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



Available at Amazon

The Eclectic Sole
by Janel Laidman
Rustling Leaf Press

You might think this just another book of sock patterns. Well, it’s not. It’s a collection of patterns that are both entertaining to knit and really well thought out. There are patterns that are top down and toe up, and the very magical side-to-side sock (no, really, and there’s more than one).

What personally sends me over the edge with this book is that the socks are designed by Janel, who is a dyer, a colorist. She really gets and loves color. The colors chosen for these socks, especially the multicolored ones, really make the intricacies of the patterns sing. There isn’t a pattern I would knit in an alternate colorway.




Available at Amazon

The Story Blanket
by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz,
Elena Odriozola - Illustrator

Peachtree Publishers
$16.95, hardcover

“Every question has an answer, I just have to think of it”, says Babba Zarrah in The Story Blanket, a beautiful children’s book in story and vision.

Babba Zarrah nourishes her village’s children through story and comforts the entire village with her knitting. What happens when she runs out of wool to knit? Read this book to find out, especially on a day when the world seems a little unfriendly.





Available at Amazon

Knit to Be Square: Domino Designs to Knit and Felt
by Vivian Hoxbro
Interweave Press

Mitered squares can look big and clumsy, but not in the hands of Vivian Hoxbro. Returning to how US knitters first met her with domino knitting, she makes the mitered square modern and sometimes even elegant.

This book focuses on small projects – accessories, gifts and home décor. The projects and techniques build exactly like her domino knitting, one square at a time, starting with a project that is a giant single square and ending with wonderfully complex and compelling projects that introduce windows into squares.




Available at Knitwhits

Bramble - Owl Softie – Grey knitting kit
by Knitwhits

These little palm-sized owls are so chubby-cute that everyone you show one to will try to take it. The adults politely ask; the kids just snatch and run, usually shrieking about Hedwig.

The knitting isn’t done-in-five-minutes quick, but the knitting and construction is straightforward, the directions succinct but clear, the extra time knitting results in a whole lot of personality for the little owls.

The directions are also printed in a font and type size that is readable from the arm of the couch. Thank you, thank you for that.




Available at Scout's Swag

Laguna Knitting Bag
by Namaste
Size: 17 1/2" W x 16" H x 7 1/2" D
5 colors

A soft, large, non-leather bag, the Laguna from Namaste is big enough and designed well enough to take the place of your purse AND knitting bag.

It has many interior and exterior pockets, handles and a shoulder strap, a flat bottom with feet, but the most ingenious thing about this bag is a single large zippered pocket that divides the bag in half horizontally. Your knitting and the rest of your life can be divided – purse + knitting bag; it’s two bags in one.




Available at Woolly Wormhead

Going Straight - A New Generation of Knitted Hats
by Woolly Wormhead
E-book download £10
Spiral-bound or perfect-bound book $31.76

I loved this book. It is detailed but not heavy so you won't get bored. The instructions and pictures are easy to follow and the explanations are great.

Anyone who loves to follow charts instead of written instructions should check this out because you can choose between the two sets of instructions.

The names of the hats are entertaining and the hats are indeed interesting. The construction of the hats is unusual but brilliant. Everything is built sideways, making the most of self-striping yarn.



Available direct from Annie

Knit with Courage, Live with Hope; a memoir
by Annie Modesitt
ModeKnit Press

For Annie Modesitt, 2007 was a year unlike any other. Her family moved halfway across the country in pursuit of a better quality of life just in time for her husband to be diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a serious cancer of the plasma cells. Despite this devastating news, Annie and her family found the strength to look toward the future with hope, even when things got hard. And they got really hard.

But in the midst of such sadness, there were also moments of joy. It's the family's appreciation for what they have at the moment combined with optimism for the future that makes Annie's story so very readable. The book is a memoir of Annie's 2007, told in diary form in chapters distilled from her blog posts that year. Annie is no Polyannie [sorry. that's a pun I couldn't resist]. She is always aware of the realities of her husband's health, the terrifying, the intimidiating, the overwhelming. She doesn't run away from it; she writes honestly about everything.

This book isn't a clinical tale of illness. It's not a depressing story that you'll need to wade through to get to the end. Instead, it's an engaging story, uplifting with a happy-but-realistic ending.





Available at Scout's Swag

GoKnit Green
by KnowKnits
18" tall, 20" wide when fully open

I've been a big fan of KnowKnits' bags for a while now, and was excited to see this new bag design... because it's just really smart, useful, and very eco.

CSgkpouchOPENYou start with a small pouch that easily fits in your fist [or purse, etc]. Open the drawstring and out comes a lot of fabric. What is it?

Turn all that fabric inside out and poof -- you've got a super-handy, well-built shopping bag. I love how the little former-exterior pouch then turns into a little drawstring pocket that hangs from the top of the inside of the shopping bag. For keys, whatever.

Oh, and it comes in a whole bunch of cool colors, too. Functional, clever, durable and cute? That's a good bag.






Available at cocoknits

Knitter's Block
by cocoknits
Original with 9 tiles: $48.00 with orange bag [shown]
Large with 18 tiles: $80.00 with blue bag
Both kits also include an instruction pamphlet, T-pins (20 in the Original, 30 in the Large kit), and a 32" × 36" lint-free pressing cloth made of 100% Egyptian cotton, all packed in a sturdy, reusable bag.

You've seen interlocking foam pads at hardware stores and home centers, and they're certainly much cheaper than this pretty blocking kit. Why would you buy it - just for the pretty?

Well, first of all, these 12" interlocking foam tiles might appear [from a distance, across the street] to be the same thing, but they're really not.

First off, they're heat resistant, which is handy when you need to apply steam to whatever you're blocking.

Second, they're covered in a light carpety-like fabric that helps grip your knitted thing while you're putting it in place to block it.

Third, they're waterproof, so even if your shawl is blocked soaking wet, the surface you put the tiles on will stay dry [you know, like your bed or dining room table?]. And the carpety surface doesn't absorb water, so things dry faster. Can you say that about a towel? I didn't think so.

Fourth, the tote bag can't be dismissed. It's handy, very durable and has a snap at the top to keep the tiles in place no matter what. Having a set of tools like this that stays together in a dedicated case is essential for someone like me [disorganized in a too-small house] to be able to use them. Otherwise, I'll be looking for the blocking pins or the cloth and never find them.

You can arrange the tiles in whatever shape suits the item you're blocking -- rectangle, triangle, square. The small kit is small -- very handy for a long stole-shaped item or scarf, but not big enough for a small triangular shawl I needed to block. The three points would have hung off the edges -- three more tiles would have come in handy.

The big kit contains twice as many blocks and absolutely would have been big enough to do any of the lace shawls I've ever knit.




Available at Amazon

alt fiber: 25+ projects for knitting green with bamboo, soy, hemp, and more
by Shannon Okey
Ten Speed Press

It's hard to review a book that's dedicated to you [not kidding], but as the resident non-wool expert at Knitty, I'm the most qualified. So here goes...

This book is quite different from the one I wrote [No Sheep for You, Interweave Press, 2007], because I know you'd ask. Shannon Okey's focus is "unusual plant-based yarns" and their impact on our environment.

She discusses so many different fibers that I could double the length of this review listing them all! She talks about how they're manufactured, environmental concerns -- explaining just WHY you'd want to use organic cotton over the other stuff, for example -- and gives great info on dyeing the fibers with natural materials like indigo, madder root, osage orange and sandalwood.

There are more than 25 projects that cover you from head to toe. Not scratchy hemp potscrubbers -- think shimmery bamboo cardigan and tank twinsets, linen skirts, hemp coats, lace yummies and a crazy-beautiful design that features scribble lace with undyed silk hankies as one of the ingredients! If I have a complaint it's just about what's missing: schematics for the garments, and more pictures for everything.



Available at Schoolhouse Press

Invisible Threads in Knitting
by Annemor Sundbø
Torridal Tweed

I had the great pleasure of meeting Annemor Sundbø herself when I was in Oslo, Norway, last fall. She's a delightful woman who is responsible for one of the most significant historical collections in Norwegian knitting history.

It goes like this: she wanted to apprentice at a knitting mill and the owner agreed under one condition: she had to buy the factory first! This factory recycled wool from old worn-out garments into new yarn, and the rag pile amassed was huge. As she began sorting the rags for processing into new wool, she came across examples of Norwegian knitting techniques that she thought told a story and she put them aside. A government grant helped her continue her research until she'd sorted through the whole rag pile, and Invisible Threads in Knitting is just one of the books written about what she learned.

