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Books are softcover unless noted otherwise. All prices USD unless noted.



Buy now at Amazon

It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons
by Franklin Habit
Interweave Press

This book. How do I describe it? What we'd write if we were funny? What we'd draw if we had a cutting insight into a knitter's mind, plus the talent to make arrangements of tiny lines convey paragraphs that strike us as true every time?

Page after page begs to be framed and displayed. It's a tiny, lovely book.

Yup. That's how I'd describe it.



Buy now at Amazon

Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns, and Traditions
by Nancy Bush
Interweave Press

Just like every other knitter, I've been bitten by the lace bug and this book is giving me the fever. The start of the book details Nancy Bush's discovery of Estonian knitting in a brief but satisfying read, giving you a great sense of the knitting culture as it evolved over the centuries without it feeling like a college lecture. I especially like the bit about the industrious knitters' attempt at getting Greta Garbo to wear an Estonian shawl in one of her movies!

This book has 14 gorgeous patterns of different sized shawls and scarves that are feminine without being fussy. I'm smitten with Tiinu Scarf and Madli's Shawl as they're two of the many patterns that use the Estonian version of bobbles; called nupps (pronounced like "soup"). The written directions are thorough and the charts are awesome. If following a set pattern turns you off, Ms. Bush includes a section for you too. The Estonian Lace Stitch Dictionary closes out the book with a slew of knitted samples and charts (including the "Greta Garbo") to keep you knitting traditional shawls and scarves to your specifications until summer.



Buy now at Amazon

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Sock Knitting
by Laura Chau

This book teaches you about sock knitting -- not just 'how to knit a pattern', but in-depth information about how socks are constructed. Top down, toe up, and flat, this book breaks down all the pieces of a sock, heel, toe, leg and focuses on them, well, visually :-).

It is wonderful to have up-close and crispy clear photographs of the different types of heels and toes, and Laura's own knitting hands working things like short rows. Along with the learning, there are 11 sock patterns in Laura Chau's modern romantic style. A basic plain pattern for toe up and top down socks and 9 patterns full of texture -- rich patterned cables, rib and lace, and an adorable pair of angora baby booties.




Buy now at Amazon

Knits for Bears to Wear: More than 20 Fun, Knit-to-Fit Fashions for All Teddies and Toys Including 18-Inch Dolls
by Amy O'Neill Houck
Potter Craft

Oh how cute! This book is filled with wonderful patterns that will delight any child, or child-at-heart. From the more casual day wear sweaters, skirts and pants through to the more glamorous paparazzi gown, and my personal favorite the wizard's hat and gown, this book will provide your teddy bears with a complete wardrobe, spring to winter, morning to night. And not just for teddy - this book also includes instructions on how to size for your other toys.




Available at Jennie the Potter

Knitting necklaces
by Jennie the Potter
Minneapolis, MN

It's hard to find appealing, beautiful jewelry that says, subtly, I'm a knitter. I was thrilled when Jennie Lanners [aka Jennie the Potter] started making pendants that exactly fit that description!

The pendants are made by hand, one at a time, in Jennie's studio, from the same clay she uses to make her signature mugs and bowls. Each is unique, kiln-fired for durability, and -- surprisingly -- light as air. It's the kind of piece you reach for as you wear it to run your fingers over the just feels good to touch.


The stockinette design is available on round [large, medium and small] and square pendants [one size] in red, orange, yellow, ivy green, turquoise, baby blue, blue, purple, pink, chocolate brown, and black. Each pendant comes with an 18" sterling chain [pictured above left] and the findings are sterling as well.

When you're looking for a gift for a knitter friend or a treat for yourself, these pendants are a beautiful [and surprisingly affordable] choice.




Buy now at Amazon

Little Felted Animals: Create 16 Irresistible Creatures with Simple Needle-Felting Techniques
by Marie-Noelle Horvath

From the kitten on the cover to the menagerie within, this is a treasure-trove for anyone who appreciates the world of cute and cuddly.

Each of the sixteen creatures has step-by-step instructions and pictures so clearly explained that my daughters (age eight and twelve) have begun their own projects and have no intention of relinquishing the book back to me soon.

The trickiest part of doing these projects is finding the supplies. Natural colors of roving must be tracked down from more obscure suppliers or large stores and glass eyes (I found 4mm size works well for the scale) may be found at craft and hobby stores and can be painted to your preference.
The danger with this book is that you may soon find fuzzy felted animals appearing in every nook and cranny of your home. Beware, they are highly addictive.







Buy now at Offhand Designs

Fiona Tote
by Offhand Designs
12"H x 22"W x 6 "D
22" velvet straps
shown in Aquavite

Feel free to read on, but I'll proclaim it right at the beginning to save time: I adore this bag.

If you've ever had the pleasure of seeing an Offhand Designs bag in person, you know that they're different. The fabrics are unique, thick, durable and yet beautiful. They feel like vintage carpet bags, except that they're brand new. Offhand Designs has been around a few years longer than Knitty, and in that time, designer Larisa Flint Snydal has gently expanded her line of bags, each design carefully considered and planned.

This is the Fiona Tote, and I think it incorporates the best features of all Larisa's previous bags, plus a few new twists.

First, the spring hinge that is one of my favorite Offhand Designs bag features is here, and it's brilliant. The 2nd picture shows the way the bag opens, from totally flat to long-sided hexagon. It will stay open until you're done with it, and opening and closing take no effort.

The pocket situation? Fabulous. Inside, 3 regular pockets [the flattish kind], 4 pouch pockets [they expand to hold puffy stuff] and a huge storage area. There are more than 8 skeins of yarn in the bag in picture #3 on the left, and still room for more. You could easily get a sweater-in-progress in this bag.

CSoffhand3On the outside [picture #4 on the left], a deep, wide pocket that runs the length of the bag will hold patterns, magazines, books, whatever. It has a snap closure for tidiness.

On the opposite side [see pic on right], two very deep exterior pockets will safely hold large handheld electronics like your expensive new iPhone or Blackberry. Your pocket-sized camera would easily fit in the other pocket.

As with all of Offhand Designs' bags, this bag could easily be your purse with room for knitting inside it, or fully dedicated to knitting. I love carrying it with me, because it's gorgeous yet insanely practical. It does everything a knitting bag should do, and much more. Muggles [non-knitters] covet it, too.




Buy now at Amazon

Knitting Noro: The Magic of Knitting with Hand-Dyed Yarns
by Jane Ellison
Potter Craft

Noro is known for its balls of stunning colors. This book is a great collection of patterns that are simple to knit and flattering to wear, while making the most of Noro's long color runs.

The book is divided into 6 basic styles, with many variations on each. You can knit a basic tank top, or a ribbed v-neck vest; a cropped jacket, a long coat or a jacket with a hood. And all the while Noro's fabulous colors are working for you.




Buy now at Amazon

101 Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders
by Judith Durant
Storey Publishing

The third in the series of One-Skein Wonder books, Designer One-Skein Wonders doesn't disappoint. This book focus on luxury and organic yarns. Dive into your stash or run to your LYS for a quick shop for a weekend or a week-long project that's quick to knit and seriously satisfying.

These books are the magic genie lamps of patterns. I just wish they had a website that you could search patterns by yarn, weight and type, because now there are 303 patterns to choose from.




Buy now at Amazon

Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds
by Kathryn Dun
Thomas Dunne Books

Spinners and knitters who want see where their wool comes from, may I present the crème of the sheep breed book crop.

Stunning photography of more than 40 breeds of sheep with information about breed features, use, related breeds and origin and distribution.

Great information, but really, you won't believe how cute they are.





Buy now at The Loopy Ewe

Sock Blockers
by The Loopy Ewe
Small, Medium, Large + Xlarge
Red plastic: $11.00 for one
Wood w/sheep cutout: $13.00 for one

These days a knitter wants to do more with their finished socks than merely wear them; between Ravelry and knit-blogging, a beautiful photograph of your finished project is also a must. These sock blockers are the perfect model to show off your lovingly created knit socks, and they are much easier to photograph than your own feet! They also allow you properly block out lace, cables and any other important stitch details before you wear them.

The bright red sock blockers are lightweight enough to hang anywhere, and the ventilation holes all through them enable very fast drying time. The waves and scalloped edge looks very pretty at the top of a blocking sock, too.

The heavier wooden sock blocker feels wonderfully substantial and are beautiful decorative objects even when they are naked. And what could be cuter than a sheep cutout peeking out of the top of a pair of woolly socks?



Available at Suncatcher Eyes

Suncatcher Eyes
by ChezMichelle
prices vary by size

Finally! I've been looking for safety eyes for all the small toys that I make, and here they are. Suncatcher Eyes are hand painted acrylic eyes made by Michelle McLaughlin and sold on Etsy. I love the vibrancy of the colors, and my personal favorites are the sleepy eyes.

They are easy to attach, but not easy to remove - I can barely get my fingernail between the attached eye and the fabric. I asked several moms of small children what they thought of the eyes, and they were all said they would give a toy with these eyes to their child.

Suncatcher Eyes come in a range of sizes: 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 20 and 24mm, and in a range of 30 colors. You can also get cats eyes in 6, 9, 12 and 15mm sizes. And don't forget the sleepy eyes!

Oh, and the wee black & white emo doll is also one of Michelle's patterns.



Pixie [backpack, shown in Diablo]
one size
laptop compartment: 14.0" x 10.0" x 1.5" $85.00


Echo [briefcase-style shoulder bag, shown in Pacifica]
three sizes available for 13, 15 or 17" laptops $90-100


[laptop sleeve, shown in Utopia]

three sizes available for 13, 15 or 17" laptops $30-40


Buy now at LexieBarnes

Laptop bags
by Lexie Barnes

Lexie does it again! Her newest prints -- the sexy Diablo [purple, red and orange], the cool Pacifica [blue, brown and pink] and vibrant Utopia [yellowy greens and olive] now can be found on bags to keep your computer safe. The fabric is water-resistant nylon taffeta.

Of course you can bring knitting in a Lexie Barnes everything but the Cricket, which is super-lean protection for your expensive electronics. It's just got room for your laptop and nothing else. One large laptoppy pocket. Great for when you want to slip your computer into a bigger bag that's not designed for computer storage.


The Pixie is probably the most knitting friendly. It's rather huge [see above]. There's a pocket at the back of the backpack that has room for your computer, a strong strap that snaps at the top, a big open space in the middle, and two large pockets at the front for whatever you need. And that's just the main compartment. The front section zips open and is large enough to hold magazines, textbooks, a purse even, plus it has three large pockets on one wall as well! There are two big pockets on the front, and two water-bottle-shaped pockets on the sides.

The Echo is a little leaner [see below] and has the cool key-safe pocket hidden near the zipper, on the outside of the bag, same as the famous Lady B. There are two large zippered compartments -- one plain that's meant for your laptop. The other has a whole bunch of different-sized pockets as well as lots of open space for your...oh, maybe, knitting? Also a wide pocket that runs the length of the bag that will hold patterns, papers, magazines. The shoulder strap has Lexie's signature non-slip stuff on the shoulder pad strap, and I love that stuff.


Lexie makes great bags and these are no exception. Lightweight, strong and cute as anything.


Buy now at Amazon

Guy Knits: Sweaters & Vests (Best of Knitter's Magazine series
by Rick Mondragon, Elaine Rowley
XRX Books

This book fills a real gap in many knitter's libraries, with a real emphasis on sweater patterns for men. All the patterns are accompanied by clearly photographed modeled shots, detailed schematics and instructions, making it easy to know exactly what you'll get when you knit them.

There is a nice range of styles from simple knit-and-purl details to cables, colourwork and even modular knits, and even the most elaborate patterns use simple techniques to create sweaters that will be sure to become wardrobe staples in no time!


Buy now at Amazon

Cool Knits for Kids
by Kate Gunn + Robyn MacDonald
Krause Publications

Looking for a book that will provide you with patterns for years to come? Here it is. This book has a complete range of projects and sizes, to take you from infant through to 7 years old, or older, for some of the accessories.

Covering a wide spectrum of projects and knitting styles, this book has something for everyone. From booties and blankets for babies to sweaters and scarves for your older kids, this book has amazing intarsia patterns, cables and simple lace enough to satisfy anyone who just loves to knit for kids.



Buy now at Amazon

Continuous Cables: An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues
by Melissa Leapman
Potter Craft
$32.50 hardcover

Anyone who enjoys cables will love this book, as it takes cables to the next level. This book is all about cables that start and finish in the middle of your fabric, such as circles, curlicues, swirls and Celtic knots. Some of the patterns in this book seem like more traditional cables, until you look closer and see the details of the patterns themselves. Other patterns are simpler, with one cable rope or knot in the middle of the garment.

In addition to the patterns is an original stitch dictionary, so you can make your own patterns that sweep across your garment, and start and finish in new and different directions.

Add this book to your collection and your cables may never be the same again.



