Quartet of STYLE books

Interweave STYLE books

Interweave STYLE books

I had a brilliant revelation this week. I first pulled out Scarf Style and Wrap Style to look a duo and then I thought – why not! I would look at all four of my Style books at the same time. Each time I seriously look at my bookcase, I realize that I’m really moving at a snail’s pace in trying to move my books along. Four books settled seems like a great idea!

Frankly as these books are mainly pattern books, it was pretty easy to whip through them. In full disclosure, Pam Allen, a designer and editor and I go way back to my early days at Vogue Knitting. As an aside –  Caitlin Fitzgerald one of the dreamy models in these books, is Pam’s daughter is now an acclaimed actress (notably in Masters of Sex on Showtime). She was once an intern for me at Lion Brand Yarns. History, history!

I’m going to try to cover these by the publication date.

Scarf Style - Interweave - 2004

Scarf Style – Interweave – 2004

Scarf Style - back cover

Scarf Style – back cover

Scarf Style is a nice collection of knit and a few crochet scarves. There were only two scarves that I thought I might make that follow. I’m going to make copies of these and move this book on to a better home.

Bright Stripes by Kristin Nicholas

Bright Stripes by Kristin Nicholas

I love this side-to-side scarf and will make it.

Zigzag Stripes by Debbie Bliss

Zigzag Stripes by Debbie Bliss

I’m a sucker for chevron patterns and this is a nice pattern for kids and adults.

Wrap Style - Interweave - 2005

Wrap Style – Interweave – 2005

Wrap Style - back cover

Wrap Style – back cover

I’m not wearing and probably not knitting wraps and shawls these days so this was an easy pass.

Wandering Aran Fields by Norah Gaughan

Wandering Aran Fields by Norah Gaughan

If you love cables – this is a beautiful piece. I just wouldn’t have a place to wear it.

Lace Style - Interweave - 2007

Lace Style – Interweave – 2007

Lace Style - back cover

Lace Style – back cover

A nice book, but no “must have” patterns for me!

Folk Style - Interweave - 2007

Folk Style – Interweave – 2007

Folk Style - back cover

Folk Style – back cover

A lot of color work. There is only one pattern I really love and it follows.

Modern Quilt Wrap by Mags Kandis

Modern Quilt Wrap by Mags Kandis

Bottom Line: I’m going to pass on all these books and make more room in my book shelf. I failed to say at the beginning that these books have good Design Notebooks at the end of each and the designers who created the projects are a “who’s who” of creative designers from the knitting world.

Love the wraps and shawls, but I don’t think I would make any of them. One that I love by Norah Gaughan follows.

http://www.amazon.com/Scarf-Style-Pam-Allen/dp/1931499543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471128&sr=1-1&keywords=scarf+style

http://www.amazon.com/Wrap-Style-Pam-Allen-ebook/dp/B00DH40SRG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471173&sr=1-1&keywords=wrap+style

http://www.amazon.com/Folk-Style-Mags-Kandis-ebook/dp/B00DH40YVG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471207&sr=1-1&keywords=folk+style

http://www.amazon.com/Lace-Style-Pam-Allen/dp/1596680288/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471245&sr=1-1&keywords=lace+style

Designing Knitwear – THE END!

 

Chapter 8 - Details & Finishing

Chapter 8 – Details & Finishing

Even in the last chapter of Dressmaker Details and Finishing, Deborah gives us so much information that this chapter could almost be a stand-alone book.

I’ve come to realize in this journey of a comprehensive design book that I might not use the book of a whole, but there are so many nuggets of fabulous info that are great for reference. I would not advise anyone to do what I did – read the book from cover to cover – even though I did break it down into small approachable chapters.

Chapter 8 - Collars

Chapter 8 – Collars

Chapter 8 - Shawl Collars and Lapels

Chapter 8 – Shawl Collars and Lapels

I’m including a couple of photos of pages with collars and lapels. Also covered in the chapter were silhouettes, using ribbing to shape, draped necklines, pockets and cuffs. Oh, and there is a box explaining short rows. Didn’t I say that this chapter could be a book!

Chapter 8 - Fulling

Chapter 8 – Fulling

This page on how to full or felt alone is worth the book. Who knew that adding baking soda to the water to soften it?

