Peacock feathers

It’s Tuesday – let’s wave our tail feathers!

SHOW: Test Knitting

I have been working on my second test knit for Rosemary (Romi)  Hill. It’s one of her 7 small shawls and this one is named Maia. It is written for a fine-ish sock yarn and I am using one that gives about 450 yards to 4 oz. It’s Elinor, a 100% Merino sock wool from Posh Yarn. The colour is a mossy green named, unsurprisingly, Bed of Moss and I am beading it.

Maia WIP

The shawl was cast on this Saturday and has taken a little debugging so it isn’t finished yet. I am verging on the edging chart now. I shall tell more later this week. Maybe a WIP post on Wednesday, possibly an FO post this Friday. Maybe even both!

Maia has been way fun to knit (where debugging has not been required). I think she will be lovely once washed and blocked.

Which brings me to…

TELL: Blocking Wires

Mr L bought me a blocking kit. He took my advice on which one to present me with, and I thought that I had done thorough research. Regular and long-time readers will know that I have looked into this matter thoroughly over the last couple of years. Mr L has recently shown much interest and has debated along with me the merits of welding wires versus a specialist product.

We had agreed recently that the flattened bits at the end of welding wires were likely to snag very fine lace work and Mr L had pointed out that welding wires were likely to be rough in places and prevent further snagging hazard. He advised me to get a specialised set.

Which one? I knew for certain that I would need flexible wires for curved pieces. I also knew that I needed a yardstick  – I have tape measures a-plenty and did not want to pay for yet another tape measure in a blocking kit.

I narrowed the field, based on those criteria and the sets that are actually available in the UK. My choice was determined in the end by the “buzz” that I managed to pick up on my travels about t’internet.

I chose the BlocKit – and asked for the large set. I had read several posts from knitters happy with their BlocKit purchase.

The BlocKit kit

Unfortunately I cannot concur.

What did I find when my set arrived? I found that the wires contained therein were simply welding wires repackaged, complete with snaggy ends and a note that if the wires were rough, I might sand them down! Now, you may call me picky if you wish but… to me, if I were selling a product designed for use with someone’s delicate cobweb yarn, I would feel obliged to ensure that it had a perfect finish before sending it out. Quality Control!

Stamped flattened ends

The rigid wires are nothing of the sort – they bend, but do not re-shape – and great care will be needed to keep them straight.

The rigid wires bend

The flexible wires are just that – flexible and wire. Very thin.

Blurry - but gives an impression of the diameter of the two wires

The yardstick is a joke! Not at all what I pictured – not a nice hardwood stick with brass bound ends and nicely etched markings. It’s a piece of incredibly light unfinished softwood that has been stamped with the ruler markings (they won’t last long) and isn’t even cut very well. Cheap and remarkably nasty. The kind of thing you might give to a kindergarten child to play at measuring with.

Poor finish

The T-pins seem to be OK – I have nothing to compare them with but I am sure that they will do the job.

I really could not recommend this kit. If you are considering buying one, do yourself a favour – buy as many welding rods as you require and save money doing so. Buy some stiffer ones than these while you are at it. Then go to eBay and buy a proper yardstick – about a fiver including p&p. The T-pins can be bought as a separate item. The so-called instruction leaflet on blocking can be neatly side-stepped by consulting the Yarn Harlot

Let me know how much money you saved.

Make no mistake, this is not a specialised kit. It’s a pack of bits put together with an eye to making a fast buck with very little thought or effort involved in the process…

I am not telling where it came from – I don’t believe it is the seller’s problem. The buck gets passed quite firmly up the line to the cheapskate that put this package together in the first place.

I do see an opening here for a good business opportunity.

SHOW and TELL: RAK goodness

Most of today has been spent in sorting out some RAK business.

Hand-made Buttons

I finally got around to finishing the buttons that I was making back in February. It is ridiculous that they  have been hanging around so long — all they needed was to have  the buttonholes finished off.


I used up the leftover clay at the time by making a something.


Today the something became a brooch, when I fixed a pin on the back of it.

I suppose these deserve a show and tell all of their own, really. Maybe one day I shall get around to it.

Maybe I should not reveal this one…

Mr L also bought me a new shopping trolley. I am official little grey-haired old lady. Lookee, though

So swanky, even Treacle likes it

Swanky, or what?

Capacious. Best of all, not tartan

Larger than the old one, sturdier


and it folds up to hang on the supermarket trolley while I do my shopping. And it isn’t tartan!

I shall road test this next week!


  1. June 22, 2010

    oooh, thanks for the honest review. I’m sorry you’ve been so disappointed by this, but I’m pleased you’re getting the word out there. Will Not Buy. 🙂

    • June 22, 2010

      Welcome to the blog, Alison.

      Will Not Buy

      There are many more out there who were pleased with their purchase. You should form your own balanced view after Googling…

  2. Susan aka paintermom
    July 31, 2010

    Pardon my American cluelessness, but what does RAK stand for?

    • August 1, 2010

      Ah, I do believe it was you, our Transatlantic cousins, who were responsible for coining that term – Random Act of Kindness. Of course, most organised RAK swaps are anything but Random 🙂

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