Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms

Sweaters from NE_cov

Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – cover

I’ve been carrying this book around for sometime while reading the 8 stories about various sheep farms around New England. After all it is summertime and I’m moving in “slow-mo”.

One of the joys of reading Sweaters from New England was that many of the small yarn dyers are familiar to me as many have shown their wares at yarn shows I’ve attended. I found their stories engaging. But back to the essentials and more about the book!

Sweaters from NE_bc

Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – back cover

Candice Eisner Struck wrote and published this book with Down East Books in 1999. It’s a combo of 26 designs (mainly sweaters for women and men) and stories about the farms that produce the yarns for the designs.

I think it is a gem at 128 pages. The sweaters are a bit oversized (long and loose) as was the style of that time, but could be easily updated for more modern styling.

Does this book belong on my book shelves? Sadly, the answer is NO. I’m not going to make the sweaters and although I enjoyed the read, it wouldn’t be a “must have” for me.

Morehouse_pullover

Man’s pullover from Morehouse Farm yarn

When I read the story about Morehouse Farm and Margrit and Albrecht Pichler who ran the farm, I couldn’t help thinking about Margrit’s death in 2015. A great loss to many of the Morehouse Farm fans. From looking at the current web site page, it appears that the  Merino yarns are still being sold and that the business still prospers.

farm story

Stories of the farms

Candice did a very good job of describing her farm visits. Her journeys made the reader feel that they were along for the ride. She interviewed the owners and talked about how the yarn came into being and the dye or not-dyed process. Some of the owners used fleece from their own sheep. Some did not raise their own animals.

Rockport_gansey

Rockport Gansey pullovers

The classic pair about are perfect for a man or woman!

chart

Charts

I was very impressed with the in-depth written patterns and charts. Again, Candice is very precise and there are good examples of her skill throughout the book.

sources

Sources

For those who want to make the sweater patterns in other yarns, there is a page of suggested commercial yarn companies along with 2 pages for making substitutions.

book_giveaway

Books given away!

My blogging is going so slowly that I decided that a bunch of “pattern only” books had to go. I hope that they will find a good home with an avid knitter!

https://www.amazon.com/Sweaters-New-England-Sheep-Farms/dp/0892724463/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502739713&sr=8-1&keywords=sweaters+from+New+England+Sheep+Farms

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How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

how_to_knit_cvr

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_bc_cvr

How to Knit – back cover

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

illus

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.

entrelac

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

The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book

green_mountain_cvr

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.

green_mountain_bc_cvr

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.

jacket_pattern

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.

charts

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.

raglan_pullovers

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.

cables

His and Hers Aran Pullovers

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

accessories

Classic Accessories

The last project is a group of accessories.

patterns

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

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

Knitting in No Time by Melody Griffiths

Knitting in No Time by Melody Griffiths

Knitting in No Time by Melody Griffiths

A quick read and discard for today. This is one of those books that made me say – “what was I thinking when I bought this one”. It’s more of my dislike of a book of patterns rather than a book of substance.

This UK book was published in 2006 and I did like that it’s broken down into clear chapters with projects such as accessories, wraps, jackets and bags. It makes it easy to find something you might want to make.

Knitting in No Time - Back Cover

Knitting in No Time – Back Cover

A definite – Thumbs down on this book.

Pull-On Hat and Hand Warmers

Pull-On Hat and Hand Warmers

I thought that the hat and hand warmers is an easy good looking project. Each project has a tip box which is especially good for beginning knitters.

Chevron Poncho

Chevron Poncho

Another nice project and good use of a variegated yarn. It’s made in a Noro yarn that’s readily available throughout the US.

Circular Sweater

Circular Sweater

I must be on a Noro yarn fan jag! The above sweater is knit from the top down and pretty easy to make in stockinette stitch. A good “bang for the buck” where the yarn does the work.

Cable Illustrations

Cable Illustrations

The book ends with about a dozen pages of techniques. These are well-done and especially good for new knitters.

Summer Lacy Shawl

Summer Lacy Shawl

This is my favorite project in the book. I saw it as more of a throw when shown photographed over a chair on the intro spread. I was surprised when I found that the actual project is called a “Summer Shawl”. At 24 1/2″ wide and 45″ long, it could easily be made a little wider and used as a throw. It’s made in a DK weight (lighter than worsted weight).

The book could have used a few home decor items or those for baby/kids, but I’m sure that the editors plan for this volume was to stitch with women’s fashions.

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-No-Time-Collection-Quick-knit/dp/0762106654/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445104384&sr=8-1&keywords=knitting+for+no+time

Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch by Nicky Epstein

Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch by Nicky Epstein

Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch by Nicky Epstein

I’m on to a really easy book this week. Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch: Creating Gifts for the People You Love by Nicky Epstein is a combo of gift-giving designs and charity projects. Nicky has her own imprint (who knew?), a division of Sixth&Spring Books was published in 2009. It’s beautifully photographed as I would expect from Sixth&Spring. There are clear chapters and of course, easy-to-follow instructions.

I’ve already listed on Amazon so it’s a thumbs down on this book. I’ll give you my rational for a decision on this little gem.

Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch - back cover

Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch – back cover

Meow Kitty Cap

Meow Kitty Cap

This design is just what you’d expect from Nicky. She does whimsical projects to the max! I do love it, but not sure I would every make it.

Baby's First Hat

Baby’s First Hat

I think this first project is a winner. It is a design I might make, but not enough for me to keep the book.

Luggage Tags

Luggage Tags

Here’s another project I like, but again I don’t think it’s worth taking up space on my bookshelf.

A Charitable Gift Afghan

A Charitable Gift Afghan

I like this idea of this project, but not one that I would make.

Guide to Giving

Guide to Giving

Charity giving guide – this section makes the book really worthwhile. Some of the info may be a little outdated, but it is an excellent appendix of where to go when looking for places to give knitted or crocheted charity items.

One mystery that I haven’t been able to figure out about this book. Some of the copies of the book are listed on Amazon for really high prices. Out-of-Print? Nicky Epstein fans? First Editions? I’m not sure why the listed copies are worth big bucks.

I will end by saying that charity knitting and crochet is so important and I admire anyone who promotes it. Well done Ms. Epstein!

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Kiss-Every-Stitch-Creating/dp/193302786X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439844575&sr=8-1&keywords=knitting+a+kiss+in+every+stitch

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