The book is part historical record of fiber culture in Norway from spinning to final product, part social record where wool and knitting touch every aspect of human life, and part pattern book incorporating the historical influences into garments and accessories we can knit now. She decodes the symbols knit into Norwegian sweaters, shows examples of ingenious recycling [a worn-out-beyond-repair sweater becomes woolen insoles for winter boots] and much more.

I can't possibly do justice to this book in this brief review. If you have any interest in Norwegian knitting or culture [or both!], it's a must read. For those who don't know much about Norwegian knitting, there can be no better introduction than this book.




Available at Debra's Garden

CSdgneedlesizerBKNeedle Gauge Pendant
by Debra's Garden
Colors: Black, champagne, dark blue, lavender, light blue, light green, red, teal, wine [shown]

Sometimes people are clever. Debra is such a person.

She's created one thing that's actually two things. First, it's a useful needle gauge, in your choice of US, metric or crochet sizes. the markings are lasered into the anodized aluminum surface which means they won't wear off.


Second, it's really, really purty. Turn it over and you've got a crazy organic sculpture to hang around your neck as a pendant. Not one of those kitschy "look, I'm a knitter!" things. It's subtle, classy and might one day be the equivalent of a secret knitter's handshake in non-knitting situations. See someone wearing one and you know what they'd rather be doing at the boring meeting you're both stuck in.

Functional, lightweight and pretty. I love this thing.



Available at Amazon

Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-Down and Improvisational Techniques
by Wendy Bernard
Stewart, Tabori and Chang  
$27.50, hardcover
SR: 29-55 inches

Wendy Bernard, the voice of the Knit and Tonic blog, brings her spirited, sexy style of knitting to your couch in her book of (mostly) top down (mostly) sweaters. The designs are modern twists on classics, very wearable.

The greatest part of this book is in the front and back matter. The front provides all the directions to make a duct tape double and words on measuring and picking the right size. The back is chock full of directions and skills to alter a top-down sweater, starting with an overview of construction, moving through collars, armholes, sleeves, length; going from cardigan to pullover or pullover to cardigan, and the book finishes with (now that you have all the skills and confidence) designing your own top-down sweater.



Available at Amazon

Shibori Knits: The Art of Exquisite Felted Knits
by Gina Wilde
Potter Craft
$27.50, hardcover

Gina Wilde, the visionary behind Alchemy Yarns, explores three different types of Shibori in this book.  First up is shape-resist felting – this is the type most familiar to knitters – tying in balls or marbles to knitted fabric before felting and cool sculptural fabrics result.

The other two types of shibori I haven’t ever seen discussed in a knitting book. The second combines a felting and non-felting fiber in one project -- felt it, and a fantastic textual fabric results, think seersucker woven fabric.

The last combines felting and non-felting fibers at different angles to create swoops and swirls, ruffles and ridges. There are patterns for each style of shibori all using Alchemy Yarns, whose colors and texture add richness and depth. A beautifully creative book.



Available at

Sweater 101: how to plan sweaters that fit and organize your knitting life at the same time
by Cheryl Brunette
Marrowstone Island Press
$32.95, hardcover over spiral binding
$29.00, e-book download version

Originally published in 1991, this new edition features the following quote on the back cover: "I had no idea your wonderful book was coming back...hooray. Don't think I've given a workshop in the last 15 years without mentioning you and it." Who said that? Meg Swansen. That's a pretty hefty endorsement!


This is a clean, functional, step-by-step guide to building your own sweater patterns. You don't get out of measuring, but you do get someone guiding you clearly along the path to sweater success time after time. Brunette's approach requires us to take careful notes on design sheets included in the book. She provides standardized schematics for the three basic sweater shapes -- drop-shoulder, set-in sleeve and raglan in chest sizes 30-50" for women, other handy resource sheets, and discusses current trends in sweater design [did you know that raglan sleeves used to come to a sharp point at the top?].

My favorite tip in the book is the proper use of a calculator's memory function. Smart woman, that Cheryl Brunette.





Available at Persnickity Knits

FiFi Knitting Clutch
by Persnickity Knits
Dimensions: 12" X 5.5" X 4"
Materials: Leather Alternative Vinyl exterior materials and an olive green nylon interior lining
Colors: Brown [shown], black, white, red, olive, burgundy -- all with olive green nylon interior

Persnickity are one of my favorite bag makers, so I was really excited when they launched their Knitting Clutch line. There are three sizes available: LuLu [smallest], FiFi and GiGi [largest]. Mine is a FiFi which is the prefect size for carting around everything from your current sock to that nearly complete Danish shawl you rediscovered while stash diving for yarn to cast on that previously mentioned sock. Ahem!

Like her two sisters, Fi Fi can used as a project bag to be thrown into your shoulder bag or it can be a clutch with a secret identity. There are plenty of interior pockets to hold all the cable needles, Chibis, gauge sheep, bank card, emergency yarn money, your mobile phone and any other items you might want with you as your out and about knitting. The leather like vinyl exterior comes in a choice of 6 great colours repels water and other nefarious liquids that want to get at your knitting. The two snaps on the front holding the flap closed and on either side cinch things in (or can expand to contain your growing project) to keep your WIP and accoutrements nice and secure so there is no more having to root around in the depths of your bag looking for that lost DPN. The bags construction allows for it to sit square on a surface so you don't need to worry about it toppling over and your lovely ball of yarn rolling out the door!



Available at Amazon

AlterKnits Felt: Imaginative Projects for Knitting & Felting
by Leigh Radford
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
$24.95, hardcover

Knitting designer-cum-creativity guru, Leigh Radford turns her ingenuity to felted knitting (knit it first, then felt it), and needle felting.

This book is stuffed with 30 projects that range from a 20 minute needle felted necklaces to intricate layered appliquéd and cutwork projects. It has little repetitive overview how-to, but just exactly the how-to you need.  As typical with her books, the projects and photographs make you want to start now. As you flip through the book, you’ll flip through the catalog of your stash.



Available at Amazon

Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn
by Joan Tapper (Author), Gale Zucker (Photographer)
Potter Craft
$30.00, hardcover
SR: 36-50 inches

Shear Spirit is not a book that falls easily into any one category. At its heart is a fiber journey - that of writer Joan Tapper and photographer, Gale Zucker, as well as that of the fiber itself, from fleece to yarn. A cross-country collaboration between two women who share a passion for the fluffy stuff, the book tells the stories of ten modern farms where fiber is produced.

Packed with gorgeous photographs, Shear Spirit is, at first, an open invitation to page flipping. Stunning landscapes compete with adorable farm animals, fiber-bearing beasties of all varieties, and unstudied human portraits aplenty. To stop with the pictures, however, is to miss a rare pleasure in a knitting book -- one that reads as good as it looks. Joan Tapper's quiet and beautifully observed prose gives voice to the people who are the links in the supply chain from farm to yarn.

Twenty patterns beautifully showcase the artisan yarns created at the farms profiled in the book, but they are not the reason you should buy it. This book for the journey. For anyone who's ever wondered what it might be like to shepherd one's own little flock. For anyone who's ever dreamed of criss-crossing the country to see animals grazing in the green fields of Oregon, in Arizona's painted desert, or in the rolling hills of Maine. For anyone who's passion is fiber, Tapper and Zucker couldn't be better travelling companions.



Available at Amazon

Classic Elite: 100 Gorgeous Designs for Every Occasion from the studios of Classic Elite Yarns
The Taunton Press
SR: 30.75-53.5 inches

Classic Elite advertisements have graced the back covers of all the big print magazines for years. From watching those ads go by, you get the feeling that Classic Elite is about, well, classic style. This book proves it.

Fans of cabling will be happiest -- there is a truckload of texture here in an appealing selection of tradtionally styled garments as well as more modern, fitted silhouettes. Thick and chunky [though not over the top], lacy, lean and sleek, intarsia and fair isle -- it's all covered here. There's a large section of men's sweaters to choose from and a nice assortment of kids' clothing as well.

Even though this book comes directly from Classic Elite and all the patterns use their yarns, yarn equivalents are provided should you wish to substitute. Way classy.





Available at KnitDenise

Denise Fabric Organizer
by Knit Denise
7.5" wide by 10.5" tall
Royal Blue [shown], Forest Green, Brick Red, and Charcoal Gray

The lovely people at Denise have come up with yet another great product: The Denise Organizer!

