Five Reasons Why Every Knitter Needs A Snap Press

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a snap press for the following five reasons.

My snap press from KamSnaps.

1. Buttonholes are so dang tricky.

When it comes time to work the buttonbands in a sweater project, I break out in cold sweats. What if I don’t get the holes lined up right? What if they are too small for the buttons that I chose? Or too large? I usually just plow my way through these doubts, and usually it turns out okay. But, since I got my snap press, I am free to knit plain, hole-less button bands and just attach snaps after the blocking. Easy. And easier for the kids to put on and take off, as well. So everyone is happy.

2. Baby items are more convenient with snaps.

I have wanted to knit a onesie for years, but am always faced with the same problem – how to change the diaper? Now that I have a snap press I can knit onesies and jumpers and all kinds of other baby things that are just as convenient as the store bought stuff, and infinitely more beautiful.

3.Purses are cooler when they snap shut.

As far as purse closure goes, you can’t beat a snap. And I am loving this pumpkin purse! (Pattern coming soon)

4. Snaps are cheap and come in many lovely colors.

This is my current collection of snaps, but there will be more in the future. All the colors, shapes, and sizes that are available makes my heart go pitter patter.

5. Shopping for ribbon adds more pleasure to the project.

When applying snaps to a knitted fabric, it is wise, even necessary, to reinforce it with ribbon. It is also very pretty! Once I started looking at ribbon on Etsy, I just fell in love with the concept and now have a little stash  of ribbon that is growing almost as fast as my stash of yarn.

A snap press. It’s pretty handy. Every knitter should have one. I do. Do you?

I have not been compensated in anyway for this. This is all merely my personal opinion and I gain nothing by telling you all about it. 🙂

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Five Reasons Every Knitter Needs a Ravelry Account

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a Ravelry account for the following five reasons (and, believe me, narrowing it down to only five was quite a challenge!).

1. Keeping Track of Things. How many times have I started a notebook of swatches, project notes, and pattern modifications only to lose it, have a child color in it, or found a prettier notebook and abandoned the old one? Many, many times. Enter Ravelry. My Notebook on Ravelry is the most wonderful way to keep track of it all. Projects, plans, inspirations, stash… my knitting brain all in one place. Fabulous!

2. Pattern Extravaganza! Currently the Ravelry pattern database includes over 15,000 sock patterns, over 46,000 sweater patterns, almost 16,000 stuffed animal patterns, and more! Using the search filters, a member of Ravelry can search for patterns knit in bulky weight wool, or she can look for the perfect baby sweater knit top-down with some lace accents, or just toe-up socks. The wealth of patterns is overwhelming and super exciting. Additionally, once a pattern is selected the knitter can now look at all the projects other knitters have completed using that pattern – other knitters who have differing body types, yarn selections, and skill levels. The knitter can see that same sweater with various modifications and be alerted to any errors in the pattern. All this side info may make or break her resolve to knit that particular pattern, may save her some frustrations, and just might suggest variations that she finds pleasing.

3. Yarn-alog. Like the pattern database, the yarn database is ultra amazing. Search for the perfect yarn for your pattern, find new yarns, read reviews, see projects knit in the yarn you are considering, and meet “Yarnie’s” who are making new yarns all the time. Can’t remember the fiber content or care instructions for your stash of Juniper Moon Farm Sabine? Trying to determine the yardage of ten balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace? Check it out! Just be careful not to drool on your keyboard…

4. Making new friends. This is the most surprising part of Ravelry for me – the social aspect. Where else can a girl get to know people of so many different walks of life? I may think differently than you on many things, but we have knitting in common and that makes us friends. Of course, joining some of the groups and taking part in the discussion forums helps us find more things that we have in common, but even if you don’t have a bunch of kids, even if you aren’t a Christian, even if you don’t own a cow, we can chat about our mutual love of lace or that cable pattern that gave us so much trouble. On the other hand, I have found a group for all those things that I mentioned – a group for Christian knitters, a group for Moms of Many who also knit, and a group for homesteaders, as well as many others. Through Ravelry I have learned new things, been challenged in my own ideas and opinions, and made some pretty amazing friends.

