by Jillian Moreno, Amy R Singer, Lynne Sosnowski, Kate Atherley
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
Every knitter that knits sweaters should own this book. This is a comprehensive guide to choosing and knitting sweaters based on the shape of your body. Amy covers style, shape and customization of sweaters in a straightforward and kind way. If you have read her blog post series on fitting sweaters, you'll know just a bit of what's in this book.
Amy walks you through figuring out your body shape. She shows a way to do it all by yourself at home, so no one knows. But I recommend grabbing your knitting pals and making it into a party. She shows how to figure out your body shape on models of all shapes and sizes. Her big girl is actually big and her petite girl is tiny, hooray!
After you've figured out your shape, it's time for the perfect pattern to flatter it. Amy breaks her patterns down into figure types -- Top-Heavy, Bottom-Heavy and Proportional. She talks about why each pattern works and doesn't work for each body type and modifications that can be made to make it extra perfect for you -- lengthening and shortening, adding shaping to the waist and bust darts. Plus there is a whole chapter on Other Figure Features that addresses boobs, bellies and the length (or lack of it) for legs, arms and torsos complete with more patterns.
The last chapter deals with Modifications from waist shaping (easy!) to sleeve caps (not recommended!).
Amy Herzog is a prolific designer. She designed most of the patterns in this book. She has some guest designers like Elinor Brown, Caro Sheridan and Kirstan Kapur. Even if she didn't design them, the patterns in this book are 100% Amy's style, wearable, classics with a little extra something to make them memorable
The patterns I love (even if they don't work for my body) are Draper Cardigan, Squared Cardigan, Dorcia Hoodie and Chimera Cardigan.
The feeling of this book is 100% body positive. Go buy it already!
I don't think Lynne Barr's brain ever turns off. On the heels of her mind-stretching book, Reversible Knitting comes The Shape of Knitting.
This book brings us more knitting intricacies, pulling and pushing shaping.
There are 20 patterns that show off the techniques, lots of accessories and a few sweaters. She's figured out a cool style of slipper for this book that I'm smitten with.
The patterns are lovely and inventive but for me the back of the book, filled with techniques, is the gold mine. I read this book from cover to cover then spent a fantastic couple of days snack-knitting in the techniques. I loved it. The techniques are broken into On and Off (cast ons and bind offs), Add and Subtract (increasing and decreasing) -- be sure to try the Speed Increase and Three-Dimensional Knitting, where I lost myself in Pleats. I definitely had to knit to get the idea behind a lot of the techniques, and I will be first in line when Lynne Barr does an online class on her techniques.
If you need to feed your knitting mind, get this book...it's a feast.
I have such a knitterly crush on this book that I almost couldn't write the review. Kate Davies designs truly beautiful things. She has more than studied Shetland, she has absorbed the Shetland Islands. In this book she portrays Shetland through history, geography, botany, biology, photography and her designs as a living, breathing entity.
Her designs are wonderful, fresh takes on Shetland knitting -- her shaping, colors and details make the designs gorgeously wearable, yet still nod to traditional Shetland styles. The layout of patterns and charts are some of the best I've seen -- it would be hard to get lost in one of her patterns, they are that clear. Her charts, while not huge, are big enough to not have to copy and enlarge.
The photography of puffins, a lighthouse, wildflowers, the sea and Kate's designs are coffee-table-book beautiful. The articles are stand alone interesting. Shetland could send this book out as a travel guide.
I love that Kate models her designs for this book. It's the cherry on top of a perfect book.
Yarn Pet by Nancy's Knit Knacks
Standard Yarn Pet: $30
Cone adapter: $5
Yarn Pet Duo: $60
Nancy's Knit Knacks has come out with a portable yarn holder with optional tensioning. The Yarn Pet holds a ball of yarn and allows the yarn to spool off from the outside of the ball evenly without getting tangled. I used both versions, Yarn Pet and Yarn Pet Duo, plus tried out the Cone Adaptor.
Assembling the Yarn Pet is easy. All that is needed is an allen wrench which is included. The Yarn Pet is set up by tightening collars on either side of a wooden disc a stainless steel rod. The only blip I had setting up was the minute it took me to realize the collars have to be loosened slightly before they will slide onto the rod.
