Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A review and a post

Well hello to anyone still reading this blog! I can't promise I'll be around to stay on a regular basis, but I wanted to post a review of the new Hiya Hiya Interchangeable needles.

I bought these needles because as much as I enjoy them, my damn Knitpicks Options needles break at the cable join all the time. I have now broken about 8 cables over 2 sets of needles, which frankly is way too many for casual needle breakage. While I know some people can glue them in, my glue jobs are never smooth. Besides, who wants to carry super glue around in their knitting kit? I also have better things to do with my life then call Knitpicks all the time and get replacements.

I really wish they would fix this obvious design issue then waste their time developing clear plastic (?!) 'Zephyr' needle tips, but that's just my opinion.

Where to get Hiya Hiya Interchangeables

The new needle sets have had some unfortunate and lengthy production delays, but should be available for order or at a LYS soon. I was able to purchase one of the few first run sets.


I've used this set for about 6 weeks now with several yarns and several projects. I've knit mohair lace weight, smooth worsted and fingering weight wool, nubby wool/silk single ply, and a cotton/silk worsted blend.

Hiya Hiya offers the needles in two main sets. A small set (size US2-8) and a large set sizes (US9-15). Each set comes with 16, 24, 32 and 40 inch cable and a brocade storage pouch. Separate tips and longer cables will be available for sale eventually as well. I like this arrangement, since I hardly ever use a needle size outside a US10.5. So I bought the small set, and will probably buy a US9 when it becomes available. It saves you considerable money then being forced to buy tips you may not use.

The first thing you will notice and what makes this set different from other sets is that they offer a smaller needle down to a US2, and a 16" cable. In order to accomplish this, the needle tips are shorter than most sets. More on this later.

The Pouch

I love the Knitpicks original binder and was planning on using that. I love these binders to the point I have hunted down unwanted extras to store my fixed circulars in. So I thought I had my storage solution down flat.

I really have never cared for the rollup needle cases. No matter how they are made needles end up slipping out all over the place. So I was looking to just give away the Hiya Hiya brocade pouch when it came in. However, to my surprise I actually LIKE it.

The fabric and the sewing is very nice. They come in several colors as well. Chance got me this nice royal blue. There used to be a brand tag sewn on the front, but I hate brand tags on things, so I picked it off. The new pouches will have the logo embroidered on, so you won't have the option of easy removal.

Inside is the necessary, and large flap of black fabric to keep the needles from coming out. You will also see a zippered pocket in the top flap for cables and what have you.

Under the flap are the slots for the needle tips. THANK YOU Hiya Hiya for leaving some empty space for future tips you may want to add to your collection.

On the back side, there is another handy zippered pocket.

The Needle Tips

Let’s get down to the gritty.

The needles are slick smooth steel. They are definitely not as slippery as Addi or Options needles, but smooth enough for me none the less. Unless you need that greased pig feeling on needles, you'll probably be OK with these for slickness.

Each tip has the needle size printed on it in mm and US.

I would rate the tips a happy medium between blunt (Addi) and sharp (Knitpicks). I really like pointy needles with a long taper, but in all honesty these work OK for me, especially with 'regular' smooth yarns. For lace weight I may revert to another needle set in my arsenal.

(Hiya Hiya on the top, Knitpicks Option needle is on the bottom)

Now, we get to what I think will be the main issue for most people with this set. The needle tips are REALLY short. 1" shorter then Options. They really have to be, in order to make a 16" cable in the set happen.

If you grasp your needle with your hand so it lies in your palm, it is going to jab you in the meat of your hand. If you hold your needle just with your fingertips, you'll never notice the loss of the inch. My hold is some mix of both, so I'm not completely comfortable holding these needles. Now I can live with it, but this is the biggest factor that keeps the set from being a superstar for me.

