Thursday, December 20, 2012

My New Favorite

I know that I am not the first person to talk about ChiaoGoo needles. Many people already tried them and fell in love with these sleek circular needles. I am a bit fussy, to say the least,  about my tools. I knit continental style and am pretty fast at it, so I need my needles to not be on a way of my flying stitches. That means: great points, flawless joint at the transition from needle to the cord, not coiling cord, and affordable. Too much to ask?
Well, at the market during the last Interweave Knit Lab I have met Amy Dzula, the owner of Mimi's Needle Basket. After chatting with her about this and that, I bought from her 3 sizes of ChiaoGoo needles to try. They looked like a perfect tool.
When I came home and started to knit, I confirmed to myself that these are the needles I want to use for my work. Here is the overview:

A perfect point

A flawless joint

The cord is not coiling

And the price is right

As a matter of fact, I am thinking of buying the interchangeable set of needles, so I can take it with me when I travel. 
If you are a fan of bamboo needles, they have them too. If you are a crocheter, they have crochet hooks as well. 

Check it out for yourself and let me know what do you think about it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: Sugar and Spice: Six Bakery-Inspired Crochet Fashions

Linda Permann is a wonderful crochet designer who is also an author, teacher, and a full-time employee at Her books are very popular and her beautiful and whimsical designs range in difficulty to accommodate any crocheter.

This time Linda published an e-book. It is so great to have it on a computer or iPad and take it with you anywhere you go. Now, if you are not that much into using computers for your patterns, you have an option to print it out and use it as a regular book.

All projects are made with Malabrigo Yarns and it is one of MFPP booklets in collaboration with Malabrigo yarn company.  MFPP stands for Malabrigo Freelance Pattern Project.

Here is what Linda says in her introduction to explain the title of her book:

" The six designs in Sugar and Spice were inspired by my love of crocheted texture—and desserts, ranging from simple to ornate. Bubbling cherries swim a cobbler crust, embossed designs adorn an Italian cookie, and glowing beads of sugar dance along the edge of a freshly baked pie. Just like a delicious dessert, a beautiful hat, shawl or sweater will leave you feeling warm and content."

So, let's look what's inside of this lovely book. It has 6 patterns:one is better than another. 

This is a snapshot from Ravelry page. It is just published and each pattern has many hearts already. You can download it right there on Ravelry.

As you see there are 2 delicious hats, a cowl, a shawl, and 2 tops.
What strikes me the most in these patterns is the similarity with knitting texture. Talking about taking crochet to a new level! Who said it has to be granny square all over again? 
These designs are innovative, delicate, stylish and very wearable. 

This beret is worked in a way that it looks like a traveling knitting technique. Just gorgeous!

My favorite piece is the cardigan. I love everything about it. The fit, the color, the stitch, and  the length. It looks terrific on Linda herself, don't you think?

The shawl is my next favorite. It is long and narrow to wrap around your neck in a beautiful swirl still showing its beautiful and airy border.

I love all the projects and think that they are not pretentious or complicated, but with just enough interest to make them irresistible. 

You can find this book on Ravelry or Cratfsy and download it as a book or you can purchase each pattern individually on Ravelry. Have fun with this delicious book!