5. Pattern Control. An amazing feature of Ravelry is the library – my library. Every pattern I have ever bought through Ravelry is there, waiting for me to download at my leisure. This has come in handy more than once. In addition, I can keep track of my physical knitting library there. Using my Ravelry library I can see what patterns I have in magazines, books, and PDF’s in one place. I can find that sweater pattern that was in that one magazine from three years ago without dragging out my stacks of magazines and going through them one at a time. Ravelry tells me that it is in the Spring ’09 issue of Interweave Knits (it also lets me know that I will need 1500 yds of fingering weight yarn, a size 4 needle, and to look up the erratta on the website). I don’t have to tell you how convenient that is.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now (if you haven’t already). And be sure to friend me – I am woolandchocolate. 🙂

Five Reasons Every Knitter Needs a Drop Spindle

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a drop spindle (and, therefore, learn to spin) for the following five reasons.

1. Spinning is meditative. Often I read (or hear people say) that knitting relaxes them. “I knit so that I don’t kill people” is a common logo on t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags for knitters. This sentiment is lost on me, however. Perhaps it is because I approach my knitting with a desire to be challenged, to reach goals, to learn new things. I don’t knit to relax. I knit to enrich. I knit to challenge. I knit to occupy my mind. Because of this approach, knitting tends to make me snippy and short tempered. “Don’t bug Mama, she is working lace right now.” “Leave Mama alone, she is trying to get that _____ finished.” But spinning is a whole other story. Spinning is meditative to me. The mesmerizing turn of the spindle, the fluid motion of drafting, the wool slipping through my fingers. Sigh. This is where I relax. This is my therapy.

Gorgeous, right? Check it out here.

2. Drop spindles are beautiful. Just search for a drop spindle on Etsy and you will see what I am talking about. When you are done collecting all the knitting needles any knitter could ever want, time to start a new collection.

3. A whole new stash. Speaking of collections – if a large yarn stash is heaven, than a fiber roving stash is heavenly potential. While you are on Etsy checking out spindles, be sure to look at the batts and braids in hand dyed colorways. Swoon.

Drooling, yet? Check out this roving here.

4. A new understanding of yarn and fiber. I have only been spinning for a short amount of time, and yet my mind is spinning (ha! pun intended) with the implications of all this new knowledge. Understanding the construction of yarn and the properties of different fibers opens up a whole new approach to my knitting. The idea that eventually I will be able to make yarn that is perfectly suitable for its intended knit just blows my mind!

5. Taking it to the next level. When you have conquered knitting, climbed every mountain so to speak, it is time to go deeper. Take it to the next level and be perfect in your craft.

So, what are you waiting for? Get spinning! 🙂

Five Reasons Every Knitter Needs an iPad

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have an iPad for the following five reasons.

1. GoodReader. GoodReader is, by far, the best thing that happened to my knitting (well, since the ball winder…). It is so much more than just a PDF reader – it surfs the web so that I can download patterns straight off of Raverly; it lets me highlight, annotate, and put stickie notes all over the patterns; it saves copies of the annotated patterns separately from the original; and much more. With GoodReader I can keep track of my progress on charted lace and I can highlight the sizes that I am working on a sweater. It also comes in handy reading magazines and other non-knitting publications, although I don’t know why anyone would want to…

2. Ravelry. Raverly has yet to come out with an iPad app, but I hear that it is in the works. Regardless, through Safari I can access Raverly from anywhere (that has WiFi, I didn’t get the 3G pad). That is a huge must for this knitter.
Must. Have. My. Ravelry.

3. Row counters. I have such a petpeeve about row counters. When I use them (which isn’t very often) I find them to be troublesome, annoying, and generally in the way. That is why I love the various row counting apps available for the iPad. Just tap the screen at the end of your row and it keeps track of how many rows you have knit. Some fancy apps will even alert you when the pattern row is coming up, keep track of your inc or dec rows, and frog back when (heaven help us) it might be necessary. A very clever tool.

4. It also plays audio books. (Or music, if you prefer.) I love my Audible audio books and I have logged many hours listening while I knit.

5. Angry Birds. Because who doesn’t love flinging little funny birds at fat, green pigs?