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 noted.
Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague
£20 (approx $38usd) printed
book + digital
£17 (approx $28usd) digital only
Little Red in the City is the ultimate
book on fitting a sweater pattern to your
The presentation of the material is lighthearted
both in tone and illustration but the material
is intense pattern adaptation. Over 100
pages are devoted to worksheets and words
of wisdom about adapting a knitting pattern
to fit you how you want it to fit you.
The is discussion from choosing the type
of yarn to give a specific look, waist
shaping, bust darts, short rows, and how
to move between pattern sizes in a pattern
based on your measurements.
There are 7
typically Ysolda, wear-them-every–day
patterns in 16 sizes! The patterns are
sized from a 30" bust to a 60" bust,
and you choose your starting point based
on your measurements and the type of ease
you like. She uses two models for each
sweater design, stating up front the measurement
of the model and the ease the sample was
knit in. The models wear sizes 34 and 48
with zero ease for most sweaters.
Ysolda was the designer who initially
shook up the craft publishing world by
being the first big-name designer to only
self publish her pattern books (Whimsical
Little Knits and Whimsical Little Knits
2). I am so happy that she has kept on
the self publishing path for this book.
I can’t imagine a commercial publisher
allowing her to showcase her vision so
thoroughly from the balance of information
vs. number of patterns, to the hand illustrations
and notes, to the choice of model and fit
of garment. I am more than happy to pay
more for a self-published book that supports
a designer who fearlessly and wonderfully
expresses her vision.
Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi: More
Than 40 Itty-Bitty Minis to Knit, Wear, and
Here's something I didn't know about myself:
I have discovered, thanks to Teeny-Tiny
that I love a book even more when the how-to
pictures in the front make me want to knit
the projects. Because these do. Little tiny
jellybeans of knitted fabric, stuffed with
a teaspoon of polyfil, get arms and legs,
eyes and other embellishments and it had
me reaching for my needles before I even
got to the pattern section.
As with her first book, Knitting
Anna Hrachovec takes us from yarn to finished
adorableness with full instructions and a
good dose of humor. Lots of tiny future
friends, each no bigger than your thumb
await you in this book, from little animals
like monkeys and even a cute pair of fried
eggs [!] to mermaids and gnomes.
Quick to knit, and irresistible, you may
find yourself knitting every one, from start
to finish. I'm tempted.
The Gentle Art of Knitting: 40 Projects
Inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket
Collins & Brown
I love Jane Brocket's aesthetic sense. She
puts colors together in a way that's timeless
and very current. So I was very excited to
see her newest book, this one on the subject
Jane is British, but isn't about fussy detail
and fiddling, she's about taking things more
gently, as the title suggests. The book is
filled with simple, enjoyable projects, made
special by little touches of texture and
color. She's reinterpreted her famous dotty
jellybean cushions into the new Planets cushions,
and I think her String of Purls cushions
are pretty enough to be the next pillowy
trend. Her linen apron pattern is classic,
but surprising in design, and her big woolly
jumper could be considered the definition
of the genre. You'll also find the iconic
tea cosy pictured on the cover, and even
very-British bunting. Lots more, too.
Short essays on her inspiration give insight
into her design process, and the whole book
is a very enjoyable read. Can we expect a
volume 2? I hope so!
GoKnit Pouch by KnowKnits
$20, 26 and 34 [small, medium and large],
available in 15 colors, plus the new fur,
croco and ostrich (all faux)
GoKnit Pouches are a mainstay of my knitting
universe. I have a project in each, and
grab the appropriate pouch when I'm heading
out the door. They work everywhere. The
outside snap-strap works on folding chairs
when I'm sitting suicide [way too close
to the skaters, in a good way] at roller
derby, or in my belt loop when I'm mobile
or at the movies. I have even strapped
a GoKnit to the latch of the tray table
in front of me on an airplane, which makes
knitting in flight much more relaxing.
