Monday, April 6, 2015

Take 5: Notions & Knitting Tools with Lucia Pane

Welcome back to another episode of the Take 5 blog series! This week, we have a special treat - a double-header by a fellow Chicagoan, Lucia Pane! She also shared her favorite knitting-related meme, which seems to be an unspoken tradition for Take 5 guest posters. Click here to get caught up past Take 5 blog posts; I'll let Lucia introduce herself in her own words: 

Aloha, my name is Lucia and I am originally from Hawaii but now I live in the Chicago area. I host the Knitted Paradise video podcast and I’m the owner/designer/creator behind Pearl of the Pacific. Here is my list of top 5 notions that I keep in my kit at all times and my list of top 5 knitting tools that turned me from a casual to a serious knitter.

Top 5 Notions:

  1. Yarn needle and threader. For weaving in all the ends and my new favorite, the invisible ribbed bind-off. The needle threader I have is designed specifically for yarn (it’s one solid piece with large holes) which is more durable than the ones designed for thread. It’s a huge time saver and makes threading a needle much less frustrating.
  2. Stitch markers. I always keep a couple locking stitch markers in my kit along with a set of nice ones that match the bag or project. I like things that match.
  3. Crochet hook. For picking up dropped stitches, fixing mistakes, and such.
  4. Foldable scissors. Compact and allowed on a plane, need I say more.
  5. Tape measure. Can be used to measure length and also as a row counter, essential in all my sock project bags.
Top 5 Knitting Tools: 

  1. Swift. I can’t believe it took me so long to get one of these. Before, my husband would have to hold the yarn as I wound it on my ball winder. His arms were very grateful when I got the swift. I have the Mama Bear basic from the Oregon Woodworker and it has been perfect for all types and lengths of skeins.
  2. Ball winder. It’s totally worth it to invest in a good ball winder. I bought a cheap one to start out with and I definitely got what I paid for. I now have the one made by Royal and I love it. It’s super easy to clamp to my coffee or bedside table and makes beautiful cakes.
  3. Kitchen scale. Another tool that took me a while to get but is incredibly useful. I use it to wind cakes for 2-at-a-time socks that are of equal weight and also to measure how much yarn I used for a project. This is especially useful for designing so that I can give an accurate yardage needed on the pattern.
  4. Project bags. Ok, some people wouldn’t call these a tool but I see them that way. They keep each project contained and together with a notions kit and anything else I may need for the project (such as buttons or stuffing). They make my knitting portable and also safe from pets and children (well . . . mostly). My favorite are the wedge style bags because they hold a lot and the wide opening makes things easy to access.
  5. Interchangeable needle set. I purchased a set of these early in my knitting career and don’t know why everyone doesn’t have one. This is one tool I would recommend over all the others. I can take it with me on trips and it means I have all the needle sizes and all the lengths of cables. This allows me to combine the pieces in any way I need, for all sorts of projects. The cables make great stitch holders for sleeves on sweaters and it’s also super easy to change the cable length mid project if you need to. Plus, buying another cable is much cheaper than buying needles if you need a different length.

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