by Jillian Moreno, Amy R Singer, Katherine
Ganzel, Carla Kohoyda-Inglis, Jennifer Campbell
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.
The Knitter's Book of Wool: The Ultimate
Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous
Fiber by Clara Parkes
This book is an encyclopedic overview of wool yarn so detailed
and readable, it could have only been written by a knitter
as passionate and obsessive as Clara Parkes.
Knitters have wool yarns they adore, and
they are favorites for different reasons - softness, crunch,
stitch definition, fuzziness. A Knitters Book of Wool will
teach you why your favorite wool yarn is your favorite and
more importantly about other yarns that are similar.
This book takes knitters (and spinners)
inside their wool yarn, explaining how
it’s grown and processed, spun and
dyed and what makes it soft and lofty or
sleek and hardwearing. Then we’re
taken on a magical mystery tour of 37 sheep
breeds, where you can put your newfound
knowledge of how yarn is made to use. The
breed section is divided into five categories
and each is described in loving detail
about their history, what yarn made from
the breed is suitable for and different
criteria like: fineness, staple length
and crimp. There are photographs of yarn
created by each breed, and in many cases
of a lock of fiber.
All of this wonderful, factual information
is written in a way that makes for compelling,
inviting reading. You will never look at
your wool yarns the same way again. Plus
at your next knitting get together, you’ll
drop phrases like “my merino yarn has
a micron count of 17. What about yours?”
Please don’t think that this is just
a reference book. There are 20 lovely patterns
showcasing different wool yarns including
socks from Cat Bordhi, mittens from Nancy
Bush, a family’s worth of sweaters
from Sandi Rosner, a transcendent beaded
shawl from Sivia Harding, an everyday cardigan
from Pam Allen, and a quick-to-knit pair
of mitts from Clara.
It's a one-of-a-kind book bringing depth
and breadth to our world of knitting.
Hattitude: Knits for Every Mood by Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron gives us 40 women’s hat patterns that
will fly off of your needles. She approaches hats like a
chocolatier with the understanding that simple changes to
a good base can create astonishing variety, like her Asymmetrical
Beret or Rippled Cap.
She also knows that easy to knit doesn’t
mean lacking in style -- look at her Chunky
Cabled Toque, Buckled Cloche or Cashmere
Beret. There are a huge variety of looks,
stitch patterns and gauges, and none so difficult that
be completed in an evening or two.
Coco Circular Needle
Case by Lexie Barnes
Dimension: 8.5” W
x 6” H x 3” D
Any knitter who knows me knows that
I have a big red leather circular needlecase
that I love beyond all reason, and have
for many years.
Well my knitting friends, I’ve
just retired Big Red. Coco, the new
needlecase from Lexie Barnes, is
just better. Coco is a sleeved needlecase
where circular and interchangable
needles can hang out happily together.
The case itself is the size of a chunky
large-format paperback book and holds
a freakish amount of knitting tools.
There are 20[!] pockets for needles
or interchangable cords, and each pocket
holds several needles, depending on
the size of the needle. I can fit 2
US size #13 or #15s in a single pocket,
and 5 or 6 US #3s.
There are 8 tool pockets which hold
several pairs of interchangeable
tips or a ton of knitting tools,
one big clear zip pocket and two
hidden pockets [which I plan to use
for LYS receipts I don’t
want my husband to see].
Feel free to stuff this case full.
It has space to expand and the waxed
canvas fabric has a bit of give. The
whole case zips closed so none of your
goodies will fall out, and is slightly
padded to keep your needles from damage.
I’ve moved all of my circulars
from my old case to this one, as
well as a small zippered bag worth
of knitting notions, and there is
still room for more.
Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch: Creating Gifts
for the People You Love by Nicky Epstein
Nicky Epstein Books
Nicky Epstein has been designing knitwear for
just about forever and I’ve been a big fan of hers for
almost as long due to her prolific output and
fun patterns. This is the first pattern book
of gifts that she has published and within
its pages you’ll
find something for absolutely everyone on your
gift list (and maybe a few things for yourself!).
chapters are divided into Kids, Girls (Women),
Guys and Special Friends, which includes gifts for everyone,
including pets. The patterns range from very simple to advanced
and even though this is not a how-to book, there are helpful
instructions in the back for techniques that you may not be
I turned the pages, I was impressed by the
wide variety of gifts. I saw the perfect
baby gift for my two cousins who are pregnant:
the Reversible Hoodie, a superwash merino
extra warm because it’s two sweaters in one. The Pampering
Spa Cloths, embellished organic cotton washcloths,
would make the perfect gift for my mother.
