Functional Friday: StashBot

I first heard about the app StashBot, was at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2014. Amy Herzog mentioned it in her Sweater Bootcamp class and I wrote it down, but completely forgot about it! I listened to a Knitmore Girls episode and they talked about it as well. I downloaded it immediately and I thought I would share it with you! The app is available on itunes app store, so far it is not available on android, but on Hannah Fettig’s website, they have a place to sign up for information about the android version.

If you’re an apple user I suggest you download it immediately!

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.57.03 PM

This app’s purpose is to give you yardage for a project. I know! It sounds too good to be true. Honestly, you select the type of garment, there are several different lengths of sweater, lengths of sleeve, hats, mittens, socks, etc. The next option is size, chest measurement, foot, head and hand size. The measurments are quite extensive, the chest measurements range from 16” (3 months) all the way to 62”. Such a wide range is almost unheard of! I really can’t get over the range of sizes included; even in the accessories, there are child sizes all the way up to adult XL. This is perfect for me because the majority of people I knit for are adults, but if I ever was out and saw something I would like to knit my nephew, I can just use this app to get the approximate yardage for the project.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.57.18 PM

The next option to select is stitches per inch or 10cm. You are able to choose inches and yards or use centimeters and meters, as your preference is. On some yarn labels the stitches per inch is on the label, if not, here is a basic guide of yarn weights and stitches per inch.

Stitches per Inch

After you have entered all these stats in the app, there is an approximation of the yardage you will need for said garment!
I think this is one of the most useful apps I could have ever found and I am completely in love with it! StashBot is a paid app and shows up as $5.79 in my itunes, I am not completely sure if that is CAD or USD, but it is worth every cent!

ChiaoGoo Spin Bamboo Interchangeable Needle Review

Now for the review you have all been waiting oh so patiently for! The ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles. I did get a set of Spin Bamboo Interchangeables and a set of Twist Red Lace Interchangeables; due to personal bias, I started reviewing the bamboo needles first.

SBI 1

The first thing I will say about these needles is RUN AND BUY THEM NOW. Since reviewing the ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles I knew they were a quality product, but I am totally in love with these interchageables.

SBI 6

I am getting ahead of myself though. The very first thing that really struck me about these needles is the case they came in. Everything was organized and labeled inside, each needle had it’s separate place with the needle size stitched onto the outside casing.

SBI 4

The only thing I would have changed on the inside would be a place to keep the cords. When the package arrives they are in their own individual baggies within the needle case, but it would be nice to have pockets for them or a zippered section.

SBI 2

There is a zippered section on the outside of the needle case which comes filled with a needle gauge and stitch markers. I love it when companies add in the little touches like this. It really shows how much their customer services shines through and gives the impression that they are here to equip knitters. They’re not going to give you a hard time, they just want you to knit.

SBI 3

The zippered pouch on the outside could be used for the cables, depending on how you organize your things. The cables were actually very interesting to me. There were two different sizes; a small and a large. Not in length either, in the gauge of the orifice where you screw in your needles. The bigger needles (5.5mm/US9 through 10mm/US 15) have a larger base. The bottom part you screw into your cable is physically a different size than the smaller needle sizes. I am not really sure how I feel about this because it really means you would have to buy double of any extra cables you want. I haven’t reached the point where it would become annoying to me, but I think it would depend on which needle sizes you would use more. There is no fear of mixing up the cables because they are both labeled as small or large.

SBI 5

Now, for the needles themselves. I started a project on these needles and everything slides so easily. The connector that screws onto your needle twists all the way around which prevents the cables from unscrewing on their own and your cable doesn’t get tangled as often as it would normally.

SBI 7

The tips of the needles are wonderfully sharp. This is always my fear with trying out new bamboo or wooden needles, is that they will be blunt. I had a few bamboo needles from an independent yarn store, which were horribly dull. It made increasing or decreasing a nightmare and regular old knitting was no walk in the park either. Although I would highly suggest it if you are trying to get out of the habit of knitting too tightly; it is simply not plausible with dull needles, you would never get the stitch off the needle on the next row.
The cables do not lay as flat as the red lace, but the cables are just plain plastic for the interchangeable set. That being said, they are much less stubborn and curly than your average interchangeable needle set. I can’t wait to review their stainless steel counterparts!!

