Update: The contest is over! I'm turning off comments so people don't enter because it makes me sad that they won't get a chance to win, haha.
When the fine folks at Skacel asked if I wanted to try the new Addi Lace Clicks (with an extra set to give away) I was like, "No thanks I hate free stuff OH WAIT THE OPPOSITE OF THAT IS TRUE YES YES YES."
And then, when they invited me to take part in their Yarn Postcard project (which I'll explain shortly, but it involves yarn) I was like
And an exciting piece of mail it was!
But let's talk needles, first.
So when you open the box, you are confronted with this foxy leather-esque case:
The black was nice and all, but I love the brown. Way sexy. Let's open 'er up, shall we?
Oooh yeah you like that, don't you, you naughty needleset. What's in your cute little pocket?
Why it's an Addi needle gauge (important to have around, since Addi sizes are sometimes slightly different from other companies) and a quality control card. Thank you, Vivien Nichau! You also get the cute little gold Addi pin. Awww.
And there they are, in all their glory. The set contains size 4 through size 11, and unlike the normal Addi Lace needles, they have the shiny-slick nickel plating (more like the regular Turbos). Personally I love this, because I vastly prefer that finish to the grippier brass. The tip is still pointier than the normal needles, but don't seem quite as sharp as the other Lace ones- another good thing for me, since I'm always stabbing myself, haha. This new generation of needles is shorter than the old ones to allow you to make 16" needles, which is SO FRIGGIN EXCITING- I never bought the older sets because I use 16" almost exclusively (hats, you know.) I know some people don't like the way shorter needles feel in your hands, but these aren't any shorter than the 16" fixed needles, so if you're used to using those, you'll be totally fine.
Speaking of totally fine, let's flip that sassy needle case over and see what's going on in the rear:
It's your cords! To me these seem pretty much identical to the ones on the fixed needles, and you get 16"- 40" (including 20" which is another great length for hats- hooray!)
Of course I wanted to take them for a test drive, and that's where the yarn comes in. I'll talk more about the Yarn Postcard project in the second installment, but basically I was asked to share my impressions of some yarns in a surprise "care package" and sort of document this stage in the yarn's journey through its yarny life. Later it might become a design, but for now, we're just getting to know each other.
Schulana Sumerino Print
100% "purewool"; worsted weight
The first thing I thought when I grabbed this yarn was "SQUISHY!!!" It's very soft, quite smooth. The dye job is very unusual...sort of splatterpainty, and reminds me of an urban 80's look a little bit. I decided to swatch this one up to see how the colors would fall:
Very nicely, actually. I'm not sure it's really a "print" but it gives it a nice textural look. It's got small, very smooth plies- not too splitty, but I'd still recommend using a duller needle than the lace tips. I think this would be a great non-itchy wool for next-to-the-skin stuff.
46% Merino, 28% Viscose (from bamboo), 12% cotton, 7% Baby Alpaca, 7% Super Kid Mohair; worsted(ish?) weight
That is some serious blending, haha. This yarn has a shiny, solid core surrounded by a cloud of soft-fluff-ness. I knit it up on the recommended 7's, but I'd definitely recommend going up a few sizes more than that to give the halo an opportunity to breathe and bloom. This yarn has a really fun texture to play with...somewhere between a cloudy mohair or brushed alpaca and a smooth bamboo yarn. I will admit, a few of these yarns have names that seem very strange to me, and this is one of them. It doesn't seem very natural at all- more like cool and high tech.
50% Merino, 25% Alpaca, 25% Nylon; bulky weight
I looove this layered-color look. The photos are actually lightened a bit so you can see it better- it's a very rich color. This yarn is like a fairly normal, medium-dense aubergine wool yarn surrounded by a black alpaca halo. I'm going to have to do something super gothy with it, definitely. Again, I'd use bigger needles than were recommended (I used 9's here). I should probably say at this point that I am a tight knitter, though, so the recommended sizes are probably fine for most people, haha. This yarn is pretty soft, though probably not neck-soft for pansies like me because of the alpaca.
Schoppel Wolle Cashmere Queen
35% Cashmere, 45% Merino, 20% Silk, DK weight-ish
(Ok, maybe it's because I've watched two seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race in a week, but I can't help but think that "Cashmere Queen" sounds like some kind of uber-glam sub category of drag queen. Also, "Cashmere" is totally a great drag queen name. But anyway, back to the yarn....)
I am in love with this minty color. I'm not normally into pastels, but mint is usually the exception. This yarn doesn't feel very much like you would expect it to- it feels like it's been lightly fulled (it probably has, I suppose.) It's not at all itchy, but it's more smooth and crisp than you might expect- sort of like a plant fiber blend or a crisp silk. It seems very dense and has super lovely stitch definition- I definitely plan on using it in something really textured.
Ok, that was a lot of photos (good thing everyone with dial-up gave up on me years ago.) We'll stop there for today but I'll have a whoooole lot more yarn to show you soon. In the meantime...
Let's give away some Addi Clicks!!!
I've got a brand-spankin-shiny-new set of Addi Lace Clicks just like the ones above that I'm going to give to one of you lucky denizens of blogworld. Need I remind you, these things don't come cheap, so GET EXCITED! For the record, they performed perfectly- they're easy to click and un-click once you get the hang of it, and they didn't come loose on me once. The join is very smooth and I pretty much forgot I wasn't using regular ole Addi's (except that the tip was slightly pointier and I could change what needle size I was using without standing up or generally putting in any real effort. Woohoo!)
To win, all you gotta do is this:
Tell me in the comments where you'd most like to take your new set of delightfully-portable Clicks- your dream knitting vacation - and what you'd knit there. (For a bonus point, twittarians, tweet this contest and post a link to prove it.) I'll randomly select a winner one week from today.
May the luckiest knitter win!!