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?

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

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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.

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

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.

instructions

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.

mittens

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.

swatches

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.

sweater

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

 

Learn to Knit

Learn to Knit by Penny Hill

Learn to Knit by Penny Hill

So you might ask – what the H – – – are you doing with a “learn to knit” book? Yes, dear reader, I asked myself the same question. This UK book published in 2003 somehow landed on my book shelf – magically I’m sure!

Learn to Knit - back cover

Learn to Knit – back cover

Since it won’t be staying on my shelf much longer and is most likely destined as a library donation, I will at least give it a review here. It’s an OK learn to knit book for a novice and covers quite an array of material to be sure. The simple projects shown on the back cover go from easiest to easy with some clarification along the way. It’s actually a good book for more experienced knitters, if one might be looking to knit simple projects.

Photo illustrations

Photo illustrations

I’m not usually a fan of photo “how-to’s”, but these are fairly clear. Usually drawn illustrations are easier to follow.

How to create stitch patterns

How to create stitch patterns

These are clear photos of simple stitches, but the UK version of stocking stitch vs. the US stockinette might be confusing to a beginner.

photo of sweater pieces

photo of sweater pieces

This was a clever way to show what the finished sweater garter stitch pieces will look like and more or less how they will be stitched together.

Finished sweater

Finished sweater

Here’s the finished sweater nicely styled. The book uses no live models which probably keeps the book from looking dated.

How to make a set-in pocket

How to make a set-in pocket

Towards the end of the book, this technique plus several others such as buttonholes makes the book more valuable in the long run.

http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Knit-Penny-Hill/dp/1580111750/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447521398&sr=8-1&keywords=Learn+to+Knit+by+Penny+Hill

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

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 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

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 3

Designing Knitwear - Chapter 3

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 3

Ah, Chapter 3. This chapter almost killed my blog writing. I didn’t think I’d get through it. Don’t get me wrong – good info – amazing info as a matter of fact. The problem for me was that there was so much text. In this blog I’m glossing over lots of stuff about ease, fit, armholes, sleeve types, but I didn’t want to loss the reader. It was all covered in this chapter.

Chapter 3 - a spread of text

Chapter 3 – a spread of text

OK! You get the idea about the text. It made me appreciate Deborah Newton so much more. What a mind that could put this all down on paper. Although there were charts and illustrations, I wish that some of the explanations would have been a bit more point-by-point or in more charts.

Chapter 3 - Necklines

Chapter 3 – Necklines

The neckline chart is well-done. As you can see, I took to underlining various sections that I thought were important. It helped to get through this information.

Chapter 3 - Skeleton Chart

Chapter 3 – Skeleton Chart

The Skeleton Chart was brilliant. Graphing actual body measurements and then graphing the actual sweater over the skeleton makes a visual to help you see how the sweater will fit on a knitted sweater.

Chapter 3 - Calculating all the essential points

Chapter 3 – Calculating all the essential points

This page boils down the 30 + pages of the chapter to the essential. What you learn is how to design or alter your own sweater.

Chapter 3 - body measurements

Chapter 3 – body measurements

Learning to take and record body measurements is essential to designing a sweater. Deborah gives good advice about taking these measurements. Notice that I’ve underlined the cross shoulder measurement. I must admit that I never knew where this was found on the body.

Onward to Chapter 4 that focuses on designing with Knit & Purl Stitches. I know that this will certainly be easier and I promise gather steam and not to fade into the woodwork!

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431981478&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton – Part 1

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

Instead of more simple books I’ve done lately, I thought I’d tackle a more “meaty” book. This one I realize will have to be done in a few parts. Love, Love Deborah with all her wonderful words of wisdom, but her book is what I like to call “text heavy”.

Designing Knitwear - back cover

Designing Knitwear – back cover

I love this wonderful photo of a vintage Deborah. Her smile is infectious and one of the many things I love about her. Designing Knitwear was published by Taunton Press in 1992. They are best known for the magazine Threads.

Designing Knitwear - autograph by Deborah

Designing Knitwear – autograph by Deborah

Thumbs up or down – This page seals it! I could never get rid of this book with Deborah’s wonderful autograph. Note her quirky illustrations. They are a signature look of all Deborah’s design submissions and often used in various knitting publications.

Chapter 1 - Learning to See

Chapter 1 – Learning to See

The first chapter is devoted to learning to use visual details to begin to create your own designs. Deborah talks about her design process and how to use the book. A good way to understand designing.

Chapter 2 - Designing With Yarn

Chapter 2 – Designing With Yarn

All designs begin with the most essential part of the design – yarn choice and swatching. She covers all the basic animal and vegetable fibers as well as synthetic and novelty yarns. Deborah also goes over various yarn weights. I wish there were a chart included, but the Craft Yarn Council Standards on Yarn Weights came out after this book was published. This packed chapter also covers basic stitches such as garter stitch and stockinette and also how to estimate yarn amounts.

Designing Knitwear - sketching and swatching

Designing Knitwear – sketching and swatching

Learning how to work with swatches to create designs is an important beginning.

Schematics and What If...?

Schematics and What If…?

Good charts and alternate ideas make this book a keeper. The Three-Part Shawl seems a bit outdated, but having other ideas of what to do with squares is very helpful.

I’ll continue with Chapter 3 with Fit & Silhouette for the next part. It covers 36 fully-packed pages!

By the way, I’m off for a knitting trip with Behind the Scenes Adventures on April 24th http://btsadventures.com/argentina-uruguay-for-knitters/. It looks like this book will take me most of May to complete!

http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Knitwear-Paperback-Deborah-Newton/dp/B00BWDQHNI/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429223380&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear