Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying this beginning of summer if you are in the northern hemisphere.
I have been furiously knitting on a secret test knit that should be published soon. It is a colorwork sweater and I decided to knit two in stead of just one! I was convinced that a modified version would also look great and so I knit two versions. I do have to weave in ends on the second sweater and block it but that should be done quickly and hope to be able to share the pictures with you soon.
As I had to finish the sweaters rather quickly everything else was put on the back burner.
I did make it to round 5 of Sock Madness but then sort of left. Round 6 only 5 knitters from each team would make it to the next round and the pattern was not to my liking so I admit I did not try to compete for that round.
Since then I started and finished a pair of socks for my younger daughter. I’m a fan of selfstriping sock yarn and especially self striping yarn from Turtle Purl Yarns and I had a lot of small minis from them which I had set aside to use in my Northeasterly blanket. But that has been on hold for a few months now and I really wanted to use the minis so I decided on knitting a pair of scrappy socks.
I also wanted them to be extra cozy so I decided to make the leg extra high.
How fun are these? Not everyone likes colourful non matching socks but I find them fun and my daughter loves them! So that is all that matters.
I actually think I will be making more like these. My daughter sleeps in handknit socks in winter and I think scrappy, long legged socks look extra cozy.
I am also working on a pair of socks now and I’m just inventing the pattern as I go. I’m using a self-patterning sock yarn from Turkey this time but what is different with this pair is that I’m using flexible double pointed needles from NEKO, a German brand. I’m using their bamboo version and so far so good. They are very nice in the hands and good to work with. I’m going to finish the pair before doing a proper review here and I will also be doing a little interview with the people behind these needles and I hope you will enjoy that later.
But here is the first sock
I was going to do a vanilla sock, then decided on a ribbing and then felt it was too simple and so added a little cable at regular intervals and I really like how this is knitting up. The cables do draw the sock in so it looks super narrow but then it stretches out when I put my hand in so I think this will be all good. These are also for my younger daughter but this time the leg is a rather short one.
I’m sort of un officially joining the SMAL or spinning makealong that Mina of the Knitting Expat is running now. I have spun up some merino fibre that I tried to spin up to a sort of DK weight and then dyed up the yarn in soft colours. I have knit a little swatch to verify if the yarn will work for what I have in mind.
I want to knit the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter but I’m a little worried maybe my yarn will not work. In some places it looks more like a worsted weight yarn. But I’m going to keep on swatching and hopefully I will be able to make this work. If not I will have to find another pattern that I could use this yarn for. If you have any good pointers or know of a colourwork pattern that calls for DK/worsted I’d love to check those out.
So this week I’m going to finish the pair of socks for my daughter, finish my swatching for my handspun so I can start the Soldotna if it works. I also will continue to work on my Olive Leaf Cardigan by Eri which I have yet to share with you. I’m getting close to being done with the body and then there are the sleeves. Friends of my husband have just had their first baby and I’m going to knit a little cardigan for their baby so I’m looking at patterns (I’m tempted by this one https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-fir-jacket) and yarns in my stash and I look forward to getting that going. It’s been a while since I knit for a baby.
I hope you are having fun with your knitting too and if you would like to share pictures or names of patterns you are working on to inspire me and the other readers, that would be great.
Hi there, how are you doing today? I hope you are well and have had a good end of May with plenty of fun knitting. Again I have failed to post regularly….not good…
But today I have something exciting to share with you. A while back I hinted at sharing information with regarding a new type of knitting needles. Well now it’s time to tell you all about those.
I was contacted by the woman behind the needles, Alexis end of last year. She offered to send me a pair to try out and of course I was excited to try them out. After all I have always been curious about knitting needles and all the different types of needles there are. This brand of knitting needles and crochet hooks is called My Two Ladies.
This new type of needles is midway between a straight needle and a circular needle. The difference between My Two Ladies’ needles and needles called “flexible single point needles” is that there is a movable stopper on Alexi’s needles meaning you can block your stitches at any point you choose on the cable. This allows you to use her needles for a large variety of project sizes.