The bags are durable and lightweight,
and an affordable essential companion to
Brand new this season are the faux-crocodile
and faux-ostrich fabrics. They're a little
thicker than the usual rip-stop nylon (and
the ostrich is a little thicker than the
crocodile), but add no noticeable additional
weight. If you love animal prints, these
are a unique take on the trend, and just
as functional as their solid-color counterparts.
Good Times Roller by Hadaki
22.50"L × 11.25"W × 14.50"H
Paradise Aqua shown left, Hannah's Paisley
shown below, more prints available.
A knitting bag? Actually, yes. Because knitters
travel and we need places to store our knitting
when we do.
This bag is chock full of little places
to store everything, including the clothing
you'll need for the weekend, plus all the
knitting projects you want to bring with
Like many of the Hadaki bags, this one is
made with 10-oz coated canvas [very thick
laminated fabric], so dirt and muck just
wipe off. It's danged bright, and that means
-- should you check it -- you'll be able
to spot it on the luggage carousel among
the thousands of black bags that everyone
else brings. Why not carry it on? I wish
you could. It's about 2 inches too big to
fit as carry on.
I gave this bag a test drive on a recent
train trip, and it performed like a champ.
Those extra 2 inches made it just the right
size for everything I needed from clothing
to class samples [it was a teaching weekend
for me], electronics and cords, plus recreational
knitting. Shall we talk pockets? I think
In the picture above, you see the biggest
pocket -- it runs the outside of the length
of the bag and holds a TON, while zipping
flat for storage. On the top of the bag,
the big zipper opens the main flap that gives
you access to the inside. It also houses
two pockets. One is just the right size for
your passport and tickets, and the other
would hold a sock project or two, or a book
or three, quite easily. Inside the bag....one
long zippered panel allows you keep your
used clothes away from the fresh ones. And
it has straps inside the bag to keep your
clothes secure if the bag isn't completely
The bag can be carried with the double handles,
a single handle on the short end, or unzip
a flap and out comes a telescoping handle
that lets you pull the bag by the wheels.
And this one rolls like a dream. Most beautifully,
it also has feet opposite the wheels, which
mean you can stand the bag on end without
fear that it will fall over. It won't.
There's also a d-ring firmly fixed onto the
short side of the bag for your luggage tag.
In using this bag, I found it sturdy, but
not heavy. I loved the wheels, and the size
was exactly right for train or car travel
for a 3-day weekend. I have a family trip
coming up just after this goes live on Knitty,
and will be bringing the bag again...this
time on a plane. And I'll check it and report
back about how it performs in the terrors
of an airplane belly, with photographic evidence.
Block N Roll by Bagsmith
38" x 50" unrolled
38" x 6" rolled
Block N Roll is a really well-thought-out
blocking pad. One side is Teflon coated,
much like ironing board covers, which means
you can steam right on the pad. There is
a grid printed on the blocking side too
so there are straight lines to following
and an ish-y measuring system if you don’t
want to get out your measuring tape. The
back side of Block and Roll is a flame
retardant foam which keeps it from sliding
across floors or tables.
Minor quibbles are that larger than shawls
longer than 60" won’t fit on
it, and it’s
not thick enough to pin straight down,
like that spare futon I used to love to
use. For me, the pros outweigh the cons.
Block N Roll is incredibly light and rolls
like a burrito and ties closed to an easily
storable size. I roll mine and toss it
on top of bookshelves. I love the lightness
and the portability of the Block N Roll,
what happened the first time I used it:
I pinned out a shawl and left it on the
living room floor. The kids got up, so
I picked it up and moved it outside, and
then it started to sprinkle, so I brought
it in. Only trouble: a boy and a dog
were running all over the house and a girl
was using the dining room table for a project
so – this
is my favorite part – I tucked the
Block N Roll ties under books on the top
shelf of a bookcase and it hung there until
the shawl was dry. Try that with foam squares!
Skinny Mini by Namaste Inc.