Princess-line Knit Suit

Princess-line Knit Suit

The fitted suit that ends this chapter isn’t my favorite project, but I admire what it took for Deborah to design it and fit it onto a real model.

Bibliography

Bibliography

The spread at the end of book has a great list of books to find more information that Deborah refers to throughout the book. That said, many new books have come into the knitting scene since this book was published. I know there is a newer version of the book and I don’t know if the bibliography has been updated.

Goodbye Designing Knitwear. My next blog will be with a much easier to read/cover book.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Knitwear-Deborah-Newton/dp/0942391063/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435606920&sr=1-1&keywords=designing+knitwear

Designing Knitwear – Chapters 6 & 7

Chapter 6 - Classics

Chapter 6 – Classics

I’m going to cover two chapters in this blog. Both were easier to get through than one of the previous chapters. The good news is that I’m down to Chapter 8 (final chapter) plus and addendum!

Chapter 6 – The Classics was a bit disappointing. In the first couple of pages Deborah talks about what I call “real” classics – Aran pullovers, tennis sweaters, twin sets, Fair Isle sweaters and Icelandic circular-yoke sweaters. The rest of the chapter is an inspiration gallery that is not any of these classics.

There is a section in this chapter on the sketching process that I found really interesting. I’ve never been able to sketch or draw and finding a way to break it down was an “ah-ha” moment for me.

Chapter 6 - Chanel knits

Chapter 6 – Chanel knits

I liked Deborah’s inspiration on the classic Chanel jacket plus skirt.

Chapter 6 - Chinese Robe

Chapter 6 – Chinese Robe

One of the non-classic ideas was the spread on making a Chinese robe. Beautiful knitting, but not so much what I’d call as classic.

Chapter 6 - Motorcycle Jacket

Chapter 6 – Motorcycle Jacket

Chapter 6 ends with a knit motorcycle jacket. It’s an amazing accomplishment and it’s why Deborah Newton is such a fabulous designer!

Chapter 7 - Stitches and Samplers

Chapter 7 – Stitches and Samplers

Chapter 7 is called Themes and Samplers, but I’d call it Stitches & Samplers as it’s all about various types of stitches and putting them together.

I really liked the way Deborah introduces stitch types and talks about ways that the knitter can create their own version of this stitch.

The first section is about slip stitches, twisted stitches, lace stitches, cables and bobbles.

Chapter 7 - Cables

Chapter 7 – Cables

Chapter 7 - lace stitches

Chapter 7 – lace stitches

The section on creating your own cables and lace is really helpful in understanding how the stitches are formed.

Chapter 7 - Sampler cardigan

Chapter 7 – Sampler cardigan

Chapter 7 ends with a sample of color work and embossed leaf patterns meshed together to create another one of Deborah’s masterpieces!

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434397224&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

 

 

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Color & Graphics

Chapter 5 – Color & Graphics

Chapter 5 – read and reviewed! I’m half way through the book and Chapter 6 doesn’t look so “text heavy”. Very exciting!

What did I learn in Chapter 5. My head is spinning! If you want to know anything about color in knitting and designing, read this chapter.

Chapter 5 - Colorwheel

Chapter 5 – Colorwheel

Deborah started with the color wheel. It actually looks a little brighter in the photo than it appears in the book which makes it a little hard to visually understand. Deborah does a good job of explaining how to use the wheel and what it means in terms of using color in designing – notice how many sections I’ve underlined. She has an interesting explanation of how the introduction of white and black change a solid shade into a lighter or darker version of the color.

Chapter 5 - same motif in different colors

Chapter 5 – same motif in different colors

Light and dark, two shades of the same color, shades on opposite sides of the color wheel  all change the look of a motif as you can see in the photo of Deborah’s swatches.

Chapter 5 - A Japanese print by artist Hiroshige

Chapter 5 – A Japanese print by artist Hiroshige

Deborah uses a Japanese print to create a sweater. She starts by sketching the sweater design.

Chapter 5 - The finished pullover and swatches

Chapter 5 – The finished pullover and swatches

I was amazed at all the swatches it look for Deborah’s inspiration into a real sweater. So much work for such a beautiful pullover.

Chapter 5 - creating charts for color designs

Chapter 5 – creating charts for color designs

This section starts out with more simple vertical and horizontal lines. Making curves in flowers such as above is note quite as simple.

