I was knitting a new pair of socks and it occurred to me that I have not shared my favorite sock knitting books. You see, I went back to my old habit of knitting cuff down socks and completely forgot how t turn the heel. I had to dig into my sock knitting book stash and dig out my old favorite, the book that taught me how to knit socks: Sensational Knitted Socks from Charlene Schurch. Sensational Knitted Socks shows you all the different parts of the sock and how to knit them, as well as offering charts to easily knit bigger or smaller sizes. She also shows you different kinds of stitch patterns and how they work when knitting a sock. It's my go to sock knitting book. I don't think I ever bought the sequel, but that doesn't mean I won't ;) The books are out of print, but you can still buy them quite cheaply from Amazon.
One of the reasons they are out of print is that Charlene Schurch published a new book of sock knitting patterns called The Sock Knitter's Handbook. It contains much of the same information as the Sensational Socks book, but with expanded sections on yarn behavior and different sock knitting techniques. The original books focus on the top down method, but they're still a great place to start when you're learning to knit socks.
Socks from the Toe Up from Wendy D. Johnson was my next favorite sock knitting book. Once I mastered the cuff down sock, I became a little bored with sock knitting and moved on to this little book of adorably simple Toe Up sock patterns. Wendy has an easy way of teaching knitting technique and her various sock knitting designs seriously motivate you to knit socks from the top up and do so quickly.
Another Oldie but Goodie Sock Knitting Book is Favorite Socks from Ann Bud. It's a collection of sock knitting projects from Interweave Knits, but they all have a vintage feel to them. Some even come from folk knitting traditions. These can be much more complicated sock knitting patterns, but they're worth a look. If you love Ann Bud's work you might also like her latest book Sock Knitting Master Class. This book is another addition to a bunch of books that hope to embrace the entire sock knitting category.
If you really love knitting socks and have knit them six ways to Sunday and still want more, then check out Sockupied, Ann Merrow's collection of innovative sock knitting patterns. You will never look at sock knitting the same way again. Some people love knitting cardigans and some people prefer knitting socks. This book is for people who love the complication of knitting a cardigan, but prefer to wear their yarn on their feet.
If you can't knit your socks fast enough, consider trying the two-at-a-time sock knitting technique. Melissa Morgan-Oakes has 2-at-a-Time Socks , a book full of two-at-a-time sock knitting patterns and detailed instructions how to learn to knit this crazy sock knitting method. I have not yet gotten brave enough to try it.
Finally we have Clara Parke's Book of Socks which is one of my all time favorite sock knitting books because it gives both new and experienced sock knitters something to learn. It takes sock knitting into greater depths, helping you understand how to make the best fitting and longest wearing socks based on pattern design and yarn selection.
What are your favorite sock knitting books? Tell me more and share your sock knitting story with me in the comments!
It's been slow Chez Knitluck. Maybe I'm slow. I hear of more people getting 60 day notices of eviction. I hear more seniors no longer able to afford their apartments because landlords keep raising their rents. Google offers to pay apartment complexes 30% over their highest rental rates. 500 families apply for the affordable housing lottery at our city's new housing development. Only 120 families get through to the lottery... for only 9 houses, meaning that hundreds of families in the bay area could afford to buy a house... if the houses were affordable, but most can't compete with the tech wages of double income families. Children are moving back in with mom and dad, bringing their children to live with grandma and grandpa.
I know this isn't true of other regions, but I'm stuck here in the Bay Area for the time being and it's hard watching the region you love transform into something unrecognizable. It's depressing. I know I'm lucky, but it's hard to appreciate one's good fortune when you see people suffering from the effects of greed.
I'm in another funk and knitting helps. I'm making a sock. I feel like it's time to learn something new, but I don't have the bandwidth right now. So it's me and the socks for the time being.
Spring is here which means that knitting season is pretty much over. California didn't get much a knitting season. Only a little rain at the beginning. We needed much much more.
I finished the Skeino cowl, which probably won't get much wear until the fall, but I'm happy with it.
The cowl is super soft, just like the yarn and never itchy. Never. I really can't say that about the alpaca shawls that I've knitted, but then I'm a little allergic to alpaca. Note to self: knit instead with merino.
I went through my yarn stash yesterday and I'm almost ashamed of it. It's as if all of that unused yarn is one giant unfinished object. Unfinished objects make me feel like a neglectful knitter, all these proto-sweaters languising in plastic cages.
This makes me feel like I should pull an actual unfinished object out of hibernation. I've been ignoring the Red Fern pullover for too long now, mainly because the pattern requires so much concentration. I've had too many responsibilities to really enjoy knitting anything beyond a stockinette stitch sock, or the flower washcloths that I've knit a million times. I need to get that cardigan finished so that I can attack other different knitting cardigans.
I've been hesitant about sweater knitting because I lost weight and suddenly pullovers and cardigans that I made last year are kinda droopy. It's a little heartbreaking when something you worked so hard to knit suddenly doesn't fit so well.
But then I realize that I have some knitted objects that were kind of on the smallish size that fit much better now.
Anyhoo, just a few random ramblings on a beautiful spring day where I wish it would be raining.
What are you knitting?