Buy now at Amazon

Socks A La Carte: Pick And Choose Patterns To Knit Socks Your Way
by Jonelle Raffino
North Light Books
$22.99 hardcover over spiral binding, split pages

This book is downright clever. I adore hardcover-over-spiral bound books, and this one makes the most of this functional, useful format. In fact, the paper they've printed the book on is durable enough to withstand the intended use, which isn't always the case in books designed this way. Kudos!

How does the book work? It's quite simple: choose your cuff, the leg of the sock [they call it "the body"] and finally the heel/toe combination. Flip the page slices back and forth until you have the exact sock you want to knit. Then refer to the page number on each slice which leads you to the full pattern details, and poof -- a customized sock pattern! There's texture, lace, even a secret pocket!

The pictures and illustrations are clear and crisp. All the patterns in the book use SWTC's famous Tofutsies sock yarn, and all of the socks are top-down. Perhaps the next book will be the toe-up version for those of us who prefer our socks that way?





Buy now at Lantern Moon

CSoliviaroseOlivia Rose Bag
by Lantern Moon
14"h x 22"w
Black and white canvas with 3 lining colors -- shown in turquoise
[olive and rust also available]

This large-sized tote bag is great for carrying your large projects, and keeping your other items sorted as well. A sweater or afghan in progress would easily fit in the bag as well as the pattern book that goes with it.

The beautifully colored silk inner layer of this bag is cleverly divided into deep pockets that run all around the outside of the bag, giving you four individual spaces to keep other items like your wallet, phone, knitting toolkit, sorted and tidy. It has soft, wide straps, making it very comfortable to carry.

Best of all the circular base of this bag helps retain the open shape, making it very easy to access items in your bag.




Buy now at Amazon

Cute Knits for Baby Feet: 30 Adorable Projects for Newborns to 4 Year Olds
by Sue Whiting
Krause Publications

Why knit baby booties, when there are baby socks that are this cute?

Cute Knits for Baby Feet has a wide range of styles and techniques, from traditional Fair Isle and lace to cute and quirky animal socks (the elephant pair is my favorite. And with each project being so small, these wee socks are a great way to practice a new knitting technique.



Buy now at Amazon

Death by Cashmere: A Seaside Knitters Mystery
by Sally Goldenbaum
$21.95, hardcover

This is the first book in a new series of knitting mysteries.
Like many cozy-style mysteries, the main character gives up stressful, unfulfilling life to open a yarn shop in picturesque town where people get murdered and the cops aren't so bright.

What sets this mystery apart is the author's skill at story telling. The story is engaging and the characters have a depth and a life beyond being knitters.

Still there is a lot of knitting and yarn talk to make you feel at home, and a circle of knitting friends you'll want to invite into your life again.





Buy now at Annie Adams

Nova Shawl Pin [right]
Twigs Stitch Marker Necklace [left]
by Annie Adams

other designs available

CSannieadamsPINblankMade of lead-free pewter, Annie Adams' knitting line is just lovely. The shawl pin is solid but not heavy -- a good choice for pieces made from fingering weight yarn and thicker. [It's probably not the right choice for a Kidsilk Haze Birch shawl]. The pewter isn't a slippery metal, so it will stay where you put it.

The stitch marker necklace, also made of pewter, has style and visual appeal as well as being very useful. The removable markers are adorned with hematite beads which Adams reports to have balancing, grounding and stress-reducing properties, as well as encouraging optimism, self control and inner happiness. I like that each marker is wired to a solid ring that won't come apart in use, and one of the markers is different from the rest, so you've got a beginning-of-round marker when you need it.




Buy now at Amazon

Knitted Finger Puppets: 34 Easy-to-Make Toys
by Meg Leach

Fantastically fast and fantastically fun knitting. The puppets are divided into three sections, North Pole, Big Top and the Enchanted Forest, but the patterns are easy to adapt to a variety of people or creatures.

With this book, you will be the hit of the under-5 set.





Buy now at Hi-How Are You

Circular Needle Case
by Hi-How Are You

CSneedlecase2blankCheck out this amazingly compact circular case. It comes in a variety of funky fabrics, all hand sewn.
There are slots for 21 needles, so I stuffed mine full in no order, because that's what I'd do in my real knitting world. Not only was their room for more needles, but all folded up it's only 3.75”.

These cases are really well made because stuffed full they're still sturdy , not like when I do my own sewing and the seams feel like they'll pop.




Buy now at Amazon

Knitting Goes Large: 20 Designs to Flatter Your Figure
by Sharon Brant
St Martin's Griffin

A collection of plus-sized sweaters by some of Rowan's biggest designers. It has good information about choosing a sweater for your shape, and an overview of altering patterns.

