Knitting Circles around SOCKS!

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Knitting Circles Around SOCKS

When I picked up this book, I thought – OMG! I’d never knit socks on circular needles. Why do I have this book? First opinions are sometimes not accurate. Read on….

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Knitting Circles around SOCKS – back cover

Antje Gillingham turned out to be a very detailed author with in-depth explanations. This 80-page volume was published by Martingale in 2007.

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Casting on illustrated photos

I’m not usually a fan of photos used to illustrate steps, but these were really good.

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More step-by-steps

You really understand how the two-at-a-time socks are worked once you get past the casting on.

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Basic Sock Pattern

I like the way that Antje begins with basic socks and then incorporates more complex socks as the book progresses.

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Pattern Instructions

The pattern instructions are clear and easy-to-follow.

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Cabled socks

Another pair of socks to master once you have done the basic pattern.

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About the author

The book has a column flap with an interesting bio of the author.

So what’s the verdict? I think the book is well done, but doesn’t need to be on my book shelf. If you want to give working two socks at the same time, I say – give it a whirl! Not me!

 

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Celtic Knits – Debbie Bliss

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Celtic Knits – Debbie Bliss – Cover

As the year ends, I wanted to get one more book off my shelves. Since my last blog (was it really in August), I spent hours and hours going through yarn, bagging it, photographing it and finally selling lots on eBay. It seemed to go a whole lot faster than my very slow snail pace of going through and getting rid of books. Now I’m away from my yarn for the winter, it’s a good time to get back to reading, reviewing and hopefully eliminating books. A good goal for 2018!

Celtic Knits by Debbie Bliss was published in 2000 first published in the UK. This is a tip off that the patterns are more UK centric in terms of pattern writing. There are many patterns for kids/babies with some for women and one or two designs for guys.

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Celtic Knits – back cover

Spoiler alert – this is simply a book of patterns. As wonderful as Debbie Bliss designs and photographs, it is in the end just a slim 80 pages of patterns.

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Cabled Hearts Sweater

Debbie Bliss does lovely oversized children’s designs and this one is particularly nice. It comes in sizes 3-5 years old, but the oversized pullover probably will fit larger sizes.

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Simple Sweater with Collar

It’s wasn’t easy to understand, but this is actually a child’s sweater (sizes 2-10 years). I originally thought it was an adult pattern. The largest size has a chest measurement of 43″ so it certainly would fit many adults.

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Cabled Tweed Jacket

Love the cables, but it is disappointing that this cardigan only comes in two sizes – chest/bust size 37 and 41 inches.

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Moss Stitch Baby Jacket

This is a typical Debbie Bliss baby design – sizes 3 to 12 months. The oversized sizing make it ideal even for toddlers.

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Classic Fair Isle Socks

These socks are paired with a matching Fair Isle cardigan for a baby/toddler. There were many Fair Isle patterns in the book, but I only choose to include this sample as I prefer the one-color designs.

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Instruction Sample

Notice that the measurements are given in inches and centimeters to make them workable for the US and UK markers. For the US knitters, slogging through all the cm measurements within the pattern can be disconcerting. I would recommend to make a copy of the pattern and highlight measurements and numbers that pertain to the size made.

To keep or not to keep – Nope! This one is going. Looks like it’s out-of-print, but still available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Knits-Designs-Babies-Children/dp/157076140X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514319273&sr=8-1&keywords=celtic+knits+Debbie+Bliss

 

Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms

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Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – cover

I’ve been carrying this book around for sometime while reading the 8 stories about various sheep farms around New England. After all it is summertime and I’m moving in “slow-mo”.

One of the joys of reading Sweaters from New England was that many of the small yarn dyers are familiar to me as many have shown their wares at yarn shows I’ve attended. I found their stories engaging. But back to the essentials and more about the book!

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Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – back cover

Candice Eisner Struck wrote and published this book with Down East Books in 1999. It’s a combo of 26 designs (mainly sweaters for women and men) and stories about the farms that produce the yarns for the designs.

I think it is a gem at 128 pages. The sweaters are a bit oversized (long and loose) as was the style of that time, but could be easily updated for more modern styling.

Does this book belong on my book shelves? Sadly, the answer is NO. I’m not going to make the sweaters and although I enjoyed the read, it wouldn’t be a “must have” for me.