This is a great innovation for knitters who like to knit flat using single pointed needles. These will come in especially handy when knitting on the go like in public transport where you will be able to avoid stabbing your fellow travellers with your single pointed needles sticking out.
These needles come in sizes 3.5 mm /US 4 to 15 mm/US19.
I don’t usually knit flat when knitting garments so I don’t use my single points much these days. However I did try these out as I knit my Jaycee cardigan. I knit that one on a set of 3.5mm needles. That was a design knit front and back in one piece. The needle points are from rosewood so they have a beautiful design and are very nice in the hand and felt good working with them. I did use the adjustable stopper as at the beginning I did not have a lot of stitches on my needles and then moved the stopper along as they increased.
I found the needles to be enjoyable to knit with and if you prefer knitting with single points or like the idea of being able to use a set of needles no matter the size of your project (and don’t like using a 40″ circular for a small project) you just might fall in love.
The tools we use in our craft are very important and even more important than our choice of yarn as even knitting with gorgeous yarn, if the needle is rubbish, you will not enjoy working your beautiful yarn. So I truly believe it is well worth trying out different options and getting good, quality tools that we enjoy working with. And as part of that belief I recommend you give My Two Ladies a try 🙂
Here are a couple of links to videos where you can see better how the needles work
I was able to interview Alexis for the blog and I am so happy to introduce her and her company to you today.
Welcome Alexis and thank you for accepting to be interviewed for my blog. To begin, could you tell us a little bit about your self?
I am a native New Yorker living in the outskirts of NYC with my family. I have always been both crafty and fixing things. I worked in a legal office for many years as an administrative assistant which definitely was not creative in nature. I would work part time also in retail simply because I loved selling and meeting people. That was my hobby. I have always been proponent of volunteerism and have and continue to be very involved in the anti-bullying movement. I retired at 55, accidentally became a patented inventor, went to local university to take crash courses in entrepreneurship and business, somehow landed myself the title of President of Alexis Crafting Needles LLC and loving every minute of it. I still pinch myself.
Are you a knitter or a crocheter or both?
I am a knitter and also crocheter. Actually not a master in either. I consider myself mediocre at best. I am amazed at the talent and perplexity of projects created. I am so in awe of these fibre artists.
Do you remember how you learned/who thought you and how old you were?
I learned to crochet and knit when I was about 13 from my Italian grandmother. The interesting circumstance about learning from Nonna was that she only spoke Italian and I only spoke English. Yet these were my most cherished communications between us.
Did you immediately take to the craft or has this passion been gradual?
I have always enjoyed arts of every type even before starting school. Painting, drawing, woodworking, etc. I started sewing in high school and actually took to it quickly. My parents bought me a basic sewing machine and I started making halter tops for friends and classmates to make some money. I crocheted much more than knitting in my younger days. Dropping stitches intimidated me. I started knitting again when I was 30 and wanted to make garments for my soon to be born child. Having a purpose propelled my knitting skills. Since then I mostly knit. I retired at age 55 got very involved in a new local yarn shop that opened in my town. I spent a lot of time there, learning, creating and fostering wonderful relationships.
Would you say you are a lifestyle knitter/crocheter today? Meaning do you knit/crochet every day?
I did knit everyday once I retired, but actually since inventing my needles, going through the patent process and running my new business, I no longer knit every day. Mostly when traveling and waiting in doctors offices.
What lead you to creating your own company and developing these new knitting needles? When did this all start and what lead to it? Why create a new type of knitting needles?
I created these needles while knitting a large bulky blanket at the yarn shop. I was very frustrated with circulars for this project and straights were just too short for the hundreds of stitches. As I was complaining about my problem, somehow an idea just popped into my head. I grabbed some needles and tools from the shop and right then and there made my working prototype. The ladies at the shop just kept saying “how is it no one ever thought of this”.
