Knitting for the First Time

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Knitting for the First Time

Knitting for the First Time by Vanessa-Ann (is this a real person?) was published by Sterling/Chapelle in 2003. I think it was put together by an editor and the author is just a made-up name. The first question is do I think this is a good book for a beginner. This is what I thought about as I reviewed the book.

Before I go further, I’ll say: Thumbs Down for this book.

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Knitting for the First Time – back cover

The answer would be no, no – not a great beginner book. It does start with a decent review needles, tools and yarn.

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Illustrations

I do like the drawn illustrations as opposed to photo illustrations.

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Abbreviations

The order of all the basics is a bit strange. First abbreviations, then adding a new skein of yarn, then fixing mistakes and then finishing. I think a true beginner might find this a bit confusing.

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Basic Techniques with patterns

For me, here’s where it breaks down. Really – a color work Christmas stocking in beginning patterns. Plus, other than the cute baby pullover and hat, the other patterns are not great.

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Cute Baby Hat

With the sweater, this hat is very cute!

Beyond the Basics

Beyond the Basics

More unimpressive patterns.

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The Gallery

This spread and the next couple pages show sweaters designed by some of the designers within the book. No patterns for these – just pictures. I guess it’s inspiration, but all are really, really beyond a beginner!

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0806964154/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Exquisite Little Knits

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Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreirer & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel

Exquisite Little Knits is a nice little book for “Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns” as the subtitle suggests. Lark Books published Little Knits in 2004 in the hay day of specialty yarns.

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Exquisite Little Knits – Back Cover

Do I love this book? It’s mainly a project book of simple accessories that depend of the yarn rather than stitches to make them interesting. Thumbs Down for me!

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Photographed How-to’s

I liked the photographed how go’s. They are clear and easy to understand.

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Gemstone Scarf

Once the basics are covered, the book is broken down by various types of yarn. This scarf is from the “Lattice” section. It’s nice that a photo of the ball plus an image of the strands of yarn used is included.

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“Hat for All” from the Wool section

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North Cape Balaclava from the Silk section

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Golden Threads Boa from the Ribbon section

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Flying V Scarf from the Wool section

I do like this scarf. True to form, I’m always more interested in projects that are made in simple yarns rather than novelty yarns.

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Hot & Now Scarf from the Wool Section

Nice unisex garter stitch scarf! A good project for charity knitting or a gift.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Little-Knits-Luxurious-Specialty/dp/1579905366/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476305973&sr=1-1&keywords=exquisite+little+knits

The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book

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The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book cover – Margaret Klein Wilson

After a long hiatus, I’ve realized that my mission to remove knitting and crochet books from my shelves has really stalled. Got to get back to it in a big way!

This book is a perfect one to start my book removal quest. It’s a nice book for someone looking for classic knits. The Green Mountain Spinnery has a wonderful back story that is worth a read.

Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book was published in 2003 by The Countryman Press in Woodstock Vermont.

Before I begin, I’ll start out by saying that I’m moving this book off my shelves. It’s a nicely done book, but not really relevant to my knitting these days.

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Back Cover – Green Mountain Spinnery Yarn

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The Green Mountain Spinnery History

Where it all began. A 3-page section on the company’s history is a good way to start.

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Guernsey-style pullovers and Fair Isle cardigan

I liked the still life photos. They keep the mainly classic designs from becoming dated.

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Instruction example

The instruction pages had a clear layout. There were shaded designer notes, size, materials and experience level. The instructions below were clear and included a schematic drawing with measurements.

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Pattern Charts

Good charts and a side-bar of 4 color ways make this project approachable and easy to follow. One might have to enlarge the chart to make it more readable.

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Easy Raglan pullovers

I love these top-down pullovers. The pattern comes in child’s and adult’s sizing – a real plus! I might copy this pattern before I move this book to a better home.

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His and Hers Aran Pullovers

Love these classics that are sized from chest size 37″ to 54″. A great range!

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Classic Accessories

The last project is a group of accessories.

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Chart of Patterns

This was something I don’t think I’ve seen in a book of patterns. It’s a very helpful chart outlining everything you need to know before starting a pattern including skill level, gauge, needle size, finished measurements and yarn needed. Great!

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Favorite References

Another excellent feature was a page giving some great classic books that definitely should be in a well-rounded knitter’s library.

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Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns

The 3-page section on yarns would best be described as “a word from our sponsor”. It is after all a book produced and edited by a company who sells. It’s also great for helping a knitter substitute other yarns.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Green-Mountain-Spinnery-Knitting-Book/dp/088150579X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473276436&sr=8-1&keywords=the+green+mountain+spinnery+knitting+book

Style Your Own Kids’ Knits

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Style Your Own Kids’ Knits by Kate Buller

OK – I admit that I’ve fallen off the face of the blog world. I have lots of excuses not the least of which is that I took the photos in Florida and then couldn’t find the book when I got home – sigh! Anyway, I’m back and ready to move some of my books off the shelves.

