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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review - New American Knits; Giveaway; Special of the Week



I’m delighted to have received a copy of the new book by Amy Christoffers,  New American Knits.


I’ve been an admirer of Amy’s for a while. Her style is crisp, modern and very wearable. The new book extends her style into the realm of classic sportswear, the kind of sweaters that you can throw on every day and look polished and put together.
The photography is lovely, and the layout is clear and readable. It's a pleasure to leaf through it.
Here are a few notable pieces:

Let’s start with Nevelson, the cover photo. It has that look, simplicity plus sophistication, that is so hard to find. Very pretty.
Benton is a lovely cardigan with a shawl collar and attractive cables.
 
Benton
Moses is a classic hoodie. While simple, it has some nice detailing, with pockets and textured stitches at the shoulder.
Moses Hoodie

Edmonia  has a fresh modern look with its wide neckline and attractive lace trim. This piece is a top-down seamless design.
Remington is one of my favorites. The lace trim on this fitted cardigan is fresh and original.

Remington



Tanner Cowl - a very pretty cowl done in worsted weight lace.

 
Tanner Cowl









Some pieces were not to my taste:
Evans tunic was a bit too plain and simple. It lacked the eye catching details that make the other designs special.
Georgia is really pretty with a big embroidered flower on the front. But I was disappointed that there were no instructions to execute the embroidery except for “using the photo as a guide…”. There should be a stencil or some further detail provided.
Wyeth Shrug seemed too shapeless and loose for me.  It’s meant to be slouchy but it didn’t seem in line with the polished sophisticated look of the other pieces.

All the pieces have good schematics and the lace where applicable is charted. All in all, the majority of the 20 patterns included here are wearable, pretty and interesting to work. What more could you ask?

How about a Giveaway?

Would you like to win a copy of the book? Just leave a comment on the blog telling me why you want the book. Also please sign up for my newsletter, if you haven't done so already.
I'll pick a name on Sept 3. Please make sure to include an email ID or your Ravelry name. Good luck!



New American Knits  - By Amy Christoffers; Interweave / F+W; $24.99


I received a review copy from F+W Publications; photos used with permission.

Special of the Week

This week I'm offering 40% off one of my top selling patterns, the Richmond Mitts. Just use the code "RICHMOND" (without quotes) to get the discount. 
Act fast, it expires on Sept 1. 
 
These pretty fingerless mitts use an unusual zigzag rib combined with a single cable on the top of the hand. The palm is decorated with 2 sets of zigzag stitches with a stockinette stitch background.
They use less than half a 100 gm skein, so treat yourself (or someone special) to something beautiful and practical.

See you next time!



Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Design! Flash Sale - just $1.00 for one day!

UPDATE: Sorry, the sale is over.
But it's still available at the reasonable price of $5.

The new Molto Bella Shawl- was just released.
It's done in lovely Kinsale from Three Irish Girls Yarn, and uses one ball of each colorway. This yarn was a dream to work with!

Courtesy of Three Irish Girls Yarn
This pretty and wearable L-shaped wrap is easy to knit like a rectangular stole (no shaping or constantly counting your stitches), yet it wraps around your shoulders with extra coverage. The wool blend provides lovely drape for just the extra layer you need when breezes blow or when the air conditioning is on too high.
The shawl is worked in sections, starting with lace on one edge, moving into stripes of different yarns and easy textures such as garter stitch, garter eyelets, and stockinette stitch. Once the lace edging is done, the rest is a relaxing knit.

Try it in your 2 favorite colors; or all one color, for a more subdued look.
Size
15” / 38 cm wide, 80” / 200 cm along outer edge of “L,” 50” / 125 cm along inner edge of “L,” after blocking.

Pattern is both charted and written, and has been professionally tech-edited and test knit.

The test knitters loved the unique shape:
"A pretty L-shaped shawl knitted in 3 sections - no seaming, the joins are made by picking up stitches and kitchener stitch. I particularly like the shape - a move away from triangle and rectangle. It will make a wonderfully warm wrap which I will enjoy wearing in winter."
Note: Pattern was part of the Three Irish Girls Yarn Club in Spring 2014.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Review - Knitting Needles



I should say, I have all kinds/brands of needles. I use circulars for everything, but I do have Knit Picks interchangeables, Hiya Hiya, Addi, Chiao Goo, Kollage, and even Signatures. I also have a set of inexpensive needles from China that I ordered on eBay.