Or the Creatures of the Night caps which
are two hats that allow a tween or teen (or
you!) to declare allegiance to Team Edward
or Team Jacob. What could be more perfect this holiday season?
I also appreciated the attention to detail with the patterns
like the shawls that have arms, like the Diamond Rib Wrap and
Lace Friendship Shawl, that stay on better for people with
limited mobility and keep them warmer, the Gentry Lap Throw
that has a pocket for stowing an eyeglass case or tissues or
the Kiss Me Wrap-Around, a washable merino cover for a microwavable
neck pad cover.
The overall emphasis of this book is about giving to others
including charity and at the end of the book there is a comprehensive
list of charitable organizations that take hand knit items
and what their specific requirements are.
Interchangeable Bamboo Needle Set by WEBS
• 9 sets of tips, sizes US 4 to 11 [US 3, 13 and 15 available
• 6 cables, 2 in each size [16, 24 and 32"]
• two adaptors to join cables together
• four knobs so you can move the tips to another project
• Knitter's Gauge with needle sizes, ruler and cutter
• comes in a custom-designed silk case
I'm a 100% circular needle knitter, so I have a checklist
of things that are important to me when choosing a needle
to knit with. When I got my hands on the new Interchangeable
Bamboo Needle Set from WEBS, I ran down the checklist and
was very pleased with the results. Here goes:
• what are the tips made of? Bamboo. I can't knit wool or animal
fibers, so I prefer needles with a little
grab to knit the slippery fibers I use
most often. Bamboo and wood are my two
usual favorites, and in this case, bamboo
is a great choice. Light, smooth and densely
grained, so no jaggy bits to snag yarn.
It works equally well with cotton, silk
and bamboo yarns. Happily, each tip is
clearly labelled with its size in both
metric and US.
• what's the cord like? WEBS has chosen an interesting cord
for their kit. It's a hollow tube, and
comes in two diameters -- a thinner one
for the small gauge tips [they have a brass
screw and end cap] and a thicker one for
the heavier tips [which have a black screw
and end cap]. The cord is flexible and
doesn't stay coiled, which makes for nice
knitting. It's also very light, which I
like a lot! It's almost neutral as a material
-- doesn't stick to the knitting, lets
stitches slide easily.
• what about the join? This is a biggy, especially in interchangeable
needle sets where we're the ones who join
cord to needle tip. First off, the cables
are attached to the needles by a simple
screw well secured in each end of the tube.
The tips screw on, with that last bit of
the plastic tube sliding neatly into the
end of the needle. This makes for as smooth
a join as I've ever used on a circular
set. I was surprised -- it didn't seem
like it was a good choice until I used
it, and now I love it. The
tips never came unscrewed on their own
-- not even a little bit -- and screwing
them in is a piece of cake. Big win on
the join, WEBS!
• what are the tips like? I wasn't sure I'd like the needle
tips when I first looked at them. I wasn't
sure they were pointy enough. So I put
them to my harshest test: knitting silk
lace on the smallest tip size. And I love
them. They're fabulous.
• how do you store them? The case is very well thought out
and functional. It's a pretty shimmery
blue silk with rich orange highlights,
and every compartment is well labelled
-- 16" cables, 24" cables and
32" cables, connectors and end caps,
and even a space for the included Knitter's
Gauge with a ruler and a built-in yarn
cutter. Though I really appreciate the
organization of the case, I'd prefer a
more bullet-proof fabric, since I tend
to drop things in puddles or spill coffee
Elkins [the family who runs WEBS] clearly
did their research when they developed
this set. Every detail is carefully considered
and I think the result shows that attention
to detail, and understanding of what knitters
want and need. The WEBS bamboo interchangeable
needle set is the only one I use now --
it does everything I need, and I love knitting
Haiku Knits: 25 Serenely Beautiful Patterns
Inspired by Japanese Design by Tanya Alpert
The designs in this book are inspired by modern simplicity
by way of Japanese aesthetics, the cover sweater, Chrysanthemum,
tells this tale beautifully.
This collection of sweaters,
many made from Japanese Habu yarns, are
textural and stylish, sweaters that skim
rather than hug the body. There is a beautiful
single cable sweater [Cocoon], a simple
pullover made from linen and stainless
steel yarns, [Ripened Wheat] and a fantastic
caplet with unusual construction [Long
Night]. Using interesting yarn mixtures
and constructions, the garments and accessories
swoop and swirl with organic energy.
