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
This book is destined to be dog-eared and bedraggled -- it's the knitting equivalent of that butter and flour-stained recipe book that holds all the family's favourites.
Knit Accessories offers excellent patterns for those items that are the staples in most knitters' repertoire, including scarves, cowls, legwarmers, hats, mitts and socks. Every accessory in the collection has instructions for at least two weights of yarn, and some offer more. Socks go from the top-down AND the toe-up in two weights and in five sizes! And even beyond that, Atherley leads the knitter through the jazz variations on accessories with plenty of tips on designing your own and customizing the patterns she's provided. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and make a prediction right now: the page on "Designing Your Own" scarf that gives yarn requirements for 4 weights of yarn in multiple lengths and stitch counts will be nominated for "Most Needs To Be Permanently Laminated" by every knitter who owns the book. (Hint: there's another one in the chapter on Cowls!)
There are other books and leaflets that give the knitter options for a range of yarn weights and sizes. My beloved Ann Budd book (The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, Interweave Press, 2002) comes to mind. Budd's books are some of the most powerful tools of creation a knitter can own. But the "math-first" format of the book, where all the details are laid out in chart form, can be intimidating to many. Atherley's approach is always to write in beginner-friendly language, with plenty of sidebars that offer help with knitterly details that you would learn if you had someone sat beside you holding your hand. The shapes are basic, but the yarn options make them anything but. There was a great deal of effort made here to show each of the accessories in easily available commercial yarn choices, as well as in delicious hand-dyed options from a number of noteworthy indie dyers. Every item is shown in both solid and variegated versions, thus answering the "But what if I knit it in *this*?" questions we all have.
Atherley's first book "Beyond Knit and Purl" is one volume that should be owned by every beginner knitter. It sets out to teach the things a beginner needs to learn, once they've mastered the basic stitches, in achievable small project-based steps. This second book makes a great second volume in a beginner's collection, because the projects are accessible to learners. But make no mistake -- this book is filled with resources and tips that are the foundational patterns that seasoned knitters need. The chapter on socks alone would be worth the purchase.
Full disclosure: Kate is my friend. I helped knit some of the samples in the book. She teaches frequently at Shall We Knit? where I work. But it's exactly *because* we work together sometimes that I can recommend her book (and I have nothing to gain from book sales). I know from years of working the floor of a yarn shop that this book is wanted and needed by knitters. There is not a day goes by that I don't get asked how to make a scarf, or for a good, basic sock pattern. I've watched Kate teach, heard the feedback from her students, and know her to be an excellent and thorough guide to subject matter she covers. This book is a way to have all your favourite patterns in one place, AND have Kate's friendly assistance along the way.
Center-out knitting has been around for as long as there has been knitting. At its core, it's a simple knitting technique, but in the hands and brain of Daniel Yuhas, it gets a thoughtful and elegant treatment.
Center-out knitting is so thoroughly explained in technique, math, structure, and philosophy that I was inspired and excited to keep reading and begin knitting.
I felt that I could knit any of the 28 patterns and easily strike off on my own to modify or even start from scratc,h following the formulas provided.
There are patterns that you'd expect from center-out knitting -- blankets, shawls and hats -- but what about socks (from the heel up!), toys, mittens and sweaters?
The patterns are killer, lovely and unusual all in one. The Half-Moon Mittens, Heel-Up Socks and Tree of Life Afghan are must knits for me. The Leaf-Yoke Sweater is so spectacular that I show the pattern to every knitter that comes to my house saying, "Let's knit this!".
Mabel's Closet by Hannah Fettig
$15, for the e-book / print book bundle. The print book is a limited edition
This is a lovely little booklet of six perfect patterns to knit for a baby. Inspired and modeled by not just any baby, but a beloved baby girl of a talented knitwear designer. The Mabel (pictured at left) is Hannah Fettig's daughter.
