Addi FlexiFlips – The Good – The Bad – The Ugly

Since my last post, I decided I would get my knitting mojo back by putting my current projects on hold for a bit and knit up something tedious and challenging and touch no other project until this one is completed.  It sounds nuts, but its technique I’ve used when I’ve been in a funk with other things.  Just hit pause and find a good challenge.

I cast on the first of a pair of Coffee Cantata socks and got to work.  There’s a brain melting amount of cable work but my God are they gorgeous.  I’ve considered framing these when I’m done as a joke.  Imagine that on the wall as a conversation starter for guests.

When it comes to socks I break out the double pointed needles.  Always.  I’ve made socks using the magic loop technique before and I don’t find it enjoyable.  I use magic loop on plenty of other things like sleeves and toys just not socks.

After casting on these tediously cabled socks I ran into a minor issue with my beloved double pointed needles.  I started hitting multi-stitch cables and twists spread between two needles in the middle of sides.  It’s fidgity where you don’t want fidgity. Ugh.

I began looking a little more seriously at Addi Flexiflips.

So all of us knitting junkies have seen Addi FlexiFlips appear on the market, and they apparently have been a big hit.  They’ve either been unavailable for order, backordered, or when found have had pricing that is grossly inflated.  The worst pricing I’ve seen is $45 per set for immediate shipment.  It finally looks like after several months these needles are popping up more often with reasonable pricing, but some of  the most common sizes are still hit and miss on availability. The concept looks intriguing, essentially they are circular needles with very, short fixed cables as a join.

I located two sets from the same seller in sizes that would be good to have the arsenal, Size 0 and 2.75mm (1.5 or the larger size 1 – it drives me nuts that there are companies out there that are marketing two size 1 needles Addi is one of them) at a bargain basement price of $18 a set.  They arrived in the mail box yesterday and once I got in from an evening of shenanigans with friends I worked them into the socks and flew through enough rows to feel comfortable writing a review.

Time to break it down…

The Good:
The design itself is pretty sound, and will please both magic loopers and double pointed fans alike.  It’s an excellent blend of the two.

For double pointed needle fans, you are juggling fewer needles, but absolutely have the feel of four in the sock and one to work stitches.  There are only four pointy ends poking out of your sock instead of eight reducing the places your working yarn can catch when you’re in the knitting groove.  I can’t quite articulate it, but having the short flexible cable between tips makes the process feel more compact.

For the magic loop folks, yes you’ll have more than two tips to manage but guess what you don’t have to do. The loop dance.  You know what I’m talking about, the pull one needle tip, re-folding the cable, and all the fidgeting that needs to happen to switch from one half of the sock to the other.  You simply will move from one needle to the next without all the readjusting.  Besides the addition of more pointy ends and learning to manage those, there isn’t much change in the rest of your normal knitting process.

These needles will travel well.  I’ve used several versions of double pointed needle/sock holders and I can fold these needles up to fit any of my existing holders.  Realistically, I could go without these holders once I secure the third working needles into either the yarn ball or the sock itself.  Magic loopers will find that the project itself will be more compact and with the loss of the actual loop, won’t have a snag point.

The Bad:
The points themselves…
Addi ment well by offering their dual tip technology on these needles.  Each needle has one sharp tip, the other side is a more rounded one.  This is great if you’re working a simple sock without a lot of design features.  Simply pick your preference and consitantly use it from one needle change to the next.  If you’re doing cables (especially without the assistance of a cable needle, the pinching method or drop and shift method) you will be arranging and rearranging stitches on both a sharp point and a rounded one. If you’re working a yarn that is on the splitty side, this can be a frustration point.  It’s not a huge issue, but it would be nice to have a choice of all tips being one shape or the other.

The Ugly:
The issue I’ve consistently had with every single set of Addi circular needles that I’ve touched…the joins.
If someone at Addi reads this, why can’t you make a smooth join between cable and needle?!? For what would be considered a prestige or luxury brand of needles, having joins rough enough that yarn doesn’t easily slide ir worse yet splits at the join is disappointing.

Overall, are these worth the investment? Yes.  They are a great concept, and despite the concerns will get the job done.  Are they worth paying the demand pricing for?  No, be patient and wait until you can find the size you need in the $18-25 range.  These are already more pricy than an individual set of double pointed needles or standard circular needles, but for die hards, a worthy tool.  Will these replace all of my beloved double pointed needles? Nope, but they will be a standard fixture on my traveling sock projects. When I have a little money in the fun budget I’ll pick up another size 1 (the smaller size 1 LOL) and a set of size 2 and that’ll be it.  That covers the sock gamut for me.  I will finish out my current socks on these despite my feelings about those variable tips and intricate cables.