Not so Functional Friday

My posts have been everywhere this week, what with Christmas coming up and all, it was bound to happen at some point. I really haven’t gotten a good amount of time to play with the ChiaoGoo interchangeables yet, so I am going to hold onto that review. Between now and the new year, I am not going to be posting the regular segments, but just writing about holiday madness in general. I like the holidays and love it when the authors of blogs take the time to be festive!

Paul and Ethan Christmas

I am going to admit it right now… I haven’t started Christmas shopping. It’s a terrible horrible thing, I know. I am planning on braving the malls on this Saturday with Marianne. She is down visiting her parents and was brave enough to meet me… at the mall… five days before Christmas. Brave soul indeed.

Puppy with a Hat

I am not usually so unorganized, I’ve usually got something planned for what I am going to get everyone, I’ve got it wrapped etc. Not this year. This year I am using avoidance tactics and just not thinking about it. My plan is to wander aimlessly in the mall and wait till something jumps out at me. Fair warning to all my friends and family, just hope you don’t get something that literally jumped out at me. Muahahhaa.
I am starting to feel the need to make a list, but only check it once. This year has been a very long year, and I almost feel like I am not capable of feeling stress anymore. My body just doesn’t process it, I end up staring at the wall with a glazed look on my face and have vague thoughts about how agreeable jello is.

Caught Red Pawed

To really show how bad it is, Paul and I didn’t put up a tree this year or get advent calendars! Put the Christmas decorations up for Thanksvember, so I would put that one in the win column! We also have Christmas lights up on the house blinking away madly.
I really wanted to send out Christmas cards this year, but we are just getting our Thank –you cards out from the wedding. I am really close to being done my side. Paul’s mom wants to write her side in Vietnamese and send photos, so I am getting help with that side of the family. The only ones I have left to write are for the wedding party. I want to take my time writing those so I can appreciate them properly. After writing so many Thank-you cards, I don’t know if I could handle Christmas cards anyway. For this year, we can say the Thank you cards are the Christmas cards, I am writing Merry Christmas in most of them anyway.
This past weekend, my parents were down and my mom brought me a few more cards. Two of them were from some family friends in the UK, since they couldn’t fly out for the wedding, I am going to send them some photos.
I hope every one is having good holidays so far and haven’t really started freaking out yet… Christmas is in 6 days!

Functional Friday: All on their Own

I was going to write this post about the first set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables, but I thought I would break them up a bit with a yarn review in the middle! The yarn I found while searching for materials for the most recent pair of socks really surprised me. I remember buying Four Seasons Gründl: Hot Socks Diamond on a whim because I had nothing to knit while at Paul’s parents’ house. I blogged about it here.

Sock Heel SS

This yarn was advertised to create socks with stripes. It’s not that I doubted they would knit up with stripes, but I guess I didn’t have high hopes about how good they would look. I expected them to knit into stripes of all different sizes and look kind of unorganized.
They turned out so well! The stripes might be kind of random, but they go together as a whole. The stripes that are all right beside one another are complementing rather than random. Now that I have them almost done, I am having a hard time parting with them.

Stock SS

The yarn itself was surprisingly soft, I don’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but I know it would not have been much. Since the label is not English I couldn’t decipher the composition, but with the wonders of Ravelry, I was able to pin down English instructions. The yarn is 75% wool and 25% nylon, which is about average, so I am not really sure what makes it so soft. It was really a pleasure to work with. My only issue is, each ball of yarn is 50g and 230 yards (210 meters). This means you only get one sock per ball. On one hand I could see why they would have one sock per ball. You want the socks to be matching so you would need the same colour progression throughout the ball. However, I got two balls from the same dye lot and they did not start at the same colour. I had to wind the yarn up till I reached the purple I started with. If I have to do that anyway, I would prefer just having to buy one ball and being done with it. I am actually very surprised I didn’t manage to lose the second ball.

