Socks, more socks, and a Hiya Hiya needle review
Hello, and how are you doing? I thought that just for a change, I would talk to you about socks ( 🙂 ) and I’ve got quite a lot to talk about this week!
From new socks to emergency socks on and off the needles to a potential sock disaster to brand new needles … it’s all here in this week’s photo-packed blog post so make yourself a brew, get comfy and read on!
I wore my new Wildflower socks this week. I wrote about finishing them during Blogtober last year, photographed them on my feet to show you – and promptly forgot to put them in my sock drawer so they’ve been tucked away in my study for all this time! I can’t believe I managed to do that, but it was so lovely to find a “new” pair of socks that I could wear straight away (maybe this is something that I need to do more often as it felt like a gift to me! 🙂 )
I love the colours of this yarn so much! It makes me incredibly happy to see it whatever the weather – and it’s been pretty cold this week!
So cold, in fact, that it’s been easy to remember that we are still “mid-Winter” even though there are Spring flowers appearing in the garden and out in the woods where I’m walking with the dog. It made it very easy to make my choice for my next pair of socks …
Winter Icicle! I’ve seen lots of pairs of socks in this yarn on social media just recently and it so happens that I’ve enough left over in a ball in my stash to make a pair that’s just my size. It’s funny, but once I’ve knitted a pair for a pattern design, I don’t always think to go back and use the rest of the yarn to knit a pair for myself, but I really should do – and I am planning to do more of that in the future.
These socks are going to be my new Emergency Socks which will live in the car because I have finished my other pair. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read my blog post about Emergency Socks here, but basically, I keep a sock knitting project in the car for when I’m waiting for small daughter to come out of school (blimey, that girl dawdles some days!), for when I’m stuck in a stationary queue in the car or just any other time when it would be handy to have something to occupy my hands. After writing about the Emergency Socks on Instagram, there was a suggestion that there should be an Emergency Snack in the bag too, and I think that is an excellent idea! (Although the best suggestion was to have an Emergency Snack that wasn’t too tasty so that you didn’t have to keep replacing it …)
I’ve made a start as you can see, and as much as I enjoyed knitting my last pair of Emergency Socks, there’s something about this yarn that feels like coming home. The colours, perhaps, because of all the reasons that I chose them, or the fact that it’s WYS and I do love their yarns, or maybe the time of the year … I don’t know, but I have felt a great deal of comfort this week from having this sock in my hands.
Here’s my last Emergency Sock project – and I am very pleased with the result!
The yarn shade is Bower and it’s hand-dyed yarn from Burrow and Soar. It was lovely to knit; very smooth and the colours were consistent and look – no obvious pooling across the gusset as well which was very much appreciated by me!
I started these socks in October so it’s taken me about 4 months, maybe just under, to knit them. That’s fine, there was no rush – socks are very patient, you know! They don’t mind at all if you leave them in a bag in the car for a while, they’re just there when you are ready to pick them up again 🙂
Now, with two pairs of finished socks under my belt and a new pair started, you might be wondering what happened to the pair that I was finishing off for the Winter Haven KAL. They were a pair of Falling Hues socks and as the original prototype for the pattern for my Autumn Leaves yarn, they had got put on the back burner when the yarn became available and the socks needed to be knitted in that. By Week 4 of the Knitalong, I was almost up to the toes and an afternoon in front of the fire watching a film was the ideal time to finish them off … and then disaster struck!
But more about that in a minute. First, I promised you in the post title that there would be a Hiya Hiya needle review and I haven’t forgotten!
Before Christmas, I was delighted to be asked by the nice people at Hiya Hiya if I would be interested in trying out some of their needles. I always recommend that sock beginners use good quality needles with smooth joins because good quality kit makes learning so much easier, and although I haven’t used Hiya Hiya needles for my own knitting, I have test-driven some before and am always happy to recommend them as an option for people to look at. The reason that I haven’t used Hiya Hiya needles for socks before is because my preference is for a 30cm (12″) needle (anything less than 25cm makes my hands cramp up) and at the time I bought my first 30cm Addi needle, I wasn’t aware that other brands were available and I’ve stuck with what I like!
Anyway, here was my opportunity to change that! Hiya Hiya are well-known for producing sharp-tipped needles which are very good for knitting lace in particular and their 23cm (9″) needles are hugely popular with sock knitters. Being an awkward-ossity (as my Nan used to say), not only do my hands cramp up with small needles but I end up poking holes in my fingers with sharp points so I was very glad that the package that arrived contained Hiya Hiya steel tips which are less sharp and therefore much better for those of us who are prone to skewering ourselves 🙂
This is what arrived in the post – such a generous package!
There are three sets of needle tips – 2mm, 2.25mm and 2.25mm – and two cables, one of 60cm and one of 80cm to create a long circular for magic loop. There was a packet of stitch markers, a needle gauge, a pair of fabulous unicorn scissors and the little packet on the right contains a key to tighten up the joins.
