Tag Archives: Book Review

Catching up and Interweave Review

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My internship is over, so I finally, finally have the time to sit down and write a long post. I’m going to miss it, but I do look forward to all of the knitting and blogging time in my future!

I finished the Molly hat just in time to give it away…and not enough time to take any pictures with it (or even block it). Still, the recipient loved it, so I think that I will survive! I’m back to working on my Zest Cardigan. I just CO the first sleeve. It’s a bottom up raglan, so after than I’ll just have to do the yoke, block, and sew up- easy peasy! (Famous last words)

But none of those projects are the reason that I felt obligated to post. Two days ago, the Fall 2012 Interweave Knits hit my mailbox. Okay, so it probably hit my mailbox at school days before that, but campus mail was nice enough to forward it to my parents’ house, so now I finally get the chance to talk about it with you. There’s something about this issue that I’m not completely in love with. There’s not a single pattern in here that I JUST HAVE TO KNIT, which is really strange for me, especially considering that this is a fall, not summer or spring, issue. In fact, I don’t think that I’m going to make anything in here. Most of the pieces either feel like they’re for someone much older than me, or that they drastically miscalculated what 20-somethings like to wear. Let’s take a look, and I’ll show you what I mean.

Take, for instance, these three pieces from the Stitches Go to Town Collection. Besides the strange construction of the Blooming Forest Pullover (won’t sideways ribbed sleeves stretch a lot?), I feel like all three of these patterns are for people way, way different from me. The Petit Four Pullover is growing on me as something that would be great for work, but the lines of the second two aren’t very modern at all. I guess they’re all just too conservative, but especially since I think of hip and urban when I hear “go to town,” not 40 year old suburbanite.

These socks (from the “On the Road” collection) strike me as the most modern and forward-thinking piece in the magazine…and they’re socks. They remind me of a toned down version of the bubbles socks that I made a couple of months ago. Maybe I’ll give them a try. Maybe.

Next are the Roam Tunic and Sweetheart Pullover, also from the On the Road Collection. I guess it gets cold enough in some parts of the world for tunics and pullovers made from chunky yarn in some parts of the world, but I don’t think it ever gets that cold here. Ever. Plus, I don’t think that a tunic is the shape for me, and the picot edging on the pullover…to cutesy. But I do love the cables of both of them, which is just making me think of OTHER patterns, not either of these.

Amstel Hat

While I think that I would love knitting this hat, I’m not sure that I, or anyone else that I know, would ever wear it. I think it goes just past that hip/homemade look- not something anyone wants. That’s just my opinion, though. If I end up making a hat for a fashion-forward friend, I would definitely show them this pattern (although I admit that I would be surprised if they picked it!).

I think that this pattern might be the least of the evils in the All Wool and a Yard Wide collection. I guess it was aiming for English Country Garden (maybe that’s why there are so many rain-related patterns?), but I think it was a miss. Once again, I would show this to a fashion-forward friend, but I would probably be surprised it they picked it!

If I can ever bring myself to learn how to do colorwork, I would definitely make this as a warm and cozy rainy day cardigan (because I don’t have enough of those). This might be one of the few patterns in here were the vintage feel actually worked- maybe because the styling of the rest of the picture feels so modern. I don’t know.

So, what do you think? I’m excited to read everyone else’s reviews of the magazine- maybe someone can convince me that it wasn’t as horrible as I thought! And I completely promise to be back on Wed. with an update on the Zest Cardigan. It’s probably been over a month since I’ve taken pictures!

 

 

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Feeling Lucky?

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Guys, I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over here, but I have been winning blog contests left and right! First, I won the blogiversary contest over on Learner’s Per-Knit, then I won Tami’s anniversary contest for Candy Skein, and now a copy of California Revival Knits from Knitting to Stay Sane. I honestly have no idea what to do with myself (except knit!).

What with all of the traveling and starting my internship this week, I really don’t have much time for blogging. I feel like I should warn you guys that, honestly, there probably won’t be that many posts in the coming weeks. I’m thinking of moving to a once or twice a week schedule, instead of the three or four times a week that I normally do. I hope that’s OK with you guys!

California Revival Knits

But, in the mean time, I thought I would do my review of California Revival Knits. To be honest, I’ve been stalking this book as it has made it’s way around the blog-o-sphere, hoping that I would win a copy. And then I did! The book starts with an introduction to the California Revival style and some information on Stephanie Tallent’s design process, which I am very excited to read…eventually. And then, oh then, it moves onto the patterns.