The Cables and Joins

The needles attach into the cables by simply screwing them into the cable. No tools are required, which I find handy. The cable end is on a swivel, which would be otherwise wonderful and prevents needle twisting- if I didn't feel it cranking into the meat of my thumb because of the short needle tip.

Sometimes I do find the needle working itself unscrewed. It’s not a chronic problem (happens a couple times a project) and could even be my hesitation to keep from cranking on it too hard. Anyway, it’s no big deal, usually it’s apparent before the needle comes unscrewed all the way and drops your stitches because the yarn will start to snag. It's better than the needle breaking and requiring glue, like some brands...

I bought a cheap, rubberized grip gardening glove to help grab the needle if my hands feel slick or lotion coated. I don't think it's necessary, but it helps if you have a problem tightening the tip down. You should never use pliers or any tools on the needle tips.

Once screwed in, the join is undetectable, even with lace weight mohair.

If you are knitting lace with very fine yarn, it may 'catch' on the transitional taper ‘bump’ to main needle body. I didn't have a huge issue with it, and never noticed it at all knitting lace with fingering and larger weight yarns. I can see the possibility that you death grip, super tight knitters may not be gliding yarnovers over that bump with ease.

The best part of this set? The cables, oh the cables. They are clear (not some intestine purplish color) and really resemble slinky high test fishing line. It is much thinner than any other cable I have seen, and it does not twist or hold a shape whatsoever. The swivel inside the join keeps the work from ever twisting on you. If you knit socks with 1 circular needle, I highly suggest you try this cable. It's like not having a cable at all. A-plus on the cable design!


If you can get over the shortened needles, I would suggest this set to anyone. It is a good value at about $68 retail for the small set. Especially when you consider you don't have to go buy 16" circulars if you are a new knitter. However, I'm still looking for the perfect needle set, the one that will allow me to give away all my other circular needles. The Hiya Hiya set, like all the others I’ve tried, just falls short.


Monday, December 01, 2008

In circles

It amazes me that once you think you have your preferences set, something comes along to mix it up. Take knitting needles, for example.

I like double points. I'm also tired of reading magic loop/2 circs is so much easier and the way to go. Now I don't give a hoot about the 'needle wars', I just don't like to be told that, if I was to just try one of the circular methods, I'd like circs so much better.

Well I've tried them, and I threw them down and picked up my DPNS once again.

The biggest trouble for me is that I HATE dealing with access cord or needle. I don't want to be constantly yanking a cable or fishing for a dangling circ end. I want my stitches and needles right there, front and center. This is the same reason why I'll only knit socks on 6" DPNs. I don't like all that wasted time sliding stitches around.

But poking around one day, I found these:


9" long metal circs by Hiya Hiya. (I bought mine at the Knitting Zone). See how tiny it is next to the 16" Knitpicks needle? Cute! I've seen a couple people knitting socks on one short circ before and found it interesting, so I thought I'd try them.

The HiyaHiya needles are lovely. Something between an Addi Turbo and a Knitpicks Option needle. They are slicker then the KP needles and a bit less pointy, but not as blunt as the Addis. They are worth a try, since they are so cheap. They come with bamboo tips as well.

I started my sock toe up on DPNs until I had increased to the right size. I'm sure some smartypants can do this without the DPNS, but it seemed the easiest way to get started. I then moved the sock onto the shorty HiyaHiya circ.

I have noticed that the short needle tips lend themselves to Continental style knitting, so I've been doing that. I can throw with them which is my native method, but for some reason picking seems to work better. On this note, if you have meaty hands, the short needled circs may drive you crazy.

I haven't decided if the wee circs will replace my DPNS, but I have to say it's nice not to chase a dropped needle across the trolley floor when knitting in the city.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Acronyms of the Month

What is with all the goofy, lengthly and unpronounceable 'along' acronyms I'm seeing lately?

Some examples:

NaNoWriMo: national novel writing month
NaKniSweMo: national knit a sweater month
NaBloPoMo: national blog posting month

Why not just POMO, SWMO and NOMO?

