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.

Monday, July 5, 2010

COLOR BY KRISTIN


A knitwear designer and decorative artist Kristin Nicholas is the author of a new book Color by Kristin (Sixth&Spring Books). From the subtitle How to Design Your Own Beautiful Knits we gather that Kristin is set to teach us how to work with color, understand it, use a Color Wheel to our advantage, and most of all how to be brave and experimental with color combination. Even for an experience knitter, who worked with colors for years, there is something to learn and admire.
At the beginning of the book Kristin is walking us through the very important initial point for any knitting project in general - a swatch making. As we all know, a good swatch tell us about the gauge and shows us what our knitting will look like. In this case we go farther and we experiment with the color interaction. From a Color Wheel we learned what goes well together, but our yarns have shades of color that might not look very pleasing when you use them in a motif. Kristin is showing us the difference in swatches using the same motif with different colors and explains what should we look for.
There are tricks and tips on how to handle the yarn for a Fair Isle knitting, how to steek, how to make and read a chart, and how to duplicate a stitch.

There is even a lesson on how to design your own Fair Isle knits with suggestions to start with an easy project and increase the difficulty level one-by-one. There is a Color Chart Glossary at the end of the book for substituting charts to customize a certain pattern. I have found all these instructional parts of the book very helpful and not intimidating.

Maybe I am spoiled by other books on the market, but there is one thing that is missing for me here. I want to see a small image next to the name of the project in the Contents to be able to find it quicker. I can live without it, of course, but it would be nice.

For any craft book it is very important to have good photographs. The book about color work is practically relying on the photography to talk to its reader. Well, I have to take my hat off to the beautiful work of Jack Deutsch (still life photography) and John Gruen (model and location photography). Every project, no matter how small, has a full page clear shot and additional small photos accenting a certain view or a technique. Just stunning!

There are about 25 projects ranging in difficulty level from beginner to experienced. For a beginner Kristin suggest a smaller project like a Java Jacket for a French coffee press or simple Mad for Plaid Mittens. Later you can venture to adorable Cuffed Mittens and Socks.






Continue with Bloomsbury Gauntlets with a duplicate stitch for some design enhancement. Next maybe On-The-Go Knitter's Tote and work your way to the Best Friends Pullovers. It is hard to say what is the most advanced project in the book since we are all on our own level of knowing how to knit and work with color. One thing is evident: there are many designs that we can choose from and they are all calling us to begin this journey with Kristin to perfect our skills in color work. It is a beautiful, inspirational, and very useful book.

Friday, July 2, 2010

60 QUICK KNITS. WIN A FREE COPY.

Sixth & Spring Books a Division of SOHO Publishing Co. and the former editor of Vogue Knitting magazine, Tanis Gray, have a new knitting book out.
An ode to a very popular yarn Cascade 220, this book includes 60 small patterns that are broken into three groups: 20 hats, 20 scarves, and 20 mittens. In other words, it is exactly what the title of the book says.
The book opens with an introduction where the story of Cascade Yarns begins in 1980 at the time it was founded. From that story and our experience as a knitter we know that the company is going strong with their large variety of yarns and their leading yarn Cascade 220. Did you know that this yarn comes in over 250 colors? This 100% Peruvian highland wool is soft, beautiful, high-quality yarn that is also very affordable. For many in this unstable economy it is a huge plus.
Let's take a look inside. The design of the book is clean and beautiful. Each project has a full-page photo and clear instructions. Most designs are for an easy to intermediate level of difficulty with an addition of some beginner and experienced projects. Some charts are provided for more intricate patterns. Personally, I would like to see more of them. I can see the editor's point though, when the space is limited and the patterns stitch is not too difficult, this is the thing to omit. More than 35 of well-known knitwear designers contributed to this book. Here are some photo shots from the book. Remember, there are 60 projects, so it is so much more to see and make.

HATS











SCARVES











MITTENS









Since this yarn is available in most yarn shops and comes in so many different colors, any knitter will be delighted to see so many possibilities to use it. I think it is a very clever and useful book. It doesn't matter how experienced we are with knitting techniques, we always want to come back to a small and gratifying projects either for a gift idea or just for a satisfaction that one more project is done. I hope you enjoyed taking a first glance at this book with me and will put it on your list to own.

HOW TO WIN THIS BOOK

If you want to win this book, please leave your comment with your name where you tell us about your favorite Cascade 220 color and a project you made. If we can see it on Ravelry.com, please give us a link there. The last day to leave your comment is July 19th, 2010. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator.

This free copy of
60 Quick Knits is generously offered by Soho Publishing as giveaway to my wonderful blog readers.
I hope you win!!

Please see the post on my home page.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Cynthia A. aka Chinders on Ravelry.com. !

YOU ARE NOW THE OWNER OF THIS COPY!
I will send you a message on Ravelry.