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.

Aran

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.

cables

Cable Workshop

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

lace

Lace Workshop

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

edges

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

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.

stickning_knitting

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

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.

gallery

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=

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

history

The Green Mountain Spinnery History

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

guernseys

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!

references

Favorite References

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

yarn

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

edgings

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

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

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 – 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