HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE

I am too miffed at the xenophobic, fundamentalist?Red States to be very coherent this morning, so I beg your indulgence. I’ll do more yarn maker site reviews when I’ve cooled down and can be more objective. ?Also, posting a shot of a large piece of stockinette in blue is guaranteed not to awaken those who also stayed up to watch election returns, so I’ll skip a boring progress report on the blue poncho until I can show it raveled and sewn together.

Hardware

Yesterday however I did pop by the hardware store. I find it almost as much fun as a knitshop, and almost as full of Useful Knitting Gadgets. I thank The Knitting Curmudgeon for?writing about the wealth of gizmos in hardware stores back in her pre-blog days.

Yesterday’s acquisition was an inexpensive caliper:

What for?? I’ve got lots of tiny needles, smaller than US #0 (2mm). I had hoped that it would be precise enough to parse out the difference between a 1.5mm and a 1.25mm. Unfortunately, it’s not. It does help me see which sets belong together (something that can be hard to do with fingers alone), but for the tiny needles it’s just not accurate enough. What it IS accurate enough for is discovering the real metric size of various needles. As we all know, just because something is marked as 3mm, it doesn’t mean that the marked size is true. I know I’ve got "big sevens" and "small sevens". Now I know what the difference is between them.

I’ll still need to shell out for a sub-zero needle gauge or micrometer, but this tool at $6.00 is still useful.

Other useful thingies in hardware stores include washers and o-rings of various sizes (stitch markers, especially for giant size needles); tool boxes and roll-up pouches for needle storage; measures of all types; the yardage?estimators used by fishermen; slabs of drywall or other soft, flat materials for blocking or pin-out boards; PVC pipe for building blocking frames for shawls and other huge flat things; lengths of thin non-rusting wire or tubes to use as blocking wires (ask for brass music wire or stainless steel welding wires); wooden dowels for create-your-own needles; and hard finish cotton twine or thin wire for knitting.

Software

This has nothing to do with knitting, but I’ve finally wrestled the camera into submission and can show you the Pumpkins that Ate My Sunday:

Let this be a cautionary tale. If you tell children, "We’ll carve anything you want on the Jack o’Lanterns this year," be prepared for major surgery.

The wolf was a canned pattern that came with the little carving tool set, and was a special request of the smaller daughter. The dragon was an original drawing by the larger daughter.Both kids helped, but I did the bulk of the finer work. ?I can wholeheartedly recommend those carving sets. The small plastic doodads and saws really make the impossible possible, and saved me from lopping of fingers, hands, and the heads of the pumpkin requesters.

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