The outside shell is of a soft cotton canvas which come in your choice of 4 colors that has been trimmed with a nylon ribbon which zips shut and there is even a handle along the spine! Open it up and you will be looking at two zippered pockets on the inside of the front and back of the case with smaller pockets to hold your needles and there are two removable sleeves with zippered pockets on either side of the sleeves. There is plenty of room for a full Denise set and a whole whack of notions and supplies.

Just to give you an idea if just how much this baby can hold: I have 2.5 complete Denise Needle sets and three Companion sets in mine as well as a tape measure, Chibi, scissors, little note book and pen and I STILL have room for more! I have taken to referring to it as my Knitting Tardis, it's just so big on the inside and it can travel! I have taken to keeping one of the removable sleeves in my shoulder bag which I have packed with a Companion set, my preferred needle sizes, an assortment of stitch markers, tape measure and a yarn cutter just in case.




Available at Amazon

The Gentle Art of Domesticity: stitching, baking, nature, art & the comforts of home
by Jane Brocket
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
$35.00, hardcover

You might have seen this book in last issue's Quickpicks section. It doesn't even have "knitting" in the title. What gives?

Well, there are people whose style you admire and whatever they do, you must have it. For me, Jane Brocket is one of those people. She's British, a knitter [see?], a quilter, a mother, a homemaker, a baker, a blogger, and a whole bunch of other things. What Jane has is a natural eye for things many of us might not even notice on our own.

Like how a bottle of jellybeans inspires color combinations that she knits into angora-studded cushions. Or how she matches her toe polish to the tulips she's just cut in her garden. She wears Birkenstocks, not Blahniks.

She bakes Rock Buns [a fruit-studded cross between fruitcake and a scone, we're told]. She ices cupcakes in glowing colors you can see from across a crowded Food Hall. She inspires. The book contains key recipes, yes, but more importantly, the essays within contain written inspiration, and -- if you need it -- permission to play house any way you see fit.

A favorite passage: "Why knit a pair of socks when they are so easy and cheap to buy these days?...The answer lies in the not-so-revolutionary idea of seizing the means of production...Embedded in the gentle arts is a slyly subversive streak that encourages free thought, individuality, creative self-expression, imaginative thought processes and not a little self-determinism. All this, and a great deal of pleasure too."

This book was first published last year in Britain and in this North Americanized edition, measurements have been translated into our more familiar units and a few Britishisms have been explained so we get the joke too.





Available at Nancy's Knit Knacks

Circular Needle ID Tags
by Nancy's Knit Knacks
29 tags per set
small [US 0-6] or large [US 7 - 35] set: $7.99 ea

So...what's the point of these little things? Okay. You know how some circular needles have no size marked on them [especially the vintage needles you inherited or the ones you bought at a garage sale]? Or you bought brand-new needles with the size marked on them, but it wore off? Or it was so small, you couldn't even read it?

THAT's the point of these things. These little doohickeys are made of a special plastic, engineered to snap on the cable of your circular needle and not to fall off. The sizes are marked in numbers big enough that, even without reading glasses [for those of us who need such horrible things], you can see what size you've got in your hand.

They're light and unobtrusive and can even stay on the cable unless you're knitting in the round. [I knit everything on circulars, flat or round.] In that case, just snap off the tag and put it someplace safe for when the needle is free again.

Multiple tags are included for each needle size -- most sets have 2-3 per size. Really handy and clever.




Available at Karatstix

Bamboo fiber tools - gauge ruler, needle sizer, yarn bobbins, YPI tool
by Karatstix
Prices vary by item.
Needle sizer is $16; gauge ruler is $12

For something different, you must peek at what Karatstix is making these days. Created out of sustainable bamboo, hand made in California, each is a little functional work of art.

Each piece is decorated with a little something -- sheep, yarn and needles, llamas, socks, skull and crossbones, sweaters, even daisies. The pieces are lightweight and well made, with the markings etched into the bamboo itself, not painted on.

You can custom order as well. One Knitty reader [hi, Karen!] ordered a whole set decorated with cooking implements! Imagine the possibilities!



Available at Amazon

Sweater Renewal: Felting Knits into New Sweaters and Accessories
by Sharon Franco Rothschild
Potter Craft

25 projects made from thrifted, felted sweaters. The projects range from quickies to refreshingly, advanced projects.

There have been a bounty of felted sweater, cut, sew, embellish books lately but this book goes as far to make garments, sweaters, jackets and even a skirt. Accessory fans don’t need to fret -- there are plenty of those projects too.

The projects are all brightly colored and very crafty in style, happy projects.




Available at Amazon

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too
by Kay Gardiner + Ann Meador Shayne
Potter Craft
$29.95, hardcover
SR: 32.5-58

The Mason-Dixon girls' first book was a smash hit the moment it reached the hands of knitters. A combination of their sense of humor + encouragement, and eye for non-sweater patterns that make great knitting projects and we had a mega-hit on our hands.

So then they wrote another one. Imagine the pressure they were under! I don't want to think about it. And thankfully, I don't have to wonder what would happen if they blew it, because with book two, they blew it OUT OF THE PARK. [For those not familiar with baseball analogies, that means they did real good.]

Fans of the first book might be surprised to see that this one is full of...garments? Can it be? Yes, and thank heavens, because these patterns are fabulous. Ann has created the most ingenious use of Kidsilk Haze that makes plaid fabric with absolutely no fussing with multiple strands at once. Rilly. Kay has designed the first knitted Clapotis pun: the Flapotis, a felted chenille flappy scarfy thing that's way fun. And a upmarket sweatshirt in Calmer with this crazy-clever pattern format that had me digging in my stash to see if I had enough balls to cast on that very second. There's much more from a lovely selection of designers in coaty, kiddy, kitcheny and housewarey form. Will you be one of the thousands knitting Sw*ffer covers featuring the beloved ballband dishcloth stitch pattern? I predict yes.

There's way more about things that you might be scared of, but Kay and Ann take you by the hand and show you it's not so skeery. Steeks and Fair Isle, for example. Ann's Fair Isle throw inspired by Liberty of London is worth framing.

So what's my take on this book? Don't take it. Buy it.





Available at Designs by Romi

Penannular shawl pins
by Designs by Romi
Brushed nickel Muir leaf: $30
Copper heart: $28
Sterling prong pin: $36

Rosemary designs lace, so I think it's safe to say that she understands it well enough to make things to hold it together. Not just pins, though -- unique designs, each worth wearing on its own just for prettiness' sake.

The silver pin on the left is in the shape of a California Bay Laurel Leaf, and it's inspired by Rosemary's own Muir Shawl design, published in Knitty last fall. The penannular style is brilliant. The prong is locked into the decorative body of the pin and slides around it [but won't slide off because the ends are slightly wider]. Move the prong opposite the opening [see 2nd picture at left], put it through several thicknesses of lace fabric [I needed three to hold the pin in place in the first picture on the left] and then rotate the prong around to lock the whole deal in place. [see 3rd picture on left] Rosemary reminds us that the little pin portion that goes through the material is curved and the curve should go down, with the little angled end bit sitting against the side of the pin. [I think I wore mine the wrong way, but it stayed in anyway!]

CSRomiStickRosemary's other new designs are double stick pins. Light as air but super strong. As you can see in the pic at right, it's holding up Jillian's hair and that's no small feat! Jillian said the pin was very strong, stayed securely in her hair and she loved the subtle design.

Oh, and she thinks it would also work very well as a shawl pin, too. That is, if she ever takes it out of her hair!





Available through your local
Schacht dealer

Cricket Loom
Schacht Spindle Company
11" x 18" x 6"
weaving width: 10”
comes with: two stick shuttles, a warping peg, threading hook, two table clamps, and 8-dent rigid heddle reed and two balls of yarn.
Other reeds available: 10 dent or 12 dent/$25 ea

Are you in the market for a really portable loom, for you and your yarn stash? Or are you looking for a loom perfect for kids, easy to use and hard to break?
Fellow fiber fanatics, I present the Cricket Loom from Schacht Spindle Company. It’s billed as a student loom, but it’s more than that.

The first thing that struck me when I unpacked my Cricket was the quality of the materials. It’s wood, not pressboard or plastic.  It comes with everything you need to weave your first project: two stick shuttles, a warping peg, threading hook, two table clamps, and 8-dent rigid heddle reed and two balls of yarn.  The tools included, again wood, are suitable in size for both children and adults – no mini threading hooks or shuttles.

The instructions included are excellent.  It took me less than 20 minutes with a screwdriver to put it together.  I went from box to weaving in under an hour. 
Warping was easy using with a single warping peg, and a 60” dining room table – no warping board needed.


I put the loom to a real kid test. I took it to a multi-family get together. If you have ever been a weaver or entertained the thought of weaving, usually one of the downsides is that weaving is not so portable.  It was with real glee that I carried the loom, tools and yarn in a tote bag, just a regular don’t-use-plastic-bags grocery store tote bag. It’s compact and weighs under 4 pounds.

Once I got to the party and demonstrated the basics, the loom was swept away by a group of kids ages 4-10. I only heard from them when the sharing wasn’t happening. In true post millennium fashion, the kids traded off between the Cricket and a Wii.

Parents eventually wove too, with great ooohing and ahhhing. Making cloth is a magical thing, no matter your age. The knitters in the group had a special light in their eyes. “This is a great way to use my stash”. Yep, my stash of single skeins “for swatching”, is soon to be history, my 2 skein stash “for scarves” and my mammoth “for socks” stash is next. One skein for the making of a pair of socks will make a whole scarf; a ‘regular’ 50 gram skein of yarn makes a warp or weft with some left over for stylish accents.

We’re sharing the loom now, digging up rigid heddle weaving books for ideas. My daughter has ransacked my knitting stash. I’m weaving with my handspun and it’s gorgeous.


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

Simply Sublime Bags:
30 No-Sew, Low-Sew Projects

by Jodi Kahn
Potter Craft

Because a knitter can’t have too many bags.

Printing by Hand: A modern guide to printing with handmade stamps, stencils and silk screens
by Lena Corwin
STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books
$27.50 hardcover over spiral binding

Comprehensive lessons on all techniques. Projects have step-by-step photos.
The whole book is inspirational.

Must go buy paint now.

Zakka Sewing:
25 Japanese projects for the household

by Therese Laskey + Chika Mori
STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books

Zakka is Japanese for "household goods" --
and the stuff in this book would look mighty fine in my household! Aprons, bags, slippers too!

Unbelievable cuteness.

Glorious Patchwork:
More than 25 glorious quilt designs

by Kaffe Fassett
Potter Craft

The Kaffe we love was a knitter first. Then he turned his attention to quilts in this classic book now released in paperback. Don't quilt?
If you ask me, quilting is easier than intarsia.

Unique t-shirt designs by Modern Yarn
$25/ea [$5 extra for sizes 3X and 4X]

Sizes range from tiny-small to unisex 4X.
13 different designs to choose from!


Embossed Gold Foil Yarn Ball Stickers
by Kaspareks

Coil of 25 stamps: $7.00
Coil of 50 stamps: $13.00

Kaspareks's original artwork transformed into
a gold seal, delicately sized: 1" x 5/8"
Packaged in a tiny, white gift box.

gift tags in a little tin box
by knit
30 knitting gift tags, 3 different designs
(other quantities available in her shop)
spinning yarn cone holder
by catzinthehouse
Fits standard cones. It rotates!
No more chasing cones across the floor!
bergamot treasure soap
by Crowley Manor
Looks like dessert or modern art.
Smells of bergamot
with hints of orange
and lavender. 5 oz bar.
yarny soap by karenssoaps
4 oz glycerin-based soap bar, scented with  neroli, peony, violet and juniper berries
Opulence Hand and Nail Scrub
by gudonya

Keep your hands from catching delicate yarn or roving. Scrub 'em first! This one has exotic moisturizing oils, citrus and lavender.
pink graperfuit loofah soap
by sunbasilgarden

Scrub your rough bits [heels, maybe?] with the scent of Pink Grapefruit wrapped around a slice of Organic. 5.5 oz bar or larger
mojito soap
by bunny butt apothecary

Fresh peppermint, spearmint and lime. Colored naturally with chlorella powder and activated willow charcoal. 4-5 oz bar

chocolate raspberry soap
by Naiad Soap Arts

No eating this yummy stuff...
it smells like chocolate+raspberry!
3 soaps in a package, 4.5 oz total weight
merry jane knitting pattern
by BEKAHknits
Jackalope [aka Antelabbit
or Stagbunny] pattern
by hansigurumi
knitted power cord pattern
by KnitKnit
Stan, Cartman, Kenny or Kyle
crochet patterns
by lafeecrochette
$4.00 for 1, $7.00 for 2, $12 for all 4