Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oops!

How silly of me! I just realized that the name of the yarn store in Fort Smith is Stringtown, not Stringtime. I've gone through and corrected my posts, but I also wanted to apologize for any inconvenience or confusion my error may have caused.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Calling all comments!

Do any of you, dear readers, have any products or stores you really like?

We'd love to hear about them.

If you have a product that you would like to see reviewed, we'd also love to hear from you!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Product Review

When I went to Stringtown in Fort Smith, AR, I had to buy needles for my project, specifically, one 16-inch circular, US size seven (4.5mm)needle, and matching dpns. The brand Stringtown carries is Chiao Goo, which makes surprisingly inexpensive bamboo needles. The double points are pretty standard glove needles (short dpns). The were very easy to work with: no snags, easy to handle, dull points (but that's to be expected in bamboo).

However, I was less impressed with the circulars. They are constructed in a similar fashion to Crystal Palace bamboo circulars: narrow nylon cable, smooth bamboo needle, with a metal casing connecting the two. Like the larger sizes of Crystal Palace circulars, the needles would squeak a little as the metal and bamboo rubbed against each other, but my real complaint was that the join between the cable and the needle was less than smooth. I am a fairly loose knitter (partially because I knit continental-that is with the yarn in my left hand), so I was surprised that I had to force the stitches over the join in every round of the hat I was making. It was like every row was the cast-on row.

Now, that hat that I bought the needles for was out of a cashmerino blend. By the time I finished the hat, I had some cotton bought from Angelhair in Nashville that also required size seven needles. Despite the fact that the cast-on row in the cotton was also horrible (largely because the cotton tried to untwist itself in the knitted cast-on), the rest of the project was fine. The Chiao Goo circulars worked just fine with the cotton, and I plan to use them again.

So, my review: If you have the option of buying Chiao Goo bamboo needles, don't think twice about buying their double points. They're a great frugal purchase. I plan to buy more of these as I need them.

The circulars on the other hand, require a little more consideration. I do not recomend them for animal fibers or novelty yarns (ribbon, eyelash, and the like). They would probably work fine for mohair, though. If you are going to use a plant fiber, especially one that does not split easily, they will work just fine.

But whether you plan to use plant or animal fibers, only by the circulars if you don't mind a little squeaking now and then. If you are using plant fibers, and you don't mind a little squeaking, then these circulars will likewise be a good buy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

No longer from the road

After a long, two-week drive cross-country, I covered 7400 miles, 18 state and DC, and a lot of knitting (and a little crocheting too). As I posted previously, I visited a wonderful shop in Fort Smith, AR. While there, I bought some lovely yarn in the clearance section (to play with) and some red cashmerino (for a hat for my brother-in-law). Of course, I also bought needles for the hat, as I wanted to finish the hat before we made it back to Fort Smith, so I could give it to hime directly rather than have to mail it. Leave it to me to forget yarn needles for tucking in the loose ends!

Of course, that doesn't matter much while the hat is still on the needles, but by the time we had worked our way to Columbus, OH, the loose ends were all that stood in the way of being done. When we spent the following night in Nashville, TN, I looked up yarn stores in the Yellowpages. There were three, so we went to the one closest to our hotel: Angelhair Yarn Co.

It was a really nice place. They had a wide variety of yarn, patterns, and supplies; good service; great lighting; and were well organized. In addition to the yarn needles I needed, I bought some cotton and a skein of Aloo, by Himalaya Yarns. Aloo is a fiber made from a kind of palm frond from a tree also called aloo. The skein I have is coarse, kind of like a cross between hemp and linen.

Speaking of linen, they also carry a brand of linen that is both soft and machine washable. I had never seen that before, and it was really nice. Unfortunately, it was a little outside my budget as well.

Anyway, more later.