Like Hannah's patterns for adults, the designs here are simple in style and everyday wearable. All of the pieces are knit from Quince&Co yarn and even in photos you can see how soft and squishy the yarn is and the colors give the patterns a vintage modern feel.
Hannah, not new to the world of knitting mamas, makes sure that the each size of each garment lasts for a few months.
I can't resist linking to this video where Hannah and Mabel introduce the collection, and Mabel steals the show.
Are you a knitter ready to take his or her first step into colorwork? Colorwork for Adventurous Knitters lays out all of the details for knitting stripes, mosaic, intarsia and stranded colorwork, for both flat and circular knitting.
Each section is made up of three parts. Techniques includes step-by-step photographed how-tos and tips like four different ways to avoid to the jog in circular stripe knitting, reading charts and keeping consistent tension. The Samples section is made up of swatches to practice the color technique, and the Patterns section is simple patterns to knit using a particular technique.
The book is full of large color photos and the charts are easy to read. A fine book for beginning color knitters.
I've waited a long time to try these needles, and they are 100% worth the wait.
The needles are sized US#4-11 with three cords 24", 32", and 40" come in a great case – it zips to keep your cords in place and has elastic bands to hold the tips, plus the whole case folds together like a snug burrito. I tossed the case around a lot, wasn't particularly careful when I took it in and out of my bag; it stayed shut and none of the needles tips fell out.
I opted for the long lace tips, just over 5". Together with the extra pointy tip, the needles made for a great knitting experience for any type of knitting beyond knit and purl. When I knitted lace or texture stitches, I had a great feeling of placing stitches when I manipulated them, the longer tips giving me leverage with the stitches. Plus I was able to keep my hand further back on the needles when working and I noticed less hand fatigue when I knit complex stitches.
The cords have a built in slit to insert a lifeline. Slip your lifeline yarn into the slit and knit, and the lifeline is automatically placed as you knit. This is the knitting version of sliced bread...genius.
The joins are hard and fast, not one came undone while I was knitting, which I can never say 100% with the screw-on type of interchangeable needles. With a great join there does come a little bump, which I never really noticed except when I used tightish tension.
These are the Mary Poppins of interchangeable needles -- practically perfect in every way.
Some days when I knit I want as few choices as possible. I want to get the information that I need and just get on with it. Those are my quick and easy knitting days, when okay is good enough.
But there are also those knitting days where I want to take my time; I want my choices to be just exactly right. I want to savor the information. I want to learn something, not just knit. This book is perfect for that type of knitting.
With 211 cast ons and binds offs, it would be hard not to learn something from this book. I'm a visual learner and this book is word heavy, but I was captivated from the first page. I didn't know there could be so much interesting information about starting and ending knitting. There are illustrations of how to do each technique and one good photo of the right side of each cast on and bind off.
The author has spent a lot of time knitting, teaching knitting and talking to other knitters and teachers about their favorite techniques. She shares it all here.
The writing is instructive, informative, but also encouraging; it's not always easy to learn something new.
There are lists of alternate names for each cast on and bind off, so I didn't have to read through the instructions to realize that this is just long-tail cast on with a different name.
There is great information on pairing cast ons and bind offs so they look and act similarly. She shows how to do techniques for both English and Continental styles of knitting.
If you are a knitter that likes to get a little more out your knitting than just a finished piece, you will love this book.
I guess calling this book a knitting encyclopedia is less sexy, but that's exactly what it is. A book filled with not just the techniques and how-tos, but also the whys of knitting.
This book is stuffed with excellent knitting knowledge. I was surprised in the best kind of way at the amount of information packed into 250 pages. Information on stitches, color knitting, pockets, fixing mistakes, edgings, increases, decreases, seaming, knitting with beads and a really excellent chapter on planning projects. There are even a handful of patterns designed especially to walk a knitter through several techniques simultaneously.
