Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review of Knitter's Pride dreamz and KARBONZ

Recently I received two sets of Knitter's Pride needles from Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter from for review. Most of the time I work with circular needles. I like them to be metal and smooth so I can knit quickly and the yarn does not catch between the cord and the needle. For that reason I never really looked at Knitter's Pride since they are not metal.

When I was preparing for taping of a Slip Stitch DVD with Interweave Press, I was wondering which needles to bring with me on the set.

I was so grateful to receive these two sets of Knitter's Pride interchangeable needles. I tried them on my samples for the class and fell in love with them immediately.

They are not metal but they are very smooth with sharp enough tips and very smooth transitions from the cord to the needles. The cord is very pliable, doesn't coil at all, and is thicker than many of the cords of circular needles on the market. This helps to keep stitches on gauge while they are sitting  on the cord.
So these are the full I received:
Symfonie Wood Interchangeable Deluxe Set

This set contains 9 knitting needle tips, US size 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 1/2 and 11; 4 cords: 1 no. 24", 2 now. 32", 1 no. 40" and accessories: 1 set of size markers, 8 end caps, 4 cord keys, 1 cord case. This is your basic range of needles that you need to work on practically anything. There are other sets available on the Knitter's Pride website or your local yarn shop.

I certainly recommend these needles for many reasons. In addition to the reasons described above, I think it is very clever that they are color coordinated. It is easy to remember which size of needle you are using, the cords can be used for all sizes of needles in the set, so they are truly interchangeable. The cord is screwed into the needle with ease, creating a smooth join. I can see that I will be using these needles for many projects.

Interchangeable Midi Set

This set contains 4 knitting needles tips: US size 7, 8, 9 and 10 and 2 cords: 24" and 32," accessories: 1 set of size markers, 4 end caps, 2 cord keys.

Knitter's Pride explains that Karbonz are "the epitome of innovation and perfection! One of the most revolutionary needles of our times that combine the premium quality of carbon fiber with perfectly shaped nickel plated brass tips! Carbon Fiber is one of the most versatile materials used in modern times for use in aircrafts, automobiles, etc. and is ideal for knitting needles on account of its high tensile strength, light weight and comes with a surface that offers excellent control over the stitches. This union of two revolutionary materials is guaranteed to provide an unparalleled knitting experience. "

Everything that I said about the dreamz set also applies here to the Karbonz needles: the tips are pointy and long, the cords are pliable, and the connection is smooth.  The body of the needle, due to the material it is made of, is not as slick. This is very helpful for lace knitting when you don't want your stitches to fall off of the needle. There is more friction on the body of the needle to hold your stitches safely.

These two sets represent a partial collection of sets that Knitter's Pride has available. I would encourage you to go to their website and see the many options. They have some fun colors as well as square needles offered in Symfonie cubics.
Check out the MARBLZ. They have stylish and interesting coloring. If you want to treat yourself to a set of needles that work well and will be admired by others, you could find them at Knitter's Pride.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: Knitting Fresh Brioche, Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns

A new book by Nancy Marchant is out and we are in for a treat with many incredible brioche patterns that Nancy developed for us to use. In this book there is a stitch dictionary with more than 70 original two-color patterns. All patterns are charted with symbols developed by Nancy.

Nancy said while finishing her first book, Knitting Brioche, she "desperately wanted to dive into developing new brioche stitch patterns. I have spent the past five years developing the stitches presented here, all of which were created using only increases and decreases worked on a basic two-color brioche knit fabric. There are no cables or crossed stitches, no textural variations, no play with variegated color or different yarn weights -- only increases and decreases. And this is just a handful of brioche stitch pattern possibilities: there are still so many more to discover!"

Nancy made an interesting choice of projects to show how to use the stitch patterns in this book. All of the projects are neckwear: either it is a shawl, cowl or scarf. This choice is confirming the two-sided nature of the stitches. The first part of the book is taking the reader through the basics of brioche technique in two colors. It helps to know a basic brioche stitch without variations in one color. If you want to learn more about the variety of brioche stitches, you could refer to Nancy's first book, Knitting Brioche. After you've mastered basic brioche stitch, you can quickly go to two-color brioche, which is the focus of this new book. Nancy explains how to cast-on in two colors, how to bind off, how to increase and decrease in two-color brioche. She even explains how to weave in ends after the project is finished and how to fix mistakes. You will be taken through the portion of the book where you learn how to use two-color brioche charts along with learning symbols and abbreviations. The numerous stitch patterns are well photographed, charted and have very clear instructions. If you are designing your own project, you could refer to the stitch dictionary and have a wealth of beautiful stitch patterns to choose from. Here are some examples of  beautiful projects in this book:

I am looking forward to using this book for my designs and learning some of these beautiful stitches. I'm sure that you will find this book exciting and informative. This is definitely a great reference book that I highly recommend adding to your knitting library! You can learn from Nancy yourself how to brioche in her class, Exploration in Brioche Knitting

Saturday, May 17, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The New Tunisian Crochet

Attention, all the crocheters out there:
This book The New Tunisian Crochet by Dora Ohrenstein  is a treasure.

