Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: VOGUE KNITTING MITTENS & GLOVES

Another gorgeous knitting book from the editors of Vogue Knitting magazine. You will find an incredible collection of over 40 patterns that were collected as best published designs from today leading designers. I am sure you will recognize many of them from the magazine issues over the years. Now they are all together in one book, so we do not have to look for another pattern for gloves or mittens. It will take us some time to get through all of these beautiful, stylish, different in knitting technique and usage points.
Editor in Chief of Vogue Knitting, Trisha Malcolm says: "Fun and funky fingerless mitts are a perfect first project... Many of the projects knit up quickly and with very little yarn..."















In summary: A treasure for knitting a special gift while not getting bored. Each designer offers a different technique. Charts are given and instructions are wonderful. Projects vary from a cutting-edge wristlets and funky fingerless mitts to some classics using Fair Isle, cables, and lace. There are even a few coordinating hats and scarves thrown in.






BOOK REVIEW: ENTRELAC The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting

This new book by Sixth&Spring Books is full of surprises. The author, Rosemary Drysdale, is knitting editor at Vogue Knitting and Knit Simple magazines. She is also a consultant and a designer in the yarn industry. Entrelac is an intriguing technique that sometimes intimidates a not-so brave knitter. This book begins with Chapter 1: Enterlac step by step. It is a picture after picture on six pages. I think anybody can learn this technique following this chapter. It is so clear and every step is there, so you can check your work with the book. There are 65 swatches that take you through use of cable, lace, Fair Isle, rib, and other stitch patterns in entrelac.












In addition to the reference part of this book we can enjoy more than 25 beautiful, fashionable, contemporary and not bulky as you might fear designs. They range from home decor, to baby items, to a great variety of beautiful garments. Gauge of many projects is anywhere between 16-26 sts per 4 inches.
Here are two of 25 projects in the book.





In summary: A beautiful and very helpful book that will take your fear away from this interesting and full of potentials technique. Good buy for the money as well.

KNITTING ON THE EDGE

The new paperback edition of this book is out for your pleasure. Nicky Epstein is offering us the essential collection of 350 different decorative borders that can be used in any way we wish or dare. A great addition to a knitter's library. Nicky is showing some sample projects to support her point of using this collection. Take this sweater, for example. It is worked in plane Stockinette and the edge, called Sugar drops on page 155, makes this sweater fun and interesting.
These are two more examples of the use of edges given in a book. The layout of the material is clear and beautiful. As you browse through many chapters such as ribs, ruffles, lace, fringes, flora, points and picots, and some additional pages on techniques and helpful notes, you can't help yourself thinking where you can use what you see. Your juices of inspiration are brought up to a pretty high level at this point.







In summary: This book is inspirational, full of learning moments, and the one that will be your faithful companion in your knitting endeavors.

Monday, November 15, 2010

SUCCESSFUL LACE KNITTING

A beautiful and very interesting book by Donna Druchunas is celebrating the work of Dorothy Reade and the lace knitting itself. So, who is Dorothy Read? To find out you need to read Donna's book where you will find articles and photographs some of which are picturing a beautiful woman spinning, drawing lace charts, and traveling. There are some photos of her work and exhibits in a museum. In short, we are very thankful to Dorothy for her tremendous work on the develoment of lace charts that we now can follow for intricate knitting designs.
The structure of Donna's book is simply brilliant! She begins with historical notes about Dorothy Reade's work and her life. Later she walks us through lace knitting techniques and reading charts. Next we are looking at more than 20 delicate lace designs all using some element or stitch pattern that was used in Reade's projects. Chosen designers had plenty of inspiration from the lace stitch research by Donna Druchunas. Evelyn Clark, Annie Modesitt, Jackie Ericson-Schweitzer, Kristi Schueler, Debbie O'Neill, Marnie MacClean, and more are among the contributing designers for this book.

