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
Mary Jane Mucklestone challenged a group of designers to apply traditional Fair Isle motifs to modern knitwear. The result is a book full of gorgeous patterns.
Nowhere in this book will you find the traditional square-shaped and stiff-looking Fair Isle patterns. Instead there are soft-looking sweaters, slouchy hats, booties, a skirt, a bag and a bunch of mittens. Three designs that made me do a chair dance are the Mirry-Dancers Yoke Pullover by Cheryl Burke, the explosion of color cover sweater; the Bressay Dress by Gudrun Johnston, a swingy dress with simple motifs and half moon pockets; the Mushroom Kelliemuffs by Spillyjane, a simple pair of fingerless mitts covered in tiny mushrooms and peerie bands.
Many of the designs in the book are knit from non-traditional yarns, giving them a different visual texture.
The Design Notebook in the back of the book has great succinct explanations of stranding, choosing colors, color theory, yarn choice and how it affects the look of color knitting.
This book is a refreshing take on traditional knitting.
I was so happy to see that this new Scarf Style is as exciting and diverse as the first go round. Knitting techniques, color, length, size -- this book is a cornucopia of fall-into-winter knitting projects.
There is nothing I like knitting more than scarves for learning, trying, experimenting with techniques, and this book is full of techniques.
A few of the scarves on my radar are Kathryn Alexander's 3-D Entrelac Scarf, Pleated Chevrons by Veronik Avery, Checkered Cowl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Winter Garden Wrap by Romi Hill and every single Fair Isle scarf knit in a tube.
Is the Design Notebook the same as the first Scarf Style? Nope, there is lots more information than the first one and it's geared to designing your own scarf, shawl or cowl. There is discussion on choosing a shape, knitting direction, choosing stitch patterns and colorwork, using patterns in book as illustration.
This is a delightful book. It's on my snowed-in cabin (the wool knitters version of desert island) book list for this fall. And don't forget, gift time is coming.
The 101 One-Skein Wonders series has been around for several years and this entry, Lace, is the best of the bunch. The patterns have a variety of types of lace and a range of difficulty. Not everything is quick and easy, but nothing is too complicated. The yarns used are fine and finer, giving the patterns looks from delicate to gossamer.
The photography is lovely, with lots of light to show off the intricate lace patterns. There are some cute kiddo garments, but the majority of the book is accessories.
A knitter could spend an entire winter knitting just the scarves and shawls in this book and be happy. Then there are socks, mitts and hats plus a few pieces of jewelry and a few lovelies for the home.
If you are a lace-inclined knitter, this is a first-rate book for your collection.
For years, textile designer Lena Corwin held craft classes at her home in Brooklyn. She gathered teachers whose work she admired or classes she herself wanted to take. This book is a collection of greatest hits from those classes. Cal Patch teaches crochet and embroidery, Jaimie Rugh beeswax candles and woven placemats, Wendy Hansen fabric origami, Lena herself teaches two fabric printing projects.
The crafting wave now is about exploring many crafts, letting your heart and hands guide you instead of sticking to a single craft. There are projects on sewing for children, making soap, beading, knitting, dyeing and weaving. It's a thoughtful and interesting collection of projects and people. The projects are doable even if new to the craft, though I think I'll need a couple of visits to YouTube for some basics. The photography and layout of the book is gorgeous: wide open with lots of white space, reminiscent of Japanese craft books. And there are people, whole people, sitting and doing crafts, not just disembodied hands. Isn't that part of the reason we craft -- for the human contact?
My only disappointment with this book is that more of the crafts aren't combined. To me, that is the penultimate way to be a multi crafter who has all of these skills and chooses intricate and unusual ways of combining them for beauty, using each craft as a stepping stone to the next thing, creating craft with depth and breadth.
This needle case is built on the idea of an expandable, portable filing box and holds quite a few needles. It's easy to get to your needles, and easy to see what size the needles are. There are 28 slots so there is the ability to hold a variety of needles and customize what's stored in the case, and where.
I've started keeping like-sized dpns and crochet hooks with my knitting needles. This holds crochet hooks and dpns under 8" perfectly.
I also tried it out to consolidate some of my interchangeable knitting needles, my Hiya, Hiyas. I put tips on one side and cords on the other, marking the length of the cord and which range of needle sizes they fit, small or large.
