Wednesday, June 18, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favorite (Knitting) Things

Everyone has their favorites...favorite book, favorite t-shirt, favorite TV show, favorite lipstick. I thought it would be fun if we shared some of our favorite knitting-related items. You never know what you might find out about when we all start to share!

Since it was my idea, I'll go first. ;-) Here are some of my favorite knitting-related things, in no particular order.

Favorite Fiber: Definitely alpaca. I'll never forget the time I strolled through a yarn store (The Elegant Ewe in Concord, NH,, stroking all the yarns to see which I liked best. I was new to "real" yarn stores at that time, having just moved from a state where yarn stores consisted of WalMart. Hah. So I was in heaven, having a great time testing them all out. I truly expected to fall in love with cashmere or angora, having heard about them all my life; but the one I found the softest and most strokable was alpaca. Who'd ever think the wool from animals would be so soft?

Favorite Alpaca Yarn: Buckingham from Bristol Yarn Gallery,
Detail&yarnid=000279&searchcollection=000014 . It's 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk, and 100% gorgeous! It just begs to be stroked and petted. I've used it twice to make the same pattern 'cause I love it so much: the Seashell Shawl by Kristin Omdahl, , top left picture. It's come out beautifully both times. Here's a picture of one of my shawls blocking:

Favorite Knitting Needles: Bryspun flexible knitting needles, . I discovered these recently. I was working on a lace project and having all sorts of trouble with the time I'd poke the needle tip through the bottom of the 3 stitches, the top two would have popped off. (sigh) I went to my local yarn store, The Woolery ( and asked the owner, Deb Degan, what she suggested. She recommended the Bryspun or the Addi lace needles. There was no comparison, price-wise...the Bryspun are much cheaper. So being a mean, being practical, I tried the Bryspun. She even let me try them then and there, in the store, and I was instantly hooked. The plastic shaft of the needle flexes ever so gently, which actually helps if you have arthritis in your hands. Don't ask me how it helps, but it does...I haven't had hand pain while knitting since making the switch. The stitches slide easily on the needles, with just the right amount of "grab" so they don't pop off. And best of all, I like the stiletto-type points with concave tips...they help tremendously when trying to scoop up two, three, or more stitches at one time. I'm a lifetime convert!

Favorite Project (so far) Made With Bryspun Needles: The Wisp Scarf by Cheryl Niamath ( I'm making it a bit wider so I can use it as a shawl, I'll leave off the buttons, and do a few extra repeats for added length. I'm using Madil Yarns Kid Seta ( and oh my, it will be decadent when finished!

Favorite Knitting Pattern Book: Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby (
1933064102/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213801241&sr=1-1). I'm really getting into knitting lace lately, and especially shawls, as you can tell from the projects I've listed above.

Favorite Knitting Pattern From Victorian Lace Today: This book has so many absolutely stunning stoles and shawls and scarves in it, it's tough to decide which one to make first. But I've narrowed it down and decided to try the Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging (you can see a finished one here: Although you wouldn't know it from the other patterns mentioned, I tend to prefer triangular-shaped shawls rather than rectangular. So this one has that curvy, almost-triangular shape going for it. And the pattern is so unusual...I swear it looks like it was tatted instead of knitted. I bought some drool-worthy 80% alpaca, 20% silk yarn to make it with (Areqipa by Ball and Skein,
&cPath=1_5_7&zenid=96a281058c61180051ef8cef9ba49698) in "the blues" colorway. Can't wait to start!

Favorite Felted Knitting Bag Pattern: The Wave Knitting Bag by Shelley Boardman,, scroll down to see it on the left. I did it in deep jewel tones, and it came out very nicely. Let's see if I can post a picture:

Okay, that's enough favorites for now, though I could go on and on. I'm anxious to see a few of YOUR favorites!


Blogger monica said...

What a great list of favorites. I will share just a few.
Right now my favorite needles are the Knit Picks Harmony Needles, I love the points and the smoothness of them.
My favorite sock yarn is anything from Pagewood Farm (anyway today it is)

Favorite felting yarn Cascade 220, It is reasonably priced and felts well everytime.

Favorite yarn fiber I agree with you, I love Alpaca but I also love baby camel and merino/cashmere blends. Well I love cashmere but it is not in the yarn budget.

Favorite project: I can't decide on one but my favorite thing to knit is socks.

Well that is enough from me.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

what a fun thread. I don't know if I can choose quite so many favorites, but I will say my favorite thing to knit is socks -- with top-down sweaters a close second.

I don't have a favorite yarn, but I just ordered some Alpaca today from Elann, Elisabeth.

Speaking of Elann -- my favorite online yarn suppliers would have to be Elann and Knitpicks.

Favorite needles -- my Crystal Palace bamboo sock needles and my Addie Turbo circulars -- although I've been using my Options circulars more lately. I love the interchangeable tips.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I look forward to hearing others' favorites.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Favorite needles--definately Knit Picks for the circulars and dpns. For my straight needles, I recently got a pair from Signature Needle Arts and I love them. Plus they were well packaged and arrived fast.

Favorite yarn? Well, I got some gorgeous sock yarn yesterday from Artsygal, one of the merino/sea cell in cranberry and one that's merino/tencel for my sock club. I really like both of those!