Now it’s time to get some photos in.  By mid-morning it was warmer outside on the porch this morning than it was in my house, so the photo shoot was on my porch table, which needs a fresh coat of paint and a good cleaning, so just excuse that. Click on the images for some captions and info.

If you’ve tried these for yourself, tell me what your thoughts are.



Knitting Mojo Seems to be a No Go

e8d7a0a96a08ecb9f6f8e28dda3a4d51Well hey there again.  I’ve been intending to write more than a blog post a month but I’ll admit I’m notoriously bad for writing out posts in my head and then never actually sitting down and typing them up.

I also have to admit my knitting mojo has been on the low side lately.  Even us power knitting types get in a rut once in a while.  That said, I’m using my lack of knitting mojo as an excuse for not posting a class schedule for the end of this month and going into April.  I’m going to take a short break from teaching, and plan to do classes on Saturday’s only in May.  The full-time job may be requiring a little more flexibility in my availability during the week.  The ongoing “Bring Your Own Project” scheduled for Wednesdays between now and April 11th are still on the calendar.  Wednesday regulars, if you are reading this, there will be details posted on the Coffee and Wool FB page concerning individual sessions.  Woolly Wonders will still continue to meet – don’t forget this Sunday is at Left Nut Brewery in Gainesville, GA from 1pm-3pm.

Now, before anyone freaks out, I’m fine.  I know enough of my regular class folk well enough to know, that I will get text messages asking if I’m okay.

I’ve noticed a trend over the years that early spring usually has a few changes waiting on me that require some time and attention above and beyond my usual bandwidth, and I already see at least a couple of significant shifts on the horizon that will require some adjustment.  It’s also work life stuff. It’s end of winter fog lifting, and it’s the urge to hit a few weekend hikes before the summer swelter begins to set in.  Once all of these things are addressed, I’m sure the knitting mojo will return.


Woolly Wonders!

img_0069I’ve wanted to get a new knitting group going for a little while.  A couple of the ones I had participated in over the past few years either fizzled, evolved into other things, or real life kicked all of our asses at once and have been on a very long hiatus.

Between work, knitting shenanigans, slowly enacting my plan for world domination, and strong introvert tendencies, social commitments can be difficult at times.  I think everyone is in the same boat paddling for time, so setting up a groups that meets the second Sunday of every month sounded like a good plan.  To toss in a bit more fun, why not move the knit up location every time? The group wouldn’t stress one location consistently.  That also allows us group folk to support more than one local business.  I’m also a huge fan of crafting in public, when it feels like most of the world is staring at a smart phone, stitching away in public seems like an act of social deviance.  We can all use a bit of that in our lives.

After creating one of those infamous event things on Facebook I crossed my fingers and hoped a few people would show up to Mocha Moe’s in Flowery Branch.  One person came somewhat by force because I kidnapped her.  That’s not entirely true but a funny visual.  Three more people came!  Is that a huge knitting group, no, but it’s a damn good start.  Deborah, Kelly, Lia, DeAna, and myself had a good afternoon filled with knitting, coffee, and a few laughs.

We’re doing this again on March 11th at 1:00pm – 3:00pm at Left Nut Brewery in Gainesville, GA.  Keep an eye out for one of those event things, with the set up at the brewery I’m going to need a head count so I can beg them to reserve us one of the bench tables a few days in advance.

If you’re in Northeast Georgia feel free to drop on by.  Woolly Wonders (that name may change eventually) is meant to be open to anyone who enjoys any fiber craft; knitting, crochet, needlepoint, or anything else requiring fiber to make, with a welcoming spirit.  I hope for a diverse group of women and men, of all ages, walks of life, and skill levels.

We have very few rules.  Please leave the political debate at home, it has destroyed too many crafting groups over the years, and treat others respectfully.

There is no obligation to come every month.  There’s no rigid structure here, simply come and spend some time working with some crafty people.

All of us will have one thing in common, our love of fiber craft, everything else can be built on from there.

February Class Schedule

It’s that odd time of year for us crafty types.  Winter isn’t quite over, Spring hasn’t sprung either.  So what is there to do?  Time to find some projects that aren’t too heavy, aren’t too light, and some other goodies in between.