While it's built similarly to a portable filing box, this isn't exactly a throw-it-in-your-knitting-bag needle case. It has a handle to carry and a closure that absolutely stays closed, so it can be carried along for swatching adventures. I find that mine fits perfectly either tucked under or beside my couch.
This is a clever storage solution for circular needles.
This book is a great directory of knitting motifs. Mine already sits beside 200 Fair Isle Motifs on my knitting reference shelf.
The 150 motifs are taken from the traditional motifs of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Each motif has a full-color photograph and a full-color chart, which makes them useful. There is a visual table of contents for the motif, a thumbnail photo of each, up front for quick motif picking.
The 30 pages of Essential Skills are devoted to choosing, planning, color, math and steeks, but also a whole lot of common knitting sense like how much time do you have to devote to a project? The how tos, especially the steeking, have great close up photos. The book wraps up with four easy projects that use the motifs in the book.
Color work is my least practiced and most fumbled-finger knitting style, but while I won't be designing and knitting a whole sweater this winter, I have a couple of hats and cowls percolating in my head, thanks to the ease with which Mary Jane Mucklestone explains it all.
This is a knitting bag sure to delight colorwork knitters. Styled on a messenger bag, it has the addition of a special enormous zippered pocket on the outside with 7 grommets that thread to the main compartment inside the bag, perfect for colorwork knitting.
The bag is built with the same quality as the entire Chic-a knitting product line, sturdy and colorful. The main portion of the bag is made of black nylon, smooth on the inside so yarn doesn't catch and slightly textured on the outside for sturdiness. The main outer portion of the bag, the front flap and an outside front pocket are all in Chic-a's signature oilcloth.
The inside main compartment is divided into two. I would use the back pocket for my project and the front for my pattern book and knitting stuff. It's big enough to hold a sweater. There is a front pocket just under the big flap for keys, phone and wallet. The flap closes with sturdy magnetic snaps.
The back of the bag is a mesh zippered pocket. It will hold seven Jamieson's Shetland-sized balls if using all seven grommets. I used fours skeins of Noro in the photos below. Yarn slips easily through the grommets to the project inside. You could reverse the whole thing and keep your yarn inside the bag threading it out to the project in the mesh pocket. I love that the yarn pocket is mesh, allowing the yarn to breathe.
For color knitters who can commit to a single bag for the life of a project, this is a great bag.
This follow up to Modern Top Down Knitting is based on the book Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker. In it Krista Mc Gowan works from the book literally. She designs two garments based on each of the 12 top-down templates in Barbara Walker's iconic book. The results are wonderful.
The designs are sleek, modern and wearable, even the pants and shorts. The sweaters, the majority of the patterns, are lovely and feminine with shaping and thoughtful detail. While most of the patterns are sweaters, there are also, hats, pants, capes, skirts and a dress.
This book takes its time and I encourage you do to the same with it. I spent a morning reading it from cover to cover. It's languid without being slow or boring.
The author articulates the reasoning behind her designs, and tells stories from time spent with Barbara Walker.
The details in the book and in the patterns are thought through and delightful: crochet and embroidery leather paired effortlessly with knitted fabric. Stitch patterns, when used, come from the Barbara Walker Treasuries and an overview of each template and how it relates to the patterns.
This book is full of beautiful writing, photography and patterns.
This is a beautifully thought out and packaged set of needles. It contains 7 needles: 2 each of US 1/2.25mm, US 1.5/2.5mm, US 2/2.75 and one US 2.5/3mm -- all the key sizes for knitting socks. I love that there are multiples; I know very few sock knitters who have only one sock on the go at a time! The needles are terrific -- sharp and fast, but not too slick -- and the joins are good.
These 9-inch/23-cm circular needles are an excellent development in the sock knitting world, as they deal with the things that bother sock knitters the most about the usual needle arrangements: there's none of that sense of wrestling with the porcupine that is double-point knitting, and no worry about all that pulling and rearranging that can bother with Magic Loop. Knitting socks on tiny circulars is blindingly fast, and very very convenient. Not only can't you loose a needle, but you can't lose stitches (I don't know about you, but at least once a week I pull on the wrong loop of my Magic Loop setup).
But -- and this is a big but -- the shortness of the needle tips can be a challenge for some knitters. The tips are about 1.75 inches/4 cm long, and some knitters find them hard to hold.
If you're a sock knitter, and you've happily used this length of circular before, I unreservedly recommend them. If you haven't, you might want to try them out before you commit to the set.
But if these needles work for you, it's a terrific set.
Another well-thought out set, it contains all the key sizes: US 1/2.25mm, US 1.5/2.5mm, US 2/2.75 and US 2.5/3mm. The case is lovely, and has space for extra needles – DPNs, crochet hooks, other small gauge circulars.
As with the tiny circulars, the needles are terrific -- good sharp point, slick but not too slippery. The joins are good, and the cords flexible but stable.
The length of the cords is the key factor here: some magic loopers use 40-inch/100-cm cables, some prefer 32-inch/80-cm. If you're knitting two socks at a time, a 40-inch is definitely needed; for a single sock, this is a point of personal preference. For a 40-inch cable sock knitter, this set is an excellent purchase.
Jemma Pouch by Namaste
4"L(at bottom), 5"L(at top) x 1.25" W x 3" H
Available in Canary Yellow, Caribbean Blue, Eggplant, Espresso, Hollywood Pink, Lime, Pumpkin Spice, Red
This is a perfectly palm-sized zippered bag for your knitting notions. Made from Namaste's signature vegan faux-leather and lined with super soft microsuede, this pouch will hold small scissors, a tape measure, darning needles and a fistful of stitch markers.
It comes in 8 bright colors, the better to find in your knitting bag and is priced less than a skein of hand painted sock yarn. Try to buy just one.
My favorite lotion bar, Lavishea, has two new scents: Blue Gardenia and Peach Mango.
If you haven't used these shea butter lotion bars before, I can't recommend them enough. They are packaged in a tin to carry along and the shea butter absorbs so quickly that they are practically grease free. I use them on my crabby cuticles and love them for cracked heels.
Are you interested in an uber-portable Denise 2 Go needle set, but never found the original flowery cases floating your boat? Get your credit card ready! There are new chevron/ polka dotted cases. Sewn from cotton in bright colorways, these are just the case if you aren't a flowery type of knitter.
The case contains:
- 6 pairs of knitting needles, US#5-#10 (3.75 – 6mm)
- 1 G6/4mm crochet hook
- 3 cords, 14, 16 and 19" (36, 41 and 48cm)
- 2 end buttons
- 1 extender
As always, these needles are fully interchangeable with other Denise products.
The Knitted Slipper Book is a big, eclectic collection of wool slippers. There are ballet slippers, clogs, and even boot-style slippers, many sized for the whole family.
All of the slippers are knitted, some then felted, some left as is. The shaping and decorations are full of fun. There are 30 different slippers in this book with hardly any repetition.
The feeling of the book is light. It's impossible to flip through without smiling. The color, the photography, the projects are imbued with joy.
The directions are easy to follow and the tutorials on felting (she recommends by hand) and soling slippers with leather, latex and plastic are excellent.
Reversible Knitting Bags by Binkwaffle
Large: 17" wide x 11 high x 8" deep (when measured flat)
Small: 10" wide x 71/2" tall and 5" deep (when measured flat)
Have you ever come across a knitting or project bag that you can't quit thinking about? These Binkwaffle bags are exactly that for me. I first saw them as part of a booth at the annual knitting industry's trade show. I was smitten with how they looked and how the handle worked, feeding through a large grommet to close the bag. They felt just right when I held them, sturdy but not too heavy. When I found out they are fully reversible, my knitting heart kind of exploded with devotion.
A few months later I received one of each size for review. My bag love had not waned one bit. I carried my bags, putting them through the paces of being stuffed inside other bags, of being overstuffed, hung on the outside of my purse with a carabineer, subjected to accidental dragging, dropping -- the typical week-to-week of a project bag. Plus the extra stress on the bag, showing anyone who was even mildly interested, "Look they're reversible!"
The bags are expertly made, with no frayed edges, crooked seams or even a loose thread. The double thickness of fabric makes the bags pliant but substantial. The fabric pairings are wonderful and surprising. The large grommet used as a closure is plastic and perfectly smooth. The large bag will hold a sweater; the small will hold a large shawl or a couple pairs of socks, plus the usual knitting supplies.
I will confess to even using the large size as a purse. These Binkwaffle bags are excellent and unique.
Another boon for stranded colorwork fans, this book contains not only lovely designs, but quite a lot of instructional help as well. There are both prose descriptions and diagrams of essential skills like managing two strands of yarn, reassuring diagrams of a variety of methods to reinforce steeks, and a bunch of other useful things like precision spit-splicing, wrap and turns, and Japanese short-rows. If you've never done a steek before, there's a pretty little mug cosy that allows you some practice with a tiny amount of wool.
All of the items in the book are knit in the round. But the sweaters (10 of them, including one for men and two for little people) aren't just your usual top-down raglan. There's a good variety of seamless construction going on here, including two sweaters that feature the designer's own method that mimics a set-in sleeve through clever use of short-rows at the shoulders.
I give a special shout-out for the work that went into the very clear colourwork charts and sizing charts. Well done. Every single women's sweater in the book is offered in an impressive range of bust sizes, from 32 to 58". The two children's patterns range from 1-5 years, and the man's pattern runs from 34 to 60".
All the designs feature Rowan yarns, well-suited for doing colorwork. If you need to substitute, good yardage and weight information is given. The glorious colours in the cardigan Hedgerow, or the beautiful graphic patterning on the pullover Field Study have me dreaming in colour combinations.
This newly redesigned knitting gadget may look like a stopwatch, but it helped me keep better track of my knitting. The Row Counter Plus lets you keep track of three counts at once. I used mine for a sweater project. Long gone are the days when I am sure I can remember how many times I've increased, especially when there are 'at the same time' instructions. This counter is easy to use: the large green button counts up one per click, the smaller yellow button subtracts one per click, the small grey button cycles through the three items being counted and the small red button (caution!) erases to zero.
Because I have an obstinate brain, it took me a few tries to memorize the function of each button, but I soon had it. The buttons are big enough and spaced far enough apart that I successfully used it in a dark movie theater -- much easier than trying to tally on a piece of paper in the dark!
The small grey button is also the on/off switch. The one time I didn't employ this and just threw my Row Counter Plus into my knitting bag, I had a count of over 200 when I took it out again (it should have been 25). The on/off switch saves all three counts on the device.
The small red button is also the toggle for the sound. The counter emits a fairly loud beep when any button is pressed. Hold down the red button until you hear a beep. This signals that the sound is turned off for all of the buttons.
The battery in the Row Counter Plus is easily replaceable, but is supposed to last three years or more. It comes with a lanyard to wear it around your neck, which I really appreciate, since my couch seems to eat everything I put on it.
For those of you knitters doing large, large projects, you'll be happy to know that the each of the three counters will go to 9,999!
Holy moly, this thing is huge! That was my first thought when I unboxed the Schacht Ultra Umbrellla Swift. Followed by, "what's so special about any swif? It just has to hold together and spin while you wind." I was right about the largeness of the swift – 32" tall x 15" around closed and 93" around open all the way. And I was surprised again and again about everything that could make this swift special and really useful.
It started with the clamp. I have an Ikea dining room table that has a weird lip on it -- the underside has a table edge, then another piece of wood a little more than an inch toward the middle of the table, leaving a weird lip. Lots of my clampy fiber tools do not work on this table, at all, ever. This swift has adjustments that make it successfully clamp on in two different ways. The mechanism to open the umbrella means you press down instead of scootch up, so no more ducking under your yarn to adjust to the perfect width. Also why not use gravity to help?
It locks into place in two different positions. There is the regular vertical swift position, and just pull a little spring-loaded pin and the swift will drop down to a 45-degree angle (horizontal to the table top, as shown in the photo above left) and locks in place.
The turning of the swift is so smooth, it didn't break any of my feistiest woolen-spun yarns that I usually have to hand wind. The swift has a handle on top to help winding yarn onto the swift from, say, a spinning wheel. The wood is non-snaggy smooth and the slats are fastened by sturdy plastic pins -- no more tying together with stray yarn.
I was bowled over by how great it was to use such a quality tool. The price is high, but I think worth it. When I first pulled it out of the box it seemed so big and a little clumsy, I was sure I would never want one. Now I'm saving my pennies for one (my review swift was a loaner), but first I want to try the model with the yardage counter.
This season is awash in knitting essays. First Clara Parkes published the excellent, Yarn Whisperer and now Ann Hood has collected writings about knitting from 27 authors in Knitting Yarns.
These are writers who knit, not knitters who write a not so subtle distinction. The perspective is different and the writing is outstanding. The writers here, not–so-secret knitters all (well, mostly) make up a who's who of modern American literature: Jane Smiley, Andre Dubus III, Sue Grafton, Ann Hood, Barbara Kingsolver, Allison Lurie, Ann Patchett, Anita Shreve and Ann Shayne. Yes, I said Ann Shayne, of the famous Mason-Dixon team. Anyone who doesn't believe that she is a writer who knits rather than a knitter who writes, should take themselves off and read Bowling Avenue. I'll wait.
See, I told you, a writer at her core.
The essays in this book are funny and touching, using knitting to reach back and foreword in time and to express love, loss joy and grief.
Sue Grafton will tell you how to teach a child to knit. Alison Lurie shares her take on the history of knitting. Anita Shreve learns how to finish her UFOs, and Andre Dubus III digs into the history of his family. I'll admit to getting teary and laughing out loud as I read this book. The essay that raised goosebumps as I read was by Barbara Kingsolver. It speaks of knitting as organic and visceral and tied to our DNA.
This is the perfect book to have on your nightstand for the nights you don't want to stop knitting, but are too tired to knit another stitch. Let these authors keep stitching as you read.
Arya by Offhand Designs
- shown in
Eve with brown velvet trim and honey brocade lining
- 13.5"H x 17"W x 6 "D
- 20" double handles
- 45" adjustable shoulder/ crossbody strap
Long-time readers of Knitty know how much I love the products made by Offhand Designs, a company that sews every single bag by hand in California. They've defined elegant, handmade, luxury knitting bags. The new Arya is an astonishing wonder of function and class.
This bag reminds me of the fabulous sandworm in Beetlejuice... except without teeth and beautiful rather than creepy. It opens wide, and then opens a second section to reveal all the storage a knitter could want. And get this: it's so spacious, you can store two ukuleles in the bag (see very bottom picture), with room left for all your daily essentials AND your knitting.
Here's the pocket tally: 1 inside zipper, 9 inside regular pockets and 3 interior pouches! The innermost section closes with a fabulous hexi metal frame that stays open (as shown at left) or snugs tightly closed when you don't need it. Your project could go in there, or in either -- or both! -- sides of the next outer section. In the shot immediately below, there's a whole sweater kit in the middle section and you can see the outer areas, full of pockets, ready to hold everything else.
As for handles, you have your choice. A pair of double velvet handles will go over a shoulder or you can hold them in your hand. Or use the adjustable (detachable!) velvet shoulder strap and wear it cross body. The ultimate in flexibility.
This bag has the presence of a carpet bag without the weight, which means it can pass for a purse or weekender, and your knitting can come along without announcing its presence unless you want it to. Another heirloom-to-be from the lovely Larisa Snydal of Offhand Designs.
My partner, who is not given to cooing over little people in any guise, made some "awwww" noises at some of the things in this book. There are 20 animal-themed sets of hat, mitten and booties, all shown on big-eyed, cherub-cheeked small folk. Each of the hats are designed to be a pull-on style, most with integrated collars. This is great news for mums with children who pull off a hat as soon as it is donned, or for small playgrounders who want to stay warm without worrying about getting a scarf caught on any equipment.
Items are sized from 6 months to 3 years. Very thorough line-by-line instructions are given for all the garments, and styles range in complexity.
It's pretty hard not to fall for an adorable child wearing a pointy-finned, bulgy-eyed, toothsome shark on their head.
Capsules by KnowKnits
Small: 2.25" wide by 2.75" high
Large: 4.25" wide by 6" high
available in turquoise, pink and green
(pictures at bottom are most color accurate)
$18 for large
Clever KnowKnits founder, Jennifer Lippman-Bruno, has done it again. Little stealth cases for your easily lost-ables. Lost no more!
The small Capsule is designed to hold darning needles, and has a magnet hidden in the lining to keep them in place. I also keep a T-pin in there, which is fab for unpicking knots in the silk yarn I often knit with.
The large size is meant to hold crochet hooks, but I can also see it being useful to hold short paintbrushes for travel, assorted pens and pencils or anything else tall and thin. A strip of black elastic does a great job of securing anything you wish inside the case, without making it hard to get it back out again.
The two Capsules have generous flaps which are closed by velcro. Don't be shocked. Unless you leave them open in your yarn bag, I don't see any reason for this to be a problem. When closed, the velcro is fully hidden. And it hasn't even hinted at ever coming close to getting near my yarn, let alone getting stuck up on it.
The outer shell is faux alligator and they're appealingly shiny and pretty, with orange stitching around the outside, and orange nylon lining. I like lean, tidy storage options like these candylike Capsule envelopes.
Sunday Drive by Kate Jackson
Digital (@Ravelry): $19.95
This collection of accessories is the first published by Kate Jackson, and I hope there will be more. The collection comprises three hats, two fingerless mitts, a scarf, two shawls and a colourwork cowl. Each pattern recommends three commercially available yarns, at least one of which should be easy for most knitters to find.
Each project is well thought out, matching simple stitching with showy hand-dyed yarns and cabled and bobbled textures with simpler yarns. The Cobblestone Beret looks interesting to work, with its top-down elegant lace in an aran weight. And the Transcontinental Shawlette looks like my next go-to plan to use a skein of some delicious hand-dyed sock yarn.
Messenger #3 by Moop - As shown in grey waxed canvas with turquoise cordura nylon lining
- 16" wide, 11" tall, 5 inches deep.
- Adjustable shoulder strap is approximately 50" when fully extended.
You know those products you see on the internet and covet the moment your eyes hit them? And you wonder just what they're like? Maybe they're not impulse-purchase priced, and no one you know has one so you can touch it. That was Moop for me. I found these bags on Etsy right around when they started in 2007, and really wanted to get my hands on one.
When they introduced waxed canvas to their line of made-in-the-US bags, I couldn't wait to try one. I finally got my chance. And they do not disappoint.
Waxed canvas sounds like it might be heavy, but it's not. It's strong and smooth. It's got a patina that resembles well-worn concrete and I'm told it wears like fine leather. It's soft but beyond sturdy and feels good under the fingers. The lining is cordura, which comes in a variety of finishes. The one Moop uses is smooth and will not hold fibers from your knitting -- and for the grey bag I tested, came in a glorious turquoise.
The bag has tons of lined pockets. One across the outside back, suitable for a laptop (up to 15"!), iPad (shown in picture immediately below), magazine or book. Under the flap at the front, two huge pockets will hold multitudes. Inside, two more pockets, one sized just right for a smartphone -- even one of those big notebook phones. You could put an ebook reader in another, your wallet in the third and your essentials in the fourth. There's a little pen/pencil slot, and also a zippered pocket that runs the width of the bag on the inside, too. And a clasp to hold your keys, or whatever.
And we haven't even begun to touch the cargo space. Beyond the compartmentalized space, the main part of the bag would easily hold a sweater in progress and all the tools you need to work on it.
The bag closes securely with a snapable flap (the snaps close easily without fuss, and are secure), and the cross-body strap adjusts to whatever body size you happen to possess. There's also a hand grab strap, if you'd rather carry it that way.
This bag is the Messenger #3. There are other sizes of Messenger, too -- larger and smaller. And lots of other highly covetable bags. Now that I've had the chance to spend some quality time with this one, I am happy to attest that Moop makes beautiful, durable, functional and well-thought-out bags by hand in Pittsburgh, PA. They'll last years and years. Well worth the price.
This is not just another knitting light. This is the newest version of the time-tested BeamNRead, and it's even cleverer than it was.
The newest version sports 6 LED lights, but also gives you the choice to use all of them, or just half, depending on how much light you need. The light still turns on as you lift up the LED hood, and the base (where the batteries go) either rests against your chest, if you wear the BeamNRead with the attached neck strap, or can be placed on any flat surface for illumination where you need it. I've used it to help light up my rabbits' paws when I'm clipping their dark nails and I need to see super clearly to avoid hurting them.
Better than a headlamp, because you won't blind anyone near you -- you can aim the light to keep it out of their eyes. And even better, included in the kit are two filters to adjust the light to your needs. The orange filter warms the light, making it easier on your eyes. The red filter is great for when you want to avoid night blindness, like when you're the knitting passenger in the car. You'll be able to see your work, and the driver won't have to readjust when looking at you and then back at the road. Or use it to illuminate your book or eReader at night, to cause less bright light to fall on your partner's face in bed. It even comes with a large magnifiying lens, in case you need a little extra help with the superfine laceweight you're working on.
Not the most elegant form factor, but when something works exactly as it should, I cut it some slack. My last BeamNRead sample is still going strong years after others I've tested have died, and I'm looking forward to taking this new one on the road with me.
Debbie Bliss wants you to knit something for yourself. To help, she's assembled a collection of functional little luxuries-- like lavender hearts, sleep masks and neck pillows -- and cosy clothing to encourage knitters to treat themselves. In the introduction, she notes, "This book would not have been possible without the invaluable help of Rosy Tucker who came up with the wonderful home projects while I concentrated on the wearables," so this is a collaboration between the two designers.
The collection includes 4 sweaters as well as a few other garments such as a cowl, hats, a headband and a lace collar. The collection is divided into four sections: Pamper (spa accessories), Detox (things to help organize), Cocoon (comforting things to wear), and Indulge (glamour projects).
The style that Debbie Bliss has become known for is evident in all the pieces. Luxurious and richly coloured knits, all worked in the Debbie Bliss range of yarns, look inviting to climb into. There's lots of easy textured stitches and a little colourwork here and there. Many of the projects use only small amounts of yarn, making great quick little treats, perhaps as reward between longer projects.
A lungful of bracing air, and a foot in the heathers -- that's how I'm picturing myself as I wear one of the cover sweaters. Using all Rowan tweed yarns in a range of weights, the items in this collection show the best of Scottish knitting traditions including stranded colorwork, intarsia and cables. There are a few really lovely items for home (cushions, a throw, bedcovers) and interesting accessories (colorwork fingerless mitts, scarves, a pair of socks), but the showstoppers here are the sweaters.
Storey hasn't just freshened the colour palette, he's put together sweaters that have modern shapes. The stunning Ross cardigan looks at a glance like a traditional Fair-isle-style cardie, but is actually shaped longer and leaner, with set-in sleeves. The Thistle cardigan mixes a colorwork motif with sporty graduated stripes.
Each modelled garment is accompanied by a beautiful Scottish landscape or nature photo. There's no prose to explain if the colorwork came from the photos, or the other way round, but they are well-matched nonetheless.
Oh, sock fiends, prepare to drool. I really have to say a word of thanks to the photographer, Jesse Wild, for some great work here. Fantastic action and beauty shots show Coopey's designs to excellent advantage. Lots of effort was made to style the shots, match them to suitable surroundings, and to engage the models in genuine expressions and enthusiasm. Bravo!
And as to the socks, well, these are a tasty bunch indeed. More than half of the 10 patterns offer two knitting opportunities -- either socks that are completely different, or socks that mirror each other -- which to me means "No Second Sock Syndrome"! All the socks are cuff-down with most offered in three sizes, and the remainder in two sizes. There are cables and lace aplenty, and one lovely pair of knee-high colorwork socks. I've a hard time choosing a favourite (do I have to?!) but if I did it might be the Milfoil, shown in acid green Malabrigo sock in the colourway "Lettuce", because each sock is distinct, and the pairing of laces is especially pleasing to me.
This book is staying on top of my desk until I have a chance to knit something from it.
Knit to Flatter
Craftsy online class by Amy Herzog
check website for current price
All the information you need to make better choices in sweater shapes and to make adjustments to patterns to make custom fit sweaters can be found in Amy Herzog's book Knit To Flatter. It is, after all, subtitled "The only instructions you'll ever need to knit sweaters that make you look good and feel great!" But that doesn't mean the book and the Craftsy class are an either/or choice. I own the book and still found lots of value in the Craftsy class.
First off, let me say that Amy is a warm and engaging hostess in the class. She offers lots of reassurance and body acceptance -- the problem lies not with knitters' shapes but with knitters' not making simple modifications to adjust to their own shape. In fact, she promised that through the class knitters can find our what modifications they need to use to adjust almost ALL sweater patterns that are based on the standard CYCA sizing guidelines.
Herzog asserts that choices in sweater style need to be based on a knitter's silhouette first, then on the size chosen. The class steps you through how to take photos of yourself face-on and in profile, and from there to determine if you are top-heavy, bottom-heavy or proportional.
Students get to ask questions on the Craftsy platform, and in their words there is evidence of a lot of body shame or negative views on how they look, right alongside pleasant surprise at finding that they are one thing when they thought they were another. The class really brought a lot of self-image revelations to a number of students.
Herzog works through taking measurements -- how to take them, where exactly to measure -- gives examples of her own measurements, and works with three live models who represent each general body type. There are hand-outs in the materials section of the Craftsy class that students can fill out with their own measurements and calculations as they proceed.
She talks about the type of sweaters that best suit each body type, and even shows examples of each wearing a less-than-flattering choice to illustrate her points.
Once the chapter on Modifications starts -- the part where students figure out how to turn their measurements into the exact changes they need for their sweater -- Herzog starts with "DON'T PANIC!" That's very light-hearted and reassuring to the mathphobes in the crowd.
I worked through my measurements and modifications. And at the end of the class I found my notes to myself a little too cryptic, so I went back and worked through the chapter again with newly printed sheets and took my time to make it clear. I love that about the Craftsy platform: you own the class and can go and revisit any part of it any time in any order.
Those of you who follow Amy Herzog on Twitter or who read her blog will know that there is some very exciting developments coming soon. Herzog has developed a "Custom Fit" software that takes a knitter's measurements and information from a yarn swatch as input and then creates a customized sweater pattern. The software is in testing right now (check Ravelry for projects tagged with CustomFit and you can see the results start to show up) and should be rolling out in the very near future. This Craftsy class has a role to play, in showing knitters how to take their measurements, how to like what they see in the mirror, and how to knit to enhance that image even more.
This pocket-sized book is packed with the facts needed to make informed fiber choices on the fly.
It covers 100 sheep breeds, each listed with history and fleece essentials, plus guidelines on spinning and usage. All of the information is excerpted and condensed from the most excellent Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, with new photography for the fiber.
Just in time for Fall fiber shows, this mitten-sized book will be your best friend in the fleece barn!
Ahhhhh, these treadle covers are absolutely decadent! Imagine your softest, densest sheepskin slippers cuddling your feel while you spin.
These (double treadle) treadle covers are designed for specific wheels, so they fit just right. They are attached with heavy duty Velcro for easy on and off. Mine are Romeldale/CVM and made for my Lendrum DT.
They are cozy and warm, but not sweaty. I've only had to take mine off once because the humidity was so high everything felt sticky.
The covers are handmade from sheep raised in Wellington, CO. Currently the breeds available are CVM/Romeldale , Jacob, Shetland and Tunis. The colors available are the natural colors of each breed.
Not only are these a wonderful addition to your wheel and a treat for your feet, but a portion of each sale goes to American Livestock Breed Conservancy. Hare & There Studio supports the work of the ALBC in its mission to insuring the future of agriculture through genetic conservation and the promotion of endangered breeds.
What are you waiting for? Imagine wiggling your toes in cozy, blissful softness when you spin with your first cup of coffee on a chilly morning.
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Etimo Crochet Hook set by Tulip
Includes 8 crochet hooks:
plus 2 yarn needles, high quality thread scissors, 4-1/2in plastic ruler, and a grey tweed case to hold it all
Having recently starting exploring crochet, I was interested to start trying a variety of hooks. I saw these at the summer industry trade show, and was really intrigued. The manufacturer was in from Japan and they supplied the set I tested.
I really like them. A lot. There are many nuances that make a good crochet hook, from the exact taper of the hook, how deep the neck of the hook is, how pointy th etip of the hook is and, of course, how the hook feels in your hand. This is a very personal choice, the choice of hook, and for me, these are wonderful tools.
I find these to be of top quality and a real pleasure to use. The lightweight aluminum hook is fully secured into what's called an elastomeric comfort grip. It feels comfy under my hands, that's for sure. There's a nice flat area for the thumb, and the grip is printed with the size in large type that, presumably, shouldn't wear off. Mine haven't shown any signs of wear in the few months that I've been using them. And the grip is firmly attached to the whole length of the hook, which is something cheaper hooks don't usually offer. It makes for a secure tool to work with.
This kit comes with hooks in sizes D3/3.25mm to J10-/6mm, as well as darning needles, a little pair of scissors and even a ruler. And the case? it's a soft grey tweed with the tiniest hint of sparkle, about the size of a generous burrito. It'll easily fit in any knitting bag. And it secures the hooks inside the case very well. Nothing will fall out.
I really like this set. These are quality tools, worth every penny.