My current work in progress:

1. Segel, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes in the "Draco" gradient set on a 3.5 mm (U.S. size 4) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Uncommon

I have here a review copy of an upcoming book: Uncommon Cards by Jeanne Williamson, due for publication June 25.

Book052913 197x240 Uncommon

This is not a knitting book, but a book that shows you how to make stationery and greeting cards with a sewing machine and a whole bunch of everyday items, found objects, and recycled materials.

The book has inserted into the back 8 sheets of card stock in different colors to get you started. The book has 52 different projects and gives you complete directions for applying different items and sewing to create one-of-a-kind cards.

There are some wonderful creative ideas in this book — like saving the plastic webbing from a crate of clementines for this clever card design:

Project052913 240x186 Uncommon

Or how about this one, using a sleeve from a coffee cup?

Project052913A 208x240 Uncommon

This started me thinking (which I’m pretty sure is one of the goals of the book!) about what else you could save and use for your one one-of-a-kind cards. Fancy papers — I get mailers all the time from Chanel, for example, and their fancy gilt envelope liners could be recycled and reused. When you get a gift in a pretty gift bag, or wrapped in unusual paper, think about how you could use that paper. Even wrapping from items you have purchased might be usable, along with cuttings from magazines, etc. Once you start looking at items with an eye to recycling them, it’s amazing how many fun and creative ideas you’ll come up with.

Who’d like my review copy of this intriguing book?

To be entered in the drawing to win Uncommon Cards by Jeanne Williams, please leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00 AM Eastern Time on Sunday, June 2, 2013. I’ll pick a winner at random at that time.

Speaking of Uncommon

Have you visited the Signature Needle Arts website recently? They have just introduced a new needle concept: Signature Convertible Circulars.

It is no secret that I love my Signature Needle Arts circular needles. And that I dislike interchangeable needle sets because most of them have joins that don’t work for me — they invariably come unscrewed and/or have lousy joins. I gave away the set of Addi Clicks I purchased. Ditto the Knitpicks interchangeables.

This is not a set of interchangeable needles, but rather a way to convert a single size circular to different lengths. From the website:

Convert your size-specific circular needle stalk/cable combinations to easily meet the needs of your project with Signature Convertible Circular Knitting Needles. Signature Convertibles offer cables and stalks that can be changed within a size to create a new overall length when the size on the needles matches the size on the ferrules.

I personally think that this interchangeable concept is a great idea — I will continue to use my beloved Signature Needle Arts needles, and if I need a different length circular, I will not have to buy a whole new needle, just another cable. Cheaper than a whole new needle. Also, for projects that grow or shrink, I can change lengths within the project. I do find that I do that quite a lot.

Needle052913 240x160 Uncommon

If you are someone who knits all your projects on a single length circular, for example, if you find that a 32″ circular meets all your needs, you won’t find much advantage with this new concept. But if you change needle length like I do, I think you’ll be pleased with these new needles. When I am knitting a triangular shawl from the bottom up, for example, I start with at least a 32″-long needle and as I work up the piece and the rows grow shorter, I want to switch to a shorter length. I don’t like having a lot of extra needle length — I find that it slows me down. And of course when I knit in the round, I need different lengths for different items.

Undpne052913 240x184 Uncommon

The joins between needle “stalk” and cable on these new needles are great — each cable is carefully crafted for each size needle stalk, they are carefully and beautifully made. The join is smooth and does not become unscrewed — let me repeat that: in my experience it does not come unscrewed, no matter what. This is a huge pet peeve of mine with some needle components. The only other needles that are in components that I have used that do not come apart are the Dyakcraft Heavy Metal needles (I reviewed these needles here a few months ago). All the others that I have used (and I have used plenty over the years) work themselves loose.

I have been testing these new convertible needles for the past 6 weeks, knitting with them exclusively. And I have done a lot of knitting: two samples full-size shawls for my Summer Mystery Shawl KAL, one full-size-and-then-some Viajante, and I am currently halfway through another Viajante. I’ve used several different sizes and a number of different cord lengths and I can honestly report that they work just as well as the old fixed length Signatures. Not only have I not had a join unscrew, but the joins are beautifully smooth. I have knit laceweight yarn with a size 6 needle and had no problem whatsoever sliding the yarn over the join.

The corresponding needle size is marked on each cable piece so you don’t get your size-specific cables mixed up.

NeedleSize052913 240x223 Uncommon

And of course you have all the fabulous choices of needle length and point as you have with the “regular” Signature Needle Arts needles.

