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Thanks for stopping in! I hope you enjoy this blog. I'm writing about things that I love and pray you'll share in the joy and creativity I try to bring. We're talking knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, and crafts - plus a few random musings. Leave your comments and I promise to respond!

Craftsy

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Three Months?

Yes, it has been three months since I was able to post on my beloved blog! Honestly, most people haven't even noticed or cared, but it is something that grates on my nerves in a big way. I started out great this year and kept it going for about 6 months. That's longer than most New Year's Resolutions.

But now we're approaching the end of the year. And the beginning of a new one. Christmas is always busy for me, but especially since going back to work and trying to finish up my final quilt. Yes, I said that too. My final quilt.

I was so excited to get it finished and out of the way! I could finally say, "I am done," and not have another bag full of t-shirts waiting for me to cut, starch, cut again, plan, sew, sash, quilt, and bind. No more worries about what the final product will look like, if I messed something up, if I couldn't find 100 t-shirts into a quilt designed for 20, and time for other pursuits. I can knit and crochet, craft and bake, clean house, shower, exercise, and live without guilt about what I SHOULD be doing in the sewing room.

And I'm also on to new pursuits. I'm hoping to have some exciting information to share in the next few months. One thing that has changed drastically since September is that I am now home educating 3 of my 5 children. This changed a lot of things for me, and one of those is that I will be returning to full time mom and business owner. I'm eager to return to what I do best: teaching. So after the first week in January my life will once again turn course. It's exciting, and a bit scary, and a little sad. I'll miss the munchkins at the art center. Kids really have a way of getting in and burying themselves in my heart. I'll go back to visit, but I'll also have more time for my own children, which always take precedence.

I also have another blog. This one will go along with the home education AND art. I have a passion for creating, as you may or may not be able to tell. This blog helps me to plan and show what we can do to integrate art and education. It is www.littlelyonshomeschool.com. I hope you'll take a look at it! Even if not for a homeschool, it is still going to be filled with crafty ideas and some art journal pages!

So what are the plans for Eclectic Technique? I'm going to continue with what I started at the beginning of the year. I will focus on completing and continuing with featured days. Maybe not one every day as in the beginning, but at least 3 a week.

What were your favorites? What did you like best? To get an idea, please use the page tabs up top and tell me what you would like to see in the future or continued from the past.

I will also be designing my own patterns and hoping to do something even more exciting. I can't reveal it yet until all is finalized, but once it is, I'll let you know!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Craftsy's Big Fall Course Sale

It's that time again! The time for hot cocoa, crisp and cool mornings, walks along paths littered with colored leaves, and knitting. If you're lucky enough to live in one of the cooler climates, you can knit by the fireside or bundled up in a blanket. Or maybe you like to sew, decorate cakes, crochet, and a variety of other crafts to keep you occupied on those chilly fall and winter days. If not, but you've always thought you might like to learn, now is the time!



Craftsy
Craftsy's BIG Fall Course Sale!
(sponsored post)

Have you heard Craftsy's BIG Fall Course Sale is happening now? Learn from the world's best instructors in the comfort of your home, when you shop up to 50% off ALL online classes! Once you enroll you can watch your classes anytime, anywhere, forever. Hurry, offer expires September 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT. Shop Craftsy's BIG Fall Course Sale and save.

You can never go wrong with a Craftsy class. Great for watching on those days you just want to be creative, or any time you feel the need for more crafting. Get inspired! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Circular Lace Knitting Needle Review: Hiya Hiya

This is the third and final installment in my list of knitting needle reviews. Today we're looking at the Hiya Hiya interchangeable needle sets.

Chiaogoo review

Addi Review


Selections
Chiaogoo
Addi1
Addi2
Hiya Hiya
Tip Length
5”
3”
5”
4” and 5”
Lifeline
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Cord Lengths
24-40 (3)
16-40 (4)
24-40 (3)
16 – 40 (4)
Cord Material
Nylon Coated Steel
Not given
Not given
Not given
Tip Sizes
2-15
4 to 11
4 to 11
2-8 or 9-15
Tip Material
Stainless Steel
Nickel Plated Brass
Nickel Plated Brass
Steel
Cable Connectors
2
1
1
0
Storage Case
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Extras Included (ie. Stitch markers, gauges, etc.)
Yes
No
No
No
Extas available for purchase
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Cost
~ $169.00
~ $169.00
~ $169.00
~ $80/set, $160.00 total


The Hiya Hiya needles were suggested to me in a knitting group I use on Facebook. Since I wanted to make sure I was covering my bases, I decided to review them as well. Again, I purchased a fixed circular set, size 5, from eBay. First and foremost, the Hiya Hiya sets don't offer a lot in the way of extras with their sets. You can choose from a 4" set, either in small sizes (2-8) or in large sizes (9-15) or a 5" set with the same variables. Each set comes with 4 cable sizes of 16", 24", 32" and 40". The sets are approximately $80 each, adding up to a total of $160.00 for a set as complete as the Chiaogoo.

