Wednesday, March 25, 2009


On Saturday I'm taking part in a workshop with Tuulia Salmela. She will be teaching us her Tailored Sweater method. I am so looking forward to it as this will be my first formal lesson here in the US, in fact, it'll be my first formal lesson full stop. Aside from the generous instruction I received from my grandmother at age 8, I am entirely self-taught, so this will be a new adventure for me.

In preparation for the event, I started to look out the required materials yesterday. I could manage the tape measure, scissors and stitch markers, but the stitch holder request means I have to get my baby jacket, Mae, off the needles this week and, ah, needles........... Yup needles were an issue. US 7 is not something I commonly have laying around in my very cosmopolitan needle collection. You see, I own needles from several different countries which I can tell you, does not simplify life at all! My needle gauge is my best friend and without it I'd be totally stumped. I'm always trying to translate US or UK sizes into metric, then I get confused and finally end up forgetting whether I'm looking for US6 (4mm) or US4 (3.5mm). Sometimes it can really be a problem.

I wouldn't mind if this just happened with knitting needles, but as it extends to every area of my life, it's no wonder I'm disorganised. My home filing system has to manage both American letter-sized documents and European A4 sized ones, so my hanging files have to be legal sized to fit everything in. If I could find my scanner, I'd go completely digital and get rid of the paper altogether!

In an effort to order my circular needles last year, I received a beautiful silk holder as a present. I was ecstatic, until I tried to do just that. Each pocket is labelled with the US size, so I had to go through all my other needles writing the US sizing on the packet to slot them into the right places. By the time I'd finished there was so much packaging in the holder that I couldn't close the thing! So much for organization!

Anyway, I managed to knit this swatch out of Cascade Sierra Quatro with the only US7 that I had. I hit gauge perfectly, so I have invested in some new needles which are the correct length to complete our sample at the workshop. I'm really looking forward to some down time with friends this Saturday and afterwards I shall delight in slipping those needles into the correct pocket of my holder. At least one set will be organized.

Oh, here's yesterday's pictures of the Space Bag full of yarn and the kid's rescued handknits.


Almost American said...

My needle gauge is my best friend too - I have needles in traditional UK, European (mm) and American sizes. The European ones are my standard that I reference everything else to - the mm measurements make so much sense!

I bought a beautiful Namaste bag to organize my knitting needles - only to discover that the needles I bought in France don't really fit because they are about an inch longer than all my other needles. These are the needles I use the most, because that extra inch allows me to tuck the left hand needle under my arm and it stays stationary as I knit.

I'd actually like some more needles that length - but oddly enough even on French knitting sites I don't seem to be able to find any :-(

Rudee said...

Put a set of Knitpicks Option needles on your wish list. I love mine and use them all of the time. THey have pointy tips and are slick as a baby's behind.

Jane said...

AA - Thanks for popping in. I'm the same, I use European as a reference and wish all needles (and patterns) were labelled in mm's. That way I know mentally what I'm talking about. The fact that UK and US sizes are the exact opposites is very confusing. At least with mm you know instantly if you're dealing with something large or small.
Rudee - I love Knitpicks too. Great value for money!

Jane said...

Talking of Knitpicks - check out the Knitpicks Podcast, very interesting.

Connie said...

How was the class? I love Tuliia's designs :) I've taken a class too - with Kate Gilbert and it was such a thrill to meet her.

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