Needle Review – Chiao Goo

The Chiao Goo needles are the latest I’ve added to my shop range, I have the metaltips-150interchangeable in Twist (metal) and Spin (bamboo).  I’d have to say that the Twist metal are my new favourite needle.  These needles are made out of stainless steel and I find they have a little more grip to them than other metal needles (though less than wood and bamboo) and don’t click!! They do make a swoosh sound which I more than happy with.  They have a nice medium-sharp tip and I’m finding they are now my go-to needle.  Being stainless steel rather than nickel plated is also an added bonus, I’m one of those people that corrodes nickel bamboo5tips-1501jewellery and I’ve noticed a slight tarnishing on my nickel plated needles where the needle sits in my hand.  They are not quite as fast though, as the slicker nickel plated metal needles.

The Spin needles are made from bamboo and are very lightweight, they have a nice grip to them and a medium sharp tip, these needles are very popular and a great go-to needle for pretty much any knit.

Chiao Goo also have two different cable types, both are compatible with the Twist and Spin tips, the Twist Red Cables are a stiff cable “they consist of a multi-strand, steel cable coasted with red nylon”, I’ve found that this cable suits my knitting style, I’m a fairly tight knitter and I’m finding the stitches slide easily from cable to tip.

The Spin “cables allow your tips to swivel freely!  They are made of a pliable, clear nylon”, these cables quite thin and designed to spin as you knit which means stitches don’t get twisted and your tip/cable join is highly unlikely to come loose, these cables are perfect for complicated lace or cables where your doing a lot of stitch manipulation with your tips as the tips are free to move independently.  I’ve found that the stitches don’t slide as smoothly from cable to tip but I think that is because I do make a tighter fabric, a few knitters I know that knit quite loosely love these cables.  I’ve only tried them with a 4mm needle and dk/8ply weight yarn in stocking stitch and will be experimenting with my next lace project – 4mm needles combined with fingering/4ply weight yarn and I’ll report back as I think this will be a better mix.  Again it’s one of those things where everybody is different!


Knitting Needle Review – Knit Pro

I have a huuuuge range of needles in stock (though not even close to all the needles available out there) so I thought I’d give you my thoughts on the different types.  First I want to say that needles are a very individual thing, what I like may be different to what you like and the only way to know is to try a few different types until you find the one that fits, also different yarns work better on different needles and then different stitch patterns may work better with one needle than another. Years ago I was chatting to a customer about needles, I mentioned that I preferred wood as the ‘click click’ of metal needles drives me crazy, she said that she couldn’t stand the ‘swoosh swoosh’ wooden needles make and preferred metal.  I’ve since found that not all metal needles ‘click’ the same and have quite a few metal needles now.

I stock Knit Pro, Addi and Chiao Goo needles, I’ll start with Knit Pro.  In Knit Pro I have Symfonie Wood, Symfonie Wood Cubics, Nova Metal, Nova Metal Cubics, Karbonz, Bamboo and Spectra Acrylic.

So needle_tips-150what’s the difference? Each has their own pros and cons, the Symfonie ranges I think are the perfect everyday go-to needle, nice sharp point, pretty to look at, work well with pretty much any yarn, are slightly grip-py so stitches don’t fall off the needle easily and have been my long time favourite.  The only con I can think of with these needles is the smaller sizes can be fragile – I’ve snapped a few while knitting which is very annoying!

Tic_cubicslarge-1501he Symfonie Cubic needles are a square shaped needle rather than a round needle, I personally find the shape a little uncomfortable in my hand but I have talked to many customers who absolutely love these needles.  These, and other square shaped needles, are designed to be easier on the hands and wrist as there is less twisting off the needles as you knit so the grip can be looser, this makes them ideal for those with arthritis or other hand issues.  Gauge is usually quite different with these needles so swatching is a must.


The Nova metal needles are the ones I find have the annoying ‘click click’ – this is very much a personal thing and I have many customers who wouldn’t use any other needle.  These needles have a very slick surface, which makes them a very ‘fast’ needle and a sharp tip which makes them great for fiddly lace.  Stitches slide off the tips quickly and stocking stitch on these needles just flies!  I have a few added to my collection as, despite the click, I find the slickness and sharp tips are perfect for some knits – especially those with really tight deadlines.

novacubicsic-150The cubic version have all of these properties in the square shape. Again gauge will be different and the shape will feel different to a traditional round needle.



Karbonz combine carbon fibre with metal which makes for a light weight needle. The tips are blunter than other Knit Pro needles which makes them good for ‘splitty’ yarn.  The carbon fibre shafts are warm to the touch and have a similar feel to wood and are very strong, these needles won’t snap in the smaller sizes.


The Bamboo tips are very lightweight and I think, the ideal needle in the larger sizes because of this.  The tips are blunt, so again, good for yarns which have a tendency to split, they are a ‘slower’ needle and great for beginners as the stitches are less likely to slip off the needle which knitting.

Last in the Knit Pro range are the Spectra Acrylic needles, I haven’t specialeditionsetstrendz-150knit with these so I can’t comment from experience, they are a cheaper option, are very pretty to look at, appear to have a nice sharp tip and sleek surface.  They do flex slightly so if you are a tight knitter you might find they bend as your knitting.


So which do I use? I mostly go for the Symfonie tips as they just feel right for me (and this would be the most popular amongst my customers) but for some yarns and knits I use the bamboo and metal, bamboo would be my go-to for splitty yarns and some cottons, metal when I’m after speed or anything under 3.5mm.

