Friday, February 29, 2008

Go Go Gadget

Every craft, every hobby, every sport has its gadgets. Knitting is no different. There are endless discussions as to what is necessary, what is a reasonable cost, what can be made at home and what should be bought. When I first started knitting I had a couple of different size straight needles, a couple of balls of yarn. As my knitting began to get more involved, I started collecting more straight needles, invested in a couple of pairs of circular needles and a couple of different sized crochet hooks. It goes without saying that as the yarn stash and pattern collection grew, more needles were added, now DPNs. A gauge ruler thingy became a necessity as did stitch markers and a row counter. Quilting pins for blocking were added, as were cable needles, needle protectors and stitch holders. Then came the KnitPicks Options and the fixed circulars in tiny needle sizes for making socks. Of course once I discovered the joys of hand painted yarns a ball winder became a necessity. For months and months I debated over that purchase. As I gazed longingly at my growing stash, that I wasn't knitting from, I knew that a ball winder would solve many problems. Yes, I had tried making balls off the back of a chair. I learned how to make a center wind ball. And when it came to my Cascade 220, it didn't take too ,too long. But with sock yarns, forget it. Hours were spent winding and un-knotting my precious yarn. I NEEDED that winder. Of course yarn doesn't get wound by a winder alone. No, I NEEDED a swift too. But I could only afford one and so the ball winder won. Of course it was on back order due to the winter rush, but when it made its appearance at the end of January, you must have heard the squee heard 'round the world


At about the same time I ordered my winder, New Roommate asked what I wanted for Chanukah. I had shown her the DIY article on building your own swift with Tinker Toys, but in the end we decided on the real thing. Of course life gets hectic, does it not? And New Roommate's life has been especially hectic lately. So I was thrilled beyond belief when she presented me with my swift on the 84th night of Chanukah!

Now a winder's not working to full capacity without its swift, and swift just goes 'round and 'round ( a record baby) without its winder but put the two of them together and it's just a little bit of magic.

And instead of taking hours of frustration, you can go from this:

To this:
In about 5 minutes!

Now I have done the numbers, and ball for ball, my swift and ball winder will have cost me pennies per hank over the years if take care of them and treat them well.

There are many other gadgets out there that will cost you lots and lots. And that's before I even start thinking about dying or spinning! There are also gadgets out there for just a few dollars each, or less. Of the three below, one was bought, one was acquired, and one is a DIY that would make Joan Crawford rethink the usefulness of a wire hanger.

For just a few dollars, the Tcirc-Keeper by the Tsock Tsarina is "great for protecting your WIP, your needles and your bag."

Just slip the ends of your needles into the tube:

Replace the cork:

And you're good to go.

Next, my current blocking board. In Jerusalem I tried to make it work with my ironing board, but really it was too narrow and never long enough. And since I've only been here in the winter, I have yet to acquire and iron or board. So what a relief when New Roommate donated these children's playing mats. I don't remember why she had them, but I was happy to put them to good use. Because they can be fit together in a myriad of ways, they are the perfect solution for most blocking needs. One day I may invest in a real blocking board, but for now this is fabulous.

I just unpinned Argosy VI from this so it is still in a long, straight configuration. I think there's also another block in the closet.

And last, but certainly not least, DIY Sock Blockers, courtesy of the dry cleaner and this tutorial.

Do you have a gadget you can't live without or wish you could get your hands on? Share, please!

1 comment:

Tamar said...

Hi Tante! I keep meaning to leave a comment and then suddenly the baby needs something. Meanwhile you've been making so many beautiful things! And your foam & wire blockers? Genius!

-Tamar (from Ravelry)