2.5" W (at bottom), 1" W (at top),
2.5" H x 8.5" L
Comes in 6 colors
The Skinny Mini is a small-but-sturdy wedge-shaped
bag, made of Namaste's trademark faux leather,
and lined with faux-suede. It's just the
right size to hold DPNs, crochet hooks, knitting
tools and...get this, small spindles! I have
a 7.5" long
mini-Bosworth spindle that fits in perfectly,
with room for fiber. [see left: the whorl
shown is 2" in
A handy, well-made bag, that will fit in
most any other bag you're carrying, and protect
whatever you put inside it.
Needles (aiguilles) and Pins (epingles)
box by Sajou
4.5" l x 2.5" w x 2.5" h
Sajou is a company you may not know yet,
but you will soon. Producer of needlework
notions of every description, founded in
1828, Sajou was most notable for [in addition
to the quality of their products] beautiful
packaging. The company had closed, but in
2005, it was re-launched by a new owner and
now is producing a huge selection of the
same products for the use of modern needleworkers.
This tiny wooden box is simply beautiful.
The little doors are labelled Needles
(Aiguilles) and Pins (Epingles), but knitters
are not restricted to this use. Put stitch
markers on one side and darning needles on
the other. Or abandon needlework altogether,
and use it on your bedside table for rings
Welcome back, Sajou. We look forward to
getting to know more about you.
knit, Swirl! Uniquely Flattering, One Piece,
One Seam Swirl Jackets by Sandra McIver SeaStack Publishing
This book may be one of the most exciting and
brilliant knitting concepts that I have ever
seen. Sandra McIver has presented the knitting
world with a unique twist on the circle sweater
and elevated the idea to whole new heights.
Creating jackets with only one seam allows
the pattern to flow uninterrupted in the final
garment. The intriguing construction allows
the knitter an immense degree of flexibility
in finished sizes and lengths and the finished
products will each be as different as the knitters
themselves. Each Swirl follows the same basic
one-piece construction with slight variations
creating multiple different styles.
Whether you are a new knitter or have been
knitting for years this book is worth a look.
Influenced by a Cat
Bordhi Visionary Retreat,
it was clearly a labor of love. Sandra's
passion for the topic oozes off of every page.
While the construction techniques may be very
challenging to a new knitter, this book will
provide inspiration to all that open its pages.
It should be on the top of every knitter's
Sock Knitting Master Class: Innovative
Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers by Ann Budd
$26.95, includes 95-minute DVD
The facts alone will make you want this book:
15 of the knitting world’s best sock
designers, 18 sock designs, Ann Budd talking
basic how-tos and design tips and Clara Parkes
talking sock yarn, and a 95 minute DVD. All
of the technique and yarn information is so
well organized and thought out that a knitter
could read the book and not knit a single sock
and still come away having learned a lot about
The patterns are lace, cables, twisted
stitches and colorwork and exactly
what you’d expect from the unique
sock designing brains of Cat Bordhi,
Kathryn Alexander, Cookie A, Anna Zilboorg,
Meg Swanson, Nancy Bush, Pricilla Gibson-Roberts,
Chrissy Gardiner, Veronik Avery, Anne
Hanson, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Deborah
Newton, Evelyn Clark and Ann Budd.
Clara Parkes lends her expertise on yarn
content and construction in a discussion
in each pattern on why this particular
yarn is good for this particular sock, and
what to look for if you want to substitute
yarn. This addition to the book really lifts
it above other sock books. Clara’s
expertise will change how you use and buy
The enclosed DVD is 95 minutes of Ann Budd
sampling the techniques from the book all
shown on socks from the book and also demonstrated
on bigger than sock weight yarn. The techniques
are: knitting socks on 4 DPNs, 5 DPNs, 2
circs, magic loop and short circular needles;
top down vs. toe up socks – pros and
cons; cast ons – including provisional
and our favorite Judy’s
Magic Cast-On; heel shaping; toes and
It is wonderful to see the socks from the
book alive in the video – really reinforces
the learning, makes the book even more useful.