Vogue Knitting Shawls and Wraps from Vogue Knitting Magazine
Sixth + Spring books
Shawls seem to be as popular as socks these
days. And what’s not to love? A myriad of stitch patterns,
no sizing, an excuse to use completely sexy
From the pages of Vogue Knitting
comes more than 40 shawl patterns that range
from lighter than air gossamer lace shawls
like Shirley Paden’s
Spiderweb and Diamond Lace Shawl, and wear-instead-of-a-jacket
densely textured wraps like Tanis Grey’s Leaf Lace Shawl.
Rowan's Greatest Knits: 30 Years of Knitted
Patterns from Rowan Yarns by Kate
For the past 30 years, Rowan has enchanted knitters with
a knitting wonderland – the style, the yarns and the
dreamy dreams of strolling across the moors
or running away in a caravan.
This book encapsulates the
knitted delights of the past 30 years with
10 patterns from each of the past 3 decades
with their original photography. There
is a history of Rowan the company. For
each decade, there are style overviews
and a profile of a defining designer – Kaffe
Fassett, Kim Hargreaves and Marion Foale.
As a wonderful
and useful supplement to each pattern, there is a brief bio
of the designer and a yarn substitution suggestion if the original
yarn has been discontinued.
Knit Kits Regal Cuff: $75.00 [as shown top
Buckle Bracelet: $65.00 [5 colorways --
knitted sample below shown in summer grass] by Joyce Goodman
Art jewelry designer Joyce Goodman shares her wire-knitting
secrets with us in these gorgeous kits. Everything you need
to create the bracelets shown is inside, including full instructions,
all materials, and wire-knitting techniques, tips and tricks.
I've tried to knit with wire before, and didn't have much
luck, so I was interested to try one of Joyce's kits. I chose
the buckle bracelet, because it's in my favorite colors...and
off I went.
Everything you need to knit the bracelet is included in the
kit. The instructions are clear and thorough. Contrary to my
contrary nature, I followed them carefully. There is more than
enough wire in the kit to practise knitting with wire, and
Goodman urges you to do this before you start the actual bracelet.
There's a little learning curve to using this stuff, and it's
great that there's no worry about running
out before you finish your project. In fact, after finishing
several test swatches and the full project, I likely have enough
wire left to knit a 2nd bracelet! I'd just need to find another
buckle or closure.
One of the things I learned
through my practise swatches [see one at
left <--] is that there's really no frogging
in wire knitting. I snapped the wire
when trying to unknit the end of a row
and then several stitches further back.
However, fixing the stitch immediately
before the one you're currently knitting
is very workable, even if the stitch
has come apart a little [it would be
a dropped stitch if it were knit in yarn].
Just reloop it and slip it back on the
So to get a tidy result and
avoid errors, I found it's important
to watch your work as you knit. You're
working with three super-fine strands
of wire, and staying alert helps you
keep them where they're supposed to be.
But I didn't find the knitting stressful
at all, the wire is easy on the fingers
[even when tensioned around my right
pointer finger, like I do with regular
yarn], and the whole
project took maybe 4 hours of knitting,
spread over 2 nights.
The pattern suggests
that you put the three spools of wire
in a plastic zipper bag to keep them
tidy, but I found the clear plastic pouch
the kit came in worked really well --
there's a convenient hole at one end
to thread the wire through, and the spools
sit in the pouch tidily.
The pattern is simple and the
finished product is very wearable -- weightless,
almost! Once the bracelet is buckled, you
can slip it over your hand easily [the knitted
wire fabric gives a little], so you don't
have to do and undo the buckle.
I was very pleased with this
kit, start to finish, and am looking forward
to using the techniques I learned and the
leftover wire in another project!
The New Stranded Colorwork: Techniques and
Patterns for Vibrant Knitwear by Mary Scott Huff
Do not fear color knitting and do not fear the steek! Plunge
in and let Mary Scott Huff lead you to
color knitting glory with this book stuffed
with techniques and tips to make color
knitting stress free. She’ll
set you straight on standing, tension,
hems, sleeves and presents steeks in a
section called “Steeks
are our Friends” [and they are!]
The patterns in this book are wholly original,
the motifs, and the colors. They may nod
to traditional Scandinavian and Fair Isle
knitting, but then they roar off down their
own road. Be sure to look at Lotus Blossom,
Being Koi, and Counting Crows.
Cardigans by Louisa
Sixth + Spring Books
Louisa Harding offers up 27 cardigans in her modern ladylike style. She
has both basic shapes that are embellished with a variety of techniques,
and shaped styles that fit the body. Beautiful and timeless gorgeous sweaters
like Willow, Marmee, Kitty, Lacewing and Alwar will bring contemporary
flair to a wardrobe as well as being knitting staples.