When I first took my Hiya Hiya out of its package, the cable was badly twisted in a loop, meaning that the memory retention was much higher than I cared for. I put it in some warm water and let it set for a while, which released the loop. They still are not as flexible as the Chiaogoo or the Addi. I set about knitting up a cabled shawl in fingering weight yarn, knowing this would test the agility and smoothness of the needles.

The needles are very smooth, and it's almost like there is no join whatsoever. The yarn glides across the cables and slips easily over the needle tips. Sometimes too easily. I've lost a couple of stitches from the needle sliding out. This is something I'm used to from the Boye, but did not encounter with the other two. The tips are very sharp, quite accurate at manipulating the yarn, and I love that aspect of them.

All in all, I have to say that I am not sold on the Hiya Hiya. I don't think I get as much for my money and the memory retention is higher than I like. So what wins? Chiaogoo. In my opinion I just get a lot more for the money I invested, I have a full and complete set available with many extras. I can also get singular cables for the smaller sizes I may need in the future.



I hope this has helped you make some decisions of your own. My opinions are given according to what I am looking for in a circular needle set, and you are free to make decisions based on your own experience and preferences. This experiment wasn't an exact science, but it did give me some guidelines on what to expect from each brand. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Circular Lace Knitting Needle Review: Addi Lace Turbo

Continuing with my Interchangeable Lace Knitting Needle series, I am reviewing the Addi Lace turbo series.

Today's review:



Addi Sets have a little more when it comes to choices in their interchangeable needles. They offer two different lace sets, one with short 3" tips and one with longer 5" tips. The 3" set includes the same 8 needle tips in sizes 4-11, but they have 5 cable lengths instead of 3 (16", 20", 24", 32", 40"). The 5" set has the cable lengths in 24", 32" & 40".

The long lace also include lifeline holes, an added bonus. The Chiaogoo also have lifeline holes in their interchangeable sets.

Addi on top, Chiaogoo on bottom


So here is a tabular breakdown of the Chiagoo vs. Addi.
Selections Chiagoo Addi Addi2
5" 3"  5"
Lifeline? yes no yes
Cord Lengths 24-40 (3) 16-40 (5) 24-40 (3)
Cord Material Nylon coated steel Not given Not given
Tip Sizes 2 to 15 4 to 11 4 to 11
Tip Material Stainless Steel Nickel Plated Brass Nickel Plated Brass
Memory little to none little to none little to none
Cable connectors 2 1 1
Storage Case Yes Yes Yes
Extras Included Yes no no
Extras Available for purchase yes yes yes
Cost ~169.00 ~169.00 ~169.00
Thoughts: 

I really liked the Addi Needles, but they seemed too light in my hands. I know that is a strange thing to say, but it was almost like holding nothing at all. The memory in the cables seems to be very low, but I don't believe they are as flexible as the Chiaogoo.

Red Chiaogoo cable, Blue Addi Cable

 I love the "extras" that come with the Chiaogoo. Right now the Addi is on sale on Amazon, so that is a huge bonus, and would justify buying the extras available, but not included. The Addi needles did seem to be much smoother at the joins, and the yarn glided over the cables and needles with ease. The Addi needles also don't seem to be as sharp, either, although their tips appear to be exactly the same. 

Chiaogoo tips on left, Addi on right


My biggest dilemma right now is that I really don't like the weight of the Addi needles. However, I really like the smoothness. I wish that the 16" and 20" cables were available in the 5" sizes. You can purchase them as extras, but they will not make a true 16" circular, as stated on the Addi Website. So I'm guessing with either one, I will need to buy 16" fixed circulars (which I already have in size 5). Still not entirely decided yet. Reviewing the Hiya Hiya set in a couple of days. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Circular Lace Knitting Needle Review: Chiaogoo

I'm doing a small series on lace knitting needles. As you know, I'm taking a Craftsy course to design lace shawls and of course, a crafter is only as good as the tools she uses! I have a good friend that uses Chiaogoo Red Lace needles, so that was my first needle to try out. I've been using Boye interchangeables for years now, and have never had a problem with them except that they are really not pointy enough for lace and the cables leave a lot to be desired when it comes to flexibility.

