Beaded Shoulder Bag Kit
If you haven't met a
BagSmith kit in person, you probably can't
imagine what the deal is. Why such fuss
over a kit? It's not cheap, after all.
But you'd never be able to pull the contents
together on your own for even close to
the price. Look at all the cool stuff
- a 175-yd spool of
shimmery nylon cord in bronze [or jet
or ivory, depending on the kit color
you choose] with which to knit the bag
- all the beaded, sequined
trim you need to get the cha-cha in
- a roll of smooth
- a matching jade closure
- the pre-drilled base-board
bottom soyour bag keeps its shape
- the gorgeous, fully
finished velvet drawstring liner that
you simply slip in the bag when it's
...plus all the instructions
you need to get beautiful finished results.
The sock knitter in
me also loves that the clear, sturdy vinyl
zippered bag the kit comes in is the perfect
size to hold your sock in progress. [All
the BagSmith kits come in cool bags like
this.] And it has a handle. I love extras
Unlike some of the other
BagSmith kits, this is a knit-only kit
-- no crochet this time. It's for the
intermediate knitter, and if you've got
a party coming up, or just dress with
glitz on a daily basis, treat yourself.
It's one thing to buy a glam purse, but
it's something extra special to knit your
Socks Warm Feet
Tradewind Knitwear Designs Inc.
Since I discovered
self-patterning sock yarns I've been
a double-pointed-needle, 60 stitch,
toe-up, short-row heel and toe girl.
I never deviated from my pattern and
I was fine with that. Then I read
Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet.
This is a great book, full of fun ideas.
While some of the techniques may not
be new to veterans, it's just the antidote
to a sock knitter's rut. This
spiral-bound, small book is perfect
to carry around with your socks-in-progress.
The book includes
six patterns using a variety of techniques,
ranging from a basic Simply Splendid
Sock to the wonderful spiral-ribbed
Mermaid Socks for the "Sock Goddess".
Each pattern is easy to follow and comes
in a variety of sizes. There's
even instructions for miniature socks
which are cute on their own, and are
a good way to try out techniques before
jumping into a full-sized pair.
What I particularly
like about this book is the Spare Parts
for Your Ultimate Socks section which
has instructions for a range of heel
and toe options. The pros and
cons of each method are listed including
the ease of the technique, durability
This ultimate sock
book also has sections on choosing sock
needles, getting to know your sock yarn,
and double-pointed needle techniques.
(While the book has some information
for knitters who prefer two circulars,
the instructions are written primarily
for double-pointed needles.) I
also really liked the fact that many
of the techniques used in the book (the
channel island cast on for example)
are explained in the Sock Techniques
section and there are tips and tricks
throughout to deal with those little
issues that make for perfect socks.
And, there's a detailed chapter on proper
sock fit -- I'll never make the wrong-sized
knits with a twist
by Erika Knight
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
This book is kinda weird,
but good weird. It's creative,
different and absolutely twisted. I like
You've got your
basic knitted aran armchair [wouldn't
the bobbles be poky under your patoot?].
Your woven rug made of strips of knitted
stuff [which I sincerely covet already].
Your carryall knitted from recycled plastic.
And of course the obligatory pink poodle
The book has unusual
techniques explained, uses traditional
materials in unexpected ways and is basically
all-around fun to read.
knitter's handy book of sweater patterns
by Ann Budd
This, my friends, is
the the Better Homes and Gardens of sweater
pattern books. It will equip you with
all the basic tools you need to know to
cook up a sweater you'll love. But you'll
have to choose which spices to add to
make it taste the way you like.
Thankfully, the math
is taken care of. Ms Budd gives you options
for gauges from 3 to 7 stitches per inch,
and the sweaters go from 26-54" at
the chest, which should cover most kids
to adults. Drop shoulder, modified drop,
set-in sleeves, saddle shoulders, raglans
and seamless yoke styles are covered in
simple, basic styles. Then you can pull
from a number of options to make the sweater
suit you -- she provides edge treatments,
waist shaping guidelines and other decorative
This is not a quick-fix
book. It's a book worth reading and absorbing,
so you know what you need to when you
actually start knitting. And then you'll
find it very handy indeed.
A personal handbook
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
A plain blank book? Nu-uh. Knit starts
off with a zippered pouch, where you might
store winning lottery tickets, or perhaps
tiny knitting tools like yarn needles,
or snippits of your favorite merino. It
segues deftly into a knitting needle inventory
chart, because we all KNOW we buy stuff
we didn't need, just because we forgot
we had it. From then on, it's got pages
to write down whatever you want to remember...favorite
yarn sources, favorite patterns, a listing
of North American knitting events. And
then there are thick divider pages with
pockets for whatever. And pages of graph
paper, for working out sleeve decreases
or strange necklines. Useful reference
info fills out the back of the book, including
standard body measurements, estimating
yarn requirements and there's even a heavy-duty
cardboard needle gauge at the back. Super
good: an emergency rolled-brim hat pattern,
and a place to record who you've knitted
one for, so you don't double-gift.
I can see a knitter buying him or herself
a new one of these every year, and we
can only hope that Ms Falick will give
us a new design annually, too. It's a
perfect knitting-bag companion, and should
go with you whenever you hit the yarn
on the edge
& Spring books 
both by Nicky Epstein
Even though only Knitting on the
edge is a new release, both these
books were new to me. I got to meet the
author at a trade show last month, and
it was great to talk to her about them.
Knitted Embellishments, I learned,
was an 18-year labor of love. It covers
borders and edge treatments, but also
includes applique, cords, embroidery and
fringy things. A variety of knitted flowers
[you've been looking for those, haven't
you?], too. Including a pansy! There is
surely something in here for every knitter.
Nicky's new book, Knitting on the
edge, is absolutely divine. It's
the perfect reference book that will allow
me to add the exact right detail to everything
I make. If I don't like the hem or the
cuffs or the button bands in a pattern
as written, now I'm ready to make them
The choices are all gorgeous, clearly
photographed and described. I like that
you can see which edges pull in and which
lay flat. You need to know this stuff!
Nicky pointed out the neat icon system
in the book: a little black arrow indicates
the direction each piece is knitted in
[top down, bottom up, side to side]. Clever,
and very useful when mapping out your
plan of attack. There are cables and ribs
and ruffles and lace and picot and fringe
and I'm getting dizzy from it all. It's
just so gorgeous. Don't ask to borrow
my copy -- it's not leaving the house.
Hip to Crochet
Again with the crochet? Sure, why not?
People love it. Not me so much, but a
lot of people do.
My favorite pattern in this book is for
sleek crocheted nesting baskets. Cause,
see, that's what crochet does best, if
you ask me -- it can build structure and
hold interesting shapes. LOVE the baskets,
done in linen.
There are quite a few other fun patterns,
including a cute jacket and a lot of items
crocheted in mohair...perhaps to soften
This book, unfortunately, suffers from
the dreaded ugly color crochet syndrome.
Why must most crochet be done in such
blech colors? Some of the projects would
be truly hip if only they were done in
bright and funky, rather than looking
like they used yarn that came from the
back of the sale bin.
My suggestion: buy the book, photocopy
the patterns you like in B&W and use
some bright, beautiful colors. Then
you got yourself some hip.
| © 2004 Knitty magazine.
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