Guess what, I like them all, in their own way. 
The interchangeables from Knit Picks are so convenient, but there’s always just the slightest drag where the cable meets the needle, so recently I have been using the fixed circulars when I can.

Recently I was given 3 circular needles from Knitter’s Pride to try out. I had the Karbonz, the Dreamz, and the Nova Cubics. Here are my impressions:

Karbonz – these were my favorites. The tip is quite pointy, the same as the Signature Needles stiletto point, which I like very much. The cable join was nice and smooth, no drag. The cable itself was flexible, not floppy, and seemed sturdy enough without being stiff. I was very impressed with these.
Cubix – these are cubic in the needles, i.e. the cross section of the needles. I have heard that for some people these are more comfortable and can reduce cramps or soreness. I didn’t really experience this, but they were really pleasant to use and had a nice feel to them. The tips were nice and pointy, and the cable was good as well.
Dreamz – are the wood needles. They have a bit more “grab” than the others and would be best for a more slippery yarn. I was testing these needles with a merino yarn, and for this yarn I preferred the Karbonz.   The Dreamz have a good point and the same cable as the others.

All the needles have the size stamped onto them, so there’s no constantly looking for the needle gauge to check your needle sizes. That is a great feature.
Thanks to Knitter’s Pride for supplying the needles for testing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Giveaway!

** THE WINNER IS KNITTINGDANCER!  CONGRATULATIONS! **

Giveaway
I’m giving away the Under100 Knit Collection – 30 patterns that use 100g of yarn or less. Perfect when you want some instant gratification, or a quick gift, or you have odd balls of yarn to use up!
These are projects that delight, entertain, challenge and ultimately reveal their form in just a single weekend (or afternoon, if you're really on top of your game!).
© Knit Picks


Whether featuring the simple ordered beauty of garter stitch, or the rich complexity of entwining cables, the 30 patterns of Under 100 represent a modern aesthetic that's informed by tradition - yielding results that are timeless, useful and infinitely giftable.
See all the wonderful projects here.

Just sign up for my Newsletter (top right corner of the page), if you're not already on the list, and leave a comment here on the blog by Aug 10, telling me why you’d like this book. Please include either an email address or a Rav ID so I can reach you if you’ve won!
That's it! 
I'll announce the winner here. (If I don't have your email or other contact info, you'll have one week to contact me, then I'll pull another name.)

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review - New Vintage Lace



I love knitting lace, so I was excited to see this book -- New Vintage Lace - By Andrea Jurgrau, Interweave/F+W; $24.99 bit.ly/1uq6EyE 

 
Do you admire doilies and antique lace tablecloths for the exquisite workmanship, but can’t find a place for them in your contemporary life? Yeah, me too.
Well maybe you don’t want lace doilies all over the house, but you can wear lace wraps, shawls and hats.
That’s where Andrea’s book comes in: she has carefully adapted vintage lace patterns to modern, wearable pieces.
The book begins with a useful discussion of the different weights and fibers of yarns and how to use them; types of beads; and blocking tips. There’s also a great discussion of swatching; in addition to checking gauge, swatches are indispensable for seeing how well the yarn works with the lace pattern. Watch the lace pattern practically disappear when a variegated yarn is knitted up! This is a lesson that I had to learn the hard way.
The 22 projects are arranged in categories of one-skein projects, small shawls, triangles and squares, and larger projects. Here are some highlights:
There are some doilies that are turned into Beanies like the Clematis Doily and Beanie

The Cherry Blossom Stole is very pretty, with allover mesh and lacy borders : 
Copyright Joe Hancock and F+W Publishing

Kodama Shawlette is a lovely semi circle lacy gem. 
I really appreciated having schematics so that you don’t have to guess at the finished shape of the shawl.
Coeur d’Amour is another pretty one.

Blue Dahlia has a sort of V shape, almost like 3/4 of a circle. 
Copyright Joe Hancock and F+W Publishing
 
Ghost Orchid is another stunning piece. I think it would be perfect as a wedding  shawl.  

The book concludes with a Design your Own Shawl section, with lots of useful info, and Sources for the various tools and yarns used in the book.

  

I really enjoyed the book and Andrea’s careful, methodical approach. I have no doubt that I’ll be knitting from this book soon.

Note: Charts only are provided for the lace.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book.


By Andrea Jurgrau
Interweave/F+W; $24.99