The quality of the book is exactly
what you expect [and need] from any designer that has been associated with
Rowan [since book #6], and features beautiful and evocative styling and
Lily Chin's Knitting Tips & Tricks:
Shortcuts and Techniques Every Knitter
Should Know by Lily
This isn’t your average ‘tips and tricks’ book.
Lily Chin approaches her tips and tricks with the same depth
and intensity she does when teaching her classes. She never
expects her students to want the quick and easy method of
anything. Quality comes with thinking knitting. Throughout
this book she gives the whys along with all of the hows.
She takes you through the basics from choosing needles and
yarn to buttonholes and seaming, as only
Lily Chin can, with depth and attention
Crafty Superstar: Make Crafts on the Side,
Earn Extra Cash, and Basically Have It All by Grace Dobush
North Light Books
A handy dandy guidebook to becoming a craft businessperson.
Grace Dobush walks you through the craft
marketplace in general terms. From the
basics of setting up shop, pricing, and
where to sell, to surviving craft shows,
marketing and having a life beyond your
craft biz, this is a well-rounded book
for getting your dream business off the
A bonus of 9
[!] really useful appendices -- form templates,
small biz resources, major craft show list
-- make this book a killer.
Itty-Bitty Toys: How to Knit Animals, Dolls,
and Other Playthings for Kids by Susan B. Anderson
$17.95, hardcover over spiral binding
This is the new go-to book for toy patterns.
that are not just squeefully adorable,
but well planned, constructed and written with detail and
success in mind. These are toys that have a cuddly familiar
modern/vintage look. They are enchanting toys that will take
the kids in your life from wee babies to through childhood
and survive all the love they will lavish on them.
loving the Matryoshka, and all of the reversible
[2 toys in 1] toys.
This is a new fresh scent from SOAK that washes your knits
and supports Ravelry. That’s right, a portion of every
purchase of this new scent goes to keep all the fun at Ravelry
going. Unleash is light and fruity/citrusy. I smell green
apple and grapefruit... yum.
Soak is a fantastic way to wash your knits,
yarn and even some less lanolin-rich spinning fibers. It
is gentle, fast and no rinse. A quick soak and a gentle squeeze
and you’re off to block.
It's available exclusively in the Ravelry
mini-mart until 2010. After January 15, get it at your local
yarn shop too.
AwareKnits: Knit & Crochet
Projects for the Eco-Conscious Stitcher by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong
31 wearable and useable knit and crochet patterns featuring
organic and environmentally sustainable yarn let you stitch
while honoring the earth.
The book is divided into projects for your
home and for you and your loved ones [men,
women and children]. The designers have
made sure you don’t
have to choose between environmental impact
and fashion. Love the cap-sleeved
cardigan, Polar Cap; a great boys and men’s
sweater, Greensleeves; and the wanna-wear-every
day, Cardigan Neutral. The book is peppered
with information on fibery eco-living and activism.
Inca Knits: Designs Inspired by South American
Traditions by Marianne Isager
I’ll start by admitting I’m a fan of Marianne
Isager’s books. Her strong base in Scandinavian style
combined with the inspiration of an entire country or continent
makes for compelling sweater designs. Inca Knits is no exception.
The vibrant colors and patterns found in
South American art and artifacts are the
inspiration for this sweater collection.
Rich color and geometric pattern are worked into Isager’s
simple shaped sweaters and accessories
to marvelous effect. Also included are
lessons in intarsia and two-color knitting
and personal discussion on her inspirations for the collection.
Fearless Knitting Workbook: The Step-by-Step
Guide to Knitting Confidence by Jennifer
$26.95, hardcover over spiral binding
A book to build the knitting confidence of beginning-ish
knitters and knitters looking to expand
or refine their knitting chops. Through a series of swatching
exercises Jennifer Seiffert teaches basic shaping, cables,
lace, knit and purl combos and the basics of circular knitting.
She explains how to read charts, the secrets behind special
stitches, how to fix mistakes and how to read your knitting.
Organized and precise, this book is a fantastic,
systematic way to beef up your knitting
Whimsical Little Knits 2 by Ysolda Teague
£12 [includes the printed book and a digital copy]
£9 [digital book only]
Ysolda's first book, conveniently titled Whimsical
Little Knits, has been hugely popular, selling
out quickly after shops get their stock in.
When Ysolda announced that she was doing a
second collection, knitters everywhere were
excited to see what it would contain.