Chapter 5 - More inspiration for sweaters

Chapter 5 – More inspiration for sweaters

Deborah calls this section “Swatch project & designer notebook”. She uses the inspiration in this photo to create the two sweaters at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 5 - Black & White Pullover

Chapter 5 – Black & White Pullover

This sweater is a bit dated in the tunic length, but there is no doubt that it is a masterpiece! On to Chapter 6.

 

 

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Knit & Purl

Chapter 4 – Knit & Purl

Who knew that there was so much to say about Knit & Purl stitches. Deborah has an amazing amount to cover in this chapter. I was blown away! This chapter is worth the whole book. I love the knit/purl one-color designs. She covers lots of variations and most importantly how to incorporate them into designs.

Knit & Purl patterns

Knit & Purl patterns

I was happy to see that Deborah included my favorite basket weave pattern (pink swatch on lefthand page). There are lots of combos of simple knit and purl stitches.

Chapter 4 - Charting patterns into a Design

Chapter 4 – Charting patterns into a Design

Once you master the basics, Deborah walks the reader through the steps to insert the pattern stitch into a design. This worksheet is a terrific tutorial to learn how to place patterns.

Chapter 4 - edgings

Chapter 4 – edgings

Deborah is the master of creative edgings. I don’t think I’d ever heard of the “no-edging edging” until I met Deborah. It’s brilliant! She lists it under “Quiet Edgings” – makes sense. Seems like she could have done a complete book on edges on knits.

Chapter 4 - Grafting

Chapter 4 – Grafting

When I started reading the page titled “Coping with ribbed trouble”, little did I know that it was going to be a really good tutorial on grafting. I always have to pull out my VK Ultimate Knitting Book to graft. Now that I know, I can pull out Designing Knitwear (page 94) to graft my next project!

Chapter 4 - Guernsey Sweaters

Chapter 4 – Guernsey Sweaters

The chapter ends with two Guernsey Sweaters. The tunic style seems a bit dated, but with the knowledge I’ve already learned, I could alter the design and make it shorter.

Chapter 4 - Guernsey Pattern

Chapter 4 – Guernsey Pattern

The final pages have the well-written pattern complete with schematics and charts. Now on to Color and Graphics. Chapter 5 is about 40 pages, but I’m not so much into color knitting. I’m hoping Chapter 5 will change my mind!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432756641&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 3

Designing Knitwear - Chapter 3

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 3

Ah, Chapter 3. This chapter almost killed my blog writing. I didn’t think I’d get through it. Don’t get me wrong – good info – amazing info as a matter of fact. The problem for me was that there was so much text. In this blog I’m glossing over lots of stuff about ease, fit, armholes, sleeve types, but I didn’t want to loss the reader. It was all covered in this chapter.

Chapter 3 - a spread of text

Chapter 3 – a spread of text

OK! You get the idea about the text. It made me appreciate Deborah Newton so much more. What a mind that could put this all down on paper. Although there were charts and illustrations, I wish that some of the explanations would have been a bit more point-by-point or in more charts.

Chapter 3 - Necklines

Chapter 3 – Necklines

The neckline chart is well-done. As you can see, I took to underlining various sections that I thought were important. It helped to get through this information.

Chapter 3 - Skeleton Chart

Chapter 3 – Skeleton Chart

The Skeleton Chart was brilliant. Graphing actual body measurements and then graphing the actual sweater over the skeleton makes a visual to help you see how the sweater will fit on a knitted sweater.

Chapter 3 - Calculating all the essential points

Chapter 3 – Calculating all the essential points

This page boils down the 30 + pages of the chapter to the essential. What you learn is how to design or alter your own sweater.

Chapter 3 - body measurements

Chapter 3 – body measurements

Learning to take and record body measurements is essential to designing a sweater. Deborah gives good advice about taking these measurements. Notice that I’ve underlined the cross shoulder measurement. I must admit that I never knew where this was found on the body.

Onward to Chapter 4 that focuses on designing with Knit & Purl Stitches. I know that this will certainly be easier and I promise gather steam and not to fade into the woodwork!

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431981478&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton – Part 1

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

Instead of more simple books I’ve done lately, I thought I’d tackle a more “meaty” book. This one I realize will have to be done in a few parts. Love, Love Deborah with all her wonderful words of wisdom, but her book is what I like to call “text heavy”.

