New needles and a challenge for myself this week

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your week. As of today I’m off work for 4 days! A mini vacation as my kids are on school holiday so I’m super happy.  We don’t have anything special planned but just relaxing and NOT working sounds like such a great plan right now.

I am going to use part of this free time to challenge myself. I’m going to tackle my mountain of wips! So, I’m not sharing a picture of that with you now because I’m too ashamed of its current state. I have a corner in my bedroom that has become home to a pile of wips in various stages of completion and even some “to be knit” projects. When looking at this, you just see a pile of project bags and yarn peeking out from some of them along with printouts of patterns.

After watching VeganJilly’s last episode, The Knitting Broomstick, and hearing about her decluttering January and how she tackled her wips, I was inspired to do the same. I know that in there there are projects that are going to be frogged, projects that are not going to be done just now and so I can return the skein of yarn to the stash and of course others that I will need to work on asap.

I’m hoping that after going through it all, I’ll be able to downsize to a manageable mountain of wips (when I know what that is, I’ll tell you).

Another motivation to do this is the approach of Sock Madness 11th edition! I joined in last year for the first time and made it to the second to last round. I’m not so sure I’ll make it that far this time around but I still want to join in the fun. But to start the sock madness I feel I need to clear some stuff off my needles and not feel overwhelmed with all the projects that are waiting to be worked on.

Once I’m done, I will share pictures with you. Promise 🙂

Do you have the same problem? Are you a long time sufferer of Castonitis like I am? I’m constantly casting on new things and if something is not quite as exciting as I thought, there’s a good chance it will end up as a languishing wip!

If you have had this problem and overcome it or if you want to share how you tackled your mountain of wips, I’d love to hear about it.

But enough of that, today I wanted to tell you about my new favorite needles. In 2011 when I launched my Knitting in France shop, I specialized in knitting needles. I felt that, at least in France, the choices were very limited and I wanted to offer a broad choice of needles. And I did. I offered casein needles (from milk protein -still have some in stock if you are interested), square needles from Kollage (also still have some), triangular needles (these sold out), hexagonal needles (by Indian Lake Artisans) – still have some, Signature Needle Arts – the Rolls Royce of knitting needles and those all sold out. And then I had a selection of Addi, Chiaogoo and Hiya Hiyas. I was actually the first shop to sell Hiya Hiyas in France!

So I have tried a lot of different knitting needles be it the material used, the shape or style. I think 99% of my knitting is done on circular needles and those are obviously my favorite type. I do still have a large selection of dpns and I still use these occasionally for socks and mitts.

Recently I have noticed an increased interest in knitting socks on 9″ circulars. When I had those in my shop, people were afraid of trying and I often got feedback from customers about them being fiddly to use an rare were the customers to come back for more of those. I tried them myself and I agreed with them. I’m very tall and so my hands are big and I just felt awkward using them. I tried for a bit and then just decided it wasn’t for me. But recently seeing all the podcasters using them as well as knitters on IG, I decided to give them another go. And guess what? I actually like them now! When knitting socks, especially vanilla socks, I feel they knit up so much faster. I began using my Chiaogoos and Hiya Hiyas and then I heard of this Addi needle and just had to try it out. Now I have at least 6 of those!

In German they are called Sockenwunder which translates to Sock Wonders and they truly are. The difference from other needles is the size. These are actually 10″ and the difference is in the needle point size. Your left hand point is “regular” 9″ size but the right hand one, the working needle, is longer and that makes all the difference for me. It gives me something more to hold on to and makes the process a lot less fiddly.

On the second picture you can clearly see the difference in length for the two needle points. The price point for those is good I think. I haven’t been able to find these in France so I buy them on Amazon and they always come from some yarn shop in Germany.

If you like using 9″ or if you have been thinking of giving them a go, I would recommend you try these out. I really love using them for my socks and I have been using them a lot more than my regular 40″ circulars (I do magic loop).

Another needle that I just aquired and love is the latest addition to Signature Needle Arts. Like I said above, I used to sell their needles in my shop and at the time I of course purchased some for myself, mostly dpns at that time. Because of their price tag, these were a slow seller but I was proud of being able to offer them to my knitters but it wasn’t a sustainable solution for me unfortunately. I did not stop buying them though and they later stopped doing the fixed circulars and turned to interchangeables only which I though was sad. I did buy a number of those still and of course they are all a joy to knit with. Only these were all rather big sizes, 3.50 mm and up.

Then around Vogue Knitting Live, I learned that they had launched a sock size circular! And of course I had to go and get one. I think they still only offer one size, 2.25mm. I really love this needle. It is super pointy of course, but their Stiletto point is my favorite. I do prefer the cable they use for the interchangeable needles to this one, but it’s not lessening my pleasure when using them though.

I’m currently knitting my Prairie Socks on them. Of course the price is many times the price of the Addi needle so this is more of an indulgence purchase. But if you have the chance of getting one, I’m sure you will enjoy using them very much. They are super slick and very light. They totally live up to their reputation!

So that’s what I wanted to share with you today. Let me know if you would like me to talk more about the different knitting needles I have used and the different materials they are made out of. I could do a series of posts on that if you are interested.

But before saying goodbye, I have two reminders:

First, the winner of the Knit Cosmic Strings Yarn giveaway has still not contacted me. If you participated, please go check out this post and if you were the winner contact me asap. If I don’t hear from the winner by the end of this week, I will draw for another winner.

And second, today is the last day to join in the Yarn Cafe Creations giveaway. Just click here if you haven’t read my interview with Christy and join in the giveaway. I will draw for a winner using Random Number Generator sometime tomorrow, February 15th.

I wish you all a lovely Valentine’s Day and a wonderful rest of the week. I’ll be back tomorrow for a short post to announce the winner and then next week for a regular post and I will be sharing my progress on the Mountain of Shame aka mountain of wips:)

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Back from Sicily

Hi there, just a quick note to let you know that I’m back from a wonderful family vacation in Sicily! I’ll have to tell you all about that when I have a little more time. I feel I have a billion things to share with you only the return after being away from work, shop and home for 2 weeks is super hectic!

It was extremely hot and humid in Sicily so knitting was not always easy but I did knit! I had brought a hand spindle and some roving for spinning but it was just too hot for me to actually do spinning so unfortunately I did not do any spinning.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen pictures every now and then of me and my knitting at the beach! Such as these

www.knittinginfrance.com  Here I’m working on a new sock pattern. I’ll be sharing some more pictures with you later of that

www.knittinginfrance.com and here I’m knitting on my Mara Light shawl

I’ll need to free up some writing time this week to tell you about my vacation and my knits on the needles as well as some exciting news about the shop and future pattern support for my yarns:) Yeah! I’m super excited about all that:)

Also,  my HUGE DISCOUNT offer is still going for a few more days! So if you would like to try out some of my hand dyed and or hand spun yarns NOW is the time! I also have lots of stitch markers, knitting needle holders as well as knitting needles and crochet hooks. And the best part is that you can have them all at a 40% OFF! So just place an order before the end of August 22nd for 10€ and more and use the discount code: RENEWAL upon check out! I hope you have or will be able to enjoy this offer, do share with your fellow crafters and on social media. The more sales I get, the better I’ll be able to make my “new” shop! After August 22nd I’ll be closing the shop for about 2 weeks as I reorganize and set everything up. I’m super excited about this renewed shop so I cross my fingers and hope for the best:) So for the shopping, this is where the magic happens- just click here . My shop is on Etsy under the name Knitting in France or www.knittinginfrance.etsy.com

That’s all for today. Take care and enjoy your crafting until next time