Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Review: Chiaogoo Twist Set

This is a review I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time but I’m glad that I waited as I’ve really given them a good test drive and recently discovered something new.
I bought a the full Chiaogoo Twist set over 2 years ago now.

Here are the pictures when I just bought it.

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You get plenty included in the set – you get the longer length needles from 2.75mm to 10mm (3.00mm, 7mm & 7.5mm are not included), 6 cables (3 different lengths in the large and small), 2 keys, needle gauge, cable connector, stops for large and small and stitch markers.
I ended up buying the missing sizes and the case has a second layer of pockets, so you can put spare needles in there. I have also bought duplicates in 3.00mm and 4.5mm, as they seem to be sizes I use a lot.

I have never used the stitch markers as they look too bulky for my liking.

One of the main differences with the Chiaogoo compared to other interchangeable brands is the different thicknesses of the cables. Up to and including 5.00mm then you use the small cables and above that then the large cables are used. In the kit, there are 3 different lengths for both the large and small – 14”/35cm, 22”/55cm and 30”/75cm. The needle tips add about 10”/25cm to the length. They work out to be about 24”/60cm, 32”/80cm and 40”/100cm lengths. I think the difference thicknesses allow the needle to taper to the cable more gently and perhaps to allow for a greater range of needle sizes. Having a 2.75mm interchangeable is nice.

There are shorter tips available in this range too. Used with the shortest cable, then they work great for hats.

The case is zipped around the outside and I’ve worked out the hard way to always zip it up; or you get needles everywhere! There’s also a pocket on the outside to keep the cables in. I end up putting bits inside the case too – there’s plenty of room. As you can see from this photo, the effect of 2 years of use.

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My first impression was I liked the stiffer cables as they didn’t kink and the stiffness makes the needle tips feel a little longer, which was something I noticed the first time I used interchangeables. The needles are hollow, so in the larger sizes particularly,  they feel quite light which is better than trying to battle with big and heavy tips. They don’t have a super smoother texture, there’s a very, very fine anodised texture to it. I think this makes the stitches hold a little more to the needle. It makes a swishy noise and you can feel it a little when you knit with it. Initially, I really didn’t like this and thought I might have made a mistake with the needles, but I quickly came about to like the sensation of knitting with them.

They have lovely points to them and they are quick and pleasant to work with.

One big benefit is the sizing labels on the needles and cables. The sizing is written clearly on both the needles and the cables, with a lot of brands the numbers rub off very quickly. After 2 years of constant use, all the sizing labels are unchanged – they look the same as the day I bought the kit. The needle sizer that is included in the kit has never been used – it’s a bit of a pointless extra!

They quickly became the only kind of needles I loved to work with. The only downside to them was magic loop. Some people say they are impossible to use. They’re not. You just have to have a longer cable than perhaps you’d normally use. Saying that I haven’t been thrilled with the effect, the red wires have such a strong memory, they push on the join between the knitting. I would overcompensate and pull it tighter as I passed the join making a column of tighter stitches. If you really concentrate on your knitting tension at the join, then you can get it so it doesn’t show.  

Here comes my recent discovery though. At Yarndale, my friend bought some Spin cables – these are the cables that belong to the bamboo version of the Chiaogoo needles. They are completely interchangeable with the Twist.  I wasn’t paying attention at the time and didn’t realise the significance and didn’t buy any.

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Afterwards, she showed me why she bought them. They are clear plastic cables and very supple. They do not have the strong memory the twist cables have and the cables also “spin” around in the seat of the needle, which is another huge plus.

I quickly bought a full set of the cables and have worked a couple of magic loop projects with them. They work perfectly - no runs or tight stitches. They are just the job for magic loop.
So the only downside I had with the needles has a solution.

They are on the pricey side but I’ve had them 2 years and they don’t show any wear. They work great for lace knitting as the texture holds the fine yarn to the needle and equally great for all other types of knitting.

They do come in half sets too, so if you tend to work with fine yarn a lot then it might be wise to just get the small set or if you’re a chunky yarn fan, then get the large set.

I must say I have always had a preference to metal needles, so I might be biased towards them. Why not buy a pair and see if you like them too? Give them time though because they took a little while to grow on me.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Parcel

Very good friends of mine have just had a second child. Mr and I are going to be godparents.

I’ve been knitting away all year on and off little baby things. The first baby had a big parcel of knitted clothes, so I’ve been trying to match it this time.

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There isn’t quite as many things as last time but I have been enjoying making them.

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I didn’t know until quite late on, whether it was a boy or girl, so I do have quite a few girls knits squirreled away. Luckily I know someone who is expecting a girl in the new year, so she’ll get quite a few too.

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I love the colour combination of them all together. The colour of the peach one in Mr’s opinion isn’t masculine enough but well I thought it was fine, so it’s gone in the parcel.

There are two wee envelopes by Ysolda in the parcel. One of them I blogged about here.

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The other I made recently.

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The green one is Hygge from Loop, London and I was playing a bit of yarn chicken with this one. I only had one ball and it was only just enough.

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Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in grasshopper

This one was my favourite. I just love the yarn with this pattern. It’s a Bergere de France pattern. I bought it in the Creations 2013/14 book but you can get it as a single pattern.

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There a literally loads more photos of this on my Ravelry project page.

This one is the cutest.

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I loved them all and hopefully baby will too.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Antipodes

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I have a new favourite shawl. The pattern is Antipodes by Libby Jonson aka Truly Myrtle. Ravelry project page. Libby has some really lovely patterns – I really like her style and all the patterns all seem very wearable to me. Check them out

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The pattern was a pleasure to knit from start to finish. It’s worked from point to point, so you just increase until just under half of your yarn has been used then decrease to the point. It’s great for getting the most out of one skein of 4 ply.

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I used Titus 4 ply in Harvest Gold by Eden Cottage Yarns. Looking at my past blog posts, I bought it at Woolfest all the way back in 2012. I’d been saving it for just the right project. I’m very happy I used it for this and the colour is just so rich.

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The skein I used was quite generous at 110g, so I was able to work 29 repeats of the main part of the pattern.

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I really love this and have been wearing it lots.

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