I want to stress that the opinions above are my own — I am honestly delighted with the new needles. While I have a fair number of fixed length Signature circulars, yesterday I ordered and paid for some convertibles. I am willingly and by my own choice spending my needle budget on this new concept.

Mystery!

Speaking of this weekend, my Mystery Shawl KAL starts on June 1! Have you bought the pattern yet? icon smile Uncommon Remember, if you purchase it before June 8, it is half price: $2.50.

There is pre-KAL discussion in my Ravelry group, here. icon smile Uncommon

Lucy sez:

Lucy052913 240x236 Uncommon

“Such a deal!”

 

 

Comments

  1. I’m not entirely sold on these new needles, and I haven’t tried any of their regular needles yet. I just don’t see the cost being worth it :( Not to mention having to pay for the cables as well for each set! Have you tried the Knitters Pride interchangeable? I love my set of those.
    Grace´s last blog post ..Work in Progress Wednesday

  2. Not entirely sold on the needles… but it may be worth a try now. :) I would however be super interested in the card book! Seems like a fun way to get back into using my sewing machine. :)
    Dana´s last blog post ..First Time…

  3. I’d been waiting a long time for the size 7 fixed circulars to be available again. Turns out they’re going to discontinue the fixed circular line entirely, so to get a size 7, I’ve had to order the convertible version. I’m hoping it will substitute just fine, but it is sad that they’re discontinuing the fixed circulars in favor of these.

  4. Savannagal says:

    I’m not sure I follow your description. I’ll have to check out their website. It sounds like instead of having one set of needles with several cord lengths to go with them, one would instead have to buy each circ needle individually along with several sizes of cables for each of those needles. That can’t be right, can it? That would certainly be a lot of cables, and a whole lot of added expense. I will check out their website for more details.

  5. The book looks way cool-I’m also excited about the new signature needles..I’m saving for a set!

  6. Okay, I just took the plunge with a pair of 8 inch stilettos and a 32 inch cable. And I would love the card book!
    Denise Vitola´s last blog post ..Quitting. Why It Works!

  7. OOOH! I love the look of that book!! I am constantly trying to come up with ideas and failing miserably and those ideas look fabulous!

    Thanks for the review on the needles. I’m very intrigued!!

  8. I would love to win this book… If I didn’t do anything with it, I’d give it to my crafty adult niece. As for the signature needles and cable things… I’m always attracted to the finest things, but my late daddy gave me a Boye Needlemaster set for my 18th bday. I’m 50 now and have replaced a few cables and needles, and they’re still my go-to needles for everything but lace.

    I continue to enjoy your blog after many many years.

  9. Thank you for the review on the knitting needles.
    I’m gonna have to check these out since I love my
    other ones I have by them.

  10. As a DIYer of many things, the book of cards would be a perfect fit to my library.

    I’ve become a bit used to the “untwisting” of my KnitPicks interchangeable. In fact pulling yarn and tightening the needles back up is part of my rhythm of knitting… heehee

    At least the KP aren’t the Needlemaster. For some reason “we” never got along. I think it was having to pull out the “key” ever few rows to tighten it back up. Had to give up doing Annie Modesitt’s Circular Shrug due to that issue.

  11. Janene Reeves says:

    I would love a copy of the book “Uncommon Cards”. Sounds like a lot of clever and thoughtful ideas. Also, thank you for the review on the Signature Convertible Circulars. I’m kind of interested because I LOVE my other Signature needles; however, I don’t know if I like the idea of having to get different size cables with EVERY size tip…..sounds a bit out of my price range.

  12. Lynne S. says:

    Signature needles are fabulous. They’re a luxury I indulge in only occasionally, but options in cable lengths in the sizes I use most would be good. And it is irritating to have to periodically re-tighten a connection. I don’t doubt that Signature has that problem solved; the quality of their workmanship is very high. The book sounds like fun – would love to have my name drawn.

  13. Judith Smith says:

    What a fun book.

  14. Debbie Lockett says:

    This book looks awesome!! :)

  15. Marilyn says:

    Uncommoon Cards looks like a fantastic book, with inspirations for all sorts or projects.

    I don’t understand the concept of the new Signature needles so far; seems like it would necessitate many extra cables and inconvenience of not having the one you might need, especially if you don’t have a LYS which carries them. I know I don’t have as much knitting experience as others, but I love my Harmony and Sunstruck interchangeable, and have had no problems with slipping or bad joins if I use the key and a rubber grip to tighten them.

    Thanks for all the great information. I am looking forward to the installments of the Summer Shawl.

  16. Pauline S. says:

    The book looks really inspiring, and so does the news about the SIgnature Needles… It may be time to invest!