Wrought Iron Cardi. Sniped from the ravelry page, link below

Right now, I’m keeping my eye on two favorites that I really must knit: the Wrought Iron Cardi and the Peacock Stole. The stole is a rectangular lace piece made out of DK weight that would probably make a very nice holiday gift. The Cardigan is part of a line of wrought iron pieces that have some beautifully featured delicate cables. As you might know, I have really been digging the cables recently, and am so excited to work on some more!

Peacock Stole. Sniped from the ravelry page, link above.

I also have a couple of other pieces that I really like, and will probably work on some time in the future. There’s the three others in the wrought iron series, a pair of fingerless mitts, socks, and a beret, plus the lacey Undersea Garden Cowl and the slightly beaded Tiles, a v-neck pullover. Most of the other pieces use some sort of colorwork, which is not really my thing, but they are completely beautiful, and may be how I learn 🙂 All in all, I am so thankful to Stephanie Tallent, the designer, Cooperative Press, the publisher, and Glenna C. over on the Crazy Knitting Lady for my copy of this wonderful book. It was such an AWESOME gift!

Review: Interweave Knits Summer 2012

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Ok, so I’ll admit it: I got the magazine well over a week ago. But at the time, I could only spare a couple of seconds to flip through it, and then I had to focus on studying. And then I had to pack everything up to move out of my dorm room in a couple of hours, which means that I have basically no idea where most of my stuff is. But I did find the newest mag!

First of all, can I start by saying that I don’t usually find very much to like in the spring and summer mags? I’m not very into light garments, but this one had some ideas that really caught my eye. It was a pleasant surprise.

Greta Headband

First, the sterotypical headband. Still, I like the detailing on this one, and if I ever have a reason to make a knitted headband, this will probably be it. The stitch pattern and gathered (twisted?) detail will probably keep it pretty interesting. It’s certainly a step up from a simple garter stitch band, which is what I’ve had to do in the past.

Sakura Tee

Can I say how pretty this is? I’m not sure that I’d actually make it- if it’s warm enough for me to go sleeveless, it’s probably too warm for what looks like worsted-weight yarn, even if it is lace made out of cotton. Plus, the sleeves would NEVER sit normally on me. But the front panel sure is pretty to look at.

Planche Vest, Pianissimo Mitts, and Coquette Vest

Now, I actually am considering making the Coquette Vest (right). It’s done out of much more practical lace-weight (although it might take FOREVER), and I think it might look pretty good with a t-shirt underneath it. It looks like it’s pretty fitted (and the description also talks about a “strong hourglass shape”), so it might be something that would work with my shape. This might be the one thing from this mag that I actually make (there’s usually at least one)…we’ll see.

Seaglass Shell

Like the Sakura Tee, I just had to show you this shell. I mean, I’d never wear it (I don’t know about most professional settings, but a lace back panel is a big no-no for teachers), but it sure is pretty to look at.

Popsicle Dress

The other garment I’m considering making is the Popsicle Dress. OK, I do think that knitted dresses are generally pretty stupid, but I really like this one. It could just be the colors, but it’s really catching my eye. And THIS is something that I could wear to work, especially with a little sweater and a couple extra inches on the hem.

Needle Guide

Moving away from patterns, my favorite feature (and the only one I actually read) was the Tools of the Trade segment, which this time focused on needles. While it did cover the basics (metal needles are more slippery, circulars are good for knitting in the round, etc.), it also went more in depth, especially when reviewing brands. I really appreciated the comparison of different types of interchangeables. It was nice to know that other people (or at least the reviewers) have problems with their joins becoming untwisted while knitting.

Well, that’s it for me now. I will definitely be back with a WIP Wed. post. It’s definitely going to be one of my designs, although I’m not sure which one. I guess we’ll just see!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

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A couple of weeks ago I won a blog contest! The lovely autumngeisha was generously giving away her doubles to two items: Knitting it Old School by Stitchy McYarnpants and Caro Sheridan and “KnitScene” Winter 2011. Thanks to her wonderful generosity, I have two new knitting books to add to my shelf! First, I thought I would review the copy of KnitScene.

KnitScene and Knitting it Old School

Although there are a few patterns that I really like, there’s not much in here I would knit. These, for instance. Really pretty on the page, but not quite worth my time to knit…mainly because I would probably never wear them!

