sweaters for the whole family babies included, scarves, afghans and blankets, hats , gloves and just about anything you can think of.
It knits up with a really good look and feel and doesn’t pill.

The yarn comes in both sold and heathers and at $5.00 a skein is a real bargain. A baby blanket will take about 3 or 4 if you are making it bigger and adult sized afghan will take 8-10 depending on the finished In my opinion this yarn is wonderful for all your basic sweaters especially if you want to show off our stitch pattern and for everyone in your family.

http://patchworkfrog.com/ellarea.html

AMITY

Fiber: 75% Acrylic, 25% Wool
Yardage: 200
5 Stitches = 1 inch Needle size: 8 US
$5.00

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Shawls

I had shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff injury that I suffered with for about a year after stupidly tripping in my kitchen. While I have been able to knit getting dressed is entirely another story.
It is difficult to get most things on and not much that goes over my head. My left arm is in a sling and since I am only able to use one arm getting a sweater on or off becomes a real workout. I quickly realized that a light weight shawl was the most practical piece of clothing in my closet but I wanted to have many different ones that would co-ordinate with my clothes and cover up my sling. After making several like the first one on this blog I was ready to design my own. Each one that I made was really nice but I wanted a top down with more or a natural drape over the shoulders and one that stay there becuse again it putting it on is still a bit of a challenge. I set to work designing exactly what I wanted and the result is the June Clouds Shawl which I have uploaded to Ravelry. It knits up with about 450 yards of light weight fingering or sock yarn and the interesting ribbed ruffle finishes the edge nicely. I have been experimenting with a variety of yarns and I am about to mke one using Tillie Tomas Sock yarn. Many of the sock yarns come in multicors and while that makes up in a very interesting pattern I also found that I needed solids. I will be casting a new one during the holiday weekend with the Tillie Tomas yarn and will post pictures as soon as i have enogh on my needles to show off my work.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/june-clouds-shawl

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blocking the Final Step to Finishing your Project

Blocking your knit or crochet project is the final step in finishing your garment and should not be over looked. First-time blockers are always amazed by the difference blocking makes to the final
appearance of their knitting. After blocking, sweater parts lay flat, stitches even out, and projects have a more professional look.

I used to block my projects either on a spare bed or on the floor. In order to block, your knitting has to be wet or steamed (I use a Jiffy Steamer) and pinned to the correct shape and measurements so there is drying time involved. For the most part this was very inconvenient and if I used the carpet I had to close the door to the room so the dogs didn’t walk on, or worse lay down, on my wet knitting.

I looked for a long time to find a blocking board that would work for me. Most boards that I found folded but were large, expensive, and storage was awkward. A blocking board needs to be large enough to block a long shawl, an afghan or a large sweater so getting something too small made no sense..

Last January at TNNA I finally found what I was looking for. The Knitters Block by Coco Knit is (9) 12 inch blocks that look like large puzzle pieces and they fit together in any configuration that you need for the particular project you are going to block. Unfortunately the production was slow so it took a while before I got my first order and like everything that I sell I wanted to test it out for myself to be certain that I really liked it before adding it to the website. I have now used it on several different types of knitted articles and I have been more than pleased with how nice it is to work on. It is almost half the price of other boards that I found, it stores in its own reusable tote bag and it is very light weight. I particularly like that I am able to make it long enough to block my shawls, and, because this is completely water proof i am able to set this up right on my dining room table and not worry that the table will be ruined

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Finished Shawl


I finished my shawl and blocked it in time to wear it this Memorial Day weekend.
As I look at the color changes for some reason with the color yarn I picked I
see Watermelon. Maybe it is because the red coloring at the very top changing
into the yellow and green reminds me of the fruit and the rind. Or possibly it
is because it is the end of May and we are still not having really warm weather
here in southern California and I just want to imagine warm days and out door
barbeques. http://www.patchworkfrog.com/images/rainbowshawllg.jpg

Friday, May 13, 2011

My summer Shawl


I guess both the advantage and disadvantage of having a knitting business when you are as addicted to yarn and knitting supplies as I am is to try to learn to control your addiction and not see everything that arrives (for sale) as something I should pull and knit myself.

Having said that when my order of Poems Yarn arrived I just sat looking at the yarn. The colors were just calling to me to make something. I couldn’t decide which yarn to pick, should I choose the Poem silk or the Poem sock? A real dilemma. My next question is what do I want to make.

With the odd weather we have ben having here in California I started thinking that what I would love to have are some shawlettes. Not big warm things that are heavy but some really nice lacy and light shawls that will just cover my shoulders. So off I want to look at my vast collection of patterns. Since I sell patterns, and really have some awesome patterns for sale, I guess I should have picked one of those, but I finally decided on one that I had found free on Ravelry called Citron (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/citron) that looked simple to knit and would show off the color changes in this beautiful yarn. I finally decided on Poem sock yarn in color 958 a mixture of deep rose, greens and bkue with just a touch of yellow orange that I decided would compliment several of my outfits. The shawl is a simple knit started at the top and adding increases and rouching so the shawl becomes curved and is a nicer fit than making a straight piece. The pattern is basically a 20 row repeat but only on the two rows that have the increases is there anything to think about. This pattern would work for even an advanced beginner and it only takes one skein of the sock yarn, knit not on the size #3 needle that is called for on the yarn band, but on a# 6 circular needle so the knitting goes quickly and produces a light and airy fabric

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton Yarn Sale

Just in time for your Spring and Summer knit and crochet projects we are closing out our inventory of Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton. We need to made room for know yarns that are arriving so we have decided to offer this wonderful yarn to you at a fantastic price of $4.00. It was $6.50 per ball and this is the best price for this yarn any place on the internet. I checked. 100% cotton, machine washable, worsted weight, 96 yards per ball, 4.5 stitches on US# 8 needle. Purchase quickly to get your choice of colors while we have availablility. we only have a few colors left. the yarn is wonderful to work with and you can see it knit up in my circular knitting prject. It knits up light which is nice because many of the cotton yarns fell heavy when you knit with them and the yarn is very, very soft. http://patchworkfrog.com/debbieblissvarn.html#DBPureCotton

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kits Kits and More Kits


How often have you been ready for that next knit or crochet project but just couldn’t figure out exactly what you wanted to make.
Please check out our new and updated “kits” section. We discovered many exciting designers at TNNA this year and we have put together a wonderful collection of kits for you. Some of them are one skein, quick projects easy to carry along and some are a bit more time consuming but all are simple enough even for the advanced beginner with easy to read and follow instructions. We only picked companies offering what in our opinion are the nicest yarns with the best drape so that your garment will be truly special. http://patchworkfrog.com/knitandcrochet%20kits.html

I really cant wait to get started. At TNNA I visited the maggi Knits booth where they had lots of Maggi's shawls and wraps knit up and available to try on. Once you have put one oof these on you won't want to take it off. I picked out one called the London scarf which is one of her new designs to be my own project and will be posting pictures as soon as I get the yarn on my needles. Unfortunately i am forcing myself to finish up a gift first. I am knitting the Prima Ballerina sweater, a Sassy Skein Pattern, http://patchworkfrog.com/sassyskein.html,this time in just one color with no stripes. I will post a picture when I finish the sweater. I am using a bright pink dk weight yarn, Sirdar Snuggly. This will be a gift for a one year old. Hopefuly the knitting will go quickly so that I can move to something just for me.