  17. Deborah says:

    love a copy! pick me pick me!!!! and pat lucy for me too!

  18. This new book intrigues me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed! Thanks, Deb

  19. This book sounds like a lot of fun! I’d love to start making cards with this for inspiration.

  20. Sandy Officer says:

    Uncommon Goods looks like a fun book! I am always recycling or rather re-purposing things. This book looks like it has many good ideas I haven’t thought of yet.

  21. As to the cost of the needles, there is is reason they are more expensive: they are made in the US (MIlwaukee), their workplace is subject to OSHA and EPA regulations (unlike China or India), their workers have health insurance, and the needles are made to a higher standard than others. I blogged about them here, including a letter from the president of the company:
    http://kmkat.typepad.com/kmkat_and_her_kneedles/2012/02/great-customer-service-should-be-shouted-to-the-rooftops.html
    kmkat´s last blog post ..Ten on Tuesday, the long weekend edition.

  22. Would love to win this book. Although how I’m going to find time to make cards with all the knitting I have on my list!! Still looking forward to the shawl KAL that starts on Saturday!!!
    Michele Ross´s last blog post ..The Yellow Rose of Texas

  23. As a cardmaker, that book looks very interesting. Believe it or not, I never really thought to use recycled materials for a card!

  24. That book looks very interesting. Thanks

  25. I’d love to win this for my husband’s cousin. She was just recently asking me about ideas for projects that were low cost or used recycled items. This sounds perfect!

  26. I would enjoy this book and have several friends who would want to borrow it. I have the KnitPicks interchangeable needles and love them. I have never had a problem with the joins. That said, I have been tempted to stretch my budget for a pair of Signature needles.

  27. Barbara R says:

    I have 2 of the regular stilletto needles and LOVE them! I’m not sure if I have a size 6 for the 2013 KAL, but if I don’t I’m going to order one.

  28. BreannaS says:

    I am looking forward to your knit along. I participated last year and get lots of compliments! I am going to have to get over to Ravelry and make sure I have it in hand for the start. I would love to win the book. I love to make craftie projects and sew!

  29. Rachel Eldridge says:

    my sister would really love this book.

  30. This book would be a wonderful gift for my Mother-in-law. She creates beautiful cards and she is a seamstress.

  31. On the new Signature *convertible* (*not* interchangeable) needles –

    I was really excited about the new needles, until I found out that yes, the cables are made to fit certain needles, not all of them as other bands have done. The 32″ cable you bought with your size 8 needle will not work with your size 5 needle, for example. Also, I have a friend who has had two of the Signature cables break on the fixed circulars (replaced, but still annoying, of course). The new cables have only a *6-month* guarantee, whereas the needle points have a lifetime guarantee. (And yes, the fixed circulars are only being offered for a limited time.)

    I think I’ll wait until, hopefully, they figure out this wasn’t such a great idea.

  32. Elaine Stiller says:

    Thank you for the chance to win the book.

    Love your review of Signature needles.

    Always look forward to your blogs!!

  33. Quiltnut says:

    Please include me in the drawing for this lovely book.

  34. Henrycat says:

    Very intriguing book – thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  35. I love card making, and those are so cute. I was at a knitting grp today that was talking about these needles…!

  36. I am not a good crafts-person, but “Uncommon Cards” looks like a book that could help me. Thanks for the offer!

  37. LN in TX says:

    Ooooo, what a cool book!

  38. How interesting…this book would go right along with the last “toy” I purchased inorder to make my own greeting cards…a Cricut machine. It would be nice to have it. Thank you:)

  39. I would love to win “Uncommon Cards” for a coworker! It would totally make her day. She makes very clever, creative cards for office birthdays.

  40. SandraR says:

    I would love a copy of this book. It sounds really different!

  41. I have Jeanne Williamson’s Uncommon Quilter book. I’m sure this one will be a hit, too! Thanks for counting me in, Wendy!

  42. Mary Lee says:

    Fun book! Grandsons and I could go nuts with this!

  43. I would love this book. Im forever looking to recycle items. My granddaughters and I are always crafting and looking for ideas. This is the book for us. Give Lucy our best and hope her Memorial Holiday was memorable. I will be join you for KAL.

  44. Bridget says:

    Great ideas. Think individual Xmas cards.
    I’m definitely with you on the un-screwing of Knit Pick needles. Makes me want to glue them shut.
    b.

  45. Cynthia Adkins says:

    So I am waiting, drinking a Starbucks, and now I am looking at the wrapper in new light! Would love this book

  46. Therese says:

    I’d love this book because I have a houseful of such tidbits that I always picture in some new ideation!