Using the Yarn Pet and Yarn Pet Duo
is easy and works for all kinds of yarn. I tried wool in a variety of sizes: Kid Silk Haze, a highly textured handspun, and a slippery Rayon blend. All of the yarns wound off smoothly. I kind of never realized how much I jerk and tug my yarn when I knit.
For the Kid Silk Haze and Rayon yarn, which wanted to wind off faster than I wanted, I employed tension by twisting the yarn tensioning post to the side, causing the yarn to wind off in an L shape instead of a straight line, slowing down the pull of the yarn. It worked great.
I especially loved the Yarn Pet Duo for working with two colors of yarn. It made it much easier to keep the yarns untwisted.
If you ever knit from cones, I highly recommend the Cone Adapter. I cannot knit from a cone without it falling over and rolling away. The Cone Adaptor holds cones snuggly and the yarn spools off without tipping. The idea of knitting from two cones of Habu yarn without chasing them all over my floor makes me silly happy. [For Habu cones, which are a taller cone, you need to order an 11" rod with the Cone Adaptor.]
As for portability I could see myself tossing the Yarn Pet into my regular knitting bag. For the Yarn Pet Duo I'd have to use a bigger bag. For untangled two color knitting, it would be worth it.
This is a very basic, first sweater book. Eight patterns walk a knitter through their first top-down cardigan. A knitter can first knit a child's size of a patter,n then move on to an adult version of a similar sweater.
The patterns are easy to follow, written in a workbook style, where the knitter fills in the numbers for the particular size s/he is knitting. The patterns have no body shaping and some texture and colorwork for interest.
A good starting place to try out top-down knitting.
The Commuter by YarnPop
Cotton Canvas - Exterior
Microsuede (vegan) - Interior
Full zipper closure
This is a clever new knitting gadget from the folks at Yarn Pop for the knitter who uses their iPad (or a similar sized tablet) to knit from PDF patterns. The Commuter holds your iPad and knitting needles in a full-zip padded cotton case. I use my iPad and Goodreader to knit from PDFs quite a bit, so I was excited to try this case.
The case is stiffly padded, but not hard. I felt my iPad would survive riding in a purse or knitting bag, but not a fall to a hard floor. The inside is lined with microsuede which protects knitting needles and the back of tablet, and and also makes it easier to slide needles and tablet out of the case.
There is a thick flexible plastic cover for the iPad. I was able to operate my iPad just fine with only a little extra pressure through the plastic, including typing in annotations to my pattern in Goodreader.
The case holds approximately 12 pairs of needles, depending on what type you use. I had 6 pair of circs, 2 pair of double points, a crochet hook and a small snip and it all fit. Plus there is a fabric flap that velcros closed to help hold the needles in place. The case felt full but I didn't feel like the fullness was exerting too much pressure on my iPad screen.
A cool little case. My only wish is a tiny pocket for stitch markers.
24 designs that will infuse your house with knitting without screaming, "Hey, I'm a knitter, isn't that cool?"
The projects range from a simple lavender bag to a stunning custom chair cover. All of the projects are knit in natural colors, giving the designs a feel of modern earthy simplicity; the gorgeous modern home the projects were photographed in and the spot-on British design sensibility don't hurt either.
The book is divided into sections each with extra knitting instruction and tips beyond the pattern directions: Basic Knitting, Creating Texture, Manipulating Stitches, Combining Patterns, Bespoke Knitting for your Home, and Adding Embellishments and Extra Texture.
The designs in this book add texture and warmth to a home. They will make you never want to leave your house and never stop knitting for it.
Are vintage robots and spaceships just your thing? Do you scour flea markets for retro atomic drinking glasses and old sci fi comics? Then this knitting book is for you. 20 patterns that have the nostalgic look and feel of Buckminster Fuller's future.
There are Atomic and Sputnik laptop covers, Ray Gun placemats, Robots on pillows, a dog coat, pillows and a door stop and my favorite: Space Rocket pencil holders. Past, yet hip again, technology is featured too in the Headphone hat, a Cassette mp3 cover, and the fabulous Reel-to-Reel tote bag.
The projects average intermediate in skill (because of colorwork) and spotweight to worsted in yarns used.
This is my favorite type of knitting book -- one that can satisfy a variety of my knitting moods. It has history, swatching and patterns all surrounding a particular theme. The theme, in this case, is different types of knitting stitches.