My end result will be an interchangeable needle set from one of the manufacturers that I review. I intend to review the Chiaogoo, Hiya Hiya, Addi Lace, and (possibly) the Knit Picks interchangeable. I say possibly on Knit Picks because they do not offer the variety in tips and cable lengths that the other three offer, even though they are less expensive.

So here is the breakdown:

Chiaogoo Red Lace Fixed Circulars, Size 5 US, 16" Cable


Chiagoo Twist Red Lace Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set


Complete Set includes:
  • Sizes 2-15 in 5" tips
  • Cables in 24", 32", and 40"
  • 2 cable connectors
  • 4 end stops
  • 2 cord keys
  • 1 needle gauge
  • 24 stitch markers
  • Cloth carry case
Stainless Steel tips, nylon coated steel cables

Thoughts: 

I purchased a pair of size 5, 16" fixed circular needles to try these out and see what I think. The needles themselves are very lightweight, almost like holding nothing at all so they are very easy on my hands and make for quicker work. The tips are great, allowing me to easily pick up my lace weight yarns and make yarn overs, knit two together, ssk, and sl1,k1,psso with ease. With my most recent Estonian knit shawl I had to employ all of these techniques, including nupps. Nupps are not easy. Especially on the purl side pick up. However, the Chiaogoos made things much easier and I am pleased with that. 

The cables were very flexible. Chiaogoo had a recall on some cables that went out with their interchangeable sets in 2013. They make it easy enough to send them back and get a replacement, though, if you end up with a set of the recalled cables. I had absolutely no problems with these cables retaining memory. 

The join was a bit sticky. By that I mean that my yarn seemed to catch on it occasionally. Since these are fixed needles I'm a little worried that the interchangeable won't be much better, since the join is the main downfall of interchangeable needles. However, I've heard a lot of good reviews on them and so am inclined to think that maybe they are better. The yarn traveled very smoothly most of the time and had no problems on the tips and cable. 

Overall, I'm very pleased with the Chiaogoo Twist Red Lace Interchangeable needles. I think you get quite a bit in the set for the money. It's always good to have needles in every size because I never know what the next project may be. I would like it if there was a cable in a 16" size, though.The larger 24" is not hat friendly in my opinion. 

So there is the rundown on the Chiaogoos. Next week I'll present the Addi Lace needles and do a compare/contrast on them. 




Thursday, August 14, 2014

ANOTHER way to purchase patterns and online marketplace

I just found a really cool site called Store Envy. I've been playing around with it for the last couple of hours, knowing dang well I should be doing something else. But I've been trying to move away from Etsy and their fees and find other online marketplaces for my patterns and goods. The more the merrier, right?

Anyway, here is my link for Store Envy


Visit my store on Storenvy



You can also find it in the side bar. Payment is through Paypal, and as always, shipping is free on patterns. I will add more to it later including the baby blankets and additional patterns. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New way to buy patterns

Good afternoon! As per my last post you know I'm shutting down my t-shirt quilting business for a while. However, I'm moving into improving and building up my crochet and knitting patterns. I recently enrolled in a Craftsy class called Lace Shawl Design. I'm learning a lot and watch it when I get a chance. Since I've gone back to work part time my chances aren't as many as I would like, but that's what Craftsy is all about! Whenever, wherever, and however long it takes. Have I mentioned I love Craftsy?

Anyway, I wanted to let my readers know that there is a new way for you to purchase my patterns right through this blog. As I build up my library, I want to offer all of the options I can. So now, by clicking on the link at the top that says, "Crochet and Knitting Patterns" you will be taken to another page in this blog. There, you can purchase directly from Payloadz.com where I upload my patterns for safe-keeping. Downloads are immediate and payment is secure.

If you would still like to purchase from me on Etsy, Craftsy, Zibbet, or Ravelry please feel free to do so! This is just another way for me to offer you an option.

I thank you for your support and hope to bring you much more in the coming months. 

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