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!

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!

 

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!

 

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.

 

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

The Knitting Way – finishing up!

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

In my last post about The Knitting Way, I had read through Chapter 5. I thought I’d read a couple more chapters for the next post, but then I decided that I needed to move on to another book so I motored on and read through the end. This book is very “text heavy” compared to other books I’ve recently reviewed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as much of the text is thoughtful and well-written. Some of the spiritual parts don’t speak to me in my knitting life as I like to knit while I watch TV and am not that thoughtful as I knit.

The next chapter I covered was about “Making a Daily Practice”. Who doesn’t want to make more time to knit and find more time to do it? I sure do. I could relate to daily practice. They give lots of advice about finding a place and organizing knitting. Also, a good section on how to knit in a pain free manner.

The Mind and Body chapter talks how to connect what happens with your hands and connects with your mind. I love this sentence – “Knitting Sets a graceful rhythm between the hands and mind.”

“Paying it Forward” is a chapter about teaching and mentoring your skills. It mainly comes from the point of teaching kids, but could be adapted for teaching knitting to someone of any age.

Learn-to-Knit Projects

Learn-to-Knit Projects

These easy projects are ideal for beginners. It’s good that the authors give some easy-to-do designs that make learning fun.

Easy Gift/Charity Projects

Easy Gift/Charity Projects

The authors discuss how knitting for charity can not always go well despite good intentions. I was shocked as I always thought that knitting/crochet for charity was based on wanting to find a way to “Pay it Forward”. They give a reality check about how good intentions can go awry.

Top Down Shawls

Top Down Shawls

The Top Down Shawls are the perfect project for my Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church. Good for using up odds and ends of yarn.

The Resources at the end nine plus pages of great books. My only quibble with this resource listing is that there are many new and wonderful books published since 2005. If they ever update the book, this would be a good addition.

Author Page

Author Page

I wanted to end with the final author page that has photos of the authors and brief bios. They have covered a lot of ground in this little, low-budget book. Well done Linda and Janice.

The Knitting Way – Chapters 4/5

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

My journey through The Knitting Way continues. Chapter 4 was such a long chapter that I thought that would be the discussion of this post. Somehow I got momentum going and whizzed through Chapter 5 as well.

The Knitting Way - Chapter 4

The Knitting Way – Chapter 4

 

So Chapter 4 – Once Upon A Time – The Stories of our Projects. This chapter talks about the history of knitting and those who were the historical authorities, discusses Elizabeth Zimmermann’s role in knitting evolution, and personal knitting histories of the authors. I felt very connected to this chapter as it is a world I know and love. The discussion (over 2 pages) on my long-time buddy Kristin Nicholas was delightful. If you don’t know her work, google Kristin. She has written a number of well-thought of books. I might review her latest – Crafting a Colorful Home once I finish this book.

This chapter also features well-known and unknown knitters and their stories from Mary Thomas to Mr. Rogers who wore cardigans knit by his mother. I’m being brief here, but it’s really an in-depth and well-written section.

Chapter 5 - The Bearable Lightness of Knitting

Chapter 5 – The Bearable Lightness of Knitting

The basic premise of this chapter is how not to be a perfectionist knitter and enjoy the process. There is some good advice for what you can do with a disappointing project. Also, knitting with yarns that are not really yarn – ribbon, fabric and even spaghetti!

The Knitting Way - Quad Socks

The Knitting Way – Quad Socks

In Chapter 5, Janice makes easy socks in a light worsted (DK weight) yarn. The idea is that if you have 4 socks you can mix and match and don’t have to worry about losing one or having it wear out. If you have 4 colors of yarn to make the socks, you can mix and match to use up all 4 balls, but ultimately when you finish, they will all be color connected. This is a project I’d like to try.

 

For next week, Chapter 6 is about making time for knitting. This is a pretty long chapter, but I’d like to make it through two chapters once again.

The Knittng Way – Part 2

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

I’ve been spending time in Chapter 3 of The Knitting Way. This chapter is so packed with info – my head is spinning! My big discovery is the web site for the book – theknittingway.com. If you get a copy, check out the site. It is a good add-on to the book.

So where to start… Chapter 3 is called Sacred Space so I’ll begin there.

The Yin and Yang of Knitting begins to discuss the knit side and purl side of knitting and the differences be the stitches. Knit stitches are vertical and purl stitches are more horizontal. Makes a lot of sense even if you’ve never thought about it.