Designing Knitwear - back cover

Designing Knitwear – back cover

I love this wonderful photo of a vintage Deborah. Her smile is infectious and one of the many things I love about her. Designing Knitwear was published by Taunton Press in 1992. They are best known for the magazine Threads.

Designing Knitwear - autograph by Deborah

Designing Knitwear – autograph by Deborah

Thumbs up or down – This page seals it! I could never get rid of this book with Deborah’s wonderful autograph. Note her quirky illustrations. They are a signature look of all Deborah’s design submissions and often used in various knitting publications.

Chapter 1 - Learning to See

Chapter 1 – Learning to See

The first chapter is devoted to learning to use visual details to begin to create your own designs. Deborah talks about her design process and how to use the book. A good way to understand designing.

Chapter 2 - Designing With Yarn

Chapter 2 – Designing With Yarn

All designs begin with the most essential part of the design – yarn choice and swatching. She covers all the basic animal and vegetable fibers as well as synthetic and novelty yarns. Deborah also goes over various yarn weights. I wish there were a chart included, but the Craft Yarn Council Standards on Yarn Weights came out after this book was published. This packed chapter also covers basic stitches such as garter stitch and stockinette and also how to estimate yarn amounts.

Designing Knitwear - sketching and swatching

Designing Knitwear – sketching and swatching

Learning how to work with swatches to create designs is an important beginning.

Schematics and What If...?

Schematics and What If…?

Good charts and alternate ideas make this book a keeper. The Three-Part Shawl seems a bit outdated, but having other ideas of what to do with squares is very helpful.

I’ll continue with Chapter 3 with Fit & Silhouette for the next part. It covers 36 fully-packed pages!

By the way, I’m off for a knitting trip with Behind the Scenes Adventures on April 24th http://btsadventures.com/argentina-uruguay-for-knitters/. It looks like this book will take me most of May to complete!

http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Knitwear-Paperback-Deborah-Newton/dp/B00BWDQHNI/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429223380&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

 

Crocheting School

Crocheting School - A Complete Course

Crocheting School – A Complete Course

Crocheting School has no author listed. It is a Italian translated book published by Sterling Publishing in 2002.

Crocheting School - back cover

Crocheting School – back cover

What did I think? I’ll give this one a thumbs up (with reservations).

Single Crochet - basic stitch

Single Crochet – basic stitch

I admit that I always like drawn illustrations of techniques rather than photos. Photos of the finished stitches are fine, but it’s sometimes hard to understand how-to’s from photographs. It’s pretty clear that this book has a European slant and would be  bit difficult to use for a real novice. I would suggest it for a learn-to-crochet, but overall it has redeeming value that I will discuss later.

Crocheting in rounds

Crocheting in rounds

Notice the clever use of illustrated hand holds with photographs of yarn. I thought this was a very interesting way to show a technique, but didn’t go quite far enough.

Two-color patterns

Two-color patterns

I kept looking for the two American favorites – Granny Squares and the Ripple Stitch. I found the Granny, but not the Ripple.

Crochet Edgings

Crochet Edgings

The section on edgings is very good, although we would probably not use the term “trims”.

Filet Corners

Filet Corners

This is a new technique to me and is one of the reasons that I gave this a thumbs up. I would definitely refer to this type of explanation.

Crochet Interlocking Rings

Crochet Interlocking Rings

Another clever technique that I might use in the future.

Crochet Circles

Crochet Circles

Circles into squares – this is a real basic for granny square lovers. These circles/squares are a bit more advanced. This gives me another reason to keep the book!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Crocheting-School-Inc-Sterling-Publishing/dp/1402708319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427154809&sr=8-1&keywords=Crocheting+School

The Knitter’s Bible – Knitted Accessories

The Knitter's Bible - Knitted Accessories by Claire Crompton

The Knitter’s Bible – Knitted Accessories by Claire Crompton

Today I’m doing an easier book. By easy I mean that I could read and review in one sitting – 128 pages and I could skim through it pretty easily.

The important info: The Knitter’s Bible – Knitted Accessories by Claire Crompton (published in 2006 first in the UK).

Thumbs up or down: I’m having a hard time deciding on this one. I like a couple of projects, but I hated the English (UK) slant in language and instructions. To be fair, it was really designed to be published in the UK and doesn’t seem to have been Americanized.