Besides great patterns and a big portion for a stitch dictionary, it covers a wide range of topics including the known history about this technique, where and when it is thought to have originated, technique how to, stitches to explore and more.  If you want to learn, already know how to, or just want to try more of this technique you will find this book an interesting and useful reference.

Here is some of the history for you. Isn't it a cute dress? It is an old design, but don't you think it is also kind of modern?

Examples of early tunisian crochet
Although the origins of Tunisian crochet are  unknown, what history we do know is described in the beginning of this book.  I love when books have this, I am fascinated with the history of all fiber arts.  If you truly are a history buff, this book gives you many sources for a more in-depth look on this subject.  Check them out to find more.

The book is complete with techniques specific to Tunisian crochet such as working with double -ended hooks and using short rows to create a circle.  In this section it also describes how to do colorwork, entrelac, and even combine regular crochet with Tunisian.  This is where a beginner can use this book to advance their skills.     

Tunisian and Regular crochet
Short Rows
The stitch dictionary is complete with pictures of swatches, written instructions, and a chart for 33 stitches including cables and lace stitches. Yes, it is crochet, you are reading it right! I am so impressed with this section of the book even the most complicated stitches are broken down step-by -step and explained in words followed by a chart.  My favorite stitch is the Lace Wave. I think, it is so beautiful!    

Lace Wave Stitch

Here is a peek at some of my favorite projects from the book.

Terra Hat and Mitts by Lily Chin

Mago Vest by Charles Voth

Ariadne Sampler Throw by Lisa Daehlin

Sierra Bag by Margaret Hubert

There is such a variety of projects and information that it worth buying for many reasons. I am keeping this one. 
Check Crochet Insider and Dora's Ravelry group to follow what else she is up to. Maybe you catch her class schedule and take a class with her.

Written by Lynn Bloch.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Reversible Knits

Delicious book by Iris Schreier, Reversible Knits, has 144 pages full of small and beautiful projects. Iris is a NY based knitwear designer and is the founder of Artyarns fibers company. She designs her yarn that is manufactured in the United States. All designs in this book showcase her gorgeous yarns. At the same time she offers her guide for yarn substitution, if you choose to make her design out of your stash yarn.

As the title of the book suggesting, the focus is on reversible techniques. Iris says: " For me, the design has to be intentional, so that both sides are beautiful and balanced." That is what you see in this book. 
There are 6 chapters total that cover familiar knitting techniques with attention to reversibility: 
One-Yarn: Knit/Purl – Similar pattern on both sides.
Multi-Yarn: Knit/Purl – Produce the same pattern or very different patterns on the reverse side. Includes some slip-stitch projects.
Lace - Reversible garter lace or faggoting.
Cable – Reversible cables.
Double Knitting – Great classic example for scarves, hats and  shawls.
Modular – Great one to learn if you are not familiar with it.
Each chapter begins with swatches and explanations on how to work a particular stitch and the usage of it. A few patterns follow using these learned stitches. Iris is leaving some room for you to explore and shares her passion about designing with both sides in mind.
Here are some pages at a glance.

My opinion: A lovely book with much useful information and interesting patterns. Definitely worth having it. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Laura Zander has done it again…

Sew Red is part of the Stitch Red campaign and the companion book to Knit Red.  

Laura Zander, co-founder and co-owner of Jimmy Beans Wool, has once again found some amazing celebrity talents to not only inspire but to educate women about the dangers of heart disease. 
Sew Red focuses on bringing awareness  to the disease by showcasing stylish and exciting designs by sewing and quilting celebrities followed by their stories. And you guessed it, all of the designs are done in red!

Some of the celebrity talent includes: Television host Ty Pennington, Project Runway star Suede, fabric designer Amy Butler, knitwear designer Kaffe Fassett and more.  

Complete with project previews (always a favorite feature of mine), profiles on all the designers, a heart-healthy living section, and sewing basics this book has it all.

Some of my favorites

Westminster Backpack by Ty Pennington

Drawstring Dress by Amy Butler

Jewelry Case by Saremy Duffy

Asian Modern Pillow by Linda Lee

Buttoned-Up by Jenean Morrison

Queen of Hearts by Marcia Harmening

Petal Dress by Anna Cohen
This book is full of beautiful designs and it was hard for me to pick only a few.  I can't say enough great things about this very inspirational and helpful book. I am excited to pass this on to my readers.

