Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wool 'N Things

As I was browsing the archives over at, I came across this article reviewing a lovely creation called the Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles. I had seen the Boye Needlemaster set at Michael's for an outrageous price (well, it *was* Michael's), but I was rather intrigued by these needles. Made by the creators of the Boye set and building upon user recommendations, the Denise needles are a boon to lovers of circular needles on I-cord budgets (shoestring, I-cord, get it? Bah, nevermind...).

I checked out their site and discovered that only two local stores carried this marvelous contraption. The first was in the west-end with limited bus access, and the second was in the distant, but more accessible east-end. Thankfully, the east-end store - Wool 'N Things - was also the more affordable of the two ($54 CDN) :)

I called my Mum and asked her if she would like to buy me the set for Christmas (she had long ago given up surprising us). She agreed, as long as I picked up the set myself (it's a rather long drive for her). So today, I embarked on a Grand Expedition to find my needles. Well, it wasn't overly grand - OC Transpo's Travel Planner made it rather simple :)

The store was small, but jam packed with beautiful yarns. What I loved most was the different varieties from my LYS, Yarn Forward. They shared a few yarns, but for the most part Wool 'N Things had new and exciting brands just waiting to be examined (re: petted). Debbi Bliss, Noro, a wall of Rowan... What caught my eye was Naturally's Merino & Fur in hand-painted variegated colours. Actually, it was the sign above them that caught my eye - Half Price.

If you've ever felt "Merino & Fur" in the skein, you'd know that it isn't particularly soft. I might liken it to Alafoss Lopi Lite, or Noro's Silk Garden. It's actually a bit rough. Considering the regular price, one would expect a softer hand. I might have been able to pass by the small basket (the colours weren't really my type), had the sly owner not included a sample of each of the 3 colours knit up and -- here's the kicker -- washed. The yarn positively blooms when washed. It has the look of a slightly felted garment, or kid mohair, but the halo of softness hasn't the slightest hint of wiry harshness, or pilling. It is the very definition of soft.

So I bought out the least offensive colour - muted shades of orange and green. I figured even if the colours didn't look good on me, at least I'd feel nice :) I should have asked if there were any more in the back - I took all 5 skeins of the orange/green.

I had planned on starting a loosely ribbed scarf during the Bible Study that evening (mindless repetitive busywork like knitting helps me stay focused on the conversation - yeah, my mind works in weird ways), but when I arrived at Jo's, sat down and pulled out a skein, a recent event flashed in front of my eyes. I vaguely recalled a woman at Yarn Forward discussing a customer who had come in with a skein of Fleece-Artist's handpainted wool tangled up in a mass of knots. She hadn't been told to re-wind the yarn into a proper ball... Needless to say, I spent the Bible Study (Hebrews 11, an in depth look into what faith is, and what we accept on faith, including creation, as well as what many OT believers accepted on faith) preparing my yarn, rather than creating my masterpiece. Thankfully, I had learned how to create Butterfly wrappy things off the internet :)

I finished just after the closing prayers, and as the women drifted into the kitchen to chat, as per usual, I finally cast onto my brand new Denise needles, size 15 US (recommended = 6-8 US). I started off knitting in the round with 60 sts, but realized I would quickly use up all 5 skeins (I'm hoping to get a scarf, hat and mitten set out of them - wishful thinking, I know), so I switched to 30 sts in the round, before settling on 31 sts in a 1x1 rib, regular knitting. I prefer knitting in the round, and dislike switching from knit to purl, so this is rather annoying, but it's producing the desired effect, so I'm dealing with it.

I love my new Denise Interchangeable Needles. Every knitter (casual as well as serious) should own at least one set (more depending on how many WIPs you normally have).

Thank you Knitty :)

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