If you are looking for very fitted, shaped sweaters, this book isn't for you. But if you are looking for romantic Rowan-style sweaters [finally] in sizes that fit, you will be in knitting heaven!




Buy now at Amazon

Baby Beanies: Happy Hats to Knit for Little Heads
by Amanda Keeys
$16.95, hardcover

Baby hats are a great way to start knitting, a wonderful fast knit for a present, and a great way to use up yarn.

This book is packed with creative hat ideas for newborns up to 2 year olds. I love the Loopy Pixie hat, with ear flaps and a pointy top, and the scarf hat (hat and scarf in one) just makes me smile.

This book is so crammed with ideas that I'm having a hard time not picking up my needles right now



Buy now at Amazon

Knitted Jackets: 20 Designs from Classic to Contemporary
by Cherle Oberle
Interweave Press
SR: 36 - 58

This is not the book I thought it was at first glance. Despite the sweaterliness of the cover piece, this truly is a book of Knitted Jackets -- knitted garments to be worn over other clothing. The style of the book tends toward square construction, and all of that makes sense when we're talking about the knitted equivalent of a coat. Ah ha!

The styles vary from crazy cropped to long and drapey. I find myself drawn to the first sweater, Box Top -- a super-cozy boxy coat done in a box stitch with a lovely standup collar. Bergen also appeals -- a gently modernized version of the traditional Fana Norwegian sweater [something that's been on my to-knit list for a while now.] Oberle helpfully offers fitting suggestions based on the amount of ease she's designed into each garment.




Buy now at KnitWhits

Mosaic Felted mittens kit - fruity colorway
by KnitWhits

Tina Whitmore from KnitWhits should be thanked for designing this cute felted fair isle mitten kit. Everything you need - except the needles - comes in a handy clear plastic tube, great for storing your drop spindle when you're finished knitting up the kit.

CSknitwhits2The pattern is provided in two basic sizes; one for children, one for adults. Since the exact size of the mitts can be adjusted by felting more (or less), it should be possible to knit these to fit just about anyone.

While the project name is "Mosaic Mittens", do note that you will not be using the mosaic knitting technique. Rather, the checkerboard color pattern is created by using the fair isle technique of stranding two colors across each round.

Knitters new to colorwork will like the clear charts that leave no guesswork when it comes to working the shaping for the thumb and the top of the mitten.



Buy now at Amazon

Elements of Style: Knit & Crochet Jewelry with Wire, Fiber, Felt & Beads
by Rosemary Hill
Interweave Press

Make your own jewelery using a wide variety of materials and techniques. Knitting with wire, crochet with beads, working with felt, and always producing stunning earrings, necklaces, bracelets and scarves.

With beautiful photographs and comprehensive descriptions of all the techniques and materials used in the book, you can't go wrong, and in no time you will be making pieces you will be proud to wear.



Rio bag
by Jordana Paige
L 14" x W 6.5" x H 10"
shown in Eggplant [also available in Green Olive, Red Garnet]

Buy now at Jordana Paige

CSrio3blankThis bag was presented to me to review after I had finished complaining how I couldn’t find a bag big enough or sturdy enough to carry all my necessities around. Well, this bag does the trick.

On a recent visit to the public library, I took my wallet, my knitting, a clipboard, a book to read, a note book, my laptop a water bottle and there was still room for more.

It has all the right little pockets for sticking knitting needles, sewing tapes, cell phones, pens, make up and all most anything else you can think off. The croc faux leather was a little stiff at first but it is softening up with use. The straps are a nice size so they fit over your shoulder but don’t sit uncomfortably. Even though it is a big bag you can easily tuck it under your arm and shop away.

CSrio2blankThe side pockets are my least favorite feature, but that is because they are very stiff and the magnet snaps tend to open a lot.

As a knitting bag, it is awesome since it has so many inside pockets. There is even a cute little coin purse that snaps in and out that you could put notions in. As a purse, it is amazing and can carry so much that I can’t wait for school to start again so I can tote my school work in style and still have room for knitting.

It even has cute little snap straps that you use to hold your yarn in place so it doesn't get tangled when you throw your bag around -- now that's thinking.