I often use magic loop for the toes of my socks but as it happened, my Falling Hues sock was on a long circular needle so I decided to swap the Addi I was using for the Hiya Hiya and that would give me a good opportunity to see how they compared.
Straight away, I noticed that the Hiya Hiya needle tips are shorter than on my Addi long circular needle.
They’re quite a bit shorter, aren’t they? I did wonder how I was going to get on with that as I am used to the longer length. I noticed as well that although the Hiya Hiya tip wasn’t as sharp as the “sharp” variety they sell, it was still more pointy than the needle I was using …
It’s not that easy to see from the photo, perhaps, but the Hiya Hiya tip at the top of the photo is definitely more defined than the Addi. Uh oh, I thought, there may be skewering ahead …
But having promised to try the needles out and write a review, it was only fair to try them out to write a review and not assume that they were going to cause bodily harm without even checking. I put the cable and tips together – this is how you use the little key that comes with the cables – there’s a tiny hole at the end of the cable that you insert the key into and that gives you something to hold onto as you twist the cable and needle tip in opposite directions. There’s even a little pad in the packet if you need some extra grip.
And then I swapped the stitches from the Addi to the Hiya Hiya and I was ready to go!
The first thing that was immediately obviously (apart from those shorter tips – I wasn’t sure I was going to like those!) was that there was no curl in the cable at all.
My Addi needle is wilfully curly and always has been, even after being soaked in hot water more than once to straighten it out.
After a while, I found that the short tips didn’t bother me at all, and the join is lovely and smooth as I had expected so it was a pleasure to knit.
I even found, unexpectedly, that the shorter tips meant that when I reached the gusset, I didn’t have to make an extra loop to accommodate the length of the needle tip as I usually do – the shorter tip meant that the stitches fitted across the needle without stretching.
I’ve got to tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed using this needle! I now know that Hiya Hiya make 30cm needles in the steel tips and they’re also bent tips like the ones I used for the Sockalong tutorials so I could be tempted to make a purchase – you can never have too many sock needles!
Also in my package were some of these stitch markers – ooh, I’ve fancied some of these for years! My husband used to have some cuff links to go with a posh shirt that looked like these little balls and I loved them; I always thought they looked really cute, so I was delighted to see these!
A needle gauge is always a useful thing to have in your accessories box, especially if you’ve inherited knitting needles over the years. It’s not always easy to keep needles in their packets (I have to make a big effort to make sure that I put mine away in the right place rather than leave them in the bottom of my work basket as I know I’ll use them again later) so having a way to tell what size they are if they get mixed up is essential!
Oh, and look at these scissors! I am not too old to still adore unicorns and iridescent unicorn scissors in rainbow shades absolutely made my day 🙂
So, as an official conclusion to my review, I will still be happy to recommend Hiya Hiya needles to beginners who are looking for good kit. I’ll use this needle again because I like it so it will end up in my “regularly used” needle selection, and next time I need to buy 30cm needles, I will definitely look at Hiya Hiya as a choice.
Thank you very much, Michael at Hiya Hiya, for getting in touch as I have thoroughly enjoyed trying your needles out!
And before I finish, what about that sock disaster? * Sigh * I was so close to the end …
Here’s my sock, just about ready for the toes …
and there’s a mistake. I’ve knitted part of the pattern section twice, probably because I was engrossed in the film I was watching and not really looking at what I was doing. I suspected that I had gone wrong but couldn’t quite see the mistake (ah, remember I stood on my specs? What a pain!) so I carried on – and now I have my new glasses I can see it, which of course brings that eternal dilemma – to rip back or not?
I’m not sure that anyone else would notice it – I mean, can you see anything wrong here? I can hear my Nan, who had a good supply of quotations for many occasions saying, “A blind man on a galloping horse wouldn’t notice it”, but I am neither blind nor on a horse and I can see it!
And that’s the worst of it – I know that it’s there and it’s right at the point where my sock appears from under my jeans so there’s a good chance that I’ll see it every time I look down at my feet. Normally, the perfectionist in me would have ripped the lot out straight away, but I decided to sit with it for a bit to see if I thought I could live with it. It’s just that if I think I can, I finish the socks and start wearing them – and then the mistake shouts at me every time I look at my feet, I’ll be cross. The mistake puts the sock about 4 rounds longer than the other sock which is a reasonable amount to be out of sync.
I’m not sure that I can “cure” the desire for perfection on this one!
I’m even considering whether I can just take out the central pattern section and re-knit that without having to take out the whole of the foot … this internal debate with myself may go on for some time! In the meantime, I’ve got two other new pairs that I can wear, and I’ve got a nice needle to fix my sock with if I decide to do that. It’s not all bad! 🙂
Have a lovely week, whatever you’re up to, and I’ll catch up with you again soon! xx