Monday, February 20, 2012


 Margaret Radcliffe's new book with Storey Publishing is everything I was hoping for. I love her writing style and respect the amount of research that goes into her work. This time her focus is on mastering techniques of knitting in the round.

The 320-page book called Circular Knitting Workshop has a feel of a classic classroom with the chalkboard background.
It goes so well together with step-by-step explanations supported by photos and notes. In depth analysis of cast-on looks. Have you ever worried about the beginning of round stitch being different and loose? Margaret has a cure for it.

She has subheadings like Solving Circular Knitting Problems, Making Circular Swatches, Solving Problems with Double Points, and so on.

Almost every page has 3-7 photos on it. I love that. You can follow the tutorial on each technique by reading and seeing.
The first half of the book is focusing on how-to techniques and swatches addressing all main problems with circular knitting. You might find there something you did not know before. This book is a compilation of all known up-to-date circular knitting technique including working two tubes at a time, magic loop method and so on.

There are 10 chapters in all. Each of last 5 chapters is concentrating on a specific type of project:sock, shawl, hats and bags, mittens, and sweaters and vests. In depth explanation of each type of project is supported by a design.

In summary, this is a great book that you will want to keep as a reference. The book will be released next month.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An iPad app The Knitter's Companion by Vicki Square

When Vicki Square published her book The Knitter's Companion in June of 2006 (Interweave Press) it was received so well by knitting community that later in 2010 this book was put on a DVD. This is an interview with Vicki on Knitting Daily. Since then we have moved on to our iPhones and iPads and we want the convenience of having this information with us at all times we are at our knitting project. Our wish came true in this new application for an iPad. 

 This app is like an e-book version of the hard cover. We have all basic techniques of knitting, tips including how to knit back, great illustrations and short and clear directions. Here are some snaps of pages we can see there. If you are a beginner, it is a great tool. If you are an advanced knitter and just want to recollect something you have seen or tried before, it is very useful as well.




Let me know if you like it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Yarn U. Review of an iPhone/ iPad app.

When Mary Beth Klatt contacted me about reviewing her app for iPhone or iPad called YARN U, I agreed to take a look at it since we all love apps and if it is about knitting we say, how can I pass this.

When I got the app on my iPhone, I was a little overwhelmed with information and how to use it, so I thought: who can tell better about this useful with a lot of potentials app than Mary Beth herself?  I contacted her this time with some questions. Since I was very busy I did not post this right away (sorry Mary Beth). Now after the recent update, I am glad I waited. Since our talk there were some great changes made. For example, this nice tutorial on how to use the app was added later.

There are many more yarns and photos there. By the way, photos on this app are of phenomenal quality and a great source of inspiration. You can find the yarn in alphabetical order, by company,  or by weight.  This is an example of a page when you go to a certain yarn. There is a map where the company is located and a list of information about the yarn below.

Here are the questions I asked:

1. What is the purpose of this app?
My app is an on-the-go reference guide for knitters, something that they can pull up on their mobile devices as they're out shopping in their favorite stores. That said, I've heard of some knitters using my app as a source of inspiration. All the 2,460+ images can inspire new projects.

2. How do you choose out of so many yarns on the market what yarns to catalogue ?
I wanted it to be the top 500 yarns, but since I'm dealing with image use permissions, it's more or less evolved in yarns that I've been able to secure image use.

3. Are you planning on expanding to all yarns?
No, not all yarns. Just the top 500 yarns that are in production.

4. Is Yarn U mainly serving a knitter or both knitter and a professional designer?
Both. The casual user can benefit just as much as the pro designer.

5. I love that you show all available colors of each yarn. Are you planning on updating it if a new color comes out?
No...I rather add new yarns than do overkill with adding new images to existing entries. I only update existing images if they have less than 10 images or the existing images are lackluster. Otherwise, I leave 'em alone. Great pictures are breathtaking no matter how 'old' they are.

6. Can I easily see through Yarn U where I can purchase the yarn near my location?
I've thought about adding this as a feature...but I'd have to keep updating that. Maybe I could put a location or two for each yarn, but I rather just add new yarns and images. I haven't gotten a whole lot of requests for adding a "where to buy" feature.

7. Are the yarns catalogued by company, fiber content or the weight? Sometimes a knitter is looking for a suitable yarn not knowing the name of the yarn?
There is a drop down menu that a user can play with to find yarns that way. For example, you could sort by looking for worsted weight yarns and then search for those that are hand dyed.

8. I would love to see a tip on blocking a particular yarn. Some yarns are fine with soaking, steaming, sprinkling, stretching and so on. Others do not behave well with a certain type of blocking. What do you think about that?
Great idea...Something I could incorporate in the Pro/Con section of each entry. People love this kind of insider information...especially when they're working with expensive yarns. 

9. What is your vision of this app for the future?
500 yarns is the dream. But even that would constantly be revamped as yarns are discontinued. If I could spin the app off into related products would be fabulous. On that note, how about some "Yarn U" yarn at your LYS?

FG: This seems like yet another good source of information about yarns. One great thing about it is that it is on your phone at your finger tips.