Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review of Knitter's Pride dreamz and KARBONZ

Recently I received two sets of Knitter's Pride needles from Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter from for review. Most of the time I work with circular needles. I like them to be metal and smooth so I can knit quickly and the yarn does not catch between the cord and the needle. For that reason I never really looked at Knitter's Pride since they are not metal.

When I was preparing for taping of a Slip Stitch DVD with Interweave Press, I was wondering which needles to bring with me on the set.

I was so grateful to receive these two sets of Knitter's Pride interchangeable needles. I tried them on my samples for the class and fell in love with them immediately.

They are not metal but they are very smooth with sharp enough tips and very smooth transitions from the cord to the needles. The cord is very pliable, doesn't coil at all, and is thicker than many of the cords of circular needles on the market. This helps to keep stitches on gauge while they are sitting  on the cord.
So these are the full I received:
Symfonie Wood Interchangeable Deluxe Set

This set contains 9 knitting needle tips, US size 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 1/2 and 11; 4 cords: 1 no. 24", 2 now. 32", 1 no. 40" and accessories: 1 set of size markers, 8 end caps, 4 cord keys, 1 cord case. This is your basic range of needles that you need to work on practically anything. There are other sets available on the Knitter's Pride website or your local yarn shop.

I certainly recommend these needles for many reasons. In addition to the reasons described above, I think it is very clever that they are color coordinated. It is easy to remember which size of needle you are using, the cords can be used for all sizes of needles in the set, so they are truly interchangeable. The cord is screwed into the needle with ease, creating a smooth join. I can see that I will be using these needles for many projects.

Interchangeable Midi Set

This set contains 4 knitting needles tips: US size 7, 8, 9 and 10 and 2 cords: 24" and 32," accessories: 1 set of size markers, 4 end caps, 2 cord keys.

Knitter's Pride explains that Karbonz are "the epitome of innovation and perfection! One of the most revolutionary needles of our times that combine the premium quality of carbon fiber with perfectly shaped nickel plated brass tips! Carbon Fiber is one of the most versatile materials used in modern times for use in aircrafts, automobiles, etc. and is ideal for knitting needles on account of its high tensile strength, light weight and comes with a surface that offers excellent control over the stitches. This union of two revolutionary materials is guaranteed to provide an unparalleled knitting experience. "

Everything that I said about the dreamz set also applies here to the Karbonz needles: the tips are pointy and long, the cords are pliable, and the connection is smooth.  The body of the needle, due to the material it is made of, is not as slick. This is very helpful for lace knitting when you don't want your stitches to fall off of the needle. There is more friction on the body of the needle to hold your stitches safely.

These two sets represent a partial collection of sets that Knitter's Pride has available. I would encourage you to go to their website and see the many options. They have some fun colors as well as square needles offered in Symfonie cubics.
Check out the MARBLZ. They have stylish and interesting coloring. If you want to treat yourself to a set of needles that work well and will be admired by others, you could find them at Knitter's Pride.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: Knitting Fresh Brioche, Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns

A new book by Nancy Marchant is out and we are in for a treat with many incredible brioche patterns that Nancy developed for us to use. In this book there is a stitch dictionary with more than 70 original two-color patterns. All patterns are charted with symbols developed by Nancy.

Nancy said while finishing her first book, Knitting Brioche, she "desperately wanted to dive into developing new brioche stitch patterns. I have spent the past five years developing the stitches presented here, all of which were created using only increases and decreases worked on a basic two-color brioche knit fabric. There are no cables or crossed stitches, no textural variations, no play with variegated color or different yarn weights -- only increases and decreases. And this is just a handful of brioche stitch pattern possibilities: there are still so many more to discover!"

Nancy made an interesting choice of projects to show how to use the stitch patterns in this book. All of the projects are neckwear: either it is a shawl, cowl or scarf. This choice is confirming the two-sided nature of the stitches. The first part of the book is taking the reader through the basics of brioche technique in two colors. It helps to know a basic brioche stitch without variations in one color. If you want to learn more about the variety of brioche stitches, you could refer to Nancy's first book, Knitting Brioche. After you've mastered basic brioche stitch, you can quickly go to two-color brioche, which is the focus of this new book. Nancy explains how to cast-on in two colors, how to bind off, how to increase and decrease in two-color brioche. She even explains how to weave in ends after the project is finished and how to fix mistakes. You will be taken through the portion of the book where you learn how to use two-color brioche charts along with learning symbols and abbreviations. The numerous stitch patterns are well photographed, charted and have very clear instructions. If you are designing your own project, you could refer to the stitch dictionary and have a wealth of beautiful stitch patterns to choose from. Here are some examples of  beautiful projects in this book:

I am looking forward to using this book for my designs and learning some of these beautiful stitches. I'm sure that you will find this book exciting and informative. This is definitely a great reference book that I highly recommend adding to your knitting library! You can learn from Nancy yourself how to brioche in her class, Exploration in Brioche Knitting