Favorite fiber? I don't think I really have one. They all do such different things....cotton for washcloths, linen, hemp, or cotton for summer weight tops, and just about anything for winter sweaters/scarves/hats. I love the softness of alpaca and silk, but they don't have the elasticity of wool, so you reallly don't want to use them on ribbing because they'll stretch out.

Patterns--I tend to knit a lot of socks and washcloths. But I adore knitting lace.

Books? Anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman. And I highly recommend watching her videos, too.

Podcasts? Lime & Violet, Sticks & String, Stash & Burn, and Cast On.

Now, if only knitting would keep the Jehovah's Witnesses from knocking at my door....

9:59 AM  
Blogger georg said...

I <3 socks.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn Brocco said...

fav ndls - the Bryspun OLD style (blunt) pointed dpns. Can't find them to save my life! For circs, Addis only, no pointy tipped ndls for me.

Fav fiber - wool, everything from Icelandic to merino. Ask me again if I ever win the lottery, my answer would surely change to cashmere!

Books - all of EZ and the videos, KITOW,all my scandinavian motif and history books, Poems of Color... I can't pick a favorite, I love all my books!

6:54 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

How gorgeous both your projects are! I have serious scarf envy, esp. since I'm struggling with my first lace project.

My favorites:
Book: Scarfstyle
Project in book: Lady Elinor Stole
Needles: Addi Turbos
Fiber: anything soft, so cashmere, alpaca, Quiviuk, and blends thereof make me happy. I go to my LYS to squeeze the yarn. If they sparkle as well that's a bonus.
Stitch pattern: entrelac.

My least favorites:

10:54 PM  
Blogger Minna said...

Hm. It hasn't been all that long since I started knitting again, so I don't really have any favorites yet. But now I have to brag: I managed to trade some stuff (plastic pearls etc.) for yarn. I just love trading...

"Now, if only knitting would keep the Jehovah's Witnesses from knocking at my door...."
Amen to that! Though I could add Mormons to that list!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Like Cindi, I love my CP bamboo sock needles. Not that they make me a better sock knitter, mind, but they do make the work much easier.

I'm a fan of Lion Brand wool for felting but am thinking I need to branch out. And I will, just as soon as I finish lining my purse. Suggestions welcome on that front.

The Stitch 'n Bitch book - the first one - was good. Different and some interesting patterns. I even bought one for my niece who was learning to knit. But one was all I was interested in. Mainly because my LYS has some great patterns to choose from - and most are free - and the Internet has some terrific ones as well.

Interesting thread, Elizabeth!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

I'm a real fan of internet patterns as well, Fran.

I also really like the Mason Dixon Knitting book.

12:22 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Great topic! Let's see:

Love my KnitPicks Options needles as well as my #0 dpn KnitPicks sock needles (I have 3 sets, all metal!)

Favorite project? Socks! (Although I just did my first lace shawl....could become addictive!)

Favorite fiber? Alpaca. (I pet my stash when no one is looking!)

Favorite knitting book? Well, I have all of the Yarn Harlot's books, so.....

Favorite bevi while knitting? Large iced coffee from McDonalds or anything from Starbucks.


11:45 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Great topic! My current favorite knitting things are the 15 baby angora bunnies out in the barn - soft, cuddly and learning to love their groomings -- can't wait to spin up the combings with some Merino for yarn to make something lovely.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Delisi said...

Thanks for sharing, Monica. It took me till now to figure out the whole "comments" thing or I'd have responded sooner. ;-) I like Cascade 220 for felting also. I've never seen or stroked baby camel. Hmm. Will have to look for it!

Cindi, I like top-down sweaters too. Seems like you can envision the sweater right from the start, as opposed to ending up with lots of odd-shaped pieces to be sewn together. I hate seaming...another reason I like top-down.

The sock yarn sounds gorgeous, Cathy! My dad was a Unitarian minister, and he used to invite in the Jehovah's Witnesses and they'd have lively debates. My mother, on the other hand, opens the door and says, "Do you have any pamphlets?" before they can say a word. They mumble yes, she grabs them and closes the door. ;-)

Georg, not sure what you meant but I love your picture. I have that same image as a magnet on my fridge.

Dawn...I didn't know there was a previous Bryspun style, since I'm new to them. I wonder if you could find some on eBay?

Nancy, my least favorite is socks, too. I do make them on occasion, but with teeny little dps, I feel like I'm knitting with a porcupine. I love look at, anyway. I'm still in the beginning stages of knitting it. The Seashell Shawl was really should try it!

Minna, I think the trading is a great idea. My sister recently went to a trade with her knitting group, but they decided to trade jewelry they no longer liked. She ended up with lots of fun stuff, and got rid of stuff she no longer wore.

Fran, do share if you get any lining tips. My main tip is, make a purse that's thick enough so you don't have to line it! Hah.

Kim, have you tried the (Liz takes a stab at remembering the name) iced mocha joe from Burger King? I love it!

Ooh, Laura, having your own stash supply sounds wonderful! You'll have to post some pictures, I love bunnies, of any type.


11:31 AM  

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