The glory of an acronym is that it shortens a name, phrase, etc. That's why TLA's (three letter acronym) are so popular. They are quick and easy to say and figure out WTF they mean.

These NaMo things make my eyes hurt tying to translate. Hint: Using case changes in acronyms? If caps are needed so they are interpretable as more then just alphabet soup, they are missing the point of being an acronym.

Please, nah mo NaMos!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yarn goes in, yarn goes out

So, let's revisit the yarn stash, shall we?

Once I got onto Ravelry, I indexed every full skein of yarn. This was good and bad. It was good, because I now know what I have on hand at all times. Even traveling, since I can see the contents my stash using my iphone. I know if I have x yards of something appropriate if I see a project I must have.

The bad side, is that I know how much yarn I have. Blerg. I realized I needed to exhibit more self control if I actually would like to knit some of this someday. Especially sock yarn. My goal is to keep my fiber and yarn (minus whole fleeces) contained in the storage unit I bought.


I added 4 more baskets on top. It's getting tight in there! Mostly because I joined two fiber clubs, and I need to spin some of it up now.

So I realize I'm helpless when it comes to yarn buying. I've bought 5 skeins of yarn already this month, and it's only the 11th. Not good.

However, I've been better at using yarn from the stash. I also finished a Clapotis shawl (am I the last person on earth to knit one of these?).


This was using stash yarn from years ago, from my first Maryland Sheep and Wool! So that's 5 skeins of yarn used up.

I'm also working on using 3 skeins of stashed alpaca to make Tararind, a cowl/neckwarmer thingy:


It's quick, keep me warm and will use up stash yarn.

Then, I have been trying to use yarn before it even becomes stash. This is Manos del Uraguay wool in a new colorway 'cornocopia'. It never hit the stash, becasue I just love it so and had to use it right away. Rosies Yarn Cellar's knitting circle got to help pick the colorway, so I feel like it was made for me.


It's the 'cozy V neck' from Fitted Knits. It looks so much better on!

So while I have no control over my yarn buying, I am at least trying to achieve some sort of slow growth/status quo. At least my house won't be taken over by wool, and I can still afford my guitar lessons and other niceties.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm still alive

Hey everyone, I just wanted to post to this thing. Just so everyone who used to ready this knows I'm still alive.

I've been avoiding my blog because frankly it's been a really crappy summer without much good to say. Simply, my Dad who is in his mid 50's, has late stage ALS. If you are not sure what it is, google it. For some reason it's hard to type the explanation, but I can explain the cruelty of it calmly to people in real life. That makes no sense, but there you have it.

I'm slowly coming around to normality again, the weather is changing and I now do have knitting and things to share that are not bad. I figure I'd just get the poo out of the way so we can start this blog up over again.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Art Star Craft Bazzar

Saturday Was the Art Star Craft Bazaar, which is pretty huge (and free).

I got me some stuff (which by chance these fine folks also have etsy shops).

Jennifer Owlington from Tigerflight
(formerly magpie dc)
Is a small pillow/plushie made from recycled and felted sweaters and corduroy pants.

Two bookmarks for my husband, who usually can't stay awake for more then a few pages at a time.

These are from beacon bookmarks and are usually from recycled hardwood, and sometimes they even use vintage stamps.

Then of course laceweight alpaca yarn from No Two snowflakes.

Not my usual colors a cream yarn with the lightest tints of color. I had been thinking a nice neutral shawl for once would be wardrobe friendly.


Food vendors where good, crafts were well made and people where nice and friendly. My only beef is that there where too many bizarre plush dolls, infant clothes and papercraft vendors. Every other tent was selling stuffed animals of weird aliens, handmade cards or a whole booths of nothing but screen printed baby onesies and kids tees. A bit more variety would have been good.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Book thing the girls are doing

Here is a meme of books you've read my BFFs are passing around.
The ones I read are in bold.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel

Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Miserables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers