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 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.

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

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.

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

Knitting Pretty

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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.

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Knitting Pretty – Back Cover

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Pretty-Instructions-Fabulous-Projects-ebook/dp/B00HSXBZ8I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459799819&sr=1-1&keywords=knitting+pretty

 

Book of Wool – Chapter 3

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

The whole chapter today is on breeds of sheep broken down into five categories.

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Meet the Breeds

By the time I got from page 38 to page 78, I was introduced to more breeds of sheep than I ever imagined existed. Clara has broken them down from the finest fleece to the most course.

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Breed Categories

The chart on page 40 gives a good overview of all the breeds covered in the following pages. There are 37 types of sheep. Many were breed from combos of other sheep to refine the best qualities of the bred sheep. Lots of history throughout these pages.

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Sweet Fern Mitts

When I first started writing this blog several years ago, I thought I would make a project from each book I covered. Silly me! That lasted for one book – The Book of Yarn. When I saw these mitts – I said – why not? I’ll post a pic of my work-in-progress soon.

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Finewool breeds

This is an example of a spread from the finewools section. Each breed is discussed, a chart covers the facts and the chart is followed by a lock of fleece and finished skein of the yarn. This reference section makes it worth keeping the book on my bookshelf!

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Longwools

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Down wools

The final page of Chapter 3 features a list by month of various fiber festivals around the United States. There you will see many different sheep breeds.

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Fleece Friendly Fiber Festivals

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding-ebook/dp/B004IK8PYG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453411911&sr=1-1&keywords=book+of+wool

 

 

 

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 – 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