Buy now at Amazon

Glam Knits: 25 Designs For Luxe Yarns
Stefanie Japel
SR: 32 - 57.5 inches

Whether you have a stash of luxurious yarn -- cashmere, fine merino, silk, you get the idea -- or have wanted a reason to buy some, this book could give you the reason you need! These fibers can be tricky to work with, but author Stefanie Japel has done most of the work for you by pairing fiber with garment style [all that's left is the knitting!] Don't forget to read the Fitting Your Knits section to knit the right size for you!

Some of the pieces are over-the-top sexy, super-fitted and even peekaboo! Most everything else features Japel's signature body-aware [and flattering] style, wearable to the office as well as after hours. Love the puff-sleeved hoodie and the extremely kicky short-and-sweet coat, embellished lightly with hand-dyed ribbon in just the right places. The double-breasted coat is similarly fabulous.




Buy now at Amazon

Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn
by Carol Sulcoski
Interweave Press

Ever fallen in love with a skein of handpainted yarn, only to be disappointed with the way the sock turned out in the end? This book explains the special features of different handpainted yarns, and why they work differently from machine pained yarns. When you know you how to make the most of your skeins you will soon be producing socks that are as fun to look at as they are to knit.




Buy now at Amazon

Easy Baby Knits: Clothes & Accessories for 0-3 Year-olds
by Claire Montgomerie
Ryland Peters & Small

This is a great book for the beginner knitter or the knitter who is looking for fast, simple projects for baby.

With sweet little mittens for baby hands, and some of the cutest sandal booties I've seen, an array of tops and sweaters and a number of cute toys and blankets, this book is guaranteed to provide countless hours of fun knitting, as well as numerous items guaranteed to delight.




Buy now at Amazon

Boutique Knits: 20+ Must-Have Accessories
by Laura Irwin
Interweave Press

This is a very pretty book. Laura has created a collection of accessories and sweater accents that use classic influences long past and mix them with a modern functionality and appeal. Easy to follow patterns are surrounded by full visuals taken from many angles, with most finicky details having close-ups of their own. Clear graphs and line diagrams abound as well as stitch explanations at the back for any referencing that may be required

These projects are excellent for the beginner to intermediate knitter. With the many yarns used and the large variety of techniques played with, such as button detailing, felting and the use of appliqués, this is a book that is likely to keep you happy and occupied for many months.


Newport bag
by Namaste
L 15" x W 7" x H 11"
shown in Charcoal
[also available in Hollywood Pink, Olive, Peacock, Saddle, Turquoise]
Buy now at Namaste

CSnamasteblankNamaste is synonymous with stylish knitting bags that don't look like knitting bags and the Newport from the Cali Collection definitely lives up to that name.

This bag is buttery-soft and made out of animal-friendly not-leather material in 6 stunning colors. The roomy interior is split by a full-length zipper pocket (along with three side pockets), allowing you to have your knitting stuff on one side and your purse stuff on the other.

This bag won't hold your sweater or afghan project but it's perfect for stashing your on-the-go socks (or scarf or shawl) and looks great with office- or weekend-wear. You'll have both your knitter and non-knitter bagoholic friends trying to borrow it!





Buy now at Amazon

Knit One Below: One Stitch, Many Fabrics
by Elise Duvekot
XRX Books

SR: 34 - 57
[one camisole starts at 28", one oversized jacket goes to 74"]

This book is all about knitting into the stitch below. Based on this unique technique, beautiful fabrics result with much easier knitting than you'd imagine. Using a sort of vertical slip stitch and two colors of yarn, you get effects reminiscent of corrugated rib, yet what you're knitting is more like stockinette than anything else. In a single color, the effect is also striking.

This book features garments for men and women -- in fact, I think the men's sweaters are a perfect match for this technique and are very fussy-man wearable. The women's sweaters get to take advantage of brighter colors and more fitted designs. The construction of all sweaters is interesting with more set-in sleeves than dropped shoulders, and creative sideways-knit garments. There's a lot to look at and learn from in this book, including lovely shawls and wraps for the garment-averse.



Fine-Cloth Drum Carder
by Ashford

Buy now from your local
Ashford Dealer


Ashford makes a variety of well-reputed spinning tools including wheels, spindles and just about everything else you could want.

When were offered the opportunity to test-drive their fine-cloth drum carder, three of us -- spinners of varied levels of experience -- were excited to get our hands on it!

When you open the box, you're greeted with a mostly assembled carder. Both drums and all gears are in place, ready to go. All that remains for the spinner to do is follow the provided instructions:

  • Attach the crank handle to the nut on the main drum. We did our test in a yarn shop without our toolbox handy, and realized later that it would helped to have an adjustable wrench nearby to tighten the crank handle. But even finger-tight, the crank worked just fine and only needed an occasional re-tightening.