There are two things that make this book stand out on the knitting bookshelf. The photography is clear, close and shows multiple photographs for all of the lesson taught in this book. Fantastic for a visual learner, there is no getting lost in too many words.
The writing is succinct and to the point the authors tell you how something works, why it works and sometimes why something doesn't work in a logical way. An excellent book for any level of knitter.
Marcella Bag by Offhand Designs
Shown in Mendocino
15.5"W x 13.5"H x 6 "D
- 26" straps
- 13" doctor's frame closure
- Handmade in the San Francisco Bay Area
I am in love with this bag, from her velvety handles that are just-right long to her fabric covered feet. Offhand makes exquisite bags. The quality of materials and attention to detail are unmatched in the knitting bag world. The bags are beautiful and useful, and have a vintage style that knitters either love or don't. I love it.
The Marcella bag is a big, but not too big bag. In knitting terms, I could fit a sweater, plus other things, but not an afghan in it. In carrying terms, when I wear it on my shoulder, I don't catch it on doorways or bump it into things as I walk through a room.
It has more pockets than I know what to do with. There are 2 on the outside that are big enough for a waterbottle. There are 7 on the inside, one a flat zippered pocket, 3 flatish open pockets -- excellent for pens, double points, a measuring tape, etc, and 3 pouch pockets that are big enough to hold a ball of yarn and deep enough that I couldn't find my cell phone when I accidentally dropped it in one.
This bag is beautiful with vintage and vintage inspired fabrics, contrasting lining on the inside, fabric covered feet on the bottom and a doctor's bag /carpet bag frame closure, but it is also a tough bag. I have been using mine as my only bag for a couple of months and have not treated it gingerly. Except for dampness. Not even for the sake of knitting review science will I put this bag down where it's damp or dirty. On a particularly savage day my bag held my 13" laptop (with a little manipulation to get it through the frame) and several books -- a total of 15 pounds. I don't recommend anyone do that to their bag, (since it IS meant to be a knitting bag) but I wanted to see if she was just a pretty face. No, not at all, she's tough.
This is a bag of exceptional quality and well worth the cost.
Lucinda Guy is known mostly for her whimsical children's knits that are flavored by folk art. In her latest book Northern Knits Gifts, she keeps the lightness in the feeling of her designs, but is deeply inspired by Scandinavian knitting.
Her patterns use variations of traditional motifs and stitch patterns in socks, hats, mittens, slippers, a sweater, a doll and even a doorstop. She uses stranded color knitting techniques, Faroe shaping, twined knitting, Rya knotting, lace knitting Estonia nupps and embroidery in her designs. She even uses locally sourced Scandinavian wool yarns in her designs, gives the resources to by them and also substitutions for them.
The short descriptions of each project are short lessons in folklore and history. It's a rare thing when a book that seems to be just another book of lovely knitted has taught me so much. And maybe even inspired me to try twined knitting because the Freja Twined Scarf is gorgeous!
Inspired by the winter landscape of Sweden, all of the designs in this book are natural white, gray or beige. The sweaters, skirts, vests, dresses, hats gloves and shawls are knit with texture both raw and refined and shot beautifully against the Swedish landscape.
None of the designs are based on traditional Swedish patterns, there are cables, lace, intentional holes, ruffles, fringe, bobbles -- not traditional Swedish knitting.
The designs are simple and lovely; several are suitable for beginning knitters. The designs that caught my eye are the Holey Top in the White section, Sweater with Relief Stitch Borders in the Gray section and the Lace Dress in the Gray section.
This book is a tranquil interpretation of modern Swedish knitwear. Portions of this book were photographed at the beautiful Icehotel in Sweden, a hotel and art project all in one. Take a peek.
This is great book for knitters wanting to dabble in Scandinavian colorwork knitting patterns. With 25 accessories awash in color a knitter would be hard pressed not to find something to knit.
The hats and mittens are quicker to knit, usually having only 2 colorwork patterns; the gloves add extra patterning for the fingers.
