Knitting Pretty

Knitting_Pretty_cvr1

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.

Knitting_Pretty_bc_cvr

Knitting Pretty – Back Cover

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

illustrations

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.

instructions

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.

mittens

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.

swatches

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.

sweater

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

simple_knits_cvr

The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits

simple_knits_bc_cvr

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.

simple_authors

Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs

cast_on

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.

decrease

Decreasing how-to

yarn_weights

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.

yarn

Variegated Yarns

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

cardigan

Simple knit cardigan

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

pattern_opener

Pattern layout

pattern

Schematic drawings

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

pullover

Hoodie Pullover

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

hats

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!

Book_Wool_cvr

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.

Cptr4_open

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.

Cptr4_angora

Chapter 4 – blending with angora, alpaca, cashmere

Cptr5_open

Chapter 5 – Patterns

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

Cptr5_socks

Chapter 5 – socks

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

Cptr5_pattern

Chapter 5 – Instructions

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

Cptr5_charts

Chapter 5 – Charts

wash_wool

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.

resource_list

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!

wrister

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

Book_Wool_cvr

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

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

cptr3_breeds

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.

cptr3_categories

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.

cptr3_mitts

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.

cptr3_additional_reading

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!

cptr3_longwools

Longwools

cptr3_down_wools

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.

cptr3_festivals

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

Book_Wool_cvr

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.

cptr2_opener

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?

cptr2_breaks

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.

cptr2_worsted

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

Book_Wool_cvr

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.

Book_Wool_bc_cvr

The Knitter’s Book of Wool – back cover

cptr1_sheep

Book of Wool – Preface

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

cptr1_opener

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.

cptr1_crimp

Book of Wool – sidebar boxes

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

cptr1_scales_felt

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

 

 

 

Amigurumi World

 

Amigurimi World

Amigurimi World

Inside this book I found an email that I had written in 2009 about the book with the sub-title “Seriously Cute Crochet”. In the email (written when I worked for Red Heart), I suggested doing a feature in our newsletter on the book. I said that it was full of “so-cute” projects. Now 6 years later, I’m less inspired by the book. It is still “cute”, but would I make any projects – doubtful.

Simply because I’m not going to use the book, I’m giving it a Thumbs-down.

Amigurumi World - Back Cover

Amigurumi World – Back Cover

The projects are really well-thought out and designed, but I wondered about the $18.95 cover price. You can now get it on Amazon in a Kindle version or a used copy for far less.

Crochet Guidelines

Crochet Guidelines

The General Guidelines in this compact book are seriously clear and well-done and would be perfect even for a novice crocheter.

Abbreviation and Glossary

Abbreviation and Glossary

The nice page of abbreviations features a project that I thought to be the “cutest” in the book – Eggzactly!

Fruity Project

Fruity Project

Just one of the projects with easy-to-see photos. When necessary the author has also included back views, especially where animals have tails not obvious in front views.

 



 

http://www.amazon.com/Amigurumi-World-Seriously-Cute-Crochet-ebook/dp/B00FQWB1C8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450298584&sr=1-1&keywords=amigurumi+world

Learn to Knit

Learn to Knit by Penny Hill

Learn to Knit by Penny Hill

So you might ask – what the H – – – are you doing with a “learn to knit” book? Yes, dear reader, I asked myself the same question. This UK book published in 2003 somehow landed on my book shelf – magically I’m sure!

Learn to Knit - back cover

Learn to Knit – back cover

Since it won’t be staying on my shelf much longer and is most likely destined as a library donation, I will at least give it a review here. It’s an OK learn to knit book for a novice and covers quite an array of material to be sure. The simple projects shown on the back cover go from easiest to easy with some clarification along the way. It’s actually a good book for more experienced knitters, if one might be looking to knit simple projects.

Photo illustrations

Photo illustrations

I’m not usually a fan of photo “how-to’s”, but these are fairly clear. Usually drawn illustrations are easier to follow.

How to create stitch patterns

How to create stitch patterns

These are clear photos of simple stitches, but the UK version of stocking stitch vs. the US stockinette might be confusing to a beginner.

photo of sweater pieces

photo of sweater pieces

This was a clever way to show what the finished sweater garter stitch pieces will look like and more or less how they will be stitched together.

Finished sweater

Finished sweater

Here’s the finished sweater nicely styled. The book uses no live models which probably keeps the book from looking dated.

How to make a set-in pocket

How to make a set-in pocket

Towards the end of the book, this technique plus several others such as buttonholes makes the book more valuable in the long run.

http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Knit-Penny-Hill/dp/1580111750/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447521398&sr=8-1&keywords=Learn+to+Knit+by+Penny+Hill

Family Circle Easy Sweaters

Family Circle Easy Sweaters - 50 knit and crochet projects

Family Circle Easy Sweaters – 50 knit and crochet projects

Another easy week for me. This book is a pattern only book and not one filled with text and technique. With 50 knit and crochet projects, this book is a good value. It’s just not a book that needs to be on my shelf.

On a positive note, I’ve sold 19 books on Amazon so not only are some of my removed books off the shelf, they are gone, gone, gone!

Family Circle Easy Sweaters - back cover

Family Circle Easy Sweaters – back cover

This Sixth and Spring 2001 book is nicely photographed and has really clear, easy-to-understand patterns with good schematic drawings and charts.

Pattern with schematics and charts

Pattern with schematics and charts

Here are a few of the nicer patterns. Most sweaters are for intermediate knitters and crocheters, with a few easy designs.

Double Cross Cabled Pullover

Double Cross Cabled Pullover

Pattern Play Duo

Pattern Play Duo

Stitch Mix Guys Pullovers

Stitch Mix Guys Pullovers

There are sweaters for kids, mainly as duos with Mom or Dad and none for babies. Some of the yarns are discontinued, but should be easily substitutes.

Bye-bye Family Circle. This getting easier after almost 2 years of blogging!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Circle-Easy-Sweaters-Projects/dp/1931543372/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1446586233&sr=8-1&keywords=Family+Circle+Easy+Sweaters

Two Sticks and a String

Two Stick and a String by Kerry Ferguson

Two Stick and a String by Kerry Ferguson

In my quest to remove books from my shelves, I’ve decided to look at a few quick reads (aka mostly or all patterns). This one is the first of that group. Kerry Ferguson, who I knew as the person at the head of Creative Yarns International and importer of New Zealand yarns, is the author of this book published in 1999.

Two Sticks and a String - back cover

Two Sticks and a String – back cover

With 15 simple and nicely done designs, the book has clear photos, schematic drawings and charts. The sub-title is: Knitting Designs Inspired by Nature. That’s a bit of a stretch, but makes a nice theme. Quite a few of the projects feature color work techniques so this is not a book designed for the novice knitter.

Hands-Across-The-World Jacket

Hands-Across-The-World Jacket

Kerry’s clear drawings make a nice introduction to each design and actually look very much like the actual sweater on the facing page.

Aran Pullover

Aran Pullover

If I were to make one project from this book, the Aran Pullover would be high on my list. Unfortunately, it’s probably not in my future.

Mohair Pullover

Mohair Pullover

The Mohair Pullover is the easiest project in the book and would make a great “first sweater”.

I have to give this a Thumbs Down for me. It’s not a bad book, but not one I need or can use.

http://www.amazon.com/Two-Sticks-String-Knitting-Inspired/dp/1564772624/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445978422&sr=1-1&keywords=two+sticks+and+a+string