All classes will be at Yarn Rhapsody on Dawnsonville Highway, Gainesville, GA.  Please register for classes by contacting the shop or myself at least 48 hours before the beginning of the first session.  All yarn should be purchased from Yarn Rhapsody, stash yarn can be used for an additional fee.

First, we’ll get into some beginning level classes.  These are for the new knitters and crocheters looking to create their first projects.

Crochet 101 – Granny Squares – Mini Class
Bring your G or H sized hook and pick out your favorite colorway of worsted weight yarn.  In 1.5 hours you will be well on your way to creating your first granny squares.  These simple squares are the foundation for many an afghan, bag, or stuffed animal.
Available Sessions: (Pick One) February 10, 24 and March 10 – 3pm-4:30pm
Skill Level: Rookie
Price: $30
Click here to reserve your spot online: Seating is limited.

Knitting 101 – Leafy Dishcloths – Mini Class
Using the wide selection of cotton yarns at Yarn Rhapsody we will make leaf-shaped dish cloths to put those freshly learned knit and purl stitches to use. Sessions are 1.5 hours long.
Available Sessions: (Pick One) February 17, March 3, March 17 – Noon-1:30pm
Skill Level: Rookie
Price: $30
Click here to reserve your spot online: Seating is limited.

Toe Up Socks – Knitting Class
Did you miss out on the Wednesday sock classes?  It’s time to offer up a sock knitting opportunity on Saturdays. Bring a set of size 1, 1.5, or 2 double pointed needles, and pick your favorite sock yarn, we’ll be kntting up a pair of toe up socks, with a basic heel flap.
Recommended Yarns: Regia Design Line or Marisol Khusku
Dates: February 10, 24 and March 10 – 10:30am – 11:30am
Skill Level:
Price: $60
Click here to reserve your spot online.

GrisGris de Lin Cowl – Knitalong
This lace cowl is a wonderful addition to any wardrobe and can be worn well into spring and only needs about 200 yards of fingering weight yarn  and size 4 circular needles with a 16-24″ cable.
Recommended Yarn: Louisa Harding Amitola
Dates: February 10, 24 and March 10 – Noon – 1:00pm
Skill Level:
Price: $30
Click here to reserve your spot online.

BonBonBonBon – Knitalong
Easter is right around the corner on April 1st!  If you’re looking for a unique basket buddy you can knit up your own bunny in either DK or worsted weight yarn using only one skein.  For DK size 3 double pointed needles are recommended, size 5 for worsted weight.
Recommended Yarns: Liberty Wool or Knitcol
Dates: February 10, 24 and March 10 – 1:30pm-2:30pm
Skill Level:
Price: $30
Click here to reserve your spot online.

SlippersBurgeoning Slippers – Knitalong
It won’t be quite warm enough to run around the house barefoot for a little while yet, but it’s going to quickly get to warm for those heavy-duty house shoes.  These beautiful slippers will do the job, knitted up in about 300 yards of DK weight with size 2 needles.
Recommended Yarns: Criative DK or Plymouth Select
Dates: February 17, March 3 and 17 –
Skill Level: Apprentice/Virtuoso
Price: $30
Click here to reserve your spot online.

Processed with VSCO with s2 presetFrench Market Bag – Crochetalong
This amazing bag will be perfect for use when the spring markets begin to open or that first trip to the beach. This bag uses about 560 yards of worsted cotton with a size G hook.
Recommended Yarns: Lisa Harding Marmo or Butterfly mercerized Cotton
Dates: February 17, March 3 and 17 – 2pm-3pm
Skill Level:
Price: $30
Click here to reserve your spot online.

Bring Your Own Project Night – Knitalong
If you have a project that you need a wee bit of help with, or a section of it has you stumped this knitalong is the solution. Bring any project you like and work within a knitalong style environment and get a helping hand when you hit that rough spot here or there.
Available in sing sessions, blocks of 3 sessions or 6
Session Dates: March 7, 14, 21, 28, April 4 and 11 – 6pm-7pm

Skill Level: Any
Price: $10 per single, $30 for 3 sessions, $60 for 6 sessions.
Click here to reserve your spot online.


End of the Year Rituals

Here we are in that odd week between Christmas and New Years Day.

Yes, folks, it’s time for one of those posts that isn’t craft related.

I’m on vacation this week. I’m not going anywhere exotic, I’ve made it back home from my holiday visit to the family, I’m in full blown reboot mode. I think most of us can honestly admit that this is the week where we have the highest hopes for the upcoming year. Many of us are making resolutions to break habits and better ourselves, others of us have thrown that tradition to the wind. It seems everyone has a tradition of some sort, or a tradition not to have a tradition.