But the socks are the patterns that make my fingers twitch, knee socks, all of them, with lengths of patterns sometimes up to 4 different patterns in one sock that all flow together. If a sock seems like too much (and some days it just does), there's a whole section of leg warmers, too.
Cathy Carron has a magical ability to know what knitters are knitting every fall. This year it's all about layering pieces that aren't shawls or scarves -- short sweaters, shrugs, boleros, and capelets.
She has been around knitters enough to fill her book with selections for many different styles of knitters. Lace and texture make up most of the stitch patterns in the 36 designs, what colorwork there is in the form of blocking or stripes.
These designs are meant to be quick and right-now fashionable, knit it this weekend, and wear it next week. My teenage daughter loved most of the designs in the book and there are quite a few I'd make, but I'd lengthen them.
Texture knitters will love the Iron Lady bolero and the Crème de la Crème caplet and arm warmers. Lacey and ruffle knitters will want the Luxe Life lace and beaded capelet, At First Blush shrug and Painter's Palette ruffled bolero. Knitters looking for interesting shapes will be knitting the Belle Curve cardigan, the Cream of the Crop shrug and the Take a Ribbing cropped sweater.
Nicky Epstein very well may be the queen of borders and edgings: she has published three titles devoted exclusively to knitted edgings and borders. This is a greatest hits book, chosen by Nicky herself.
When stitch patterns are concerned I love greatest hits books. Seeing the stitches in a different order, adjacent to different stitches, or knitted from a different yarn makes them new for me. This book is no exception. I bet I could find most of the edgings in their original books, but the ones that sing to me in this collection probably didn't for any number of reasons in their original state.
The categories for edgings here are Ribs and Fringe, Ruffles, Lace, Flora, Points and Picots, Cords, Corners & Edgings, Appliques, Colors and Nouveau.
This book is filled with 26 knitted and 21 crocheted projects for the babies and toddlers in your life, crafted in happy, bright colors out of juice-proof washable yarns.
From bibs to blankets with a whole bunch of hats, sweaters and other fun thrown in.
The designs and gauges make these patterns quick to work. Quick, not boring. There is interesting colorwork and texture, shaping and detail. This is not a book that I'd grow tired using over and over again.
There are several of the blankets that some of the giftees in my life might see a little bigger for cuddling on the couch. The High Fidoodlity blanket might even make me learn to crochet.
This is one book that I would advocate for using the yarns specified. Or at least, try out these washable and dryable yarns from Berroco: Comfort and Vintage. I use them a lot and they are nothing like most of the washer friendly yarns I've used.
North American knitters are currently having a fiber love affair with Iceland and Icelandic knitting. If you are a knitter bitten by the Icelandic bug, this book of 65 Icelandic knitting patterns will make you drool.
The patterns are mostly sweaters, all knit with Lopi yarns and modeled on women, children and men. There are also hats, mittens, socks and even a sweater for a doll and a small dog. The style ranges from what I think as a traditional Lopi sweater -- the multicolored yoked pullover to a lace dress.
I was expecting to see a lot of the same style and stitch patterns with color changes counting as variations, but was happily surprised to find variety in style, color and yarn weights. Even within the 22 pullovers in the book, I saw almost no repetition. The author and designer Védís Jónsdóttir, is the head of design for Istex wool, the company that makes Lopi yarns. Her designs are original, yet keep tradition alive and her color sense is fresh, if keeping to the earthy side of things.
There are many things I would happily knit in this book, and I have yet to really catch Icelandic fever. Big standouts for me are: the Klukka dress, Fidrildaslod and Skoyya -- a girl's dress with a matching cardigan with a butterfly theme, the zip-front Birta, Frjals a short-sleeved lace tunic, and the two men's pullovers Gefjun and Riddari.
Don't miss the short history of knitting and the wool industry in Iceland -- interesting reading and fantastic photos.