Nora Dress

Tereza Pullover

Uxbridge Cardigan

I do, however, like the Francisca Hat by Amanda Scheuzger. It’s got a nice amount of slouch, and would probably make a great Christmas present…for someone. I will definitely add it to the list and keep an eye out for some suitably drapey yarn!

Francisca Hat

Can I just say, though, that what really made this mag worth it for me are the articles? First, the history geek in me rejoiced for the one about the history of Angora Bunnies. Did you know that rabbits really only native to Spain, and that their diversification is really due to traders? Plus, it comes complete with a map, which really made me happy!

Maps!

And then, of course, I really loved the article on drape from Stefanie Japel. When I first started really knitting, Japel’s Fitted Knits was one of the first books that I bought, so I really trust that she knows what she is talking about. It was really informative to me, especially as a budding designer!

Drapey-ness

Stay tuned in the next couple of days for a review of Knitting it Old School, plus my progress on a little distracting project AND the Locke Cardigan.

Review: AlterKnits

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Some of you may remember that, while I’m chugging away on my Rocky Coast Cardigan (chugga-chugga choo choo!), I checkout out a couple of knitting books from the library. My first review is AlterKnits: Imaginitive Projects and Creativity Exercises by Leigh Radford. In the introduction, Leigh talks about her book’s philosophy, specifically how she envisioned the book as a the ‘next step’ in her design career, as she altered her traditional ascetic. God, I hope that makes sense, because I don’t know how else to explain it. There are 27 designs in the book, and they range from the generally unmakable (a knitted screen door, anyone?) to gorgeous garments and useful household items.

Alterknits, by Leigh Radford- joined by Mr. Sunflower

While there weren’t really any patterns in here that made me say, “wow, I HAVE to knit that,” there were several that were stretches for me, but that I could see someone with a different fashion sense making and wearing quite successfully. First of all, the Mohair Cables Pullover is very, well, pretty. Of course, part of that is the gorgeous photography. You see the model in a field with the sun setting at her back, and it’s a lot harder to notice the sort of strange neckline and the bulkiness of the sweater. It has more of a lounging around the house/boyfriend fit then something I would probably make, but it is really, really pretty. Especially in this picture.

Mohair Cables Pullover- doesn't the model look sad?

The other pattern I was drawn to was the Unisex Deconstructed Pullover. Now this is what I think Radford meant when she was talking about alter-knits. With a quick look at the schematics I’m not sure I quite understand the construction, but it looks like on of those projects that you do partly because you like the look of the finished garment and partly because you want to see how the magic happens. The mix of colors, stitching, and symmetry (or lack of) certainly creates a unique FO.

Unisex Deconstructed Pullover, joined by what looks to be a Mohair Cabled Pullover...

I took a quick picture of the schematics just to show you a couple of things. First, how big they are. Aren’t they beautiful? I always love it when the publisher (or the author, but I bet a lot of the discussion here involves the publisher) takes the time to spread out large schematics so that the knitter can actually see and use them while they are dealing with the wet wool. All of the projects have schematics like this, which is a major plus for this book. Secondly, isn’t this pullover complicated?

Schematics!

The verdict in this book is egh. It’s certainly not a horrible book full of 1980’s ‘fashion’ for knitters, and there is a lot to be said for it. The patterns are creative, and Radford adds little tips and activities throughout the book to increase creativity. Of course, the photography is also gorgeous, but that sometimes takes away from your ability to see how the finished object will really look on a real person. Finally, the projects veer heavily to the household area, which I’m not really drawn to. Most of the garments aren’t really to my taste- it was printed in 2005, so some of the newer styles that are invading knitwear design (shawl collars? open-neck cardigans?) aren’t really in here. All in all, I would strongly recommend checking it out of your local library to at least give it a flip through. You never know, it might spark your creativity!

Beyond Toes: Review

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front cover, disclaimer: this and most of these pictures were sniped from ravelry. The links are included in the text!

As I mentioned in my last post, a couple weeks ago I won a copy of Beyond Toes: Knitting Adventures with Judy’s Magic Cast On by Judy Becker over the Go Knit In Your Hat blog.  Thanks again, Carol! After several perusal’s of my new book, I have a couple of highlights to show you. First, the book does a great job going ‘beyond toes.’ I guess because the Cast On was invented for toe-up socks, Judy felt like she wanted to show you everything else you can use it for. And boy, did she. There’s a bunch of sections in this book, and, while not all of the garments match my personal style, some really do. These are my absolute favorites/must knits:

love!