Welcome to the latest installment of the Knit Luck Guide to Interchangeable Knitting Needles. Since 2012 we've been reviewing each of the sets of interchangeable knitting needles. This time we will be taking a look at the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles. They are some of the most unique sets in one major way: the types of cables they use to connect the interchangeable knitting needles. While most companies focus on the needle tips, Chiao Goo has spent time finding ways to improve upon the connecting cables, resulting in interchangeable knitting needle sets that can be easier on your wrists and require less untangling of needles to get you knitting right away. Learn more as we explore the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles:
We are listing a few available sets because there are different sets, with different nuances of options. You have to take some extra time to make sure that you're getting the interchangeable knitting needles you want. Be sure to check that the needle tips are the length you desire, needle point you desire and that the set contains all of the needles you want:
The first thing you should know about Chaio Goo Interchangeable Knitting needles is that they come in two brands that are not just named brands for fun, but represent completely different cable types. The Chiao Goo Twist is a plastic-covered wire cable that is heavy and substantial, ensuring that the cable never kinks or coils, making it a little easier to up and start knitting -you don't have to spend any time unkinking your needles.
The Chiao Goo Spin cables are another story. Where the Twist is thick and weighty, the Spin cables are the opposite, super thin and flexible with a free spinning knitting needle connection. This means that when you knit instead of the cable building up pressure against the action of your knitting and the knitting needles, which puts pressure on your wrists; the cable instead spins within the connected casing of the needle and cable. This takes tremendous pressure off of your wrists. I highly recommend these needles for people who have some wrist soreness when they knit.
Chiao Goo interchangeable knitting needles tips come in just two different materials: bamboo and stainless steel. It's important to know that the needle tips come in two different types: regular and lace tip. If you care about pointy needle tips, get the lace tip -they have a longer taper and a pointier tip.
The needle tips come in 4" and 5" inch sizes with a contoured cable connection, which makes slipping stitches from the cable to the needle a little smoother. In using these needles I rarely had to go to an extra effort to push the stitches closer to the end of the needles, something I've had to do quite often with other sets.
It can be confusing to purchase a set of Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles. They have a few different set configurations. You can buy all the "small" needles in a set for $80 (sizes 2-8), in a case with room for the larger sizes, which you can buy individually (don't forget to also buy the large cables -the large needles will not fit on the small cables). Or, you can buy the complete set at $100, which is a much better value. For just $20 extra you get a complete set. However if cash is an issue and you only use the smaller sizes, then the $80 set would work just fine for many knitters.
The complete sets offer quite a range of needle tips and go all the way up to size 15. Clover, which previously held the title for having the largest ranges of needle sizes only goes from size 3 to size 15. It's Chiao Goo's innovation with the needle connectors and thinner cable cords that has allowed them to expand their interchangeable knitting needle size all the way down to 2 and all the way up to 15. That said, the Clover set is less expensive, but at least when you spend the extra money with Chiao Goo you end up with a consistency of one whole set of interchangeable knitting needles.
Be sure to check carefully when you purchase. Be sure you know which needle tip length you want (4 inch vs 5 inch) and whether you want the complete set or a smaller set. Be sure to read the product description carefully when you buy so that you don't end up with needles you won't use, or a needle tip length that will bother you.
Like most interchangeable knitting needle sets, the Chiao Goo interchangeable knitting needles allow you to change out needle tips using a simple key and screw technique. Each needle tip fits onto the cable with machined screws, which you tighten using a key that allows you to use enough leverage to ensure that the needle is screwed in tightly to the cable.
Each set comes as eaither large or small sizes. This means that the cables also come in small and large sizes. This enables Chiao Goo to make sets in a much great range of knitting needle sizes. Unfortunately this means that you have to be a little more focused when ordering individual tips or cables for your set. When we purchased these to test, we ended up getting small needle tips for large cables, which was a little annoying, but more than anything gave us an excuse to purchase more cables and tips to try to get the full view of what this set is like.
As we do for nearly every set of interchangeable knitting needles we busted out some Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille yarn and knit yet another flower washcloth. We choose this pattern over and over again for consistency and because cotton chenille yarn can be tricky to knit. Cotton Chenille has a tendency to worm, and it can be difficult to cleanly insert needles into stitches, especially when decreasing or increasing. This yarn allows us to see how well stitches flow over every part of the needle: the cable, the cable connection and the needle tip.
I found the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles to work very well, even with the larger 5" needle tips. I've found in the past that longer needle tips put more pressure on my wrists, but I didn't experience that with the Chiao Goo. The stitches flowed smoothly over each part of the needle and I had to use less pressure pushing stitches over the needles connections than I have with other needles. I also noticed spending much less time untangling the needles/cord whenever I went to knit the washcloth after putting it down. My only complaint about these needles is that the regular needle points are not the sharpest on the market, they are a little bit on the dull side. Some people prefer that, I didn't find that it hindered my knitting, but you might want to check out the Chiao Goo Lace needle tips if needle pointyness is a concern for you.
Overall I find the Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles to be well worth the cost. I've used the stainless steel, the bamboo and have even used a size 10 to test out some skeino yarn and these products have all been reliable and fun to use. My most favorite part is that once the needles were tightened with the key I never had the needles unscrew while I was knitting. Seeing as that is the number one problem for interchangeable knitting needles, it shows me that these are worth trying for sure.
Do you like Chiao Goo Interchangeable Knitting Needles? Tell us about it in the comments.
It is very rare that I like something so much that I need it right away, that I would be willing to pay $40 in shipping to get this thing to my home tomorrow. Then I went to ModCloth and saw this:
I have a blue, yellow and white color scheme in my bedroom, which I call the tearoom because our room has a bar and a balcony and it's a great place to drink tea. I've wanted a tea set just for the room, but hadn't found one that really did it for me... until I found this one. It is just divine.
I don't have a whole lot of room to customize my living space, but the tea set would really turn my little room into my home. Maybe for mother's day? Wink Wink...
What are you hoping for this mother's day?