I’m a goal setting person. I will sit down on December 31st with pen and paper in hand and crank out what I would like to accomplish in the year ahead. Do I hit those lofty goals? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, taking into account that the fates will deal cards I didn’t plan on.

I will reflect on what happened in the past year, and determine what I could have done better, and what did I learn from it. Overall it’s a positive reflection. There’s no harping on failures or dark spots for too long.

I’m also a cleaner. This ritual begins tomorrow morning as soon as the last drop of coffee is sipped and will continue until I can’t move a paper towel, if need be, it will go into the next day. Every surface in my house will be dusted and cleaned with the appropriate solvent. Every fabric that isn’t laundered on a regular basis that can fit into the washer and dryer will make a journey there. The floors will be hand scrubbed, the hardwoods re-introduced to Murphy’s Oil Soap. Laundry will be put into appropriate drawers, bedding will be changed wether in needs it or not, clutter addressed, if you can think of it, it’s probably happening. After all of that I’ll stand in the shower until there’s no hot water left.

Call me an odd duck, but nothing brings me greater peace of mind than going into a new year with a clean home and a clear mind.

What do you do to prepare for the new year?

January Class Schedule

Update 12/22/2017: After a request from my November sock class students, I’ve rearranged the class schedule a bit.  They hijacked the Vanilla Sock class and required that I  move it to Wednesday.  Okay, maybe it was more of a polite request, but I couldn’t say no.  There have also been a couple of minor tweaks to look at and the addition of a Bring Your Own Project evening. 

A new year is knocking at the door and after a month off from a full class schedule it’s time to get 2018 off to a strong start. Winter is just really getting going here in Northeast Georgia so the focus this month is to keep warm, by either making warm things to wear, or avoiding the cold by staying in to knit.

All classes and knitalongs will be at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA. You can sign up by calling 770-536-3130, or by dropping in. All yarn, supplies, and patterns should be purchased through the shop.

Beginning this month, I am rolling out monthly mini-courses featuring techniques that can be learned quickly and are commonly used in other projects. These are great for beginners or refreshers for the more experienced.

Cast On/Bind Off Mini-Course:  In an hour and half, you’ll learn three basic cast ons and three different bind offs that can be applied to future projects.  All you need is a bit of worsted weight yarn and size 7 or 8 needles.  This mini-course will be offered twice this month, so choose the day that best fits your schedule.
You will be learning a crochet cast on with a standard bind off, a cable cast on with an i-cord bind off, and a German twisted cast on with a stretchy bind off.
Dates: Saturday, January 6 – 10:30am – Noon
Saturday, January 20 – 10:30am – Noon
Price: $30
Skill Level: Rookie

Crochet: In the Beginning – Mini Course: If you’ve never picked up a crochet hook and don’t know where to start, this is for you.  I’ll cover beginning chains, single crochet, and double crochet in one hour, opening the door to some of your first projects.  Bring worsted weight yarn and a size G or H hook. Much like the knitting mini course choose the date that best fits your schedule.
Dates: Saturday, January 13 – 10:30am – 11:30am
Saturday, January January 27 – 10:30am – 11:30am
Price: $20
Skill Level: 

Bring Your Own Project Night: If you’ve had a project that you’re a little nervous about a certain section, need encouragement from other knitters, or just need an excuse to get away from the house for an hour mid-week this is for you.  You are welcome to bring any project to work on  in a *knitalong* style environment.  I will be there to help you through the little things.
Dates: Wednesday, January 17, 31 and February 14 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 
All Welcome!

Pieces of EightFingerless gloves are one of the world’s best inventions.  Your hands stay toasty but you can still use your fingers to poke at your smartphone. Ha! The unique construction of the Pieces of Eight Mitts will be a fun challenge for experienced knitters.   You will need to be familiar with basic increases and decreases, stitch pickup, knitting in the round, and grafting.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.  You will need 220-yards of fingering weight yarn (self striping or variegated yarns are recommended) and size 2.5 or 3 needles.  You will need double pointed needles AND circulars with at least a 16″ cable.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 20 and February 3 – Noon – 1:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 

CopenhagenI’m going to admit that I’ve been eyeballing this pattern since it was released, and saw a finished one attending SAFF a little while back.  The photos available through Ravelry do not do this one justice.  Copenhagen Calling is a beautiful cowl featuring two color stranded knitting and lace.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.  Knowledge of stranded color work, and basic lace work is needed. You will need 275-yards of color 1 and 360-yards of color 2 and size 6 and 7 circular needles with 32″ cables.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 20 and February 3 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 

