by Jillian Moreno, Kate Atherley, Lynne Sosnowski, Amy Singer
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
Bento Bags small: 10 x 3 inches, 9.5 inches tall at highest point large: 10.5 x 5 inches, 10 inches tall at highest point xl: 13.25 x 7 inches, 16 inches tall at highest point
Available in tan ticking, slate ticking, red ticking, dark chambray blue and natural linen
Available in three sizes and a variety of homey fabrics like chambray, ticking and linen, the simple shape is deceiving. What is it?
Well, it's sort of like a bird's beak...sewn shut at the sides and bottom, and open at the top. So you can tie a small knot in the top or tie up whatever you've put in them into a tight bundle (see pic at left), and open up the package when you get there. These bags are reminiscent of the Japanese art of Furoshiki, where cloth is used to wrap presents. Except these bags are foolproof...you don't need a fancy instruction sheet to close them up! They're strong and their simplicity is really lovely.
There is something very tactile about these bags. I used the small and medium sizes for sock (the small) and a shawl (the medium). They wrap up into neat little packages, they sit obediently on the table or coach, spooling yarn.
At first I didn't think I would like them because there isn't really a handle to carry it separately, but in the end that made no difference. The knotted top is easy to grab and go and the pliability of the bag makes it easy to tuck under my arm if I need to grab a coffee or open a door.
My favorite thing about these bags, aside from their simple practicality is how they wrap up my knitting like a little gift.
A clever little needle case, and a terrific travel accessory. Although it's designed as a DPN case, I found it was equally good for storing smaller/shorter circulars. A double-fold design means that your needles won't fall out, and its low-profile makes it easy to slip into your bag.
I used it on a recent trip to organize the needles I needed for my project, and for the classes I was teaching.
The bright colour means that it's easily found at the bottom of my inevitably overstuffed bag, a small but important detail.
The whole line of yarn pop bags is great: they're fun, attractive, well-thought out project bags. Available in a variety of sizes and fabrics, they're a little larger than many other project bags, which makes them well-suited to garments and other large-size projects. The "yarn pop" trademark is the grommets in the side of the bag: feed the yarn through it before you cast on, and then you can work with your yarn safely zipped inside the bag.
They're particularly useful for colorwork projects -- keeps your yarns from tangling. The messenger bag style is a nice mid-point between a casual canvas purse/bag and a project bag. I wouldn't be hesitant about carrying it about town with my wallet and other essentials, and a smaller project. Equally, it's great for holding a larger project, for staying at home or taking out and about. Inside pockets provide a place to tuck your pattern sheet, and your tools and accessories, and you've got three grommets -- for ambitious colorwork projects, or perhaps your yarn and your headphones.
Zippers can be problematic on a project bag: it might just be me, but I've found that the finer zippers are prone to catching my yarn. The Yarn Pop bags use large zippers which I prefer.
This is not your typical knitting mystery. Instead of revolving around a quaint shop in a quaint town where people murder each other, these three stories are another thing altogether. They blend together the feeling of traditional mysteries, Sherlock -- complete with a Dr Watson, a dash of cozy and a little sprinkle of noir. They even slip the supernatural into two of the stories. The Yarn Woman of the title is a knitter, and spinner and textile historian who works as a consultant to the police and FBI tracking a decoding textiles to help solves crimes. She is as wonderfully faceted and interesting as fiber people are in real life.
The stories are rich with detail for both the textiles and San Francisco, where the stories are set. If your taste for mysteries runs a little twistier and darker than the typical knitting mystery, Yarn Woman makes an excellent summer read.
"My design path tends to be cyclic. I become interested in a particular technique and start developing designs using this idea."
Clearly Lucy Neatby has a talent for understatement. While most of us are content to learn a new thing, Lucy needs to poke and prod at that thing, put it under an electron microscope, cut it into a zillion pieces, inspect all the pieces, and then put the thing back together again.
It takes roughly four pages to explain how to make holes the Lucy Neatby way and then another hundred and some to play with holes in edges, repeating holes, holes of different sizes, holes for decoration, functional holes...I think you get the idea. There's a lot of substance in these holes. It's the Neatby way to sneak in lots of useful information alongside the main lessons, and there is no shortage here of little improvements that can aid a wide range of knitting projects. There are pages of tips on casting-on, finishing, grafting, short rows and more. (I learned so much more about grafting than I already knew!)
