by Jillian Moreno, Amy R Singer, Kate
Atherley, Lynne Sosnowski
SR [Finished chest
measurement for sweaters] =
the smallest chest measurement to the largest
chest measurement we could find in
the book. There may be only one pattern
with the smallest or largest size, but it's in there. Books
are softcover unless noted otherwise. All prices USD unless
I showed this book to a friend who only likes to make plain socks. She has a pattern memorized and digs the easy of stockinette...she says she'll never knit socks that have a pattern to follow. She spent 20 minutes flipping back and forth through the book and proclaimed, "I want to knit all of these socks!"
I had the same reaction. The socks are gorgeous. Each design based on a vintage botanical illustration, and worth every hour that it takes to knit them. They're the type of socks that when you wear them, you'll constantly be kicking off your shoes to show people how lovely they are, even if they aren't knitters.
Socks aren't the only patterns in the book; each illustration and sock design has an accessory design to go with it. If you aren't a sock knitter or just want to sample the botanical stitch patterns you will be happy, this is a very clever twist on a typical knitting book.
The designs in this book are based on botanical illustrations and it is fun to study the illustrations and the sock and accessory designs to see just how Hunter riffed on each botanical.
The photography really sets the mood for the book. So saturated and clear, it adds a richness to every project. There is no skimping for space with the photography, the socks especially are shot from multiple angles and close up. It shows great detail in the crafting of the sock and that Hunter knows how to design a sock that really fits. There is no place to hide ill-fitting socks in these photos.
After you have luxuriated in the all of the patterns in the book and filled your Rav queue, be sure to read the tip section. It is full of smart and useful information.
The book design is open and airy. It has the biggest and most usable charts I've ever run across in a knitting book. Big enough that I wouldn't have to enlarge them to knit I can knit charts straight from the book. Must knits for me are: Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus soc and cuff, the Linaria Bipartita sock and the Pinus Silvestrus hat.
For me this book is the most charming of the season. I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed dreaming about knitting the patterns. Kristeen Griffin-Grimes can spin a story and an atmosphere as well as she can design knitwear. I read every single word in the book.
The 16 patterns are lovely, stylish and restful knitting for an intermediate knitter. There are hats, gloves, socks, wraps and a couple of shrugs. All of the patterns have a relaxed quality – they would be easy to wear, just that little something extra for any day- a little lace, a pop of color.
The photography and writing gave me a peek into what Kristeen loves about France. They are saturated with richness, texture and attention to details, but not in an uptight way...more about creating a quality of life.
Lucy Neatby and Sally Holt (of knitCompanion) have devised a crazy brilliant combination of their worlds. Sally has integrated seven patterns of Lucy’s patterns into the knitCompanion platform, so a knitter can use stitch markers, sliding markers, row markers, write notes and turn multi part charts into one chart, just like in the knitCompanion app. It helps to make keeping track of where you are in your knitting in Lucy’s patterns so much easier. The seven patterns in this first collection are Bicycle Socks, Dots scarf, Faroese shawl, Christabel hat, Cloud scarf, Kasbah vest and Paradoxical mittens.
Just having Lucy’s patterns in conjunction with knitCompanion would be lovely, but there are also videos taking about the patterns and teaching technique from the Learn with Lucy series.
Here’s how it worked for me.
I chose Bicycle Socks for my first pattern. When I opened the pattern, I came to a screen that shows a photo of the pattern, gives me a scrolling list of supplies, gauge and techniques for the pattern, an icon to open the full pattern, an icon for audio, an icon for video, an area where multiple versions of my notated pattern will be stored and a Knit Now! button.
I go for Knit Now! It opens to a working pattern window with the ability to fine tune to your keeping track of your knitting preferences. Mostly I use stitch and row markers and the counters that go with them for this pattern.
I absolutely love the audio/visual aspect of this app. In the pattern are film icons, so when the pattern asked me to do a Channel Island cast-on, I pressed the button and up pops Lucy to teach me the cast-on in a video – this alone is worth the cost of this app for me. As I scroll through the pattern, Lucy talks to me when I get to chart. The information is also in the written pattern, but I really paid attention when Lucy’s lovely voice said, "Note that the first round of the chart is also the knit up round for the heel." I need this kind of assistance, because sometimes I get lost in written patterns.
The app saves your project automatically and gives you the ability to customize the A/V details, say if you don’t need to have Lucy talk to you, and many other details of the app.
I was happy to have a spot where all of the videos live together, so I could go have a refresher on my cast-on without opening the pattern. Though there 31 technique videos here from Lucy’s collection of videos they, by no means, replace owning the Learn with Lucy DVDs. These are just a few specific techniques gleaned from her whole collection.
This app is an excellent pairing of knitting minds!
Just in time for scarf-wearing and gift-knitting weather, this new scarf book by Audrey Knight is more than just a pattern book.
It's clear that lots of thinking knitting has gone into these patterns and tips for reversible scarves.
There are 29 patterns (with variations on many). They range from a very basic mistake-stitch rib to double knitting. Even with the most basic scarf pattern, Audrey has a great visual lesson. She asks the knitter to think about who will wear the scarf and how it will be worn, then shows how much the style of a scarf can change just by changing the yarn gauge.
The tips at the front of her book all grew from her own frustrations and desires when knitting scarves -- having cast-ons and bind-offs match, lifelines for lace, types of cast on for lengthwise scarves, a Moebius cast-on, and lots of tips for keeping track in your knitting. Throughout the book she has tips for customizing scarf patterns as simple as replacing a knit-purl combination stitch to designing your own cables or double knitting patterns.
Cables and Knots is my favorite pattern in the book, and I learned how good two of my favorite stitches, moss stitch and linen stitch, look when knit out of the right yarn. I even feel like I could give double knitting a try with the relatively simple Duplicity, that uses a patterned sock yarn for one side and a plain yarn for the other.
I want to point out that Audrey didn't just find stitch patterns in Barbara Walker that happened to be reversible, she figured out what it takes to make a regular stitch pattern a reversible stitch pattern and teaches us how to do it.
This is one of those splendid knitting books that I can dip into and knit the patterns as is, or I can read the teaching parts and exercise my knitting brain.
A book of 20 lovely and feminine sock designs inspired by the four seasons. The designer, Stephanie van der Linden, has done a great job capturing the sun, snow, blossoms and breezes in laces, texture and especially bits of colorwork. My sock queue has grown to include Colors of Provence (a few tiny cables on self-striping yarn), Greetings from the High North (2 color Norwegian style colorwork) and Christmassy (all-over twisted stitch).
The layout of the book is adorable photos of the socks surrounded by cartoony illustrated backgrounds. The quibble I have, not the fault of the designer of the fantastic socks or cunning illustrations, is that the charts for the sock designs are in a separate booklet glued into the back of the book. That's some bad planning on the publisher's part.
Phoebe's Birthday by Joanna Johnson, illustrations by Eric Johnson
Slate Falls Press
SR= Girls chest 21-29" (approx. for ages 1-12)
"The summer that Phoebe turned six, she went to the seaside with her mother, father, grandma, grandpa and baby brother." That's how the third installment in the Phoebe the mouse children's book series starts, and I already couldn't wait to read the adventure.
In this latest adventure Phoebe the mouse learns to swim after quite a frustrating time of it. This book is more than a lesson in trusting yourself it speaks to the love of family and relaxed summer vacations. The beautiful illustrations give the story a timeless quality. I love to look at all of the detail in the illustrations to find delightful surprises and characters -- this time my favorites were the bugs playing checkers and the yarn shop.
This book comes with 6 patterns depicted in the story: 2 sewing patterns for Phoebe the mermouse and the spools quilt and 4 knitting patterns Phoebe's lovely party dress, a sun romper, a sun tunic and a head wrap, all knitted from Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.
I told you in the Spring+Summer issue how much I love the HiyaHiya Interchangeable needles. What would make them better? How about connectors so you can join one cable to another? Yes!
Next time you're knitting something that you need to try on mid-knit, just screw on an additional length of cable and don't worry about losing stitches. Or if you're knitting Godzilla Ridge and you just need more cable [is that like more cowbell?], you can make it happen. Those blue ovals? They're rubber grippers so you can make a nice tight connection, and easily undo that same connection when you're ready. Works a treat. I've never had mine come undone accidentally.
You may not need this handy adaptor every day, but when you do, it'll be five bucks you'll be glad you spent.
When I cracked open this newest book of patterns by the yarn shop Hill Country Weavers in Austin, Texas, I could smell the dry, crisp heat. The designs and photos are evocative of a place, not just cranked out and shot in a studio.
The Texas landscape and people come alive in the designs, from the stunning Rockabilly Soft sweater and Prairie Point skirt, western finery with a vintage feel, to the romantic Enchanted Rock Cardigan, Sweet Azalea wrap and Strawberry Fields socks.
Of course it wouldn't be a design collection reflective of Austin without a couple of bigger-than-life pieces like the Pink Silk Mimosa shawl, and Lantana Haze scarf.
Super-Scary Mochimochi: 20+ Cute and Creepy Creatures to Knit by Anna Hrachovec
Once again, Anna has done it. This time it's a book full of adorable freaky toys that might defy description. Except in the world of Mochimochi, they make total sense. Sour Tooth [scarier than the Sweet kind] has a big lollipop and two weird teeth of his own. With tiny faces. Hurly-burly turns itself inside out to amuse you, and honestly...he's very weird. But the good kind of weird. Stripy can't-stop-playing-with-it cause its feet sort of come out of its mouth weird. Lots more: Tiny spiders, zombies and vampires. And at the end, Anna gives you a recipe to invent your own monster.
Not just adorable, this is a very thorough book that teaches you how to make knitted toys well, from choosing materials to gauge [super important when you're stuffing the final product] and construction and assembly step-by-step photos and instructions.
The whole book is a delight to look at and read, just like all the Mochimochi books have been. Bravo, Anna!
Kristi Joeste is a knitter and a historian who searches out knitting patterns and the women's stories that go with them in Estonia. Her elementary school friend, Kristina Ehin, is a writer, and together they have a created a uniquely beautiful and personal book celebrating the knitting of Estonian gloves and the women who knit them.
The main portion of this book is a collection of beautiful photos of Kristi Joeste's modern interpretation of classic Estonian 'going out' gloves, fancy and embellished gloves. The gloves are paired with a narrative based on writings by knitter (usually journal entries). The knitting and embellishments are stunning and the writing vividly brings several knitters to life. The combination is intimate. I felt instantly immersed in the knitters' lives.
The back part of the book shows the folk pieces that the glove designs are based on, including measurement, materials used and what exactly inspired Kristi Joeste about the piece. There are recipes for the gloves shown in the book, directions for elements – scalloped cuff, thumb, fingers, charts for color work, The patterns are more free form, "Cast-on 84 stitches and choose your favorite colorwork pattern..."
This part of the books gives thoughtful insight into the creative process of a designer. I wish for more knitting books like this one -- the mingling of the historic and modern and showing knitting's human heart.
The Harlow by
L: 14" at bottom, 16" at top
W: 6" at bottom, 3" at top
Shown in Caribbean blue. Also comes in Eggplant, Espresso, Pumpkin Spice
Of all the Namaste bags I've gotten to review, this is my favorite by far. It's classy. It's super functional. Holy cow, all the pockets! And the color is so very me, it's almost painful. The most perfect blue-green.
It has a pair of straps with a good drop, so you can comfortably use them on your shoulder as well as carry the bag by hand if you prefer. They separate, or you can snap them together with the integrated strap [seen at the top of the handles in the picture on the left], which keeps them on your shoulder even better. Also, a removable, adjustable cross-body long strap that tucks inside for the times you'll need it. Oh, and the double straps are removable, if you'd rather carry the bag with the cross-body strap. Genius.
Outside, 2 flap pockets. On either end, a pocket suitable for a bottle or a cell phone or an umbrella. A long pocket perfect for magazines or your knitting project. And a zippered pocket if you're in an area where you need to keep your phone on the outside of the bag, but a little more secure.
Inside, there's 2 open pockets, another zippered pocket, and lots of room for everything you'll need. Knitting can go inside or out...you might have fun for a while experimenting with all the different ways you can carry your stuff in this bag!
My only quibble: the lining is not attached to the bottom of the bag, and sometimes pulling an item out meant the lining came out with it. Not a deal breaker, but I'd love it if the lining were tacked down to the bottom four corners [I'll probably do this mysef with my bag]. Then it would be perfect.
As with all Namaste bags, the materials are vegan and, where possible, made from recycled plastic. Excellent quality, durable, and really pretty. Home run, Namaste!