  • Set the drive band on the proper gears. This is absolutely a piece of cake to do and the instructions are clear and the task is easy.

  • Clamp the carder to your work surface with the provided hardware. No extra tools needed here either.

The assembled drum carder is a pretty thing to look at. Ashford finishes the silver beech hardwood beautifully using Danish oil, and the wood itself is smooth and pleasant to touch. Underneath, rubber feet help prevent slipping, and the clamps ensure there's no slippage at all.

There are two ratios available, depending on which of the gear sets you use. 6:1 [for fleece] and 4:1 [for blending roving, different fiber types, and colors].

The distance between the drums is adjustable to suit the fiber you're carding or blending.

The included manual explains how to do all adjustments, assembly and disassembly [for cleaning] in clear illustrations with minimal words.

To learn more about the carding process and the options available, we referred to the Ashford Book of Carding, which is reviewed separately below.

One of the reasons I was most excited about testing this carder is that I'd hoped to blend all sorts of different non-wool fibers into combinations I haven't found available anywhere.

For this test, we were provided small quantities of many different fibers including bamboo, tussah, seacell, a silk + seacell blend, milk, soy and firestar, dyed beautifully by Pat LeClair of Dyeing for Colour. Pat's fiber is available at The Black Lamb, in Port Hope, Ontario. I also added carbonized bamboo, hemp and cotton from my spinning stash.

The charcoal grey fiber shown at right is carbonized bamboo. We also added tussah and firestar, both dyed in a matching deep red. We wanted to see what a little glitz would do to the bamboo and silk.

Finally it was time to get at it! The instructions show fiber spread out in front of the drum, and that's what we did. It also tells you to keep your hands off the fiber as it feeds in, and the few times we forgot, we learned that was very true. [The fiber just spins around on the small licker-in drum if you hold it as it feeds in. Don't do it.]

We added small, fanned-out amounts of fiber into the carder, one at a time, alternating bamboo, silk and firestar, in varying quantities, until the drum was quite full.

We then used the supplied doffer [it looks like a big shishkabob skewer -- a wooden handle with a long steel rod], slid it under the fiber along the steel groove of the big drum, and lifted up. This broke the batt at one point so we could pull the batt off the drum while gently cranking to make the removal easier.

Very little fiber was left on the drum. Yay! We then broke up this first batt and sent it back in to the carder again, in small sections, to further blend the different fibers and smooth out the batt. Altogether, we ran this fiber through the carder 3 times and the final result is the last photo on the right at the bottom of the column.

We noted that having a flick carder would have been helpful to clean the drum between different batts. Definitely something I'll be purchasing for future carding sessions.

After that, we took turns playing with different fibers. Different blends were tried -- some with as many as 4 or 5 different base fibers -- and color experiments performed. All of the final results were met with giddy excitement.

Roving is one thing to spin, but to be able to create our own custom batts with the fibers and colors we love -- we all found it intoxicating. And the Ashford carder was so easy to use that it became second-nature rather quickly.

Multiple passes with the same fiber resulted in lovely, smooth batts, ripe for spinning. [Batt below is carbonized bamboo, silk and firestar in shades of grey and pink.]

In fact, the fiber that came off the Ashford drum carder was so irresistable that one of us pulled out a spindle and had to spin it right then and there.


Our final verdict: the three of us just loved everything about this Ashford drum carder. It's going to see much more use in the future as we continue to experiment with different fiber blends.














Buy now from your local
Ashford Dealer

The Ashford Book of Carding
by Jo Reeve

When we started experimenting with the Ashford Drum Carder [see review above], we found basic instructions, tips and suggestions in the pamphlet that came with the carder. This book goes much, much further in depth into blending fibers, using drum carders and even hand cards.

Clear photographs illustrate step-by-step instructions for flick carding, hand carding [including how to make a perfect rolag], blending color, how to make a batt and finish it into roving and even how to blend fibers for a self-striping yarn. It's a great partner that will guide you and help you make the right choices as you learn to use your hand cards or drum carder.





Buy Now at
Butterfly Girl Designs

by Butterfly Girl Designs

Floats like a butterfly, spins as fast as a hummingbird wing. Ok, not so poetic, but that's exactly what these spindles from Butterfly Girl Designs do.

