New toys, sorry, tools

I bought two new craft toys tools last week; can you work out what they are from the picture? (Hint: it’s not the towels or the metre stick.)

Blocking the biscuit shawl

I’ll admit it’s not the best of pictures so how about something a little clearer:

Blocking kit

I’ve been knitting (and wearing) so many shawls that I thought it was about time I bought some blocking wires in an attempt to make blocking easier. I should say that I love the effect that blocking has, the seemingly magical difference that it makes to knitted lace changing it from scrumpled blob to beautiful shawl; I just hate the crawling about my knees while working with dozens of pins. (I also hate the waiting for things to dry but I knew even blocking wires couldn’t speed that bit up!)

So, I ordered a blocking kit from I Knit, finished (yet another) shawl and set to blocking. Initially, it seemed that the wires weren’t going to make things much quicker; feeding them into the edges of the shawl seemed to take quite a while. What was much quicker was adjusting the shawl to the size and shape that I wanted. In the past, I would pin most of the shawl out and then adjusting anything would mean moving lots of pins. Being able to just tug the wires out slightly and replace two or three pins was so much easier. It also took far less time to get the edges suitably straight, something I always struggled with before.

In short, I think I like them. I’m sure that the inserting of the wires will get easier with experience and the easier adjustment should mean that I get better results as I’m less likely to settle for “straight enough”.

The second new toy was a bit harder to work out from the picture above since it was taking the picture rather than appearing in it! Have a bad web-cam picture instead:

Camera

My trusty digital point and shoot camera died some time ago and, while we have a great digital SLR, I always felt like using it was too much effort for simple things like blog pictures and updating Ravelry. Having the SLR also meant that I didn’t feel like I should buy a new point and shoot because, well, we already had a camera. As well as that, I’m very fussy about my cameras which roughly translates to “it’s nearly impossible to find one that meets my arbitrary and sometimes contradictory criteria”. I do love Canon cameras though so when I spotted this one being sold “ex-display” in the John Lewis sale, it only took a couple of hours of pondering to actually decide to buy it. I’m glad I did though because I love it. It’s small and neat and easy to carry around with me but is also surprisingly powerful and has the functionality that I was looking for.

Expect to see the output of both the camera and the blocking wires in future!

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