Sign up at Craftsy
[special discount for Knitty readers]
Lace Shawl Design by Miriam Felton
Craftsy on line class
$39.00-- use this link to get the Knitty reader special discount price of $19.00
This knitting class blew my mind. I've been knitting and knitting lace for years and this class answered a lot of questions I had about why my lace knitting didn't quite look right.
The lessons begin with lace math and end with a big section on fixing mistakes in lace. In between there are lessons charting repeats, transitions, embellishing and borders. This is a class for knitters that want to learn. There were days that I felt less than sharp mentally and things just didn't soak in. I watched every single lesson in this class. I loved all of the shawl samples that she has and that her teaching sample are done in chunky yarn, so I could really see what she was teaching.
For me the big learning came with Charting Shapes and Transition and Flow – choosing lace patterns that work together and changing them, if need be, to flow into each other and how and when to fill space with partial patterns and when to leave the space just stockinette. I'll be watching those two lessons again.
All the shawl designs I have on needles in the graphing stage or just tumbling around in my brain are all going out the window to be redone with all that I learned in mind.
Let the knitting angels sing. I don't know a knitter that hasn't been waiting for this book. It ranks up there with excitement for Principles of Knitting's rerelease and the constant rumors of a certain Scottish knitter's reissues.
Written along the lines of her Handy Book Of Sweater Designs, there are multiple sizes: Kids 26-34", Women's 36-44" and Men's 46-54" – with discussion on how to move between sizes for altering measurements. There are pattern templates with gauges ranging from 3-7 stitches to the inch (whole numbers only) with discussion of how to fudge numbers for stitch gauges that are between whole numbers and color and texture patterns where stitches to the inch may change. She gives multi-sized and gauged patterns for yoke, raglan, set-in sleeve and saddle shoulder sweaters -- to knit plain as they come or to use as a base for your creativity. There are four guest-designed sweaters to show how master designers riff on these basic patterns, by Pam Allen, Veronik Avery, Jared Flood and Anne Hanson.
My greatest happy surprise in this book? There are some words about knitting with handspun! Just a couple of paragraphs, but yay!
November Knits celebrates my favorite knitting season: deep fall into winter. Stitches just seem to fly off of the needles; sweaters are knit effortlessly in the deep fall.
This book breaks the season into three different fall feelings. Farm Hands: oversized chunky sweaters and thick warm accessories. A favorites is Market Jacket by Tanis Grey, a 4-stitch-to-the-inch lace and cable sweater that I would wear every day.
Ivy League: classic preppy styles, sweaters to wear under coats, knee socks color work – full on LL Bean. My favorites are Cobblestone Trenchcoat by Veera Valimaki, long and cozy with deep pockets and a hood, and Trefoil Cardigan, a classic yoked fair isle with a twist in color. I love this sweater and it's so not me...I think it's the two-tone pockets that makes me love it.
And Southern Comfort: a peek into how the south celebrates the fall with light sweaters and lacy accessories. My favorite is Laura Nelkin's beaded lace Bluebonnet Scarf, an absolute confection.
The variety of styles and colors in the book is huge, Kate and Courtney have done a spectacular job gathering just the right designers to create a unique fall knitting book.
Kaffe Fassett has filled his life with joy and creativity and touched so many fiber people along the way. This book is a celebration of life, of art and fiber. From his childhood in Big Sur, California, to his beginning in painting, through each fiber art that he revitalized -- knitting in the '80s, needlepoint in the '90s, and quilting in this decade.
He chose each with a deep curiosity and a unique perspective, shook the dust off of them and said, "Let's try it this way!" and each technique exploded in the fiber world with color and joy.
This a book about the growth of a modern artist, filled with stories about his personal creative journey and all of the things and people that influenced him.
His writing style is is reminiscent of his designs – lots of bursts, short vignettes that instantly get to the crux of the story. He tells his in a relentlessly positive way. His life as he tells it is a lesson in following our creative hearts and communing with creative people.
Reading this book is like peeling an orange on a gray winter's day -- every single one of your senses is sparked as you get sprayed with infectious creativity.
Soakboxes by SOAK
Shown at left in Lace Kelly/Aquae scent
Also available in
- deep red [Clark Cable/Celebration scent]
- taupe [Cuff au lait/Lacey scent]
- pale pink [Double Pointe Pink/Scentless]
Another slam dunk from the women at SOAK!