Bottom of the Foot SS

Aside from this, I really REALLY liked the socks that this yarn produced and I would definitely buy it again. I am something of a yarn magpie, so I usually try lots of different things when I am out and about, but I liked this yarn so much I would definitely buy it again.

Functional Friday: ChiaoGoo RED Lace

I would like to thank ChiaoGoo first and foremost for sending me some of their lovely needles to review! I’ve been really looking forward to trying these out, they’ve been sitting here looking at me. I am going to be reviewing the Stainless Steel Red Lace circular needles in US size 8 (5mm).

ChiaoGoo RED 4

The first thing I noticed when I took them out of the package was the weight. I would not say that most needles are heavy, but these are noticeably lighter than your average needle. They almost felt hollow, which I thought was interesting. It took a few rows to get used to, but it was by no means unpleasant. I think this would be good for people with repetitive stress injuries. I have the occasional pain in my wrists and found knitting with these needles did not aggravate it at all.

ChiaoGoo RED 2

Since these are needles meant for lace, I tested with a yarn that splits very easily and can be more difficult to pick up. The yarn slid onto these needles like butter. The needles points were decently sharp, I feel like the tips could be a little bit sharper, but I like my needles sharp enough that you wouldn’t want to run with them.

ChiaoGoo RED 1

The joins are amazing, the particular length I have is 40 inches (100cm). Usually when you take a circular out of the package, the cord is coiled so tightly it makes it difficult to knit with. This cord simply fell straight; it wasn’t pin straight, the laws of physics still apply. There was a slight wave to the cord, but that is all! I really love that the cord has ‘no memory’. One of the most frustrating things, for me, is dealing with cords that are kinked or hold the memory of being wound into a circle so firmly that you cannot knit with them.

ChiaoGoo RED 3

I really liked my first experience with ChiaoGoo needles and look forward to reviewing more of their products. I have their two interchangeable needle sets to review which I am testing more extensively, but so far, I like what I am seeing from them!

Functional Friday: 60 Quick Baby Blankets

I am horrible for writing reviews out of order, the Mochimochi books are a classic example of that. The book I am reviewing today has a predecessor called 60 Quick Baby Knits, but I doubt I am going to be buying that one anytime soon. One of my good friends is pregnant, due in May, and I anticipate the future will only hold more of my friends requiring tiny baby knits. I ended up going with the blanket book because clothing is always very dependent on taste and the style of the mother. Blankets, on the other hand, are always in demand.

Spine

I chose this particular book because I had heard really excellent reviews about it and when I went to buy it, I hardly looked inside. I am really pleased with this book and I don’t think I could have picked a better one if I had spent hours in the bookstore trying to decide.

For starters, there are 60 baby blanket patterns in this book. Chances are, you are going to like at least ONE of them. Upon flipping though, I stopped counting my favourites when I got to ten and had only looked at 12 patterns. There is something for everyone in this book. There are blankets heavy on texture, cables, patterning and even some that are just plain garter stitch. Regardless of what level you are at in your knitting career, you will be able to make these blankets.

Googly-Eyed Gator

Like the name suggests, the patterns are not overly complicated, but there is a really good range of blankets you can do without thinking. However, if you want something more complex you can find blankets that would take your attention. One of the patterns is Fair Isle and heaven knows you need to be paying attention to that! I’ve been rediscovering my Fair Isle skills with Sara’s mittens and I feel a bit rusty.

Finely Woven

The last thing I want to mention is the sample yarn used in the book. All the samples are made from superwash and Cascade 220 or 128. It’s very clever to make them from superwash, because really, what new mother has time to hand wash a blanket. Secondly, Cascade has a billion colours and it is usually a staple of most knitting stores. Since there are so many colours to choose from, most of the blankets are made with bright and happy colours. It definitely screams cheerful nursery, even from a distance.

All About Aran

Overall I am really happy with this book and I feel like you are going to see quite a few of these blankets happening before May. They are going to have to be gender neutral though; I’ll make it work some how. I take this as a challenge to play with colours.