My review copy was an e-book, which had many delightful features. A clickable index means a reader like me can jump back and forth in the book and find my way easily (or look up a specific pattern or technique). Most teaching points are accompanied by links to Lucy's abundantly clear YouTube videos. Depending on what sort of reader software you use, it may be possible to annotate while you read. This means I can highlight sections or make notes where I want without my inner librarian getting stressed over marking up a paper book. Even more delightful, regardless if you have an electronic or a print copy, are the little bits of comedy and wisdom found throughout the text: "Knitting frequently has to go through a pimply adolescent stage before it becomes a thing of beauty." and "Knitters have a rather unreasonable tendency to expect to become physically adept at new skills simply by reading and understanding."
And let us not forget about the patterns. From whimsical to completely practical, the 10 patterns in the book include a number of scarf/shawl/capelet options as well as bags, a hat, fingerless gloves and a pair of socks. The book's colour palette is as cheery and vibrant as Lucy herself. There's so much possibility even in these patterns that I can hardly wait to see all the variations and conversation in her BIG Holes group on Ravelry.
You've done this, I know you have. You're watching a movie, and suddenly, you're captivated not by the story, but by the sweater someone's wearing on screen. You have to knit it! Well, thanks to this book, you can now knit and wear designs inspired by sweaters worn by Marilyn Monroe (my personal favorite), Steve McQueen, Audrey Hepburn, Faye Dunaway and more.
In some cases, a sweater emulates (very closely!) a sweater worn by the actor. In others, the knitted garment echoes the key design features of a beautiful dress or even a satin trumpet skirt. And in every case, the original inspiration garment is shown in a photo beside the design in the book. The designs all come with schematics and charts and clear photos, and the text is just a little larger than the average knitting book, which I appreciate! Makes for easy reading.
Delightful reading and delicious knitting. Volume II has just been released, and we'll review it in the next issue. I can't wait to dive in!
This book is a fun collision of multiple textile crafts. The book starts with quick but thorough refreshers on basic knitting, crochet and embroidery skills then rolls right into the pincushions. Depending on your skill level, most are easy to work and would make excellent gifts. The style range from classic knitted lace, crocheted granny squares to fun, like the cactus.
There are written instruction as well as charts and most of the patterns take up no more than a page even printed in a very readable font. As a knitter just wading into crochet, this book excites me because I can work a project in knitting and dip my hook in the crochet as I feel more confident.
This is perhaps one of the most accessible books on socks that I've seen lately. It's a sock book by someone who wasn't a sock person and became one. The book is more about lots of ideas for socks than lots of techniques for socks. The techniques that there are in the book are brief but well explained. The patterns, a huge mixture of styles: socks, slippers and leg warmers tend to be in the 6 stitches to the inch range rather than 8 stitches to the inch. The basic construction techniques are top down, toe up both with an afterthought heel, or a turned heel with a gusset. These constructions are explained and walked through in a basic ankle sock pattern.
With 34 different patterns in this book, all simple enough to swap colors and yarns and exciting enough to keep you knitting through the second sock, this is an great book for a new-ish sock knitter.
Lotion Bars by Milk+Honey
Available in citrus, lavender, lavender-rosemary, lemongrass or unscented
$12 for 2.5 ounces
Gorgeously packaged and designed, these lotion bars will soften and smooth even the roughest hands. The lotion is deeply moisturizing, but not quick to soak in, giving time to massage your tired hands. The moisture soaks in and coats your skin and lasts through one or two hand washings.
The lotion is made from beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil infused with calendula and essential oils.
I tried the lavender and lemongrass. The smell is pleasant but strong, and does fade after a bit. I used it on my hands after gardening, particularly on my cuticles. I also used it on my heels before I went to bed.
I loved how it softened my hands and heels. It does take a while for the lotion to soak in. I waited 30 minutes before I did any crafting and my hands thanked me.
Beautiful smells, beautiful packaging, an excellent way to end a day of crafting or gardening and soothe tired hands.
Lee Meredith is an innovative designer whose work I really appreciate. In this new book, not only has she come up with great patterns that are "designed to make the most of your colors, using basic stripes and easy slipped stitches" (can you say STASH BUSTING?!), but she's given you a whole bunch of ways to buy the patterns that appeal to you. The whole book, a pattern at a time, or the Color by Number set on its own. Clever girl.
So what have we here? Patterns (shown in Malabrigo yarns, since this book was made in collaboration with Malabrigo), knit up in different gauges and colorways. So the projects grow in size along with the gauge (except for the Misanga hat, which is adjusted to make sure it'll fit actual heads), and give very different finished looks. It's a really clever concept.
Ready for this? You never use more than one yarn in any row. That has colorwork-averse me eager to get started on a whole bunch of these techniques. Pigment (shown in the beige squiggly sample on the cover, far left) is my favorite, but the Scribbled Lines are calling to me, too.
There's a handy section at the front with clear photos that walks you through the key (simple!) techniques used in the book. No need to fear.
This is one book on colorwork I will actually knit from. Cannot wait!
Fans of the intricate lace of Manianne Kinzel and Herbert Niebling will rejoice over this book. Andrea Jurgrau has designed 12 shawls, 3 hats, a scarf, and a blanket based on vintage doilies. Those patterns, while intricate and pretty, aren't the sole reason to buy this book.
This book takes the reader through the detailed steps of turning a vintage doily pattern into a shawl. The author first walks through patterns she has already converted herself, starting with essential techniques before she gets to the 15+ patterns. All of the lace patterns are charted only.
After the patterns, she teaches how to take a vintage doily and convert it into a shawl from charting to adjusting decreases, to altering motifs to the final plans for knitting -- 6 pages of thorough instruction. She also includes the finished pattern, if you don't want to walk through the lesson.
One of the most helpful sections in the book is the chapter on swatching -- I am biased as a mad swatcher. I do think in general not enough space is ever given to swatching. Here she swatches in shapes and for different yarns and colors. Just looking at her finished swatches sparks different ways to plan a shawl, even if I am just substituting a yarn.
Vintage lace is clearly a long-time passion for the author. She answered nearly every question that popped into my head as I was reading. As I said the patterns are pretty, and interesting. Buy the book to knit them, but don't miss out on all of the instruction that is packed into this book.
Any student of heritage knitting needs this book. It explores in depth the history of the Dutch gansey by an author that traveled to 40 different villages and countless museums to find photos, information and stories.
I would buy this book for the historic sweater photos alone. There are pages and pages of fishermen proudly wearing their sweaters in photos large enough to see the stitch patterns. It is amazing to see knitting come so alive.
The author discusses the history of knitting for fishermen, the motifs popular in each village and how motifs traveled between villages. I learned how the British gansey influenced the Dutch gansey and a whole lot more about the history of commercial fishing than I ever thought I would.
Basic gansey design is deconstructed in shape, pattern and yarns used to knit historic and modern ganseys. There is a basic gansey pattern given for which a knitter can choose from 60+ motifs to recreate a historic design or design their own sweater. Historic sweaters are reknit in modern yarns and photographed on models. The modern pictures are put side by side with a historic photos of the same or similar gansey. I won't lie...that gave me knitter shivers.
I spent tons of time with this book, reading it, and most especially pouring over the historic photos. This book will proudly sit on my shelf next to Gladys Thompson's British Ganseys. It shows, tells and brings to life the knitter, wearer and history of the Dutch gansey.
This funky little lamp is actually a powerhouse! It takes 4AA batteries, but I like plugging it in with the included USB cable. (You'll need a USB power adapter if you want to plug it into the wall rather than a USB socket.) Using it without the batteries means it weighs almost nothing, too.
Simply tap the little power symbol below the logo on the base and the light turns on. Another tap makes it brighter, and a third makes it brighter still. The fourth tap turns it off.
Handy as a bedside light, but I think it really shines (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) as a lamp to pop into your knitting bag and take with you. Affordable, and super adjustable -- the light panel can shine at many different angles -- this is a great little tool.
If you have never taken a class from Sarah Anderson, these videos will be a treat. If you have had her as teacher, you know exactly the level of enthusiasm and skill you will get in these lessons.
These videos are more than four hours of lessons spanning the range of spinning skills from twist to drafting to plying and finishing.
Much of this feels like Sarah's book Spinners Book of Yarn has come alive in the best possible way! It focuses on details that can make a big difference in your spinning.
Her style of teaching is full of facts but easy going. She is one of the few spinning teachers that point out alternatives, "this is how I do it, some people do this, or this".
Her style is based on experience and the knowledge that not everyone spins the same way and that a particular way doesn't always work for everyone.
She breaks down the fundamentals of fiber, twist and drafting styles, with an excellent lesson on joins. She explains plying and walks through boucle, crepe and cable yarns, making notoriously fussy yarn look easy.
Beginners can spin along with these videos from beginning to end; more advanced spinners can pick and choose their topics. I've read Sarah's book and taken classes with her and still learned quite a few things from these videos!
Do you have most of a day to spend pouring over a luscious book devoted to sewing small projects from a variety of fabrics? Maybe you have some time to learn about the history and production and use of linen, cotton, silk, wool and leather? Not that much time? Well, you certainly can pour yourself your favorite drink and drool over fabric and project photography every bit as glorious as that in Selvage magazine.
I read this book from cover to cover and looked at all of the photography more than twice. I may not make anything from this book, but I am inspired to try techniques and different combinations of things in my own work. I also learned quite a bit about fair trade textiles. And am inspired to hunt for even more vintage textiles than the ones I already own.
The 30 projects in this book are easy to intermediate and the book includes separate pattern sheets for most tucked into the back. The directions are straightforward enough to not need step by step photography. I think an intermediate or enthusiastic beginner seamstress would spend more time searching for the perfect fabric than time spent on the actual construction of most of the projects.
I do have to warn you about a dangerous-to-your-wallet resource guide in the back. There are listings of online fabric sources for both new and vintage fabric, listings of stores and markets in the US and UK, and an excellent list of Fairtrade textile organizations.
This is a good summertime book, little crochet motifs to use as embellishment. Most of the motifs are flat like patches rather than 3D like amigurumi.
There are more than 50 motifs grouped into the headings Critters, Food, Growing Things, Seasons, Toys, Tools and Transportation and Home. The instructions are easy to follow, but only written out. There are no charts.
These are type of tiny quick projects that would be easy to take over your crafting: a tiny crocheted pie, a snowman, a rocketship, veggies and flowers. I'm considering a small garland of crochet mushrooms to hang from my hammock in the backyard.
I am as charmed by this book as I am charmed by every issue I see of Mollie Makes magazine. Mollie Makes is all about effortless style and creativity, and even though I may never reach either of those things effortlessly, all of the Mollie Makes books make me feel like I can.
The layout and the photos are gorgeous and clean. The crochet projects are fun, but probably simple for an experienced crocheter. Even an intermediate crocheter could fly through all of the projects in the book, but sometimes that's exactly the point.
As a beginner I approach it all more cautiously. The book is almost half technique and half patterns. The how to at the beginning, especially chart reading, is excellent. The stitch how-to in the back of the book is so clear that I have this book by my craft nest as a reference for other crochet projects.
I like that the projects are home accessories. It's much less intimidating because home accessories with no fit issues can't go disastrously wrong. I'm excited to make the placemats for summer eating outside, potholders, the crocheted edge baby blanket and at least two of the throws. Like I said, I'm charmed.
No one who knows me is surprised to find out that I love this book. My house is lined with overflowing bookshelves, I keep my button collection in a card catalog and our family owns and uses 7 library book carts. I think that libraries are one of the greatest resources we have as craftspeople.
Jessica Pigza, a crafter herself, is a rare-book librarian at the New York Public library. Before writing this book she helped designers and crafters find vintage resources to inspire their work and used them frequently herself.
The first part of this book is an education in using the library and how to mine for cool source images to jump start a makers brain. She talks about different types of libraries and different types of collections. She teaches effective ways to search for a topic. She points to an amazing array of on-line sources. She talks about finding and using special collections and research libraries, and has an excellent section on copyright for crafters.
The second half of the book is devoted to crafts inspired by visuals found at a library. The crafts are all paper and cloth and pull their inspiration directly from a particular type of vintage source. There is the Wool Rose Facinator by Gretchen Hirst inspired by botanical illustrations and early 20th century millenary arts books. Rebecca Ringquist inspired by historical maps to make, Cartouche Embroidery, an embroidered quilt label, and Alabama Chanin explored botany, poetry and Alabama natural history to come up with Cyanotype Throw embellished with branches, leaves and poetry. For each project there is discussion on the why of the inspiration and the how it was modified to work in a particular craft. After each I was delighted to find a resource page devoted to more sources of inspiration on the given topic; librarians love to make sure there is always enough information.
Beyond the 20 lovely projects in the book, this book is a invaluable resource to makers.