When did you first commercialise your new needles ? What has the feedback been like so far?
Soon after creating my needles I started getting requests to make them for knitters in the shop. Then I started getting requests from friends of friends. I had a little business I never planned on having. I was a big fan of The Shark Tank television show and thought why not inquire about obtaining a patent. Definitely easier said than done. It is basically two years since I began the patent process and learning how to proceed with my new found journey. Coincidentally I received Patent Approval only two weeks ago (it has now been a little longer due to me not posting the interview sooner-edit from Knitting in France). It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment and worth the 24/7 work week.
Would you say your needles have an advantage over say regular straight needles and why?
Yes there are many advantages to these “adjustable needles”. I consider these needles to be somewhat of a hybrid of circular and straights. I have discovered a definite need in the marketplace. The basic premise is that you can put hundred of stitches on these needles and knit flat, allowing you to see your pattern, take the weight off of your arms and upper body, and no more heavy bunch of your project hanging in the middle of your circular cord. But the real game changing feature of the needles is the adjustable spring activated sliding stopper that allows you to move the stopper as you are knitting and keep all your stitches at the forefront of your needles. You knit so much quicker, easier and stress free. They have been a lifesaver for those afflicted with arthritis and other hand ailments. We have a very large repeat customer client base and it is the greatest feeling when you have customers telephoning or emailing to say thank you for inventing them and how it has brought knitting back into their lives.
Other than on your own website, where can we find your needles?
I have been selling on the prestigious inventors platform The Grommet since I got my first shipment of needles. It’s been a great stepping stone for me. Then I started picking up local yarn stores and a small distributor which kept me selling enough but not too much to get overwhelmed. I was chosen to attend the Home Shopping Network – American Dream Academy conference which was a great opportunity for any new inventor/entrepreneur. Only 100 products were chosen from the entire United States. This led me to have the chance to debut My Two Ladies on the Zulily home shopping site often. I have recently hired sales reps to sell to local yarn shops in their territories. This has been extremely helpful in getting the brand out across the country. I have a few shops in Canada and plan searching for distributors in Europe.
Where are your needles produced?
My needles are handcrafted by a multi-generational family of expert woodworking artisans in a small town in India. My Two Ladies is made of sustainably produced Indian rosewood with a no wax finish. It is hand rubbed and polished with a proprietary finish that the family owns. We have grown to have a wonderful working relationship based on high quality standards and respect for each other.
I noticed that you now also sell crochet hooks and circular needles now. Are there other items you will be adding to your selection?
Yes, we started expanding our line for several reasons. Most importantly, there was a demand for luxury high quality tools. Customers like the feel and warmth of our adjustable needles. Also, selling just one item is not alluring to potential wholesalers simply because of saving time. So I had my wonderful source in India make me short runs of ergonomic hooks, circulars and others products continue to roll out. Fortunately I am now on my second run after almost selling out on the hooks and also circulars.
And what about the yarn bowls, can you tell us about those? Are they hand made?
The yarn bowls are an amazing piece of artistry. Hand made taking hours and hours to make just one bowl. I put videos up showing the workmanship on my website and Instagram/Facebook accounts which you just cannot stop yourself from watching over and over.
Where do you see your company in say 5 years time?
Well, I came upon this wonderful journey when many are wrapping up their careers. So, I am not wasting any time. I am exactly where I forecasted to be when I created my business plan. It’s been a huge learning curve for me, but with a good product, hard work and kind/helpful/supportive people, I have been able to have success. Within the next two years I will be concentrating on brand recognition. Since receiving my patent not only for the needles but also the knitting method, I have definitely seen a rise in inquiry’s and sales. In five years the plan is to be a recognised luxury brand for fibre arts tools, if not THE leading luxury brand.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about this recent addition to our world of knitting needles and learning about Alexis and her journey into product invention and entrepreneurship in the knitting industry.
I hope you will have a wonderful week and enjoy your crafting as before and why not try out a totally new to you knitting needle while you are at it:)