Episode 3, in which there is a cat related item, machine knitting has its influence and I share a tip for greater success when making pompoms. And I dream about row counting rings and yarn-toting unicorns.
#11 Measuring Tape – pull the cat’s tail and a tape measure extends. Press the button and it zips back in. This tape measures up to 150cm/60″, which is generally plenty long enough for the body parts I’ve knitted for and certainly long enough to measure a cats tail (unless you are illegally harbouring a panther). I most often use the side that has centimetres on it, but the inches on the reverse are essential for conversions so I can write my patterns with both metric and imperial measurements. This cat measuring tape was made by the ever colourful and humorous French brand, Pylones and was given to me years ago by one of my French cousins.
#12 Slippery String – a little habit I picked up machine knitting. I keep a length of synthetic cord for when I want to do a provisional cast on. The trick is that it is strong, densely spun and slippery, so you can pull it straight out when you have the stitches on your needle again. Silk could work too, if you are strictly natural fibre inclined. I keep it stored wound in a little thread tidier that snaps open and closed. It tends to get all knotted otherwise. I can’t seem to find a link for the type I have, but while looking I was reminded of these slightly less practical (for this specific application), but exceedingly more cute ones that I have coveted for a while. They are the brain babies of Missy Kulik. She makes sheep and sausage dog ones too.
#13 Linen Yarn – for the tying up of pompoms. This was one of those easy solutions that made me kick myself for not adopting it earlier. Who hasn’t had the strand you use to tie your pompom snap? If you are lucky you can remedy the situation, if not your room was sprayed with a thousand 5cm sections of yarn you just spent an age wrapping round a cardboard donut. This is because the lovely woolly yarn you used to make your hat is plenty strong enough for knitting with, but not really tough enough for tying high-tension knots to keep those densely wound softy fluffy pompom strands tightly bound together. If you secure your pompom with something stronger than the yarn you made it with, you’re in like Flynn, cause you can pull that knot really tight. This linen yarn is left over from a shawl pattern I am working on using the stitch pattern I designed for my Sceles Tshirt that appeared in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 9.
#14 Universal Counter – for keeping track of what row or round I am on. This type of row/round counter can be slid to the end of straight needles or moved around with the stitches if you are knitting in the round (and your needle isn’t much thicker than 6mm/10US/4UK. It’s practical, but not much of a looker. I have a colourful collection of the kind that slides on to the end of straight needles. It is possible to convert that sort by threading them on to yarn and tying a knot to make a loop; they’re of no use for circular knitting if you don’t. There are devices you can place next to your knitting, which I haven’t made much use of and of course you can make prisoner style chicken scratches on the back of an envelope (or ideally on the pattern print out). There there are a growing selection of row counter apps too. I eyed up a little electronic finger ring that looked a little like a tiny digital swimming pool locker key when I taught at Gather DTLA in December. But this silver one from Kristan MacIntyre is the one to totally covet though…
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Now all I need to do is remember to change the number and remember whether I am changing the number when I start a round or finish it.
#15 Mechanical Pencil – it’s small and cute and you can click it. As much as I adore the smell of sharpened pencils, I am also a big fan of the mechanical ones. They are always sharp, so they don’t necessitate the carrying of a pencil sharpener or the quandry of where to dispose of the scented shavings. They don’t rub off on stuff. As a kid they just seemed so fancy and special. My Opa used them and I still have some of his. I got this tiny one at Marukai in Gardena, Los Angeles. It is miniature and therefore insanely cute and perfect to go in a travel case.
#16 Chibi Case – makes it clear where your needles are. Apparently the Japanese slang word ‘chibi’ is a combination of small, short, cute and deformed. Generally now it refers to a style of animé drawing that is all of the above. The Chibi Case from Clover is what their needles come in (see item #23). I don’t think you can get the case separately. A big plus is that when the needles are inside, it works like a rattle – all I have to do is shake my bag to know they are in there and I can safely leave the house with ends to sew in. A Dutch friend was really puzzled as to why I kept a spliff case with my knitting. The similarity is clear.
There’s this ‘official’ one…
And this less condoned one…
So if you’re somewhere where it is easier to find a koffie shop than a haberdashery, the second option could provide a more relaxing substitute.
#17 Hang Tags – quick, write it down! These little paper swing tags are intended to be price tags. I use them to hang from my knitting to keep track of what I’m doing. When I need a note in a specific spot, I can write it and attach it straight to it. When I knit a swatch I record the needles I used, the yarn, gauge and stitch pattern for prosteriety. At least that is what I am trying to facilitate doing. When I still forget I get to kick myself even harder!
OK, next time it’s the final episode of what’s-in-the-pouch.