Dolce Handknits: Simple,
Sophisticated Designs by Kim Dolce
Martingale & Co. Inc
SR=27.25-50.25" [most sizes stop in the low
Kim Dolce has an elegant and timeless design
aesthetic, with just a touch of sweetness
-- appropriate since "Dolce" means "sweet" in
Italian. It's so nice to see her work collected
in book form. There's lots here for knitters
to dig into.
Kim has broken her designs apart into the
four seasons. I found something in each
season that appealed to me -- in some cases,
several patterns. She covers everything
from lean tanks and tees to lightweight
layering pieces and cozy jackets. Lace and
texture are found throughout, and used effectively
to make her classic designs jmore interesting
to knit and very appealing to wear.
She's offered a large
number of sizes for most patterns, but for
big girls, be prepared to do the math.
Only one [a chunky jacket] goes above a
I think her designs would translate well
to larger sizes and hope she'll offer more
of them in the future.
Personally, I'm ready to cast on the cropped
Charleston cardigan [which does go up to
my size] right now.
Knit Noro: 30 Designs in Living Color
Sixth and Spring Books
Designing with Noro yarns can be a challenge,
intoxicating long runs of color make yarns that aren’t easy to design for, and often lend themselves
to ‘more of the same’ types of designs. I was excited
to see that this book uses 26 designers each putting their
own twist on designs using Kureyon, Silk Garden, Silk Garden
Sock and Taiyo.
There are romantic twists on Noro, a spectacular
Fair Isle style cardigan from Mary Scott
Huff and Fair Isles gloves by Cheryl Murray, a bobble shawl
by Terri Johnson, and lacey socks by Judy Sumner scarf by Tina
Whitmore [of Lanesplitter fame]. Romantic styles not your thing?
There are modern directional and modular designs, the cover
cardigan by Theresa Schabes, a kimono style jacket, a great
modular trinity stitch top by Valentine Devine. If you are
looking for basics they are here too,
hats, mitts, a shawl, and sweaters that let
the yarn just flow broken only by a few cables or eyelets.
Be sure to look through the book more than
once. Several times I was tripped up by a
colorway I didn’t
really care for and nearly missed out on
a good pattern.
Carrabasset Soap Company
Good Karma Felted Soap, $8.00
Lavender with Seaweed $4.00
Rich with olive oil,
these Carrabasset soaps are lovely smelling
and long lasting. The soap formula is gentle
enough for me to use on my face, without
it feeling dried out. Both soaps are beautiful,
the essentials oils give the soap in bar
form a strong smell but after washing with
it, it doesn’t
linger in an overwhelming way.
The Good Karma Felted Soap lathers like crazy and the felt
is a naturally exfoliating – I’ve used it on my
hands (and a lotion after) before spinning and knitting silk.
Charming is an overused word when talking about essays.
But this book is, or rather Catherine Frend
is a charming writer. She charmed me like a snake.
only going to read a few of the essays
to get a feel for the book, but after two
I was hooked. Engaging and witty, the stories
about family -- both two legged and four
legged -- are full of the passion and humor
it takes to keep a farm and a life running
not shy about talking about the tough times,
the hard physical work and not always being into the farming
For anyone that touches wool or is even remotely
interested in how sheep are a raised on a small
farm, this is a lovely hammock read for the
With the same attention to detail that
she lavishes on her patterns, Laura Nelkin
has launched kits for her series of knitted
beaded jewelry called Adorn. The first of
these is a short (16”) garter
stitch necklace, Butin.
The kit is complete,
except for knitting needles, she even provides
the elusive dental floss threader to thread
beads on yarn efficiently. She pairs the
color of the luscious silk/wool blend yarn
and beads wonderfully, picking up a accent
color in the yarn and playing the beads off
of that, rather than an obvious matchy-matchy
color scheme. There are 6 colorways to choose
The kit is put together in
a tulle bag and the pattern printed on a
large card tied on – easy to give as
a gift or slip into a zippered bag and claim
as your own
knitting. Using only 20 yards of yarn and
a handful of beads, this may be the perfect
Welcoming Home Baby the Handcrafted Way by Tricia
Sellers Publishing, Inc.