This book has been in process for many, many years. Even before knitters started hearing about it and watching it grow on Annie's blog it's been cooking in Annie's imagination.
With a degree in costume design, a love for history and art history and a flourishing career in knitwear design, a book of knitting designs based on historical artifacts and paintings seems like a perfect match.
And it most certainly is. Not only are the designs striking and wearabl,e but Annie gives us fascinating information on the historical pieces and tells the whys of the designs from shape, pattern, down to the stitches mimicking other techniques of needlework.
All of the designs are based on clothing from Egyptian, Greek, Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian eras. Her interpretations are wonderful. She never tries to duplicate a piece exactly -- it would be impossible in knit or crochet -- but does a fantastic job celebrating spirit of the piece and the era. None of the designs are really for beginners though the intermediate kntter will be happy knitting a lot of the things. Particular standouts for me are the twice-felted Tissot Bolero, The Gloriana Jacket, and the Sutton Hoo Helm.
I love how Annie did the photos. She used photos she's taken on her travels and then photoshopped her models into the photos. She's not trying to convince anyone that they are ther,e just giving more flavor to the designs.
Knitting notes at the back of the book are brilliant. Lots of designers use their own terms and twists on techniques, and rarely explain it. Annie lays it all out in her Knitting Notes, including an overview of how her patterns are laid out. I've never seen a designer explain it all so thoroughly and usefully.
An interesting and delightful book that has me rethinking my art history degree.
Goknit Zip by knowknits small: 3x4.25"
(shown in amethyst) medium: 3.75x5.5"
(shown in ruby) large: 5.5x8.5"
(shown in champagne diamond)
also available in sapphire and emerald.
$11.00 and up
We love the Goknit line of products because they're well designed, functional and durable.
Well, owner Jennifer has done it again -- and topped herself. This new fabric is thicker and even more durable than before. It also gleams like the gems each color is named for. And nothing you own is gonna poke a hole through this fabric...it's lightweight and super strong.
Like her handy Goknit Pouches [see image at left] these have a snap loop that means you can attach them anywhere you need them to stay. I've used the loops around my seatbelt on a plane or to hang from the latch that holds the tray table in its upright and locked position. Keeps whatever it is I'm holding in the pouch close at hand.
It has a zipper, yup. So use this for notions, then, maybe instead of yarn. Or as a cosmetics case. Or as I did -- to hold my travel essentials during a trip (snacks, lip balm, earphones, sleep mask).
Oh, by the way -- these fabulous fabrics are also available in the Goknit line of drawstring project bags, too. <--- See?
Sue Blacker owns a mill in southern England where she produces yarn from a variety of British sheep breeds. She a spinner and a knitter and is the perfect person to write this book.
Pure Wool features 16 British sheep breeds in all of their glory. Each breed is treated individually. There is a page with information and photographs about each breed and their fleece and a page of photographs of raw and scoured fleeces, millspun yarn and handknitted samples.
Yes, it sounds similar to The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deb Robson, and was written at the same time, but it is different and is written from a slightly different perspective. The information is not quite as deep on each breed and the real focus of the book is using single breed yarns for knitting.
After the general breed information, there is a page on yarns made from each breed, based on Sue's experience on making yarn at her mill. There is information on what a particular breed's yarn is good for and not so good for, and the types of yarn the breed is suited for, including blending with other wools and fibers.
Now that a knitter is well versed in a breed's fiber and yarns, there are patterns. There is at least one pattern especially designed for the breed's yarn, including biographies of the designer and knitter, a lovely touch. There are many great patterns in the book, especially the sweaters, but I will warn you, I grumbled more than once because not all items pictured have patterns in the book.
There are fantastic charts in the back of the book that summarize the information about Wool Characteristics and Yarn Types, Wool Qualities and Yarn Types, Matching Yarns to Patterns and Wool Colors and Dye Ideas.
