- Bags, bags, more bags and some baskets
Like most women around here, I need another bag like I need a hole in the head. It’s just that we have so many great new bags at the shop and it’s impossible not to consider their diverse benefits.
First there’s 65 South, who brings us simple but chic printed bags (pictured below at left) made of a soft but sturdy canvas. To me, these are ideal project bags because they’re big enough for sweater projects. When they’re that size, that almost means they are good for lots of other things in life (like a trip to the market or the library, or for a decent needlepoint project). The new bags from 65 South are soft enough that they smoosh (it’s a technical term) into a packed car or they open up nicely to let your yarn easily flow out of them.
Then there’s the new bags from Vicki Howell X Della Q (pictured at top right). We all know Vicki Howell as a knitting world celebrity, and Della Q for her smart and organized project and needle bags. The two have teamed up to bring you a cute/chic/versatile project bag. These little totes are like a basket bag, lined with smooth fabric that’s easy to wipe down clean and which makes it stand up on its own, all while being soft and flexible. There’s also the snap-in/snap-out zipper bag that is perfect for your notions. Short little top handles make it look sophisticated but also, my yarn doesn’t get tangled through the handles.
Atenti sent us an emergency supply of bags for the holidays (thank you Atenti!) and we continue to love these bags. They are each distinctive, made of beautiful and great quality fabrics, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. This shipment includes some amazing faux fur backpacks, and I cannot get over them. This is coming from me, who clearly loves things that are quirky and also wants hands free so I can pretend I’m an octopus. We also have some new circular needle cases from Atenti, which are a perfect stand-alone or add-on gift.
Aalta also just sent us a number of their handmade wool baskets. You know the drill on these goodies: handmade in Pennsylvania of wool carpet fiber remnants (that happen to be fully moth-proofed), with sturdy leather handles that give them a chic and finished look. These function as beautifully on the go as they do as a catch-all or project basket in your home. There’s a reason that we can’t keep them in stock at Wool & Grace, especially in the cool neutrals like the ones that just arrived!
We’re never short of bags at Wool & Grace, and we have MANY more besides these…. this just happens to be what JUST arrived!
- Needle Sets
If you read the blog, you might know that on top of my Addi Bamboo interchangeable needles, I have about 60 circular needles. I couldn’t possibly want anymore needles, right? That doesn’t stop me from coveting another needle set (or 3). This year we’ve introduced Lykke needles which have proved to be hugely popular – with good reason. Their first set included needle tips ranging from size US 4 to 17 (that’s a lot) with lots of extra cables. And these smooth birch needle tips seem to be the perfect compromise between bamboo and metal, in terms of smoothness. Now Lykke has DPN needle sets and short tip needle sets (which include 16” cables), and all of these sets are all a more economical choice, with the full set only costing $125. It’s a lot of needle for your dollar.
For me, I can’t help but covet a set of Addi Rockets. After being a committed bamboo knitter for years, I recently made the switch to metal (generally – not always – because the fibers ultimately decide which needle is preferred) because I can knit tighter on them. A complete set of Addi Rockets is my equivalent to a hot sports car. All Addi needles are pretty special – including the new Flexi Flip double point needles, which are another way to speed up your knitting. These are a great stocking stuffer for discerning knitters.
- Coco Knits Accessories
I’m a sucker for good design. When form and function combine as beautifully as they do with all of the Coco Knits notions, my heart skips a beat. From their smart stitch markers (perfect for color coding stitch patterns, etc) to their stitch stoppers (lightweight and made for all needle sizes) to their new mesh yarn keepers, these are all thoughtfully designed tools that actually make our knitting lives easier. This year, I’m particularly interested in the leather stitch holders. I’ve held out using waste yarn for my seamless knits for years, but really – it’s a lot easier with this handy little tool. Your stitches wait patiently on a leather cord and when you’re ready to put them back on the needle, you attach a metal tip and knit directly off of the stitch holder. It’s not rigid like a traditional stitch holder, and if you want, you can try on your in-progress work with these stitch holders because of their flexibility.
- Some Needlepoint Distraction
This year in particular I’ve loved to have a little needlepoint to turn to in the midst of my knitting projects. Since I’m not nearly a proficient needlepointer, this “work” is purely selfish and all my own. Also, I’m a committed continental stitcher, which makes the needlepoint work pretty easy. Sometimes, this mental break is welcome and necessary, and a small to mid-sized project is a welcome distraction. My favorite designers are most definitely the edgy and modern Pewter & Pine and Thorn Alexander (the gals from Tess & Thorn have divided to conquer the needlepoint world more thoroughly), but I love classics from the likes of Alice Peterson or Kate Dickerson.
You don’t need anything but…
I work in a yarn store. Knitting is pretty much my favorite pastime and my mental health activity (which means that I do it a lot), so not only do I have a pretty good stash, but I have all the tools I need and multiple notions bags to shuffle between multiple projects going at a time. I try to be discriminating and to NOT purchase everything cute/useful that comes into the shop. But it’s hard to not love all of this stuff, and imagine how any one of these items would make any knitter, crocheter or needlepointer tickled to refresh their projects for 2018. Here’s some of the great stuff we have at Wool & Grace that’s making us feel giddy.
We are very fortunate to live in communities where need is often not something we struggle with. I know that most of us are spending this season doing things to help the people around us who are in need. While you do so, please remember to do something kind for yourself and all of your other favorite people, whether they be knitters, crocheters, needlepoint enthusiasts – or otherwise ordinary citizens. And please stop by Wool & Grace and let us help you with this season of giving!