Knitted Accessories - Back Cover

Knitted Accessories – Back Cover

I’m going to begin on a positive note. I did love the back flap with a ruler and abbreviations. Very clever and helpful for the knitter, although some of the abbreviations are not ones commonly used in the US.

Back Flap with abbreviations and ruler

Back Flap with abbreviations and ruler

two-needle mittens

two-needle mittens

I usually love books of accessories. They always make good gifts or are good charity projects. I admit that I really hate mittens, gloves and wrist warmers that are made on two needles that require seaming when complete. This book seems to have only the two-needle type of accessories. I’m assuming that the author must have thought this would be easier for a novice knitter. Overall a beginner knitter might have problems following this book. There is a lot of info on combining yarns to change the weight, but the explanation is not too clear for a knitter who doesn’t know about various types of yarns. Also, the “how-to” info (while very well done) is way in the back of the book. The author’s explanations of fibre (UK spelling), combining yarns, weight and texture of yarns is a bit stiff and would be a bit confusing for someone just coming into the knitting world.

How-to Illustrations

How-to Illustrations

A couple of the projects I did like that make me want to consider this book a keeper.

Cabled Wristwarmers

Cabled Wristwarmers

Mitered Square Scarf

Mitered Square Scarf

I did like the author’s addition of a page of flowers that could be used to attach to hats or scarves or as pins.

Knit Flower Illustrations

Knit Flower Illustrations

As a recap, I’d say that as an American knitter, the biggest gripe I have with this book is it’s non-American slant in writing, abbreviations and spelling. Otherwise a handy resource for making accessories.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Bible-Knitted-Accessories/dp/0715326007/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426704084&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Knitter%27s+Bible+Knitted+Accessories

Crafting a Colorful Home

Crafting a Colorful Home by Kristin Nicholas

Crafting a Colorful Home by Kristin Nicholas

It looks like 2015 is going to be the year that I break all my self-imposed rules. The ultimate broken rule – getting rid of books on my bookshelf. I read Kristin’s blog, Getting Stitched on the Farm about this new book. New or old, I had to have it! The other one of Nancy’s rules soon to be broken is my  “non-aquistion” mode – thus this blog. Unfortunately I already own so many books, collections old stuff, textiles, yarn and much, much more. Kristin’s love of antiques, collections, yarn, textiles inspired me to throw my rule right out the window. I wanted to go to Brimfield and acquire, acquire, acquire!

Crafting a Colorful Home by Kristin Nicholas, A Room-by-Room Guide to Personalizing Your Space with Color delivers not only fantastic color, but lots of creative inspiration. It’s published by Roost Books (2015).

Crafting A Colorful Home - back cover

Crafting A Colorful Home – back cover

I’ve known Kristin for about 30 years (or so she says in her autograph in my book). Everything she touches turn into colorful masterpieces. This isn’t her first book. I have several others that I’ll try to get to this year. I also own a few pieces of her pottery from the days that she was pottering. I’m obviously a fan!

Autograph page

Autograph page

I ordered a book directly from Kristin and she included the book plate shown below.

Kristin's name plate

Kristin’s name plate

Dedication page

Dedication page

Kristin dedicated the book to her good friend, the talented Sally Lee.

Intro page

Intro page

I started to read the intro and didn’t realized how soon I would enter into an insider’s view of life on the farm and how Kristin colors up her traditional farm house. I found this the most interesting part of the book.

making mosaic pots

making mosaic pots

The instructions of making unique pots from broken china were so clear, I felt like I could easily do this.

Mod Granny Throw

Mod Granny Throw

Of course as a knitter/crocheter, this was my favorite project in the book. I love the colors she used to update this traditional technique.

Swatch Patchwork Throw

Swatch Patchwork Throw

My second favorite project is the Crazy Quilt Swatch Blanket. Kristin talked more about this throw in her blog than the two-page spread in the book. I have tons of swatches that I’ve squirreled away. I want to drag them out and start on this project.

My other favorite was sections were the varied ways that Kristin used felt fabric to make pot-holders and coasters. Brilliant!

Definitely a Thumbs Up book. I will refer to this book, if only to get a color fix and get ideas for things that I can do to my house to bring colorful elements into the mix.

By the way, her explanations of varies ways to use paints is really well-done. Good instructions. Makes painting sound do-able!

 

http://www.kristinnicholas.com/ProductDetail.cfm?index=128&CustID=1444919