Spinners, before you start arguing with the book, "But I can spin that fiber in a way she says can't be done!", know that all of the spinning information is based on yarns spun in small commercial batches at her own mill, and are a 'best places to start' with a particular breed in order to use its characteristics to best effect.
The publisher made an error in the choice of paper used for this book. The paper is uncoated and absorbs the light, blurring most of the detail and dulling the photos. A grumble as I squinted at the pictures a lot desperately trying to see stitches and the details of sweaters.
This book gives knitters a great sense of where their yarn comes from hoof to skein, and really sparks thinking about the properties of a yarn beyond basic material and gauge.
Once again I'm happily impressed with the quality of work from Madbird. Their Pattern Wallet (I have the Deluxe) is better than most on the market. It's slightly padded, soft and the thicker than usual plastic covering the pattern won't tear if snagged or accidentally poke with a knitting needle. Plus, the heavier plastic and the stabilized fabric give this pattern wallet the stiffness it needs to prop up folded in half, it wonderfully to propped on the arm of my couch for knitting.
The magnetic closure is heavy -- just flip it in the general direction and it grabs, tightly. It the perfect size, a little bigger than an 8.5" x 11" sheet of patter, so there no struggling to get a printed pattern in to the wallet.
A surprise to me was the zippered pocket inside, a place for every little thing for knitting a pattern -- stitch markers, measuring tape, double points, etc. I loved that I didn't to get out my notions bag every time I needed something, really smart.
I love this so much more than the crumbled and quartered (and usually lost) printed patterns that litter the bottom of my knitting bag.
She calls herself a hat architect, but I think Wooly Wormhead is a hat magician. How else can one women take something as simple and ubiquitous as a knittied hat and reinvent it over and over again into something beautiful and interesting?
There are 10 patterns in the Twisted Wooly Toppers booklet, all are written for three or more sizes, and most styles work for women, men and children. The design of the book is open and light with white space, large charts and clear, big photos of each pattern.
The theme of this collection is twists, all of the patterns are cabled, twisted or biased is some way, and some of the designs incorporate more than one technique.
The patterns are alive with motion, sweeping and spinning -- flipping through the book is like watching yarn dance in the wind. There are hats that fit the head snugly coated with texture like Freccia, Turbine and Chevron. There are hats that rest easier on the head with a trellis pattern, Aeonium or cable and seed stitch, Slable. Then there are the hats that break the usual round shape of hats the rectangular Tinker and Floralys, the perfectly pointed and cabled Lolie and Brownie and the sublimely and multiply peaked Medici.
This is a hat collection that will spin off of your needles.
I got to review Classic Woolly Toppers, and like Jillian says above, Woolly is an amazing designer who brings endless life and creativity to the field of hat design. This book is full of classics that are anything but average or boring.
The cover pattern, the Camden Cap, looks great on everyone (I got to see Woolly's whole trunk show in Glasgow this past October...a real treat!) and is really cleverly constructed. It's hard for me to pick favorites, but I am smitten with Imagiro in particular - -a rectangular bit of fabric that, through clever seaming, becomes the most stylish hat ever.
I love that Woolly shows her hats on all the different models so you can see which might flatter you best. She's even got tips in the back that help you pick the right style of hat for your face shape. I want to knit them all, though.
Signature Needles are the sexiest circular needles I've every worked with. They are whisper light, silky smooth, as sharp as you want them and really unlike any other knitting needle.
Until just recently, the smallest Signature Circular available was a US#3/3.25mm, but now there is a US#1/2.25mm and it doesn't disappoint. When making the smaller size, Signature left out nothing that the big needles have.
If you haven't knit with Signature circular needles before, you have to give them a try. They are made from aircraft quality, nickel-free, aluminum and polished to the smoothest finish. All of the needles sizes are color coded. The new US#1/2.25mm are green, so it's easy to find them. The joins are so well designed that I've rarely felt a hitch when passing over one.
