Public Health Alert: I have OFATAS

So after posting about my new loom, I got a really nice comment from siberianstarbeads warning me about a communicable disease that has been spreading, OFATAS or Obsessive FiberArts Tool Acquisition Syndrome.

OFATAS is characterized by the acquisition of needles, hooks, nostpinnes, spindles, wheels, looms, carders, handcards, combs, shuttles and all manner of fiber art paraphernalia.  Warning signs of the onset of this disease is an excessively large stash of yarn, fiber and fleece, as well as a growing collection of books on fiber arts.

Well, I have a serious case of OFATAS, which is quite visible by my growing stash of tools.  I have two full sets of interchangeable knitting needles (wood and metal), two full set of 32″ and 47″ sock needles (wood and metal), crochet hooks, a niddy noddy, swift, ball winder, blocking kit (mats, wires and pins), three spindles, a spinning wheel, extra bobbins, lazy kate, hand cards, rigid heddle loom, tatting shuttle …

I have it bad and I couldn’t be happier.

For me working with my hands with these tools to create objects, useful objects, frivolus objects, one of a kind objects is really gratifying.  Considering how much of my life and work exist only in computers and theory this is a very real thing.  I imagine gardeners feel the same way, their hands can create something great and special or woodworkers or painters.

The most important thing about these tools is that they not be garbage.  My great-Oma, always said “We are too poor to buy cheap things” and this is a mantra I have taken on for many things, from food (why eat garbage, real food is so much better), to computers, to shoes, appliances and fiber art tools.  I understand needs changing, but why buy a practice spindle for $30 when the one you really want is $80 and you are eventually going to buy it anyway, save the $30 buy just buying the good tool first, or the one that won’t need replacing.

So I have a confirmed case of OFATAS and considering that Cricket Loom is not likely to treat the condition for long, I think my next item will be drum carder but I need to get a permanent job position before that can happen.


On Tools and Kits

My magical case of knitting fun and tools

I have been listening through the back catalogue of KnitPicks podcasts over the past three months or so, and Kelley Petkun, the voice of the podcast and the heart of KnitPicks, always has some brilliant topic of conversation.  One recent topic (I am up in 140s, but this was around the 120s) was about tool kits and I realized I might share my system for knitting tools and project bags.

While Kelley might never believe me, but I usually only have 2 or 3 projects on the go. I find having too many WIPs makes me anxious and so I have been limiting myself to only a few WIPs at a time.  Because of that, I only have on kit, that stays with me as I switch from project to project.

This may turn into a bit of an advertorial for KnitPicks, but their tools are nice and reasonably priced, also as someone who lacks an LYS, it is one of the cheapest way to get knitting tools in Parry Sound.

I carry a … (from left to right)

  • case – the Buddy Case made by Namaste (who make awesome knitting bags and accessories), and the top and bottom are magnetized, which keeps the small stuff from running away. ($20)
  • pen – this one is short enough to actually fit inside the case and came as part of a bonus from Eat.Sleep.Knit (free)
  • scissors – this pair are the KnitPicks steeking scissors, they are small, light and brutally sharp, they are great for everything, I have a second pair that I keep at my desk. ($3.49)
  • tape measure – this one is retractable and works great ($1.99)
  • interchangeable knitting needle key, with charm – so the KnitPicks needles require a small key to attach the cables and tips.  Each set of cables come with one of these keys, however I attached the key to a cell phone charm I got as a bonus from winemakerssister from ordering a bunch of stitch markers. Because of the charm I have yet to lose my first key. ($0)
  • darning needles – I prefer bent tips, and I carry all three because the magnetic top holds them better than my desk drawer ($1.99)
  • cable caps – these come with the cable and work well to make a cable into a stitch holder on the fly ($0)
  • coil wraps (large and small) – better than point protectors by holding the tips together, they keep everything falling off the needles in transit or while trying something on ($1.99)
  • stitch markers – these are my big splurge, I have a bunch of different set from winemakerssister, including some crochet markers, and a “Clapotis” set.  Her markers work well and are so very, very pretty. ($8-15 a set)
  • cable needles – I generally cable without a cable needle, but when I need a cable needle, these ones are brilliant. ($4.99)
  • very small stitch holder – this works for holding mitten thumbs, hanging onto runaway stitches and all sorts of other good stuff ($2)
I love how well this kit works for me, I only have larger items, like my needles, needle sizer/gauge reader, in my office. Everything else is in the kit, and because it is always in use I have yet to lose it, knock on wood.
So what does your kit look like?