Episode 25: Choose Your Weapon! How to Choose Needles for Sock Knitting

I heart ChiaoGoo.

I heart ChiaoGoo.

Following on from the last episode, where we welcomed Clare Devine to talk about how to choose yarn for knitting socks, this episode sees us explore the next big life knitting question: which needles? Starting off the episode is a little bit of chat about recent travels, then there is a review of Msanzi: South Africa on my Needles from Sally Cameron. We have a giveaway from a fab new indie dyer, Coach House Yarns, before we get into all things needle related.

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I recently went down south on holiday (sort of!) for Sanimal to be baptised at the church I used to go to when I was at school. The average speed cameras on the A9 have recently been activated between Inverness and Dunblane which is a total cash cow in my opinion, thought up by someone who never uses that road! Coupled with the 50mph speed limit for HGVs, it’s a bit of a pain to say the least.

Northern foodstuffs are covered, particularly the humble pie. Mielie is a big fan of the vindaloo pie from Greenhalghs. I am a meat and potato with flaky pastry girl. Not to be confused with the shortcrust pastry version, which is a bit naff. Not as naff and pointless as the butter pie which is the only thing you will find left after [12:30], apart from a couple of scabby small meat pies.

Book Review: Msanzi: South Africa on my Needles by Sally Cameron aka PinkHairGirl

Image Copyright Sally Cameron, reproduced here with kind permission.

Image Copyright Sally Cameron, reproduced here with kind permission.

The eagerly awaited release of Sally’s South African inspired knitwear collection has finally happened, and I have got my hands on a copy to give you the full run down. I have known Sally for a few years now, having met her when I lived in South Africa myself, and knew this book was in production for some time. I have to say, it has surpassed all expectations.

There are 15 patterns in the book, accompanied by Andre van Rooyen’s stunning landscape photography. I freely admit to getting a little emotional seeing the imagery, particularly that so familiar to me from my home in Limpopo. I love that the patterns are both very visually representative of Andre’s photography but also versatile enough that you could easily swap out the colours and still get a project that works well with the pattern.

The book is priced at USD $28 plus postage for international customers, for the hard copy with ebook and is available from here. Full colour ebook is available from Ravelry now, priced at USD$20. For South African customers, the hard copy plus ebook option is ZAR315 inclusive of postage. Look out for a blog post during the week with more images from the book, followed by an interview with Sally in episode 26, due out on Sunday 30th November.

Giveaway from Coach House Yarns

I am very pleased to bring you a giveaway this episode from brand new to the scene indie dyer, Linda Gunner of Coach House Yarns. Based in Oldham, Manchester, Linda dyes all her yarn in her converted coach house home, hence the name! She has kindly offered a skein of her Everyday Sock base as a prize, which is a 75% wool (35% BFL) and 25% nylon blend and would be cracking for a fun pair of socks or hardwearing accessories in the colour way ‘Tiger Tiger’.

She has some exciting new bases she will be bringing in soon, so watch this space for more information.

For your chance to win, please head over to the Coach House Yarns shop on Etsy, and pick out your favourite colour way. Send me the details of your favourite via the comments, the Ravelry thread for this episode, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and you’ll get an entry into the random draw.

Linda also blogs at www.coachhouseyarns.wordpress.com and is @CoachHouseYarns on Twitter.

Hoggle Colour way Opulence Base Coach House Yarns

I got hugely distracted when talking about Linda’s range of Labyrinth themed colour ways. My favourite is the ‘Hoggle’ colour way on the Opulence base, which is 75% Falkland Merino and 25% A1 Mulberry Silk.

If you haven’t seen Labyrinth, I highly recommend it. Who doesn’t love David Bowie in over tight leggings?

You remind me of the babe!

And if you’ve seen it before and want a snort down nose for 7 minutes treat….

Stunt baby!

Labyrinth Drinking game

Sock Surgery: How to Choose Needles For Socks

Clare Devine and Kate Read return with another sock surgery. This week we’re talking about how to choose needles for socks. If you want to read Clare’s blog entry on choosing needles, head here.

There’s a lot of chat about DPNs and how to get rid of, or minimise ladders at the joins. Turns out that I am not the only person to hulk smash my bamboo DPNs as Kate has snapped lots of hers too. She is now using laminated birch ones. The key to getting rid of ladders is trying to maintain an even tension and practice. You can also move the needles around a little to move the join to try to disguise it.

Magic loop gets a whole lotta loving from Mrs Devine, who advocates the use of Hiya Hiya, or KnitPro circulars for doing this technique. Key to success is the quality of the cable, rather than the price of said needles. Clare doesn’t get on with the stiff red cables that come with ChiaoGoos, although plenty of people use them with success.

9inch circular, 15cm DPN and fixed circular comparison

9inch circular, 15cm DPN and fixed circular comparison

The marmite of needles, the 9″ circular with the teeny tips is discussed. Please let us know what you think of these needles is you have used them – we will read out all the comments in the next show! Libby from Truly Myrtle did a very well timed blog post this morning about her experience with them, which is well worth a read.

Finally the subject of cubic needles is covered and where these might be a useful option.

Clare will be doing lots of accompanying blog posts for you in the next two weeks to amplify on things covered in this episode, and I will link to them all here when they come out. In the meantime, if you want to check out her blog, you can do so here. She’s recently done a rundown of her favourite sock yarns from hand dyers and commercial ranges following the chat about how to choose yarn for socks in episode 24.


Thanks once again for joining me for this episode. Look out on Sunday when there will be another episode up, as the show is going to go to a weekly schedule! This will have an interview from Sally along with the Wippin’ Piccadilly section amongst other things.

Please feel free to contact me. I am Shinybees on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest or you can email at shinybeesinfo@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

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