It's another gem, full of the same classic style, elegance,
and even whimsy that we've come to love from
Ysolda. This book includes 12 patterns for
mitts [both fingerless and flip-top], hats,
the unique Peak's Island Hood [defies description,
but to say it's a lovely multitasking piece
of head-and-shoulders knitwear is a start],
simple shawls with just the right amount
of lace, and fuzzy creatures like the adorable
hedgehog she's named Smith.
crammed into 58 beautifully designed pages.
Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your
Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing,
and Other Creative Techniques by Gail Callahan
I’ve always loved dyeing, from the first time I tied up
cotton bed sheets and used packets of Rit to tie dye them in
my mother’s washing machine. I’ve taken classes and
pored through books in an attempt to soak up all the techniques
I can. My conclusion is that to really have the most fun – you
have to DO it. Get your hands messy and spill some dye, preferably
with some friends.
Don’t know anyone who is as curious
about dyeing as you are or just want to have
a go on your own? You’re in luck -- Gail Callahan has written
a fabulous companion for you. Hand Dyeing
Yarn and Fleece is a marvelous book that takes you
through all the steps of dyeing from setting
up your studio, picking your first fibers, different types of
dyes, using the color wheel, numerous dyeing techniques, and
the patterns to show off your handiwork.
studio section really centers on safety. Let’s face it,
these powders and concoctions can be dangerous. Callahan stresses
the importance of protecting your skin, lungs, and eyes first.
Wear your respirator, wear your gloves, and wipe up those spills.
We all want to live to dye another day.
Want to get started right away? Head for the Warm-Ups section.
Practice on some paper towels, start out with some grocery
store dyes (sugar free drink mix or food coloring), and set
the dye in your microwave. Since you’re using materials
that are safe for human consumption, it’s okay to use
your regular measuring cups, spoons, and pots. It doesn’t
have to be expensive and it isn’t difficult to begin.
Just bring your sense of adventure and get going.
There is a section about color and using the color wheel.
Callahan wisely hooks you into the color before bringing up
the technical stuff. She uses a great concept called a color
grid and provides some exercises on how to use it. I love this
gentle approach and she really won me over with it.
What I really appreciate about this book is its emphasis on
trying a technique and then thinking about why you like it
(or not). For example, Callahan examines different plies of
yarn and why a single looks different from a marled yarn. She’s
done a ton of experimenting with colors and provides pictures
of the yarn, the knitting, and the weaving so you can SEE what
she’s talking about.
As we’re heading into the bleak winter months here in
the northern hemisphere, Hand Dyeing Yarn
and Fleece is really a great companion to keep the color in
your life. Following Callahan’s steps to create a safe
dye studio, you could work your way through her exercises all
the way to spring and keep yourself content with all the good
stuff coming out of your dye pots.
Color by Kristin: How to Design Your Own Beautiful
Sixth + Spring Books
I have a confession. Years ago I bought one of Kristen Nicholas’ ethnic
inspired kits; it was for a pair of socks. I was a beginning knitter and
had just knit my first pair and also had a child’s intarsia sweater
under my belt – I figured I was ready for anything.
My two color corrugated ribbing was so tight, I couldn’t get my hand
into the tube. I’m embarrassed to say that I gave up, cut the tiny
tube loose and threw it away. The rest of the yarn went into my scrap bin
and the pattern has been lost to the ages. I told people, “I’m
much more of a textured knitter than one who knits with color.” But
in my heart, I’ve yearned to knit Nicholas’ designs. I’ve
just been afraid.
Color by Kristin has made my fingers itch, in a good way.
From the cover filled with swatches of her
designs to the gorgeous pictures inside, this book is chock
full of swoon inducing color. Yes there is discussion of the
color wheel, but Nicholas is very gentle and holds your hand
all through her examples of how to combine colors to get exactly
what you want. There’s
a short section of how to knit Fair Isle
(which I wish was around all those years ago – the tips
on maintaining tension are worth the price of the book alone).
also included a section on the mystery of
steeking. Keep breathing, she’s no nonsense and very
practical about why it’s
easier to steek and provides pictures and
Still nervous? Check out the patterns. Seriously, if you can’t
find one pattern that makes you want to put down the book and
swatch, maybe you should check your blood pressure. From her
practice project of a door/window snake to a big patterned
shawl to a sweet baby afghan to a way cool java jacket that
will keep your French press coffee pot warm there’s bound
to be something that makes you want to knit with color. Want
something small? There are four different projects for your
hands alone! Ready to jump into the color with both feet? There
are three child sized and three adult sized sweaters for you.
My absolute favorite is the Op Art Ottoman. It’s gorgeous
and practical at the same time. Nicholas even provides instructions
on building your own ottoman to cover! Many of the patterns
also include alternate colorways – absolute genius.