I am a big fan of the Scentless range of products, especially the SOAK wash, which I use for all my knitwear, swatches and [ahem] unmentionables. In summer, they launched the new Handmaid hand cream, which we reviewed here. Then they repackaged both the Soak and Handmaid in 3 oz bottles...yup, that's the safe size to take in your carry on luggage when you fly!
And the last piece of the puzzle is the most clever: add a beautiful custom-designed fingerless glove pattern [designed by the brilliant Fiona Ellis], nail polish and yarn custom dyed by Lorna's Laces to match the whole shebang, and you have one of the most clever gift boxes we've ever seen. Sure, you'll likely want one for yourself, but what a great gift for any knitter friend!
You can see more about the glove patterns and the colorways on the SOAK site. Now comes the hard part...choosing which one to get!
Musings from Mercury Hall
by Hill Country Weavers
Inspired by the dance halls of Texas, this pattern collection from the creative folks at Hill Country Weavers is all about motion. The designs flow, the stitch patterns undulate; I can see the lace shawls waving as their owners dance by.
The feeling of the design in this collection is modern but with a vintage breeze blown across them carried by the west Texas wind.
Hill Country includes knitting, crochet and weaving in this pattern book and they work seamlessly together. My favorite designs:
A Girl at the Spoke, a barely there crocheted shawl that has so much style and life that I desperately wish I could crochet; Night at the Gruene, a knitted shorty poncho that waves and weaves just with the stitch pattern and is just the thing I didn't know I was missing from my fall wardrobe; Mercury Hall Pullover, a colorwork sweater that echoes the stained glass windows of the real Mercury Hall, all at once subtle and bold.
Kari Cornell gathered a variety of wel-known designers with one thing in common, the love of traditional knitting patterns and designs. The result is a book filled with sweater designs for men and women that preserve traditional knitting techniques.
Beth Brown-Reinsel, Candace Eisner Strick, Helene Magnusson, Heather Ordover, Kristin Spurkland are just a few of the designers that bring sweaters from Estonia, Finland, Scotland, Russia and Japan to life.
Everything about these sweaters closely follows their inspiration, color, stitch pattern, and shaping. It's rare and wonderful to find so many international techniques between the covers of one book.
The colorwork in the book is exceptional, lovely and complex.For me the standout sweaters in book are the Icelandic Fimmvorduhals sweater by Helene Magnusson, St. Olaf Men's Fair Isle Sweater by Candice Eisner Strick, and the Estonian Kihnu Troi sweater by Kate Larson.
Sock Report is a lush and lavish pattern collection featuring patterns made with sock yarn. This twice a year magazine pays homage to the breath and depth of hand dyed sock yarn. There are beautiful socks like the Semadar by Heatherly Walker and Phaeodaria by Hunter Hammersen, a sweater, mitts, a scarf, cute Pocket Pals by Chris deLongpre and 6 spectacular shawls, Arcadia by Janel Laidman and Cassian by Corina Ferguson are real standouts.
The photography in this collection is a star in its own right --saturated and luxurious. The natural settings chosen to shoot against help make the softness of the knitwear pop.
There are 16 patterns in this collection; they can be purchased on line individually or as a complete set as PDFs. You can also buy it as a printed magazine for the same price as the complete online collection (plus shipping).
I can’t stop buying sock yarn, and I don’t really like knitting socks. That kind of knitting guilt can weigh heavy on a knitter. I was overjoyed to see this book! It’s full of projects for sock yarn without a single sock.
Carol has gathered designers that love sock yarn as much as she does. It’s evident in patterns like Nuit Blanche Stole and Scarf by Veronik Avery, Autumn Walking Scarf by Anmiryam Budner, Cushington Square Pillow by Barb Brown, and Thornapple Wristwarmers by Elizabeth Morrison. My first project from the book will be Carol’s own Alexander Street Hat -- so simple, yet looks complex.
Carol does an excellent job in the front of the book of clarifying how to use sock yarn in projects that aren’t socks. She covers fiber content, ply, gauge and most spectacularly color and patterning in sock yarn. She talks about how to make color and patterning work apart from sock and I love, love , love the fact that she says (I’m paraphrasing) – sometimes a particular yarn doesn’t work for a particular project, so just move on.
Knitting In Circles by
224 pages, SRP $29.99 US/$35.00 CDN
SR: 32-44" (Most projects are NS)
Nicky Epstein must have played with her food when she was small. Only someone who tried to see how high she could pile mashed potatoes, or how many shapes she could make with her peas, would write this book.
