Friday, January 04, 2008

Gadgets bought and handmade

I am always looking for tools and things to make things easier, faster. During the later part of December I decided I needed an electric cone winder. Actually, I had wanted one of those since I was a little girl when I saw an industrial type one at a LYS in Bogota. Needless to say they were not available. But now Silver Needles makes them for home use.
Cone winder vs ball winder?
The cone stands up on its own it might need a stand or cone holder but as you use up the yarn the remaining stays put. I weighted it out and even though I like the center pull balls, I think I will use the cones a lot more. Plus I can always go back to the hand cranked ball winder if need be. I bought mine from Angora Valley . Pat is a lovely lady with whom I have done business several times in the past.
This is the setup I had yesterday to wind some yarn for weaving. Knowing how many yards I had was a must!

Bead stitch markers for lace knitting: I own all kinds of stitch markers, some have been bought a lot I have made. Knitting with cobweb yarn is another story, the smallest ones I had did not work. When I started Princess I made a bunch of cotton loops to use as stitch markers. But they don't work all that well, because they are so light they tend to flip around and are hard to handle. Somewhere I saw some that had been added weight with seed beads. They are a lot easier to make than the loops and work a lot better. I would have liked them to be a bit heavier so maybe next time I will add a larger bead at the end. I made 12 to use on the side feathers and one in a different color to use to mark the center stitch. When knitting a row that takes forever it is nice to know when you are half way done.

Bead row counters, for sleeve increases/decreases or to count the number of rows in cable patterns. I saw these in a link that Fleegle had on her blog a while back. I might end up making another one since I tend to knit the two sleeves and or the two fronts at the same time.

Weaving abacus. Now this is way clever! I saw it on one of the weaving lists. It was wonderful weaver Robin Spady that shared the idea. I had a time finding the numbered beads but finally found them at the BeedBee. Somehow I figured that a 50 bead package would do the trick, well no, that will not happen with a 12 shaft loom. More are on their way. You can use colored beads in between the repeats to make is easier if need be. This is way cleverness, no more weaving mistakes....or maybe less.

Last night I started entering my stash on Ravelry. I wanted pictures but finally gave up. I will take pictures of everything slowly but at least having the entries done gives me a sense a accomplishment, it works better than the old spreadsheet. Having everything in one spot makes me realize how monochromatic my stash is: white, brown, ecru, black......for the most part.


fleegle said...

I wanna come over and play with your stuff! I bought another one of these beady ring counters--but it uses the number beads, so I always know what row I am on. Got it off Etsym but don't remember where.

Bonnie said...

Now I know what I want to put on my wish list, a cone winder! How cool is that!

KnitSanity said...

Those tools are great. Thanks for sharing. I have to make a weaving abacus, and I'm only using 4 and 8 shaft looms right now. The cone winder is really nice. Do you think a bobbin winder could be converted to hold a cone?

lsesstudio said...

Laritza, your delicate lace beaded stitch markers are terrific! I can hardly wait to try the idea . . . it solves so many problems! Those tiny colored hair bands stretch out after a few rows and stick to my needles, but they were my best solution until I read your post this morning in the Heirloom Knitting group. Thank you thank you thank you! ~ Lynne in Colorado

carolyn said...

Great tools as well as clever inventions for tools.
Thanks for the ideas... I ended up using loops of dental floss with my one of my (very few) lace projects but they had a tendency to move to a new location. The seed bead idea is great!

Leigh said...

Oh, that abacus! I read about it too and said 'this is for me!' I still have to get the beads though.

Your stitch markers are functional and nice to look at too. An excellent idea.