  47. I had to read the description on their site several times before I realized that it was “within the same size” – but that’s ok, for the reasons you list. I ordered some 7′s with a 32″ cable to use while I wait for the replacement for my 7′s which snapped off a few months ago. Perhaps, as one reader wrote, the fixed circs are being discontinued entirely? If that’s the case, maybe I’ll just opt for another size or several new cable lengths. I agree, they are the Rolls Royce of knitting needles and add a nice dimension to the process.

    Love the idea for the book! Before I was a knitter I was an avid scrapbooker and paper crafter. Can’t resist books like this!
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..Custom listing for snoopydogknits by ThreeBagsFullStudio

  48. I think there’s something about knitters and stationery – was very glad to see that National Stationery Day (in the UK) falls on my birthday every year! Would love to win it.

    The Signature circular idea looks very interesting. I’ve found the KnitPro ones great but I know some people don’t really like them…
    Liz´s last blog post ..2013 books, #41-45

  49. I can’t tell you how much I’d like to win this book. I make cards and am always looking for new ideas. Thanks for the chance.

  50. CarolynZ says:

    Love the concept of recycling – would love the book.

  51. This book reminded me of the crochet-over bottle-caps trivet my great grandmother used to make. I love this kind of thinking! Thanks, Wendy!

  52. I would love a copy of this book. I’ve been wanting to make my own cards for years, but never had the confidence to do so. This book may just make the difference!

  53. Scrapbooking from ACTUAL scraps is something I’ve wanted to get into for a long time now! Most of what I see seems to use just purchased stuff, which is gorgeous and looks great but seems to be missing a bit of the point, I think… This book looks awesome :) I’ll have to check it out!

  54. Barbara Fredrick says:

    Book looks very interesting. Ive made a few cards before, would love to see the ideas.

  55. The card book sounds really interesting!

    Thanks for the review of the new Signatures. Not sure I like the multiple cables only working for one needle size. But it was good to hear a positive review. Must keep an open mind, I guess.

  56. yep making cards and I like making them with my grandaughter

  57. Always interested in something else I can repurpose! Pick me!

  58. Anita T. says:

    I’d love to win this book!!!

  59. Wendy P says:

    The books looks pretty interesting as cardmaking and scrapbooking are also hobbies of mine! Thanks for the chance to win!

  60. Lynne in Florida says:

    Oh how I wish my budget would allow for Signature needles – I’ve been drooling over them for years. Alas …

    The book would be super useful, as I’m part of a group that makes greeting cards for newcomers to the building, birthdays of residents, etc.

    I’m sure she’s already aware of it, but tell Lucy she’s beautiful, anyway. And give her a skritch from me.

  61. Before yarn, I loved paper and before that, I loved fabric………….
    Book looks perfect!

  62. Sounds like a fun book – thank you for the giveaway! :-)
    Myriam´s last blog post ..Wednesday round-up

  63. The book sounds like the justification I need for having saved the mesh from potato bags so I could make a card with a “screen door” on it. I am glad to hear about the needles. I, too, have been disappointed in the screw joints between tips and cables.

  64. Deborah in CA says:

    I have access to lots of found and recycled materials at a local nonprofit. I would love to have suggestions on how to make cards with those materials!

  65. Haven’t tried Signature needles of any kind yet. These sound interesting.
    Also, so nice to give and receive handmade cards.

  66. Oh my, that would be the perfect birthday gift for my sister! She makes her own cards for all sorts of occasions, and I’m sure she’d love it :)

  67. The book looks like a great source of ideas for frugal, creative card-making.

    I have to figure out how to get my current needles well organized before I buy any additional ones!

  68. Eileen Bunn says:

    Thank you for being so generous. Please enter my name in the drawing.

  69. Rosemary Johnson says:

    Very cool book – I love recycled art. Thanks for sharing.

  70. Celeste says:

    Would love to have that book. And thanks for the needle review. I love my Denise interchangeables, but sometimes they do come apart.

  71. Pick me, o’ random number generator!

    I’m an Addi fan, but will check out the Signature Arts – the concept looks cool.

  72. Sounds like a great book. count me in !

  73. Thanks for the review on Signature needles. I already own the size 6 in a 32″ length. The needles are great, but I do not like the cable. It is too soft for me (too flexible). I prefer Addi or ChiaGoo.

  74. Concept looks interestingly awesome. I think my niece will love me when I hand this to her. And then she goes like “I will love you till I’m old” What a sweet kid!