Next comes combos of knit and purl stitches in the same rows (otherwise known as ribbing).

knit and purl combos

knit and purl combos

I did the sampler called “Experience it for Yourself”. I didn’t do the requested 20 stitches, but instead made mine with 12 stitches. It begins with knit 1, purl 1, then knit 2, purl 2, moving on to knit 3, purl 3 and ending with knit 3, purl 2. It does clearly show how different numbers of knits and purls contract or don’t contract. I didn’t do the mistake stitch or knit the welt version that has horizontal rows of knits and purls.

I’m skipping a few sections about knitting loops and the connections, knitted mirror writing and dropping stitches to see how a piece changes measurements.

I loved the section on primary, secondary and tertiary colors. Good primer on color – even on black and white pages!

The last section of Chapter 3 is about knitting a version of a Log Cabin Quilt. Describing the way that these quilts are created with light, lighter, lightest and dark, darker, darkest colors makes so much sense. Oh and one extra color for a center square. The Mitered-Corner Log Cabin Square is definitely something I want to try. It speaks to the orderly “Virgo Me”. I wasn’t crazy about the second version called a quilted square.

Chapter 4 is called “The Stories of Our Projects”. It’s about 30 pages so this will be the subject of the next part of The Knitting Way adventure!

 

 

The Knitting Way – Part 1

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way (A Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery) by Linda Skolnik and Janice MacDaniels was published in 2005 and appears as currently in print. When I first picked it up,  I immediately thought that this would be a book that I could easily discard – then I started reading. At first glance, the lack of full color pages were a turn off. I was ready to chastise the publishers for being too cheap to spring for four-color printing. In the end, I found that it really wasn’t the important part of this insightful volume.

To be fair to my readers, I must admit that I knew Linda Skolnik in my previous career. I much admired her interest in the knitting world. Her interest came from a deep place that wasn’t just about making money. She was (and I assume still is) truly vested in knitting.  As I started to read her book, my instincts were confirmed.

The Knitting Way - back cover

The Knitting Way – back cover

I haven’t gotten very far in reading The Knitting Way. It’s not the kind of book that you can speed read. In the Preface I learned more about Linda and her co-author  Janice. Reading this explains a lot about why they wrote this book. Chapter 1 is called Knitting into Awareness – basically soul searching that ends of in knitting. Each chapter ends with a pattern that relates to the chapter. This chapter ends with a colorful cube that when felted turns into a ball. That’s pretty simple, but later chapters have projects that are a bit trickier.

Science and Knitting

Science and Knitting

Making a knit spiral

Making a knit spiral

One could spend forever reading and understanding Chapter 2 Science, Mystery and Knitting. It was slow going. I was a bit lost in reading about Einstein, Electromagnetic force, Theory of Everything (wasn’t that just a movie), the Golden Ratio (phi), quantum mechanics and other major scientific theories. Science was never my strong subject, but I must say that it becomes more interesting when it relates to knitting.

Moebius Wrap

Moebius Wrap

I’ve been intrigued by knitting a circular moebius since I purchased a kit from Candace Eisner Strick. I was truly stumped by the technique.  I actually did a small one last winter in trying to solve this mystery. I’m going to put this project on my very long “to-do” list and see if I really understand the technique.

I’ve moved on the Chapter 3, but more on this chapter in an upcoming blog!

 

 

 

 

Glamour Knits at Home – Erika Knight

Glamour Knits at Home

Glamour Knits at Home

I’m going to end the year with an easy book – Glamour Knits at Home by Erika Knight. The sub-title is 15 Sensuous Designs to Knit and Keep Forever and it was published in the US by Potter Craft in 2007. It was first published in the UK, but doesn’t seem to translate well for an American taste level. Looks like it’s out-of-print, but available on Amazon.

You might guess right away that it’s a thumbs down. I mean REALLY – 15 patterns in the whole book! There is only one pattern I even like (more on that later). They seem to be styled for a Victorian boudoir and a dowdy boudoir at that. Even though I’m a fan of antiques, these designs leave me flat. I’m happily removing this from my shelf.

Glamour Knits at Home - back cover

Glamour Knits at Home – back cover

As in the most recent post of another Erika Knight book, there is a color photography section in the front of the book (first 40 pages) and then gray photos and patterns in the back pages.

Lampshade

Lampshade

Here are a couple of the patterns and styling featured.

tea cozy

tea cozy

The one spr

sachets - scented squares

sachets – scented squares

Below is the one spread that I do like as well as the patterns. The use of buttons is quite unique and a good idea for someone who has as large a button collection as I have.

button and lace pillows

button and lace pillows