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Style Your Own Kids’ Knits – Back Cover

This book was first published in 2002 in England. It has 8 different kids/baby sizes from 3-6 months to 9-10 years old for a variety of classic unisex styles. It’s meant to allow for  a mix and match aspect that gives the reader an opportunity to experiment and be creative.

Is the book for me? I’m not sure. I’m not usually this indecisive I do like the idea of the styles and variations. Let me think and I’ll let you know before I get to the end.

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How to use this book

This is good. The mini-layout with call outs is very helpful. The next page in the spread shows how to incorporate style variations into the sweater or sweaters.

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Needle Size Chart

My only negative comment on the chart is it seems like old UK & Canadian needles are long gone. Maybe I’m wrong. The book seems more designed for a newer knitter who only see needle sizes in Metric or US sizing.

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Classic Garments

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3-6 month patterns

This page shows the designs for 3-6 months and little schematics of what you  will be able to make in this section.

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1-2 year patterns

The photos in the whole book are quite good. No surprise as Kate Buller is definitely at the helm of the design/photography of the book.

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Body Chart for 2-3 years chapter

At first I wasn’t clear about how to use these body charts, but in re-reading the how-to section I got the idea. All the little boxes are places to insert various charts shown in the Creative Library.

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Charts from Creative Library

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Mastering Techniques

Usually I’m not a fan of photos showing techniques, but these are close up and rather good.

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Stitch Library

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Edgings

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Embellishments

I’ve come to the end and I’m giving this one a Thumbs Up! There are many good things about the book and for the moment, I’m keeping it. My thought is once I’ve gotten through all that I own, I’ll go back and make a second pass. This may take the rest of my life!

http://www.amazon.com/Style-Your-Own-Kids-Knits/dp/1855859270?ie=UTF8&keywords=style%20your%20own%20kids%27%20knits&qid=1464290117&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Knitting Pretty

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Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival

Another little book today. Even though it’s little, it has taken me awhile to get this into my blog. Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival (published in 2002 by Chronicle Books) is an easy to read and easy to use book. I have some negative comments, but generally it’s a nicely done  120 page volume.

Thumbs up or down: I liked the top down sweater at the end of the blog post, but most of the patterns are too simple for me. I’m going to pass on this book and keep my shelf space for more important books.

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Knitting Pretty – Back Cover

There is the usual “Getting Started” and “How to Knit” chapters

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Knitting – American Style

The American Style “How to Knit” page shown in the book has very small illustrations ( all illustrations are similar and all too small). Could you really learn from these illustrations? The next page is the Continental Style with no illustrations – yikees! Plus I wonder if a beginner would get the difference between the two styles and why to choose one over the other.

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Simple Garter Stitch Scarf

After all the “How-to” pages – through page 40, the first projects were simple and noted by a “1” in a circle. Clever graphics. The instructions tell you what you need to know and what page to refer to for a refresher on the technique – very clever. I like the step-by-step numbered instructions.

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Warmest Mittens – level 4

I include this project only because I’ve been working on mittens this winter and looking at various patterns. There isn’t a section which shows how to cast on and join for double-pointed needles. Not the easiest for someone who is using the book as a novice although there are lots of places where one could go to find the technique on the internet.

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Simple Squares

The swatches used to check gauges have other uses. This spread talks about ways to use squares, but the patterns are a bit vague.

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Simple Sweater – Level 5

Knit in the round from the top down, this is a nice sweater. It’s made in a chunky yarn which would make it a faster-to-knit project. The lack of how to knit with circular needles makes it again a bit of a stretch for a novice.

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Pretty-Instructions-Fabulous-Projects-ebook/dp/B00HSXBZ8I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459799819&sr=1-1&keywords=knitting+pretty

 

The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits

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The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits

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Simple Knits – Back Cover

This book is one of a series of books created by owners of the Yarn Company shop in New York City – Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs. This one was published by Carlson Potter in 2002.

Before I start the review, I’ll add a spoiler alert. I’m keeping this book and thus a thumbs up. Maybe I’m waffling in my old age or something, but the book does have some interesting designs and I’m almost in the mood to make a sweater. Haven’t done one in a long time.

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Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs

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Cast on Illustration

The illustrations are clear and easy to follow. There are approximately 30 pages of how-to’s including a few finishing and simple crochet edgings.They are much better than photos.

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Decreasing how-to

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Key to Yarn Weights

The above page shows weights of yarn used in the book. If I had one complaint about the book it would be that only heavier yarns are included. The lightest weight is a heavy worsted. On the other hand, the projects are quicker to make.

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Variegated Yarns

Many of the designs are made with variegated yarns that a perfect for newer knitters.

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Simple knit cardigan

All the projects are photographed on mannequins that keeps the book from becoming dated.

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Pattern layout

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Schematic drawings

The pattern instructions and schematic drawings are also clear and easy-to-use.

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Hoodie Pullover

My favorite project! Would make a nice present for someone.

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Hats from Simple Knits

A few accessories and home dec pieces end the book.

Well done Julie and Jordana!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Yarn-Girls-Guide-Simple-Knits/dp/0609608800/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457620323&sr=8-1&keywords=the+yarn+girls%27+guide+to+simple+knits

Book of Wool – the finale!