Rita Taylor walks knitters through Textured Stitches, Twisted Stitches, Raised Stitches, Cable Stitches, Lace Stitches and Colorwork with history on each, a selection of stitch patterns and finally two patterns.
Although the book is less than 200 pages long, she manages to give each group's brief and interesting history, including historical photos. Each stitch group has at least 20 stitch patterns to try and the patterns are smallish, except for one woman's cabled cardigan and a child's Fair Isle pullover.
This is a book for a knitter who wants to add just a little bit more history, or 150 more stitches, to their book collection.
More tiny dogs to knit! Even though I watch the Westminster, it never registers just how many dog breeds there are. With the same attention to doggie detail, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne once again inspire knitters to recreate their favorite dog breeds in knitting.
This batch has a lot more texture than the first book -- lots of dogs with long hair, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Chinese Crested, Yorkshire Terrier and lots more dogs with tufts and ruffs.
I laughed out loud when I found the Shar Pei, with enchanting knitted folds. Many of the breeds with wiry hair are knitted out of tweed yarn to give texture. Some of these little designs like the Pointer and Airdale look ready to jump of the page and play.
For all dog lovers and the people who knit for them.
Although there are a few stitches for knitters in this book, mattress stitch, grafting and duplicate stitch (Swiss darning), this is a book about needle and thread sewing by hand. Many knitters are adding sewing by hand and machine to their crafty repertoire and this is an excellent book showing stitches both functional and decorative at three different levels.
Any knitter can get lots of ideas to embellish their knitting from this book. The stitches are shown on fine woven clot,h not knitting, but an intrepid knitter can experiment until s/he finds a look s/he likes.
This is a great in-depth and beautiful reference for hand sewing.
Heavy Metal Interchangeable Needle Sets by Dyak Craft 3.5" tips: $145
Contains 6 pairs of interchangeable 3.5 inch tips (US 0/2.00 mm, US 1/2.25 mm, US 1.5/2.50 mm, US 2/2.75 mm, US 2.5/3.00 mm, US 3/3.25 mm), 3 cables - 16 inch, 21 inch and 39 inch, and a needle roll.
5" tips: $155
Contains 6 pairs of interchangeable 5 inch tips (US 0/2.00 mm, US 1/2.25 mm, US 1.5/2.50 mm, US 2/2.75 mm, US 2.5/3.00 mm, US 3/3.25 mm), 3 cables - 17 inch, 21 inch and 36 inch, and a needle roll.
DyakCraft’s fantastic new Heavy Metal interchangeable knitting needle sets will be very enthusiastically welcomed by sock and lace knitters.
The set provides all the key sizes for small-needle knitters: US 0/2mm, US 1/2.25mm, US 1.5/2.5mm, US 2/2.75mm, US 2.5/3mm, US 3/3.25mm -- note the inclusion of the sometimes-hard-to-find US 1.5 and 2.5. There are two choices for needle length: 3.5 or 5 inch tips -- which you choose will depend on how you hold your needles; it's nice to have options. In the set you get three 3 cables -- 16/17 inch, 21 inch and 39 inch, for all your magic-looping needles. And it comes in an elegant fabric needle roll.
Even at these fine sizes, the needles are substantial and firm. Being solid stainless steel, they weigh more than many other similar needles, but at this small size the weight is a positive, bringing sturdiness rather than heaviness. The needles are smooth but a little bit frictiony -- not slick -- and the points taper quickly for easy cabling without a cable needle, digging into decreases and moving fast at fine gauges. The cords are fine and bendy, but don't kink.
The join is remarkably smooth, particularly for the size of the needles, but the fast taper at the join end sometimes slowed down the movement of my stitches. The cords screw onto the tips, and hold well and stay tight.
I do find needle roll cases a little less than ideal. They're lovely, and good when tucked into a jar or other container, but when I'm moving them around I'm always worried that one of the pieces is going to fall out. I don't know what a better solution might be, but I'd love to see interchangeable sets packed with travel in mind.
Worth every penny of the price, these needles are tremendous for magic loop sock knitting, and are equally well suited for fine-gauge lace work.
Another adorable book from the talented Susan B. Anderson who has a great eye for the smallest detail that makes each design extra squee-able cute.
The first time I saw a topsy-turvy doll, I was a little girl and a friend had one sewn by her grandmother. It was RedRiding Hood and the Wolf. When I was little I was delighted with it -- two dolls in one! Now as an adult I can see the ingenuity in the making -- two dolls in one!