In Knitting in Circles, Epstein first provides more than 19 basic ways to knit a circle, then she starts pouring on the gravy. How about some texture? Sure, there are circles with cables, entrelac, bobbles, brioche and seed stitch. How about lace? Oh yeah, here are another 19 variations on leaf, eyelet, and star. Is there colourwork? Mmm hmm - intarsia, stranded knits and stripes all make their appearance. Is she done yet? Oh heck no - there's also embellishing with some ruffles, embroidery, beading or flowers. Add on some edge treatments (like, say, some of those things we played with in her Knitting on the Edge series), and the possibilities of the simple circle multiply beyond counting.
If that smorgasboard wasn't enough, Epstein also offers 20 projects that employ one or more styles of circles, the best of which I think is the Eternity Dress. For those who only want to sample one or two items on the menu, she also suggests a few projects such as bags, pillows and stuffed toys that use only one or two circles each.
This book promises to teach the knitter how to apply fully fashioned shaping - intentionally visible increases and decreases that are used to improve fit - just like couture fashions.
Leapman jumps right in to a well-illustrated chapter on various increases and decreases, explaining not only how to work them, but how to remember which way they lean. Once three body measurements are taken, she sets out five different body types based on the ratio between them. Each of the nineteen projects in the book are then categorized for the body types they suit.
My favourite parts are Chapter 3, which shows a range of methods to make shaping more noticeable (for example, by dropping a stitch next to a decrease line, or incorporating a cable) and Chapter 4, which shows you where to put those noticeable shapings for each body type. I was very excited when I found the sidebar that's part of the shell pattern called Jen - it sets out each bra cup size from AA to E, and the corresponding increase and decrease rates needed to make that pattern fit. What great detail!
My only quibble with the book is a small one. There are only three projects which use yarns lighter than double-knitting weight (and one of those is stranded colourwork). As someone who tends to knit mostly lightweight garments, there is much to learn here but less to knit.
This brilliant needle case landed on my desk just a few days after I had a snit over my knitting needles. I usually don’t use double pointed needles much, but when I need them, I want them...now. I use them for mittens and for hats. I’d just started a hat binge and couldn’t find the double points I needed.
Joanna at Chic.a must have heard me muttering, because this Combo Needle Case is just what I needed. The Combo in this case is for circulars and double pointed needles. It’s a 9x11" zip close envelope that is available in 9 different patterns of oilcloth. I quickly stuffed mine with 16 circulars in US sizes 3-15 (there are 11 circular pockets and I could have fit more than one in each pocket) and as many corresponding double points as I could find and some crochet hooks (there are 25 slots for double points).
There is also a knitting gadget zip pouch in the middle for markers, scissors, etc. The gadget pouch even has 4 more needle pockets in case I unearth some more!
I never knew how much I would like having circs and double points together until I tried out this case.
New to needle felting or need a quick and satisfyingly easy needle felting project? These needle felting kits from Romney Ridge make super cute, chubby animals (and gnomes) and have everything you need except water and soap. I tried out the sheep kit as was impressed by having everything in the kit fiber, felting needles and dowels. It even came in a resealable box, so I could put it away, sealed, when I had to stop in the middle.
The instructions were some of the best I’ve seen for needle felting: step by step with color photos. They are printed on a long narrow piece of paper that is accordion folded, perfect for me, since I often stop in the middle of a project. I could pack the instructions back into the box with the last step I did folded out and not need to backtrack when I came back to it.
Currently there are 13 different kits. All will fit in the palm of your hand and have tons of personality.
The fiber for these kits comes from the Romney Ridge flock in Maine or other local Maine shepherds.
A clever, clever little project bag if you knit attached to music or an audiobook like I do.
It’s a 9x9" zip top bag, with another zippered compartment inside. Each side of the bag has a grommet, one for keeping your yarn tidy while knitting on the large pocket side. The other is for headphone and leads to the interior zip pocked where your phone or mp3 player would live.
Of course you don’t have to use the interior pocket for a phone or audio player. It can be used a for second ball of yarn or knitterly accessories.
The bag and interior pocket are fully lined and made of washable 100% cotton. The top zipper has big teeth, which not only looks cool, but makes it easier to untangle your yarn if it gets caught. There is a space at the end of the zipper for yarn to tuck to the inside when storing a knitting project.