There was a surprise for me at the back of the book. Nicholas
has included a Designer Sourcebook that includes custom edgings
and (wait for it) Fair Isle patterns. Beginning with 2-stich
repeats and going all the way up to 30-stitch repeats in addition
to a section earlier in the book on designing your own. Truly
this is a self-contained book designed to get you knitting
with color and loving it.
My old kit may be gone forever, but with the instructions
in this book combined with my abundant yarn stash, I can finally
indulge in my dreams of color. I plan on starting small – maybe
something with a corrugated ribbing.
Daisy by Offhand Designs
12"H x 9.5 "W x 9.5 "D
Designs never fails to impress. Even something
as simple as a drawstring shoulder tote they
make into something special.
The Daisy bag can be
used as a knitting bag or as a market bag.
There are six generous pockets around a large
center compartment. The bottom is wide, slightly padded and
flat – it stands
up on it’s own if the bag is full or empty.
the amazing and amazingly functional part – the bag is
fully reversible – the six pockets can be on the outside
of the bag surrounding the center drawstring
compartment or reversed with the six pockets
safely tucked inside the drawstring compartment.
bag is made of beautiful vintage-looking
fabric, but don’t let
the prettiness fool you; this bag is made
to work. As a knitting bag, it can hold a
sweater, a huge needle case, a book and a
the huge variety of ‘must haves’ that
I carry around in my knitting bag, and that’s not using
the six pockets into which I put the yarn
needed for the sweater I’m
working on. It would be a fantastic bag for
a color knitting project because each color
of yarn could have it’s own
pocket. As a market bag, Daisy is tough.
It will hold six bottles of wine or six 15
oz cans of tomatoes with nary a groan from
the fabric or stitching. Now that’s
a hard-working and beautiful bag!
Stefanie Japel On-line Knitting Workshops
3-4 week courses
Sign up now here
Imagine signing up for a knitting
class and having your knitting teacher at
your beck and call 24/7. A knitter's dream
come true, right? That is exactly what Stefanie
online classes are.
I was lucky to sit in on her Up Cycled
T-shirt Class and Fitted Raglan Shawl Class.
All classes are taught using pre-recorded videos of Stefanie
teaching skills step by step. If you’ve never taken
a class from Stefanie, she has an enthusiastic and warm
teaching style that comes across in all of her videos. The
videos are short (the longest are 6-7 minutes) so they are
easy to watch and it’s easy to find just what you
need if you want to go back to review a topic or skill.
There are scheduled live chats
with Stefanie and the class and a forum to
ask questions day or night. There are galleries
to post pictures of finished and in progress
projects and a slew of PDF handouts, so thorough
that I didn’t
need to take one note.
These on line classes work perfectly for
knitting, they are visual, you can work
at your own pace, questions can be asked and answered in
a timely, if not live, manner, they are social and chatty
and you can take your class in your jammies at 2 am, if
you’d like. They
also open the door to taking classes from teachers you may
not have access to otherwise and at a price competitive with
your LYS classes.
Her current knitting workshop offerings
include: Fitted Raglan Shawl Class, How
To Fit Your Knits and Up Cycled T-shirt Yarn Class. Go on
you know you want to one. Let Stefanie welcome you to this
brilliant way of expanding your knitting repertoire.
Game Knitting by Lee Meredith
$9, downloadable PDF format
You’ve played TV show drinking games before -- now
Lee Meredith applies that same thinking
without drinking to your knitting.
In this 65-page
gorgeously photographed e-book, she lays
out the basics of Game Knitting, presents
10 Base Patterns, more than a dozen Game
Patterns, and a bunch of TV show Game Lists
to play to including: new, How I Met Your
Mother, old, Mary Tyler Moore, and classic
Buffy(!). She also talks a lot about making
up your own patterns and how to play to
your own favorite shows with and without
A quick example
of the fun to be had: using a hat Base Pattern, eyelets as
my Game Pattern and Buffy as my show, I’ll knit my hat
following the pattern and any time one of 24 triggers happen
(there is a fight, someone mentions Angel, etc) I make an eyelet,
repeat until the hat or the show is done. That’s it!
Simple to do and the outcome is exceedingly cool.
There a lot of TV watching that goes on during
our long winters. Get a copy of of this truly
creative book and make a game of it!
Steel Needle Set by Hiya Hiya
Fine gauge knitters, are
you ready to be happy? How about an interchangeable
needle set that goes from US 8 all the
way down to a US 2. Before I even held
this in my hands I was happy.
New from Hiya
Hiya stainless steel [smooth! fast!] interchangeable
needle. Knitting with these is a dream.
The joins are smooth, screw on [no tool
needed] and do not come unscrewed when
knitting, even if you tend to swing your
knitting around instead turning your work.
The points are not too pointy and the
shafts are long enough [about 4"]
to solidly form your stitches, no matter
your knitting style.
The set comes with
4 cables [16", 24", 32", 40"],
7 tips [US 2-8 2.75mm-5mm] with individual
cables and tips available if you need more.
An absolutely fabulous bonus is that the
set comes in a pretty brocade case, with
extra room for expanding your interchangeable
Swing, Swagger, Drape: Knit the Colors
of Australia by Jane Slicer-Smith
This book is full of dramatic sweaters in true XRX style,
often with interesting construction schemes.
Miters, texture, whimsical Australian-style
intarsia are some of the different styles
featured in the book.
What got me most excited, though, was the extra information
at the back of the book. Not the stock "we
put these same 10 pages about how to cast
on and bind off in the back of every book",
but Jane's own solid, valuable information
about how to choose your own colors for these
projects, technique information for each
of the styles mentioned above, as well as
fit and style tips so your finished garments
look their best on you.
the very end, there's an interesting and
lengthy narrative colophon that gives you
more information about Jane, the country
that provides inspiration for the book, the
process of photographing the sweaters, and
much more. This book was clearly a labor
McCoy Overnighter by Lexie Barnes
Available in three prints: Red/brown Kiri, black/white Delilah,
and the appropriately named Leopard [yellow/blue print below left is
a prototype for a future design]
12” H x 18.5” W x 7” D
I teach in different parts of North America
all the time, but I was never so excited to
wrap up my classes as I was the day I learned
that Lexie Barnes headquarters were within
a half-hour drive of where we were.
Walking in the door, we were greeted with a happy sight --
Lexie's entire fall line in all three colors/prints.
I'm thrilled to report that Knitty's favorite
B is back again, as are the Darling,
bag and the mini pouches. The new Coco needlecase
is reviewed above.
I had coveted the McCoy as soon as I saw it previewed on Lexie's
site. The yellow/blue sample at left was
a test of a possible new fabric, and since
anything pale blue is my color, I asked if
I could test that one. [It's identical in
structure to the current lineup.] Conveniently,
since I was on
a trip at the time, it was a good time to
give it a workout.
Before I go further, Lexie fans need to know this: Lexie
has brought back the nearly bulletproof
laminated fabric we all loved so much when she introduced
her line. Coffee merely runs off the outside
without staining anything [ask me how I know]
and a simple wet cloth can clean up any
mess that remains.
The first thing I noticed about this bag is that it's deliciously
huge <-- see picture at left of Denny cramming
skein after skein into the bag, with room
It was big enough that my travel
ukulele fit inside the main compartment bag
completely flat [see 4th picture at left],
leaving tons of room for my travel paperwork,
book, glasses, on-the-road snacks, knitting
project, spindle and fiber, and more. I could
have fit my laptop in there as well, if I'd wanted to.
Despite its capacity, it fit easily under
the seat in front of me [and I flew on small
planes that trip].
Inside, it's stripped down, in comparison to
the craft-dedicated multi-pocketed Lady B. One wall has two
huge pockets [see pic at left], big enough for large-format
paperbacks, a water bottle, a sock knitting project -- all
at the same time.
On the outside, there are three zip pockets that
run the entire length of the bag. I found that the single pocket
on one side was a great place for my passport and plane ticket
[easy access when I got to security]. The other side has two
stacked, deep zippered pockets. I ran out of things to put
in them, the bag was so cavernous.
The McCoy also has the handy hidden key pocket under the handles,
introduced a few years ago...which could
also work very well for a small wallet. Not
easy for someone other than you to get at
last and very deeply appreciated feature
is the long shoulder strap [detachable].
It's nice to have your hands free when you
travel, and if this is your only carry on
bag, you can simply wear it on your way to
the gate. The strap is adjustable, and the
shoulder pad has Lexie's trademark non-slip
lining. Love it. If you prefer, the shorter handles are still
long enough to slip over your shoulder so you can wear it that
way [that's how Denny's wearing it in the 2nd
So yes, this is a travel bag. But as a knitter
who travels, I like this bag as an all-around
great knitting/travel companion. On a knitting-heavy
trip, an entire sweater in progress could
fit in the main compartment, still leaving
me room to store reading material, paperwork
and almost anything else I'd want to carry
on the plane with me. I love this bag.