The book is set up from easiest to most difficult and elaborate. There are the doll styles that I think of instantly-- the two-ended dolls separated by a skirt that flips back and forth to reveal each, or from one character to another, snowman to tree. There are also smaller dolls that I hadn't thought of -- egg to penguin or alligator, chrysalis to monarch, dog to doghouse.
All are gorgeous and cute without being sickly sweet -- how does she do that?
Gems for me are the tiny ones: chrysalis to butterfly, tulip to fairy, egg to alligator; they are round and perfectly sized to fill a child's hand.
The gauges aren't too small, averaging 6 stitches to the inch. The instructions are straightforward and Susan makes it easy to add in your own changes and customizations. This would we a perfect book to take along on a summer vacation to use up stash and make a big pile of gifts.
I was going to gift this book to a friend with smaller kids, but I may just have to hang on to it to make the fairy or figure out an egg to a dragon.
At first quick glance at the cover I assumed this book was all colorwork blocks , but that's not so. This book is full of flower blocks knit in color work, lace, applied i-cord, texture and standalone shaped flowers and leaves.
The book begins with a full color directory of all of the blocks in the book divided into three parts, Traditional, Texture and Pictorial, so an impatient knitter (like me) can jump directly to the pattern she's most excited about. The rest of book follows traditional knitting book layout Techniques, Instructions for each block and Patterns using the blocks.
The looks of the blocks vary greatly from the subtle tonal traditional counterpane style blocks of lace to the brightly colored applied flowers and colorwork. Any flower-inclined knitter is sure to find something to tickle their fancy. The projects are smallish and suit the flower blocks perfectly: a baby hat, baby blanket, pot holder, greeting card, chair seat cushion and bird cage cover.
Maybe because of the snow still on the ground when I write this, I want to use worsted or bigger yarn to make giant flower pillow covers with these patterns.
Anna-Karin Lundberg, a knitwear designer from Sweden with a love of history, brings us a book of beautiful colorwork knitting based on the ornamentation of Medieval churches.
She begins with a brief history of Swedish Medieval church paintings and the history of Swedish knitting.
The patterns are complex and beautiful -- knit in one piece and steeked. They are worked in fine yarn in colors based on how the paintings look today, muted and earthy.
Each pattern merits its own full-page photo and one or two more. The charts are full page and in color. Lundberg includes the inspiration for each sweater including a photograph of the painting the motif was adapted from.
There are 20 patterns: one man's sweater, two children's sweaters, a pair of fingerless mitts, a scarf, the rest are women's sweaters and vests and all are encrusted with twining colorwork. Standouts for me are the geometric Saint's Floor Jacket, the Starry Sky Sweater with its linear sides and the botantical Brocade Flower Jacket.
Fans of fine colorwork, this is a book worth seeking out.
Like the Very Easy Guides she's done before, this is an excellent introduction to a particular knitting genre, Fair Isle Knitting.
The book is set up starting with Basics which, for Fair Isle, includes succinct yet thorough information on choosing colors, weaving yarns and stranding two yarns and with two hands or one hand (left and right hand both included). The rest of the book is devoted to swatch-based lessons that brilliantly take a knitter from corrugated ribbing to a 4-stitch 2-row Fair Isle pattern to a 51-stitch 52-row Fair Isle pattern.
The swatches and charts are bright and clear and she offers color variations and complexities for almost every pattern. Sprinkled throughout the book are tips and 11 designs using Fair Isle patterns, accessories and two kids sweaters. If you are beginning with Fair Isle, this is an excellent guide to get started.
The fabrics are the first delightful thing about this collection of knitting bags and tool-wranglers - big patterns and saturated colours really stand out. All the pieces considered here were in the "Magnolias" pattern. A closer inspection reveals many fine finishing touches and excellent tailoring. There are no raw edges to be found: most external edges are reinforced and covered with sewn-on contrast binding and internal edges are neatly turned under and overcast. The fabrics are light -- even the large project bag weighs barely 160 grams! -- but contain a special internal stiffener to render them robust and reliable.
