Knitting Circles around SOCKS!


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….


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.


Casting on illustrated photos

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


More step-by-steps

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


Basic Sock Pattern

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


Pattern Instructions

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


Cabled socks

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


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!



Folk Mittens


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.


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.


Mitten Shapes

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


Basic Mittens

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


Ethnic Mittens

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


Colonial New England Mittens

Love these mittens with the clever inserted hearts!


Andean Mittens

A nod to Marcia’s adopted homeland in Bolivia.



Fun tiny mittens are a nice ending to the book.


How to Knit – Debbie Bliss


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.


How to Knit – back cover

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


Great illustrations

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


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.


Cable Workshop

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


Lace Workshop

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



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.


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.


More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts


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.


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.



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!


Teach Yourself Visually – Knitting Design


Teach Yourself Visually – Knitting Design

Continue reading


Knitting Around the World


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.


Knitting Around the World – back cover

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


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.


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.


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.


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.



Historical Shetland Lace

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


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.


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.


Knitting for the First Time


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.


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.



I do like the drawn illustrations as opposed to photo illustrations.



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.


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.


Cute Baby Hat

With the sweater, this hat is very cute!

Beyond the Basics

Beyond the Basics

More unimpressive patterns.


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!


Exquisite Little Knits


Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreirer & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel

Exquisite Little Knits is a nice little book for “Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns” as the subtitle suggests. Lark Books published Little Knits in 2004 in the hay day of specialty yarns.


Exquisite Little Knits – Back Cover

Do I love this book? It’s mainly a project book of simple accessories that depend of the yarn rather than stitches to make them interesting. Thumbs Down for me!


Photographed How-to’s

I liked the photographed how go’s. They are clear and easy to understand.


Gemstone Scarf

Once the basics are covered, the book is broken down by various types of yarn. This scarf is from the “Lattice” section. It’s nice that a photo of the ball plus an image of the strands of yarn used is included.


“Hat for All” from the Wool section


North Cape Balaclava from the Silk section


Golden Threads Boa from the Ribbon section


Flying V Scarf from the Wool section

I do like this scarf. True to form, I’m always more interested in projects that are made in simple yarns rather than novelty yarns.


Hot & Now Scarf from the Wool Section

Nice unisex garter stitch scarf! A good project for charity knitting or a gift.


The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book


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.


Back Cover – Green Mountain Spinnery Yarn


The Green Mountain Spinnery History

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


Guernsey-style pullovers and Fair Isle cardigan

I liked the still life photos. They keep the mainly classic designs from becoming dated.


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.


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.


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.


His and Hers Aran Pullovers

Love these classics that are sized from chest size 37″ to 54″. A great range!


Classic Accessories

The last project is a group of accessories.


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!


Favorite References

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


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.


Knitting Pretty


Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival

Another little book today. Even though it’s little, it has taken me awhile to get this into my blog. Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival (published in 2002 by Chronicle Books) is an easy to read and easy to use book. I have some negative comments, but generally it’s a nicely done  120 page volume.

Thumbs up or down: I liked the top down sweater at the end of the blog post, but most of the patterns are too simple for me. I’m going to pass on this book and keep my shelf space for more important books.


Knitting Pretty – Back Cover

There is the usual “Getting Started” and “How to Knit” chapters


Knitting – American Style

The American Style “How to Knit” page shown in the book has very small illustrations ( all illustrations are similar and all too small). Could you really learn from these illustrations? The next page is the Continental Style with no illustrations – yikees! Plus I wonder if a beginner would get the difference between the two styles and why to choose one over the other.


Simple Garter Stitch Scarf

After all the “How-to” pages – through page 40, the first projects were simple and noted by a “1” in a circle. Clever graphics. The instructions tell you what you need to know and what page to refer to for a refresher on the technique – very clever. I like the step-by-step numbered instructions.


Warmest Mittens – level 4

I include this project only because I’ve been working on mittens this winter and looking at various patterns. There isn’t a section which shows how to cast on and join for double-pointed needles. Not the easiest for someone who is using the book as a novice although there are lots of places where one could go to find the technique on the internet.


Simple Squares

The swatches used to check gauges have other uses. This spread talks about ways to use squares, but the patterns are a bit vague.


Simple Sweater – Level 5

Knit in the round from the top down, this is a nice sweater. It’s made in a chunky yarn which would make it a faster-to-knit project. The lack of how to knit with circular needles makes it again a bit of a stretch for a novice.