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.

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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.

lace

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

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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

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

3_6_months

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.

1_2_years

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.

charts

Charts from Creative Library

techniques

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

embellishments

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

Book of Wool – the finale!

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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.

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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.

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Chapter 4 – blending with angora, alpaca, cashmere

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Chapter 5 – Patterns

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

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Chapter 5 – socks

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

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Chapter 5 – Instructions

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

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Chapter 5 – Charts

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

 

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