Project Bag (11.75" x 8" x 5") Large enough to hold a half a sweater-in-progress, this bag has a feature I'd love to see in all bags -- a divider that runs across the width of the bag that separates about 1/4 of the interior into its own compartment. This means I can keep my omnipresent coffee traveller mug and water bottle safely away from my project. And on one day going to work, it meant I could keep my book separate from my lunch containers. Smart. It also has a large interior pocket that's transparent, and an external pocket that runs the length of the bag and comfortably holds three magazines.
Mini-Knitter (5" x 10" x .5", empty) A case for road warriors, this holds at least 4 sets of circulars and 3-6 sets of dpns. It also has a transparent zip pocket for your little bits and bobs, and the whole case zips shut securely. A great multi-function case.
Accordion (4.5" x 6.5" x .5", empty) If you regularly carry a range of circular needles around with you, this is a pretty and convenient way to do so. I am one of those picky knitters who is religious about keeping needles in their proper packets, and I found my Hiya Hiya and Addi needles in cases would not fit in the holder. Without their packets, the Accordion holds as many as 12 sets. A wet erase marker is recommended to label the transparent dividers. I could see this would be great for a long-weekend with a few WIPs on the go.
Needle Keeper (Short) Though designed with 5" and 6" double-pointed needles in mind, I tested and found that it would stretch to accommodate 8" dpns in a pinch, though it doesn't have to as there are long and short sizes available.
Wristlet (5.25" diameter x 4.75") Possibly my favourite piece, this small project bag was designed for the needs of a yarn shop owner who likes to carry her knitting and work as she walks around -- as do I. Its shape and size, I hope you'll forgive me for saying, is about the same as a roll of toilet paper. I managed to cram three part-balls of sock yarn for a colourwork project in mine, as well as a spare circular. I found myself wishing for a wee pocket on the outside, and I see now there are some in the Chickenboots Etsy shop that have that feature.
I will admit when I first received this Craftsy class for review I wondered why they would have a class on a specific pattern, since most Craftsy classes are about broader technique based topics. Now I know, and I hope Craftsy is planning more classes like this.
In this 3-hour class Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, knits her lovely Artemisia sweater pattern right along with you. A lovely feminine tunic style sweater, Artemisia is knit top-down with a lace insert, set-in sleeves, waist shaping and pockets. There are a lot of clever construction details and many things going on in the knitting at the same time. Mercedes breaks each section down, discussing technique, customization and the why of design and construction methods.
Mercedes gives a lot of detail, but if there are questions, the Craftsy platform lets you ask while you’re watching the class. The questions and answers from other students are available too, in case your question has already been answered. Mercedes knew there would be waist shaping questions and since there wasn’t enough time in the class to cover customizing waist shaping in detail, Mercedes links to a blog post she wrote on the topic.
As a teacher, Mercedes is clear and detailed. She anticipated a lot of the questions I had. It was wonderful to have a class from the designer of the pattern. She really knows the construction in depth and, as a teacher and one-time shop owner, she knows how to get the learning into your head.
This pattern-specific class would be especially wonderful for a knitter that has completed one or two sweaters and is ready to stretch to the next level. Having a teacher/designer walk a knitter through a pattern allows a knitter to exponentially grow their knitting skills beyond what happens if they're working a pattern all alone.
A beautiful travelogue, history lesson and knitting journey rolled into one book. Hélène Magnùsson has based her 25 patterns on designs in the Textile Museum in Blönduós, Iceland, brought up to date with modern design, styling and yarn.
Hélène has broken her patterns into sections based on the type of textile artifact they are inspired by. There is Inspired by Mittens, Inspired by Traditional Costumes, Inspired by Footwear and Inspired by Lace. The patterns are lovely interpretations of traditional designs and motifs not modern copies, and the results are beautiful. For each pattern, there is a photograph and an explanation of the textile piece that inspired Hélène’s version.
All of the patterns are knit from Icelandic wool, including Hélène’s own Love Story, in lace weight.
The patterns that have captured my attention are the elfin Icelandic Soft Shoe and the variety of Shoe Inserts, the Missing Lopi Sweater, the Broken Rose Blanket and every single lace item in the book.
There is a technique section covering embroidery, seeking, afterthought thumb, jogless join and others, all presented in large, close-up step-by-step photographs.
The photos in the book put you right in Iceland. I'm ready to sign up for a tour, just for the textile museum and the hot springs. I'm thrilled to see another designer that put herself in her own book. I get special pleasure from seeing a designer smiling out from the pages wearing her own designs.
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