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Man’s pullover from Morehouse Farm yarn

When I read the story about Morehouse Farm and Margrit and Albrecht Pichler who ran the farm, I couldn’t help thinking about Margrit’s death in 2015. A great loss to many of the Morehouse Farm fans. From looking at the current web site page, it appears that the  Merino yarns are still being sold and that the business still prospers.

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Stories of the farms

Candice did a very good job of describing her farm visits. Her journeys made the reader feel that they were along for the ride. She interviewed the owners and talked about how the yarn came into being and the dye or not-dyed process. Some of the owners used fleece from their own sheep. Some did not raise their own animals.

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Rockport Gansey pullovers

The classic pair about are perfect for a man or woman!

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Charts

I was very impressed with the in-depth written patterns and charts. Again, Candice is very precise and there are good examples of her skill throughout the book.

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Sources

For those who want to make the sweater patterns in other yarns, there is a page of suggested commercial yarn companies along with 2 pages for making substitutions.

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Books given away!

My blogging is going so slowly that I decided that a bunch of “pattern only” books had to go. I hope that they will find a good home with an avid knitter!

https://www.amazon.com/Sweaters-New-England-Sheep-Farms/dp/0892724463/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502739713&sr=8-1&keywords=sweaters+from+New+England+Sheep+Farms

Folk Mittens

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Folk Mittens

Folk Mittens published in 1997 (one of my oldie-but-goody stash) by Marcia Lewandowski is the latest on my chopping block! A lovely book to be sure, but I’m not likely to be making ethnic mittens any time soon.

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Folk Mittens – back cover

Marcia is a Minnesota gal who at the time of the book was living in Bolivia. I looked her up on Ravelry and it seems that many of her posted designs are very Andean inspired so she may well be still living in the Andes.

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Mitten Shapes

This page of mitten shapes and thumb styles is really a good addition and great for a novice mitten-maker.

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Basic Mittens

For those want to start out with the basics, classic mittens are perfect!

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Ethnic Mittens

The majority of the mittens in the book have ethnic roots and are real beauties.

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Colonial New England Mittens

Love these mittens with the clever inserted hearts!

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Andean Mittens

A nod to Marcia’s adopted homeland in Bolivia.

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mini_mittens

Fun tiny mittens are a nice ending to the book.

 

How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

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How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

I’m starting this book review in a quandary – to keep or not to keep. On first pass, I was ready to chuck this one. As much as I love Debbie Bliss (fantastic UK designer), I didn’t think this book offered enough to keep on my shelf. On 2nd pass, I’m conflicted.

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How to Knit – back cover

The back cover could have added a little more info for the reader? What were the publishers thinking?

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Great illustrations

The illustrations in this How-to are very clear and would be easy for a novice to use.

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Aran Workshop

This section comes pretty early in the book – Chapter 3 as a matter of fact. It’s really Debbie Bliss’s favorite style so I’m not surprised to see it covered extensively.

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Cable Workshop

In the middle of the Aran chapter, this simple cabled sweater is a simpler version of some of the other knits.

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Lace Workshop

The best thing about this chapter is the 23 lace stitch pattern samples.

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Edgings

Love the edgings. This makes the book a winner. I just used the leaf edging for a project. Wish the instructions were charted and not so UK centric with yf terminology that is not used by US knitters.

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Entrelac illustrations

Ok – I know you’re asking – what the hell is Entrelac. Not a common technique, but these illustration make it very clear.

 

What did I decide? I might keep this book for awhile and see if I refer to it before moving it along. My copy is a bit worn and I probably couldn’t sell. I do think the UK vs US make it less valuable for a new knitter, but then again – I’m not a new knitter.

 

https://www.amazon.com/How-Knit-Definitive-Step-step/dp/1855856964/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497383208&sr=8-1&keywords=How+to+Knit+Debbie+Bliss

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

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More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Spoiler alert! I’ve already listed this book on Amazon so you know that it’s not going back on my shelf.

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Back cover – More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Joelle Hoverson has teamed with Melanie Falick to create this beautifully crafted book. It’s full of fairly simple patterns that are grouped by the time needed to make the gift starting with “less than 2 hour gifts”.