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally done with Clara Parkes wonderful book. Before you even ask – it’s a keeper.

In this blog, I’m going to discuss Chapter 4 – blended fibers and Chapter 5 – patterns along with a bit about the end material.

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Chapter 4 – Plays Well With Others

Mixing wool with fibers such as silk, mohair, alpaca, cashmere and angora bring the best of all worlds. Clara talks about blending wool for different effects. The results are wonderful for knitters.

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Chapter 4 – blending with angora, alpaca, cashmere

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Chapter 5 – Patterns

Now that we know so much about wool, having patterns to use the yarn is a “no brainer”.

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Chapter 5 – socks

Wool is a natural for socks. It’s warm, it wicks and it lasts with wear.

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Chapter 5 – Instructions

I’m always looking for clear instructions, charts and schematics. This book doesn’t disappoint.

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Chapter 5 – Charts

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Washing Wool

How do you wash wool? Hand washing is outlined step-by-step. Good advice. The next page covers keeping moths at bay. More good advice.

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Resource List

The resources plus processors on the next spread are a great follow up to the book. The book ends with abbreviations, a glossary, recommended reading and info on the pattern designers. What a way to end the book!

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Sweet Fern Mitts

My mitts are above. Notice that the one of the left is a disaster. The cables are wrong and I really wanted a few more rows between the cables (decided part way into the mitt. The right mitt is much better. I need to make another pair now that I’ve corrected my mistakes!

 

 

Book of Wool – Chapter 3

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

The whole chapter today is on breeds of sheep broken down into five categories.

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Meet the Breeds

By the time I got from page 38 to page 78, I was introduced to more breeds of sheep than I ever imagined existed. Clara has broken them down from the finest fleece to the most course.

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Breed Categories

The chart on page 40 gives a good overview of all the breeds covered in the following pages. There are 37 types of sheep. Many were breed from combos of other sheep to refine the best qualities of the bred sheep. Lots of history throughout these pages.

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Sweet Fern Mitts

When I first started writing this blog several years ago, I thought I would make a project from each book I covered. Silly me! That lasted for one book – The Book of Yarn. When I saw these mitts – I said – why not? I’ll post a pic of my work-in-progress soon.

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Finewool breeds

This is an example of a spread from the finewools section. Each breed is discussed, a chart covers the facts and the chart is followed by a lock of fleece and finished skein of the yarn. This reference section makes it worth keeping the book on my bookshelf!

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Longwools

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Down wools

The final page of Chapter 3 features a list by month of various fiber festivals around the United States. There you will see many different sheep breeds.

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Fleece Friendly Fiber Festivals

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding-ebook/dp/B004IK8PYG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453411911&sr=1-1&keywords=book+of+wool

 

 

 

Book of Wool – Chapter 2

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

Today I’m going to cover Chapter 2 and tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned.

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Turning Wool into Yarn

The chapter begins with getting wool fleece off the back of the sheep and I found out that there are many steps in the journey. Big ah-ha moment – using a skilled shearer makes all the difference. They need to get the whole fleece off at one swoop to avoid getting “twice-cut” fibers that are shorter than the first cut fibers. A real no-no. Who knew how much was involved?

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Scouring and Lanolin

Before the fleece can be processed it goes through a washing process called scouring. Depending on the processing some or all of the lanolin is removed. Sometimes less processed yarns  from smaller mills leave some of the lanolin in the fleece.

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Worsted and Woolen spinning

Clara gives a good explanation of the difference between the woolen (oldest and easiest way to make yarn) and worsted (produces smoother, stronger yarn).

She then goes into the various ways that yarns are dyed – as fleece, as fibers, as skeins.

Spoiler alert – Chapter 3 covers breeds and their differences. It’s 40 pages long so it will take me a while to read.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Vogue Knitting this weekend. Maybe I’ll even get to rub shoulders with Clara Parkes or at least say hi to her! Lots of knitting and yarn – yes, yes, yes!

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

Book of Wool

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

A new year and a new long book! One of the first books I reviewed when I started my blog was Clara Parkes’ Book of Yarn. I read and reviewed it over a number of blog posts as it was full of information and text. It was a perfect book to cover for my “away from home in Florida” time of year. So here we go with Chapter 1 of The Knitter’s Book of Wool.

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool – back cover

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Book of Wool – Preface

What better way to begin a book about wool than with a photo of a flock of sheep!

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Chapter 1 – What is Wool?

The first chapter begins with the fibers and their make-up. Did you know that wool is a resilient fiber than can be stretched to 30 percent of it’s length and return to it’s original size? I sure didn’t.

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Book of Wool – sidebar boxes

This book (besides being full of insightful info) has wonderful called-out sidebars with extra tidbits.

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Chapter 1 – Scales and Felt

As you can see by this spread, there is lots of text to read. This will be a slow blogging book for me!

What did I learn from Chapter 1? Wool from different animals is wildly different and result in very different types of the end product – yarn.

More to come…

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding/dp/030735217X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451937652&sr=8-1&keywords=book+of+wool