It is very hard to choose between these unique projects, but I wanted to say about the two of them. One is called Lace and Colorwork Wimple by Annie Modesitt. It is not only beautiful, but it is also very creative. Annie used the chart for lace part of this head covering and added a colorwork based on the same chart.


The other one is called Lace Mesh Triangular Shawl by Evelyn Clark. It is almost a replica of Dorothy Reade's shawl that was displayed in a museum.





















In summary: this is another great book by Donna Druchunas and I am in awe of the amount of work that went into it. Well done, Donna.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

TOE-UP 2-at-a TIME SOCKS



For every sock knitter in the world making a second sock is not as exciting as making the first one. Some even wait awhile before working on the second sock. For me it was always a worry that they come out the same in size especially the height on the leg part. I also never tried to make socks from a toe up. If you share my sentiments, we do not have to worry about this anymore. The new book called Toe-Up 2-at-a Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes is the cure for both of these problems. This is Melissa's second book. The first one 2-at-a-Time Socks was a success, so I was not surprised that I liked her new book.
In this book Melissa is teaching us how to make 2 socks at the same time and she starts them from a toe. There are some very helpful hints and explanations on a step-by-step procedure, so if you even never made a sock, this book will take you through the motions. There is a whole chapter on that topic. I loved the Sock Anatomy where Melissa related the proportions of an average sock. It is very helpful if you want to design your own sock.There is also a chapter with 15 patterns, so you can follow instructions for a particular sock.
I always appreciate many helpful photographs and charts that go along with explanations. The layout of the book is very friendly and easy to navigate. It's a keeper for me!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

INTERWEAVE PRESS GOODIES

Interweave press has so many wonderful things for us knitters and crocheters! Today I want to mention two of them.

CALENDARS
There is a new line of nine calendars for coming year 2011. Each of them is concentrating on a certain craft form like knitting, crochet, quilting, spinning, and others.
I got my review copy in knitting. It is a beautiful 12" x 12" wall calendar with focus on different knitting techniques.




When you open any month, you will see the photo of the "mood board" suggested for that particular month. I will give you one example. Here is the "mood board" for August. It brings us into world of lace.


With the help of this calendar you can explore lace stitch patterns and techniques either shown on the photo or any other. The back page of the calendar sites the sources of the featured stitches and yarns. So, it will take you on a journey to do what you choose with the "mood".

I love it! It helps me to keep all the deadlines, knitting events, and other important dates together in a separate place from the rest of the family. Great addition to my studio!

KNITTING DAILY TV, Series 500
Since 2009 Interweave runs a TV program called Knitting Daily. Unfortunately in my area I cannot watch it. Thankfully, this show is also coming as a DVD version.
This is the fifth series of workshops on knitting and crochet. It is released and sold at the Interweave store.



There are 13 episodes in total. Eunny Jang, host of the TV series and the editor of Interweave Knits magazine together with experts Shay Pendray and Kristin Omdahl teach knitters of all levels how to knit hats in the round, work with colors, finishing techniques, crochet and much more. There are three bonus videos by Eunny on Double Knitting, Entarlac and Domino Knitting.
Each workshop is done in a friendly manner and very informative and interesting. You can learn from very experienced instructors being at home and watching a certain episode as many times as you need. This sums it up for me. I love my reference materials be at my fingertips and not take much room in my studio.
In this particular series we enjoy appearances of wonderful designers such as VĂ©ronik Avery, Cat Borhi, Jared Flood, Berry Klein, and others. Each of them have something special to teach us.




On the personal note I am honored that two of my projects are included in this set. One of them is the Sweet Honey Beret that can be seen in episode 504 Hat Basics and the other one is right on the back jacket. As you see it above, Eunny is wearing my Spring Twilight Pullover.
I hope you will enjoy this DVD set as much as I do.