I came across this blog article a while ago which discusses how needle material can affect gauge, it’s interesting to see how different needle types create different sized stitches despite being the same size.  I know I knit much tighter on metal than bamboo.

Knitting is supposed to be relaxing..

This is something my mum has been saying to me every time she visits.  Designing has taken off  for me over the last couple of years and constantly have deadline knits.  Working for publishers means tight deadlines and because quite a few of them have been for international publications the deadlines are even tighter due to having to allow for posting.  I love the pressure (mostly) of having to get things finished by a certain date, I’ve always been the type of knitter who gets easily distracted when nearly to the end of a project, deadline knits means I am simply not allowed to cast on (browsing Rav is another thing but at least I can call that ‘research’).  Mum however sees me frantically knitting – ‘have to finish this ball by the end of the day’….knitting is definitely not the new yoga in this house!

I’m still waiting for a lot of things to get published so can’t share…I can however share these two patterns the first is Earthen Pullover from Knit.Purl Fall/Winter 2015, the second is Commonwealth Sweater from Interweave Knits Fall 2015.

knitpurl-05-2015-0341_small2  knits-2015-fall-0887_small21


Pekapeka Design Studios

One of the joys of being a part of the GAL is ‘meeting’ other designers.  Today I’d like to share with you an interview with New Zealand designer, Kelly Brooker.

What made you decide to start designing your own knitwear? How long have you been designing?
My designing career started out with trying to sidestep a technique I disliked at the time; kitchener stitch. Six years ago I was a mum to young babes in cloth nappies, and knitting many soakers (cloth nappy woollen covers), which all required seaming or kitchener stitch. Daydreaming while breastfeeding one day I dreamed up the Vanilla soaker pattern – an innovative soaker that has exactly what I was wanting: no seams and no kitchener stitch.
PS – I’m actually a kitchener whizz now 😉

Who taught you to knit? Do you come from a family of knitters, or are you a solo knitter?
All the women older than myself in the family knit. Anytime we visited female relatives, they always had needles in hands.
I distinctly remember my Mum knitting my 2 sisters and I, matching chunky purple garter stitch sweaters for photographs…the height of fashion in the early 90s!

Could you explain the origin of your name?
PEKAPEKA is a native NZ fruit bat. They are distinctly New Zealand, and just quietly go about their way, not drawing attention to themselves. This resonates with me.

What is your favorite item to design?
Definitely newborn cardigans ❤ My family is complete now (4 children ranging in age from 8y down to 2y), however I just can’t stop designing newborn cardies. My first was the Puerperium Cardigan, and the most recent is Hundreds

You have some gorgeous designs, do you have a favourite?
Thank you!
I don’t really have a favourite – they are all like my children!
My ‘flavour of the month’ is currently Mystery Benefactor though.

Could you talk a little about your inspiration?
Anything and everything! My mind is a bit like my own Pinterest board…I just wish it was as organised as my actual Pinterest account!
I never sit down ‘to create a design’ – they come and find me and insist on being put to paper

What is your favorite knitting technique? (Cables, lace, colorwork, other)
I’m definitely a lace girl. I strongly dislike knitting cables, hence I do not have a lot of cabled designs; the thought of knitting up cabled prototypes gives me the heebie jeebies

Do you have a favorite yarn/fiber?
Anything that is soft, and not too hairy

Have you come across any new-to-you designers that you like, because of the GAL? Are you knitting anything in the Indie GAL?
I’ve completed 3 hats during the GAL so far! A Mangere Bridge Beanie (my own pattern), a Quinnifer by Becky Herrick, and a Cable Beanie by Brenda Green
I stumbled across Alison Janocha whom I had never seen before and have picked up her Anadara Blanket for knitting very soon (

Let me know if you have any questions you’d like me to ‘ask’ :), or more things you want to highlight.
I have a brand new pattern coming out in 2 weeks time: Thousands is the comprehensive version of the Hundreds cardigan (, and will be available in sizes newborn to 2 years, and in fingering, dk, and worsted weights. Keep your eyes out for it!

GAL 2014

Over on Ravelry I’ve been involved in the 2014 Gift-A-Long! What’s a Gift-A-Long I hear you ask, well….

“Prepping for the holidays as only fiber folks can, with special deals from tons of indie designers!

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 2 month long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 4 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Use coupon code: giftalong2014. You can read all about the details in this post: click here.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you gotta post to win!

KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 13 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Wednesday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST), plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have games, tons of prizes, great conversation, and a lot of fun, so pull up a chair and join us!”

Important links –

GAL group –

Pinterest Boards Links –

My patterns –

All before my morning coffee….

(a little story that really has nothing to do with knitting)

Mornings are a little hectic in the Yay! for yarn house, I’ve never been at my best first thing in the morning and I think it really takes me a good hour or so before I start functioning properly, my little girl is very much the same. We live about a 3 min walk from her school and, honestly, I struggle to get her out of bed and there on time some mornings.

Tuesday morning, I’ve got her up, in the middle of making her lunch, and just finished making myself a coffee which I manage to knock over – coffee everywhere! I clean that up, set the coffee maker to make a second cup and the *%$@ thingy (you know the bit the coffee goes in) explodes off the coffee machine, coffee, coffee grounds and hot water EVERYWHERE, I nearly started crying as I cleaned that up and horror of horror I was wishing I had some instant in the cupboard…..

(I made myself a double strength after that – like I say to my kids, coffee is what keeps mummy sane, and yes, there is now some instant in the cupboard).