The tips are pointy. You get a choice of Middy or Stiletto – I love the super pointy Stiletto. There is also a choice of 3 needle lengths (4", 5",6") and 6 cable lengths (16"-47"). The cables themselves are a thing of magical wonder – they are incredibly flexible and knink-free. This cable is what Magic Loop was invented for. I have never had such and easy time with Magic Loop as I have with these cables -- they never fall into an angle.
Signature circular needles, including the new US#1/2.25mm, are a transcendent knitting experience. Your knitting doesn't slide, it glides.
Finally, a knitting girl with spirit! Annie wants to learn to knit just like her mother. More to the point, she wants to be able to knit like her mother -- smooth and fast. She doesn't want to go through the whole ordeal of learning. Annie, just like every child I've taught to knit, gets frustrated, really frustrated with the swiss cheese that she's knitting. She reminds me a little of Lily of the Purple Plastic Purse fame. Annie does go back to her knitting, but I'll leave the how and why for you to discover.
This story is sweet and uplifting but still shows that learning something new can be hard. I love it because it speaks to the resilience and downright stubbornness of kids when they really want something. It also shows the importance of figuring out things for themselves and how parents can inspire them.
The lovely illustrations by Neesha Hudson are subdued and detailed like a close conversation rather than a shout.
The book is available by itself or as a deluxe gift set that includes the hardcover book, children's puzzle, paper dolls, sticker sheet, and decorative box. A wonderful way to get a young knitter started!
This quick to knit kit was a wonderful way to spend knitting time.
I knit the kit (hat and fingerless mitts) over a weekend, in between and during other things. It was a perfect traveling project.
The patterns have just enough cables to make me a happy texture knitter but not so much that it became fiddly.
The pattern is simple enough to follow easily, even sitting in the bleachers at a 3rd grade basketball game. Thank you Fiber Wild for the large charts!
The yarn is all kinds of gorgeous. It is Mountain Colors Alpaca Blend (50% super fine alpaca and 50% wool), a yarn exclusive to Fiber Wild and seriously soft and decadent.
The kit is available in 4 colors; the one I knit Bozemill Spring is exclusive to Fiber Wild. If you need a quick gift or just a quick satisfying and cozy project for yourself, this kit could be just what you want to knit.
Needles and Artifice by The Ladies of Mischief
$29.95, print + digital
As soon as I started reading this book, I was whisked away. I didn’t move from my chair until I was finished. There are some books that give me a visceral reaction for a variety of reasons and this was one of those books, and the reason was fun.
This book is a tale of Steampunk and knitting. There is a raucous tale of the ingenious Ladies of Mischief and their companions complete with airships, corsets, weaponry, tea, knitting and naughty bits.
There are knitting patterns based on the characters and story, intricate and edgy and by no means second string to the story.
By the second chapter I was wondering how soon the second volume from the Ladies of Mischief would be published.
The story, knitting design and book design are so perfectly intertwined I couldn’t imagine any standing alone. Every aspect has been meticulously carried out: opulent Victoriana with a Punk sensibility.
There are no short cuts or skimping in the knitwear designs. From the small batch independent dyer yarns to every single bit of shaping in the sweaters and corsets, it all fits, literally.
I will admit I spent time reading the patterns, just to see how all that shaping was done. Of the fantastic designs my favorites are The Resilience Top, The Quadrille Overbust Corset, the Null Hypothesis Scarf (double knit with no repeats in the motifs!) and the Eccentricity and Amplitude Stockings.
This book is a wholly original and a magnificent romp.
There are quite a few variations of this kind of product on the market, but I think this one deserves special mention.
Not only can you snap your work-in-progress into the 7.5" long case so that it doesn't drop off your DPNs, circulars or even crochet hook when you toss it in your project bag -- but you can store notions in the zippered pouch on the other side.