Pattern groupings

Pattern groupings

What else did I like about the book? I did like the number and alphabet templates. I did a project last year where I needed alphabet charts. Of course, with my many, many books – who knew?

alphabet charts

alphabet charts

number charts

number charts

There were a few projects that I really liked, but not enough to keep this book.

fingerless gloves

fingerless gloves

ribbed hats

ribbed hats

The photos of graphing were really helpful for anyone trying this technique.

grafting

grafting

My final thoughts. I loved the feel and look of this book, but my feeling for books of projects really doesn’t allow for shelf space for this one. Hopefully another knitter will find a good home for this lovely book!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Minute-Knitted-Gifts-Joelle-Hoverson/dp/1584798602/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495654342&sr=8-1&keywords=more+last+minute+knitted+gifts

Knitting Around the World

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Knitting Around the World

I would love to blame the complexity of this book for my lack of blogging, but truth be told,  I finished the book some time ago. I have no valid excuses other than life!

This slim volume was put together by the editors of Threads Magazine in 1993 and includes a wealth of material for those interested in the history of the knitting craft.

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Knitting Around the World – back cover

Knitting Around the World  includes more than a dozen different topics that were once articles in Threads Magazine.

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Aran Knitting – Alice Starmore

Starting out with the renown Alice Starmore and Aran knitting is a great way to introduce the reader to historical knitting. Alice, who lives in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland and has written extensively on the subject is the perfect person to author this feature. Included on the next few pages are Aran cable patterns and an outline of how to design an Aran pullover.

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Bohus Stickning – Margaret Bruzelius

The less well known Bohus Stickning from Sweden is written by an old associate of mine who seriously researched this colorful knitting style. With charts on the following pages, the reader can easily experiment with Bohus knitting.

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Another Swedish knitting technique

Also called “two-strand knitting”, this technique seems mainly used for sturdy mittens and socks. A pattern for the socks shown in the photo is included in the book.

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Illustrations drawn and photographed

After Fair Isle knitting and Argyles, there is a short article with illustrations and photos of techniques for managing stranded knitting by author, Maggie Righetti. I have included here as an example of the clarity used in Threads Magazine on each subject. They always go above and beyond to make the reader understand techniques.

 

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Historical Shetland Lace

I loved the inclusion of historical articles with photos, illustrations and a workshop on creating simple versions of the knitted lace.

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Knitting from the Faeroe Islands

While not as well known as knitting techniques from the British Isles, this is nevertheless and interesting style of knitting and well-written piece of history.

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Fair Isle Tam making – Alice Starmore

Knitting Around the World begins and ends with Alice Starmore – coming more or less full circle.

Should I keep this book? I’ve thought long and hard on this one. The subjects are interesting and varied. Would I knit from the book – probably not. I’m hoping the next knitter who gets it will love it! Sadly, it’s not going back on my shelf.

https://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Around-World-Threads/dp/1561580260/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489005645&sr=8-3&keywords=knitting+around+the+world

One Skein

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One Skein 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet

Ending the year with a blog sounds like a good idea to me. I just have to make my 2017 resolution to blog more often!

When searching Amazon, One Skein is lost in a sea of “One Skein Wonder” books. This slim volume is written by Leigh Radford and published by Interweave Press in 2006.

It’s a thumbs down for me. The patterns for the most part are just OK and not worth the room on my shelf.

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Cabled Hats

I do like this pair of hats. Seems like an easy project in a chunky yarn on size 11 (8mm) needles.

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Rib & Cable Scarf

This was shown as a “Quartet” with 4 versions. One scarf shown on a man is so short that it had to be fastened with knitting needles – really! It is a simple project, although none of the projects are marked for skill level.

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Fingerless Garter Mitts

I do love fingerless mitts and am always prowling around to find good ones. I’m not crazy about this pair with elongated stitches and no thumb.

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Felted Striped Tote

Not a bad project, but I’ve seen similar ones before.

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Felted Bowls

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Crocheted Cap

The cover does say “projects to knit and crochet”, but the crochet projects are few. This is OK if you are a knitter/crocheter. If you only do one or the other craft, this is not the book for you.

I’ve omitted pics of the leg warmers, bags, projects for baby and ones for home such as a bath mat. Many are not worth including.

https://www.amazon.com/One-Skein-Leigh-Radford-ebook/dp/B00DH40O7U/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483039896&sr=1-10&keywords=one+skein+wonders

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=