Friday, September 10, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: NEW ENGLAND KNITS

You probably have noticed some buzz around our knitting community about this book. Two talented designers Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre collaborated on this lovely collection of knitwear that fits the subtitle of the book Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist. You can't help yourself but agree with the authors when you browse through this book. Every item in this book has a classic look that we feel comfortable with. Yet, there is something new and fresh that fits in our world today.
Although the book is divided into three definitive chapters: Around the town, Fall in the farm, and Along the coast, I can see any of those designs to be worn in a city or anywhere else as well. They are comfortable, stylish, and feminine. Look at these designs and tell me if you can wear them. Most of the designs are offering a good range of sizes (5-7 sizes) and the shape that is flattering. The detailing and the construction of patterns are subtle, not overwhelming, but very beautiful and interesting. You will see there some lace, cables, embossed stitches, use of ribbing, ruching, bobbles, and picot edging. The construction elements include a good variety like knitting in the round, knitting sleeves in the round, knitting from top down, double-breasted front, many styles of collar, and hoods.


There is a skirt and a few but nice accessory pieces.












I do like this book for everything I already mentioned and its tasteful offering of patterns with the calm and graceful attitude. I hope you share my humble opinion about it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

AROUND THE CORNER Crochet Borders

Attention crocheters and knitters who like to use crochet for embellishments!! This new book by Edie Eckman is one of a kind. I encourage you to take a look at it. If you are searching for a nice edge for a sweater, a shawl, a baby blanket, or maybe for your kitchen towel or a table cloth this book will feel like a treasure that you were trying to hunt for some time.

Edie offers 150 different borders with great charts, well-written instructions (not a big surprise, if you know Edie's work), tips, "how to" pages full of illustrations.
Do you have to be a pro at crochet? Not really. On page 14 you will find a note for novices where the author suggests to try some of the simpler borders and see that they can do it. It is an excellent idea to begin crocheting borders rather than a big piece like a sweater or a blanket. You can take any fabric and following this book add the border to it.
One of the most important techniques you must learn as you crochet is how to make a nice corner. Here is your chance to practice as you are having fun with this colorful and useful book.


Friday, July 16, 2010

CROCHET SO FINE


This book is another masterpiece by Kristin Omdahl. The focus of her creations this time is on crocheting with fine yarns. She proves that crocheted garment can be light and airy if it is done with a soft and lightweight yarn combined with the choice of a delicate stitch. In her introduction to the book Kristin is talking about her inspiration and is encouraging us to explore some new techniques with her.
The 20 projects in the book are divided between three chapters: Shawls and Wraps, Accessories, and Tops and Cardigans. All of them are light, elegant, contemporary, and wearable. On a personal note, I appreciate the art of stitching of any kind and drawn to new techniques, but am very practical when it comes to making something for me. I do not want to spend the time crocheting a project and not wearing it. When I am looking at Kristin's book, I know I am going to make something that I will wear and enjoy the compliments along the way.
Here is one of the shawls called Dragonfly Shawl with beautiful motifs and a gentle drape.


And a few more. Just enjoy the beauty.














Every project in the book has a great chart that accompanies very nice set of instructions. The layout of the book and photography are done with love and care for featured projects. It is truly a showcase of Kristin's impeccable and creative work.

There are some small but not less beautiful designs which include scarves, hats, neck warmer, and a bag. A lot of technical elements used in a bigger projects are applied for smaller ones. I think it is very clever since some people would attempt to make a small piece and learn the technique before starting a big one.














The final chapter gives us plenty to admire as well. Very flattering shapes, gorgeous colors, lacy or not cardigans, tanks, tops. Here is our chance to learn hairpin lace, motif joining, different edgings, shaping, and various constructions.

What can I say, I did not try to hide my admiration for these designs. Each one of them is different and gives the opportunity to fully enjoy and appreciate a new life of crochet brought to us by designers like Kristin Omdahl. It is an inspirational, interesting, and educational book, which I recommend to anyone who wants to dive into making beautiful crocheted garments and accessories.