Boyfriend Sweaters by Bruce Weinstein
There are many days that there is nothing more a woman wants to wear than an unstructured sweater. And many knitters are still looking for the perfect sweater to knit for the men in their lives, uncomplicated, but interesting, something that he would actually wear. Boyfriend Sweaters provides an answer to both of those dilemmas in a neat package.
19 projects, mostly sweaters, that are visually straightforward with just enough going on in the way of texture or color that they are destined to become favorites no matter who they are knit for.
The sweaters and accessories are wonderful, I am particularly taken with Textured Argyle Cardigan and the Honeycomb Sweater because I am a texture woman to the core, but the Houndstooth Cardigan is calling me out of my texture rut.
The writing is fun and positive. The author, maybe because he also writes cookbooks, has a wonderful knack of explaining things, especially techniques, in a perfectly pared down way. It’s fantastic. Both the patterns and the writing in this book show that a knitting book doesn’t have to complex or exacting to be excellent.
Elizabeth Lovick is a spinner and knitter who is keeping classic Scottish gansey , Fair Isle and lace knitting vibrant. She designs and teaches, she is a tireless craftsperson.
I was thrilled that she took the time out of her busy schedule to sit down and write a bit of the vast knowledge down for the rest of us.
Knitwear Design for Spinners and Knitters is a gem of a book. It starts with the most basic, the fiber, and teaches very specifically about spinning for knitting. Walking the reader through fiber choice, fiber preparation, color, spinning technique and swatching. She even tackles knitting with art yarns.
In the section on designing there is information relevant to the most beginning designer; a hat is the first design lesson, to designers who made many, many things.
Elizabeth is an expert knitter and designer and if ganseys, Fair Isle or lace are your passion you have something to learn from this book.
She discusses basic sweater design, then walks through the design of a sweater.
A particularly good section is Dealing with Disasters, I wish more designers were as encouraging as Elizabeth to new designers. The two biggest sections of the book are Designing Lace and Designing Colourwork in both of these she draws on her experience and goes from the basics choosing and charting motifs in lace and choosing color and motifs in colorwork to a finished design. There are unexpected bits too, like the section on figuring out a lace motif from an old photo or old piece of lace.
The book is filled with photographs of Elizabeth’s designs. It’s a treat just to flip through and look at all of her work. Not as lavishly photographed as big publisher books but he information is rock solid based on many years of spinning, knitting and designing.
I think it'd be really hard to make a lazy kate more useful than this one. I've seen quite a few that are beautiful and some easy to travel with. Rarely does a kate come out that is really more versatile, but the Anything But Lazy Kate is just that.
The ABLK is medium sized (13.5" wide by 6.5" deep x 2.75" tall), holds three 5" bobbins, and weighs less than 5 pounds (on my baking scale). It's built to be a traveling kate and is constructed like a rectangular suitcase that opens on one long side and stores all of its rods and knobs inside. It even has a handle.
The brilliant thing for me about this kate is that is has 3 ways to tension that can be used individually or all together.
1) The old standard way to tension with a cord around the base of the bobbins.
2) The new standard way to tension with gravity by tilting at an angle. But the tilting on this kate is adjustable from 10-44 degrees.
3) Yarn guides that are adjustable. By turning the yarn guide in place, it bends the yarn and slows it down. This can be done for each individual bobbin.
While I was sample spinning with the ABLK I had a full wooden bobbin that just needed a little tensioning and an almost empty cardboard bobbin that kept twirling on the rod and need more tensioning. I was able to set the tilt tensioning for the heavier bobbin and further tension the lighter bobbin, so their tension was even. No more fighting with uneven tension.
Oh wait there's one more fantastic thing. There is a kit that lets a spinner use cones on the kate and tension them with either the tilt or yarn guides. Art yarn anyone?
Is it greedy to want two? I'm just imagining the super textured and art yarns I could make with one on either side of my wheel.
I can't say enough about this kate, but I will say if I won the lottery today I would buy all of my spinning friends one. It's that good.
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