Anodized Aluminum Sock Blockers by Signature Needlearts
Smooth and sleek, these new sock blockers
from Signature Needlearts are made from the same aluminum as
their legendary needles – smoother
than a baby’s bottom, no snagging allowed.
These sock blockers
are a smart cookie of a design. You can block
a pair of socks at once and part
of the blockers’ design
is a loop in the center that you can use to
hang the blockers from while socks are drying.
These blockers have the largest airflow area
so socks dry quicker. These blockers are
wide in design, but they are light and skinny
so they can be stored behind a bookshelf or couch.
Interchangeable Crochet Hooks from KnitDenise.com
What a great concept for us Afghan, Tunisian
and Double Ended Crocheters! And great
for knitters too!
This set is the crochet enthusiast's sibling
to the Denise Interchangable Knitting Needles
set and what's more is that the two sets
work well together! The crochet set
is outfitted with an assortment of 12 hook
heads: US sizes 3.75-15mm (F/5-19), as
well as: 7 cords, 2 extenders and 4 end
caps. Plus, as a nice bonus, there are
basic instructions for Tunisian crochet
The hooks themselves are a smooth lightweight
resin that handle well on a variety of
different fibers. The hook heads are too
short for my adult hand to comfortably
use on their own and adding the shortest
length of cord makes it a length that required
some minor adjusting.
The joins open and
close with a simple twist, and happily
feel quite secure. While they are not super
smooth, I didn't have to fight with them
either. Overall the hook itself is quite
good but the smaller sizes feel a bit too
flexible for my liking. The esthetics of
this set leaves a bit to be desired. While
compact and tidy, the plastic on plastic
presents a toy-like quality, and the embossed
sizes on the case are a bit difficult to
If you have both the Knitting Needle and
Crochet Sets, just think of how much less
fiddly it will be to pick the abundant
amount of stitches of, say the bands of
a cardigan, with a crochet hook on a cable
and then just switch off the tips and get
on with the knitting! Or picking
up frogged stitches! Magical! And
for the hookers (those of
us who crochet), the variety of cables,
the range of sizes, and the neat and tidy,
booklike, carrying case will make it all
Great concept, good product.
Buy now at Amazon
Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite
Yarns with One Amazing Tool by Abby Franquemont
Spindles are usually thought of as the crunchy snack food of
the spinning world, to be used occasionally, but they don’t
have much substance. Even most spinning books relegate them to
a couple of paragraphs. They’re pretty, they’re portable,
and they’re inexpensive compared to a spinning wheel. Nobody
can get much done on a spindle, right?
Well, be prepared to have clichéd thoughts about spindles
and spinning on spindles blasted out of the water.
Franquemont has given spinners a encyclopedic
gift on the topic of spindles. In a single
volume, she will change the way you look
at, think about and use the spindles you
already own or will need to buy after reading
this book. She expertly and engagingly weaves
together the science, history, mythology,
technology of spindle spinning. She teaches
how to use each type of spindle for their
best and most prolific function. She teaches
drafting, spinning, plying efficiencies,
how to really get a lot of yarn spun. She
also gives us a variety of projects perfect
for spindle-spun yarn.
Reading this book I realized how I’ve taken my spindle
collection for granted, what I have to practice and how much
I can get done on my spindles. I also might need to buy some
Drafting: The Long and Short of It by Abby Franquemont
Abby Franquemont’s new video is as smooth as spinning with
perfectly prepared fiber.
Over an hour’s time, she explains
and demonstrates everything about a multitude
of styles of drafting. If you’re a new spinner, it will
be an eye opener; it will change the way
you think about and approach your spinning.
Seasoned spinners can always use a refresher
because, if you’re
like me, you might be in a drafting rut,
using the same style until something doesn’t work they
like. Abby has an expert teaching style:
calm, patient, nothing is ever rushed, and
she makes every style of drafting look easy.
Along with drafting,
Abby teaches about different fiber preparations and the effect
of each drafting style on each fiber preparation. This is a
brilliant DVD, my hope is that it’s only the first in
for fiber reviews?
They're on their
own page, right
Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer
• a 15-yard
mini-skein of recycled hand-dyed
• a 10-yard mini-skein of
spun recycled yarn
• quick knit patterns exclusive
to the club
• any crafty bits called for
in the pattern (e.g. buttons)
• extra mystery leethal goodies
and/or bits of crafty fun
what DO you do with all those Moo cards you collected at Rhinebeck
and Maryland and Stitches and SOAR and Estes
Park...? frame them in a black or white acrylic
frame, and move the cards around any time you
want. holds 20 Moo cards.