Vanilla SocksYou have asked, and I’m delivering.  In a follow up to November’s toe-up sock class, it’s time to do a cuff-down sock. These Vanilla Socks will fit that bill.  All you need is a ball of sock yarn and size 1.5 or 2 needles.  This would be a great opportunity to learn how to use Double Pointed Needles but if you are more comfortable with magic loop, the choice is yours.  This *Class* will be three sessions.
Dates: Wednesday , January 10, 24 and February 7 -6:00pm-7:00pm
Price: $60
Skill Level: 

Steel TealIt’s time for a big, beautiful, juicy, lace project.  This one is knit in DK, which means it’s a great piece to wear through the winter and into spring.  Steel Teal features cable and lace work  in a large Faroese shaped shawl. This *Knitalong* will be six sessions.  You will need 900 yards of DK weight yarn, and size 6 needles with at least a 32″ cable.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 13, 20 – February 3, 10, 17 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Price: $60
Skill Level: 

FavorkiIf you’re going to wear a hat it should be one that looks amazing.  The Favorki Hat is a beautiful combination of cables with a bit of slouch.  You will need 241-yards of worsted weight yarn, and size 4 and 6 needles with 16″ cables.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.
Dates: Saturday, January 6, 20, and February 3 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 

Little KindessThere are days that seem a little rough.  It’s time to spread a smile by knitting up and gifting a Little Kindness Monster for a friend, or maybe a random stranger.  This little guy uses up a bit of fingering weight yarn, and size 3 needles.  He’s a simple little guy and a good choice for a first knitted toy or just fun for those that have knitted a few critters.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.
Dates: Saturday, January 13, 27 and February 10 – Noon – 1:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 

And last but not least, there’s one more offering for January…

Reyna3_small2Reyna is a fantastic one ball and done project that will use that skein of hand dyed, crazy colored, or variegated fingering weight yarn and size 4 needles with at least a 32″ cable.  This *Knitalong* will be three sessions.
Dates: Saturday, January 13, 27 and February 10 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Price: $30
Skill Level: 

There’s a little bit of everyone this month, and as always I look forward to seeing you in class or working away in a knitalong.

As a quick reminder:
Knitalongs: Are offerings in which you knit at your own pace and have knowledge of all or most of the techniques used in the project.  I’ll be there to help you out if you get stuck at any point.

Classes: Are offerings where you will learn specific techniques to complete a project and will recieve dedicated attention and a helping hand to get you through if needed.

Side Note: I mentioned in my last post that I have a bit in store for 2018.  There’s somethings bubbling behind the scenes and that includes everything from more informative blog posts, interviews, reviews, and I’m getting on the knit design horse for real (I’m calling him Bucky). If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a Patron!  Your patronage will provide funds needed for hosting fees, supplies, travel expenses to fiber related events, and other needs.  With patronage this blog will begin to grow and evolve into the fiber arts related education and entertainment site I’ve envisioned it to be.  Become a patron by visiting my spot at Patreon.  You can become a Patron with as little as $1 a month, and any amount is deeply appreciated.  

2018 – Changes for Coffee & Wool

Coffee & Wool is about to have its first birthday, and I’m sitting here thinking that jeez this year has gone by quickly. In this past year, I’ve knitted more than I’ve ever knitted, started teaching classes and in general have learned more about the fiber arts. In case you haven’t noticed I love it. Also in this past year I’ve been encouraged by like-minded friends to do more and over the past few weeks I’ve started to come up with a game plan to turn this little hobby page into something greater.

That’s where 2018 comes in.

I’ve heard it said a few times that the fiber arts community is dying, that its practitioners are aging, and fewer people are interested in learning how to knit, crochet, weave, or manipulate fiber in general. That is simply untrue, the fiber arts community is strong, albeit a little quiet. Beginning in 2018, I want the voice I provide to the fiber arts community to go from a 2 to a 10. There will be more informative posts, more tutorials, and eventually video (someone has to get over her camera fear first).

No matter what, I’m turning up the volume, but I’m going to ask for your help. I’m asking for your patronage. Small monthly donations can go a long way towards helping me promote this page, purchase supplies, and travel to fiber festivals and fiber producing farms for content. If you would like to help me expand Coffee and Wool please visit my Patreon Page. As Coffee and Wool grows not only will you be supporting a fiber artist and the community you’ll get exclusive content and updates in the future.