Not only does this great little bag keep my knitting and kitting entertainment organized, now I never lose my iPod in my knitting bag.
Knitter's Tote by Madbird
width at the top is 13"
width at the bottom is 10"
Another excellent knitting tool from Madbird! The Knitter's tote is soft and squishy enough to fit into a bigger knitting bag, yet uniquely engineered with a gusseted bottom to stand on its own.
The bag is big enough to carry a couple pairs of socks with plenty of room for all of your knitting extras. The layers of the Knitter's Tote are designed for needles not to poke through - with a thin layer of fleece sandwiched between two layers of complementary fabrics.
The workmanship of the bag is excellent; I couldn't find a raw edge or even a loose thread. It has a magnetic closure and a yarn guide in the bag. How the yarn guide is constructed speaks to how much thought is put into Madbird projects. Most yarn guides seem like an afterthought on knitting bags. But the Madbird yarn guide is made from wide twill tape and can be opened via a snap to remove yarn in the middle of a project, and the snap isn't just a snap – it's a coordinating colored pearl snap.
This is the spinning book every spinner will rush out and buy this fall. This book doesn't teach you to spin it -- teaches you the potential of your spinning.
Sarah Anderson guides spinners through the making of 80 different yarns, each building on the techniques of the yarn before it. The writing style is concise and at the same time thorough and inspiring – I wanted to spin every single yarn I read about the second I finished reading.
Beyond the making of yarns, Sarah reminds spinners of the basics: twist and balance, woolen vs. worsted, washing fleece and an excellent section on fiber prep carding (hand and drum) and combing. Throughout the book, she talks about a sock knitting experiment she carried out while writing this book – what yarn structure is the best for socks? You'll have to read it to find out. There are tips scattered through the book that focus on tricky bits of some of the yarn structures and invaluable tips for knitting with different types of yarns.
The book is filled with photographs, more than I think I've seen in any other spinning book – excellent process photos, beautiful project photos and lots of inspirational photos. It's wonderful to see a book take the space to satiate visual learners.
This isn't a book for the most beginning of spinners, but it could be a second spinning book. There is little discussion of how different breeds affect the yarn spun, but that's a book in itself.
The joy in this book is the instruction of 80 yarns spinners now have at their fingertips. What the Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting pattern books are to knitters, The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs will be to spinners.
Spinning Dyed Fibers by Felicia Lo
Craftsy on line class
$39.00-- use this link to get the Knitty reader special discount price of $19.00
Do you fear handpainted fiber or are you bored with the way you spin it the same every time? This class by dyer Felicia Lo of SweetGeorgia Yarns will break you out of your rut.
In this over 3 hour class she, talks about color – explaining the color wheel in a very basic, understandable and usable way. She talk about fiber prep how to spin woolen and worsted and all the ways in between. All basics, all sound teaching.
The beauty of the this class are the lessons how to spin dyed top. She starts with how to look at the fiber before you spin it, evaluating the colors and the length of color. Then spends the teaching time asking and answering questions through demonstration. Do you want long or short color runs? Do you want to preserve the colors or blend then to be bright or blend them to be muddier?
She has 2 bonus lessons for this class: fractal spinning and making a batt.
The class is broken into lessons that I loved being able to dip in and out of based on my interest and time for the day. I don't love that I can't access the classes without the internet because I spend a lot of time without wifi.
Sara Lamb has been spinning silk for 20 years and in this video she shows you what she knows. She is a weaver, specializing in garments made of handspun handwoven silk, but she does knit too. Sarah spins all silk and silk blends very fine, very twisted and with a woolen drafting technique. If you’ve ever felt fumble-fingered spinning with silk, watching her spin is incredible.
The first DVD is all about her spinning technique and talk about different types of silk and different preparations.
On the second DVD Sara discusses and shows about a million samples, just looking at her woven samples gave me the itch to maybe hand pain a warp and weave some silk. She discusses her process for dyeing and over dyeing. It’s wonderful to hear her talk about what she’s learned from her mistakes.
There is a short section on spinning and knitting silk. Sara uses the same style of spinning for her knitting yarns as she does her weaving yarns. She shows off her beautiful knitted lace shawls that she dyes after she’s done knitting.
This is a DVD for weavers mostly with excellent instruction based on spinning pounds and pounds of silk.
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