This book is a polarizer – knitters either will or
won’t like it, there’s no in between. Me, I like
it. It’s Anne Geddes with
a sense of humor. All of the patterns are
for newborns and knit with chunky yarn – most projects
are knit on needles sized in the neighborhood
of US 17. There are hats, blankets and
cocoons, knit in wild colors.
To me, this book
expresses the joy and fun of newborns,
and the cocoons seem womb-like cozy. These
knits are perfect for last-minute newborn
gifts, plus the photography in the book
will bring a smile to your face.
Works for Spinners DVD by Deb Menz
$34.95 2 DVDs, $29.95 download
Deb Menz has been teaching fiber and color
classes for a long time, she’s been
studying color and fiber even longer. With
a wave of new spinners and teachers and
get- it- done- quickly type of books, it’s
easy to forget about really deeply learning
You can really learn about color and fiber,
specifically carding for spinning from
this DVD set. Deb Menz is a master and
watching her teach is a wonder. I have
both of her books, Color
In Spinning and
Works. I dive into them only when
I have a specific question about something,
always promising myself that I will, one
day, work through them both from start
to finish, but I am intimidated. So I was
hesitant about watching the DVDs. Would
it be hard? Would I get it?
Any drop of hesitancy washed away about
5 minutes into the first DVD. Deb
Menz’s enthusiasm for her work is
infectious, and because I learn best by
watching, a lot of ideas about color
made more sense.
It starts with using hand cards and
a drum carder, a discussion on describing
color then launches into blending, starting
with two-color blending and ending in the
second disc with color and blending harmonies.
She demonstrates blending up to 6 colors,
and even stacks up multi-hued batts into
a single batt and shows how pull it into
roving. She demonstrates color matching,
grabbing colors like a practiced chef in
a kitchen, never flinching, and if she
makes something she doesn’t like
she shows how to alter the color blend.
Throughout the DVDs she uses a drum carder,
a color wheel (included as a PDF), a value
scale (included as a PDF) and color harmony
templates that are in her book Color Works.
This DVD set makes a perfect companion
for her two books. It makes the hard thinking
that goes into learning about color unintimidating.
I love how calm Judith MacKenzie is.
In class after class and DVD after DVD
she calmly teaching about spinning. I
can’t believe how much she knows
-- it’s certainly more than a lifetime’s
worth of spinning knowledge and it seems
so immediately accessible. She just takes
a deep breath and tells you exactly what
you need to know about a topic.
DVD set, she makes spinning luxury fibers
look easy, really easy. Slippery silky,
potentially unruly alpaca, and short,
short cashmere, quiviut and camel all
become beautiful yarn in her hands and
she lets us in on the secrets of making
our own. Along the way she has fiber
and breed history and stories from her
own spinning life.
This is a great set
to learn about luxury fibers and to learn
the skills to spin these sometimes-expensive
fibers worry free.
for fiber reviews?
They're on their
own page, right
Knits that Fit leads off with a big section on sweater and
body shapes, measuring, what works with what
and how to do easy customizing to your knitting.
There’s even a bit for plus sized knitters. It’s
all useful info, adapted from Sally Melville’s,
Amy Singer’s and Jillian Moreno’s
books on the topic.
The patterns in this book were selected from
a variety of books published by Potter Craft
over the past few years including Big
Girl Knits, More Big Girl Knits, Knits Three
Ways, Mother-Daughter Knits, Romantic Hand
Knits, and Runway Knits. They are a good cross section
of sweater patterns that work on variety of
body types. There are no new patterns in the
book -- check your book stash against the list
above, so you won’t
It’s true that the material in this book has been seen
before, but if you don’t own the books the material
is taken from, it’s a nice introduction
to working with getting your knits to fit your