CSbgspindle1blankI received 4 spindles to review: a stone spindle (34g), a polymer clay spindle (26g), an openwork resin spindle (19g), and a millefiori glass spindle (22g). I put them to a big test and brought them to a spinning guild meeting. I put them on a table with fiber and stood back, listening while I spun on one myself. The general reaction was - "wow, they spin fast."

Here's other stuff we liked:

The whorls are attached to the shaft by a rubber grommet, which lets the spinner adjust for any wobble.

The hooks are swan necked, easy to catch your yarn with, and made of heavy gauge wire, meaning they won't unbend easily.

The spindles, especially the lightest ones, make beautiful laceweight yarn. The most skilled hands made yarn so thin you could barely see it.

There are two different types of shafts – smooth below the whorl, carved above it and carved below the whorl, plain above it.

Of course these spindles are beautiful. The open-work resin and millefiori glass make heart flutter with spindle lust (and take a look at the other spindles on her site), but like some other gorgeous spindles you may have in your collection these spin so fantastically they won't be gathering any dust just looking pretty.





Buy Now at
Crafting for the Peanut Gallery

Hand-Carved Lazy Kate
by Crafting for the Peanut Gallery

Behold, a few-of-a-kind hand-carved tensioned lazy kate. I got all swoony over this kate just seeing a picture, and the spinning crush didn't flag once I had it in my hands. Besides the gorgeous carving, the kate is weighty enough not to 'walk', but not too heavy. It's easy to take along.

There is a brilliant skidproof pad on bottom, further padded with felt to keep it from both floating across the floor and scratching anything.

The posts that hold your bobbins have rubber grommets on them where they fit into the base, so your bobbins won't scratch or drag. The rods are removable so you can pack it flat and carry your kate in your spinning bag.

The tensioning device works like a charm. It's a piece of elastic that runs around the edge and is adjustable, and it works just right.  As does the eye hook that guides your singles.

When I used the kate to ply, it was fab: super smooth but controlled. I was worried about my WooLee Winder bobbins rattling on the posts because of of their ratchet wheels, but nope, just some lovely whirrrrrring.

It's so nice to have a piece of equipment that just works, and is also beautiful enough to inspire your spinning.

[I hear there's a Pirate kate in the works, check out the etsy store for a peek]


Looking for fiber reviews? They're on their own page, right here!

Stitched in Time:
Memory keeping projects to sew and share from the creator of Posie Gets Cozy

by Alicia Paulson
Potter Craft

Not only did she design and write this beautiful book, but author Alicia Paulson took every perfect photograph.

Felt, Fabric & Fiber Jewelry
20 Beautiful Projects to bead Stitch, Knot, and Braid

by Sherri Haab

Needle-felting, beading, quilting, embroidery and much more all come together in a surprising diverse and unique collection of projects. With some beautiful results.



Real sheep on real cards,
really photographed
by Knitty editor Amy
@ knittyshop
10 cards for $13.00
20 cards for $21.00

6 different sheepies to choose from!


Buddy snap case
by Namaste

Pretty enough for jewelry, functional enough for dangerous tools like pointy scissors. Two separate compartments with a removable divider, all lined with soft stuff. 7 colors.


Maya silk bag
by Lantern Moon
7"h x 5.5"w x 5.5"d

Little pocket on the outside, button closure, pretty pointy shape that sits flat when you need it to.

Knitstick Lotion Bar
by bestillandknit

moisturizes dry knitter hands.
won't spill in your bag!
solid stick melts when you put it on.

fragrances: unscented; ginger lime; vanilla nutmeg; oatmeal, milk, & honey.

Hogget the sheep
by Maisey Handmade
little knitting sheep
by fantiny
Elton the sheep
amigurumi pattern

by Delicious Crochet
sheep pincushion

by BossyFeltworks
feedsack pillow
by Tomorrow's Treasures
Knit Buddies (Gocco Printed Moleskine Cahier Pocket Notebook Journal) Plain
by Shoofly
scary monster stitch markers
by Crafting for the Peanut Gallery
$5-$6 per set of 4

2009 Knitty calendar
by the readers of Knitty magazine

features 12 gorgeous photographs
taken by the readers of Knitty magazine
of their Knitty knits!


frame purse with black sheep

by field of roses
custom Sheepy bowl
by leslie5

Woolly sheep stitch markers
by weeones
set of 4 for $20.00

I love to knit necklace
by Surly-ramics
plain or crackle glaze


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