If you want a sneak peak into the designer's lives, some heart healthy recipes, or just beautiful patterns you can have it all with Sew Red.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of Sew Red will benefit the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of The Heart Truth®, a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease, sponsored by the NHLBI.

Monday, June 17, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Finer Edge

Another wonderful and useful book by a well-known crochet designer Kristin Omdahl.

It is a combination of a dictionary of special edgings and beautiful designs where these edgings are applied.  Any crocheter who wants to polish some skills or looking for ideas will be very pleased with Kristin's innovative techniques. It is a reference book that you can treasure.

Please read to the very end and you will see that there is a surprise waiting for you.

What's inside:

Almost half of the book is the dictionary of edgings. They are broken into 4 groups: Top-Down, Bottom-up, Side-to-Side, and Miscellaneous. Each begins with a photo and followed by a detailed and clear written instruction, and ends with a very well-done chart. It is your choice what to follow. 

Not only you have a lot to choose from, you also get suggestions on how to mix and match these edgings for your projects. Do you want to learn how to turn the corner? It is right there on page 9. 

This shows how to use the edging right on the fabric

A few edgings from this book

I can see how you can apply practically any of the edgings to adorn a knitted or a crochet project. Just use a simple overall stitch pattern and finish with one of these edgings and you got a winner.

In the second part of the book Kristin is helping us to see how actually we can use her dictionary. Since she is a wonderful designer, her projects in this book are original, beautiful, and stylish.

Here are some of my favorites for you to see and admire.

Ephesus cowl

Petra Wrap skirt

Palmira Shawl

Memphis Bag
There is so much more to enjoy and learn as you are working with this book. It is not the book to look at and  put back on the shelf. It is the one to use over and over again for many different projects. I love books like this. It will never go out of style since you are adding a chosen edging to your stylish project. I highly recommend this book for any person interested in crochet.

And now the surprise you were waiting for.

I am having a giveaway of this book. Interweave Press kindly provided a copy of the book for my readers. There are 3 places where you can leave a comment about this book or what you would like to make and why this book is especially useful to you.
Here is where you can leave your comment:
1. Here on my blog;
2. On my twitter account @inasilver 
3. In my Ravelry group FGDesigns (become a member)

You can choose to leave a comment in all three places and triple your chance to win this book.

THE DEADLINE  is July 27th (my daughter's birthday :) ) 

Good luck! I hope you win!

FG: I am sorry that I did not announce it here, but I postponed the date since we did not get as many responses as I hoped :( This book is wonderful and I am surprised that we have only 3 comments on the blog and some on Twitter. All in all we had 9 comments. I gave each a number starting with my blog as 1, 2,  and 3. 
Now, when you are not waiting anymore :) , I am announcing the winner of this book. I use the random number generator and the number I got is 2. 

So, the author of the comment number 2 , Edith,  is the winner of this lovely book!! Congratulations!!

Edith, please contact me and give me your mailing address. I will send you the book right away. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Laura Zander, founder of Jimmy Beans Wool has gathered up 30 superstar designers from around the world to awe and inspire in the book Knit Red.  This book is part of the stitch red campaign, a partnership between Jimmy Beans Wool and many other companies in the fiber arts industry, compiled to help raise awareness of heart disease in women. Needless to say that all designs are done in different red yarns. Even from this point of view the book is very interesting and artistic. You do not get tired looking at so many red garments and accessories.

Knit Red starts off strong with a beautiful preview of all of the designs in the book and on what page they can be found.  I always liked this feature in books. It makes it so easy to navigate. What caught my interest was that with every design there was a profile of the designer.  I felt like I got to know each designer on a personal level.  Their stories inspired me to make heart healthy decisions in my life. 


Though most of the designs in the book are not ideal for beginners this should not deter the novice knitter.  The section called knitting know-how contains all the information needed for any beginner to move up a level in their knitting.   Laura included basic stitches, cast-ons, cables, yarn overs, bind offs, and even how to use double pointed needles and circular needles.  The pictures and instructions are very clear and techniques are so well explained that I feel a knitter of any level would find this useful. You can start with a smaller project and progress to a more intricate one learning a new technique or two on a way.

So, let’s look at some of the patterns that caught my eye

Beaded lace shawl by Andrea Jurgrau

 Multipattern Mittens by Jared Flood

Leaf lace sweater by Deborah Newton

Cabled Cardi by Norah Gaughan

Cabled Knee-Highs by Deborah Norville

The list goes on and on...  

Another great aspect is the section called Heart-healthy Living.  It contains shocking heart disease facts, questions for you to ask your doctor, and recipes for some delicious health conscious meals.   All in all,  I found this book inspirational for both my knitting and my health.