Although I’ve never been a big fan of knitting mittens (I dunno…I think I really hate the thumbs), my only pare are getting a little bit old, so I was considering a new one. The Bobsled Mittens look perfect- they’ve got a cute design, but they’re not so crazy that I would never wear them. I don’t really have any yarn in mind, but I bet they’ll be on the needles sometime soon.

cool beans, man!

Next we have the Three-Point Socks. You all know me- I love the socks! And these have such an interesting construction… Usually I knit socks to unwind, so I use my basic toe-up pattern. But with this extra long break coming up where I don’t have much to do, I bet I’ll want to try something new. And these are really cool! The stitch pattern is really cool; it almost looks like a tilted stockinette. I bet I have some half-used-up handpaints that would work really well with this.

While I don’t know if I will ever knit this, it’s really cute and I just had to share. Laurel Jane’s Cap has a cabled top part with a brim…I’m pretty sure I’d never wear it, but I might find someone to gift it to. Who knows!

The book also has one other pattern that I really have to tell you about. I’ll never knit it, but the Swept Off My Feet Scarf is just adorable! It’s a scarf, but there’s two socks at the end. Maybe I would make this for another sock-knitter in a swap or something. I dunno, just had to show you all!

There’s also a great selection of other items: a pillow, a pattern for a stuffed pig, a netbook cozy, bags, shawls, a vest, more socks. You name it, this book has it. If you’re looking for some interesting, unique items, I definitely recommend it!

Finally, I’m going a little backwards here, but the book starts with a great explanation of the Magic Cast On, with a bunch of alternations that can be used with a variety of projects. Judy also includes a bit of her family history (old-time pictures included!), plus the story of how the cast-on was created. I’ve already used this part of the book…here are my newest socks! I’m calling them Wavy Toes (even though, you know, the waves aren’t actually on the toes).

toesies!

I’m going toe-up, and I’m just using a slant pattern that I’m making up as I go along. I hope it works out…although right now I’m thinking I might frog and do the pattern every row (I’m only doing it every other row now, and it’s sort of showing). It’s the Hanukah Socks for my aunt…hopefully I’ll have them finished with plenty of time. They’re made out of what I’m pretty sure is Knit One, Crochet Two Crock-O-Dye (65% wool, 20% nylon, 15% silk) in Fingering Weight from the Yarn Club in Virginia Beach. The yarn sure is pretty…light blues and white. Hopefully it’ll all work out!

Socks from the Toe Up- My Sock Knitting Bible!

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So, before I show you pictures of my newest finished objects, I wanted to do a review of what is probably my favorite knitting book in the universe. Wendy Johnson’s (is it stalker-ish of me to admit that I read her blog every day?) Socks from the Toe Up (BN/Amazon/Ravelry link) is my go-to sock knitting book. I think I bought it just after I had made my first pair of socks- a traditional cuff-down, heel flap, DPN pair made in a Encore Worsted. The socks had turned out OK, and I was really interested in trying my hand at some new ones. Luckily for me, one of my LYSs was going out of business and I was able to snag quite a few skeins of sock yarn on the cheap.

Shamelessly Sniped from Barnes and Nobles (link above)

I think I started with a pair of On-Hold Socks in some navy Wildefoote Luxury Sock on size US0 needles. Here’s my project page. Those socks came out just a smidge too small, but that one pattern was all it took to get me addicted to knitting socks. Particularly, Wendy Johnson’s Toe-Up Socks.

On-Hold Socks

Since then, I’ve tweaked my recipe just a bit. After experimenting with my Knit Picks nickle-plated DPN sampler set, I now know that if I use my US1.5’s I get a perfect fit on the size M, which should be just a bit bigger than my foot. I guess I’m a tight knitter then, especially on the DNPs. I’ve also learned that if I go 5 inches from my toe increases then that’s the perfect time to start increasing for my gusset- that took a bit of trial and error.

Trilobite Socks in Knit Picks Stroll Multi

In the end, though, I think I’ve knitted about 9 of these patterns- some more than once. I really can’t recommend this book enough- especially for people who are just starting out knitting socks. It has three plain-jane basic patterns, 16 lace patterns with varying degrees of difficulty, 3 gansey socks, 2 cabled, and even 3 patterns in sport weight. The introduction also has tons of information on knitting socks from materials like needles, accessories, and yarn to some great, simple illustrations on different techniques. I would definitely check this book out!

Lace Rib Socks in Northern Lights Fiber Co. Solar Flare Sock