Sunday, 31 January 2016

Knockout Knits review

Knockout Knits by Laura Nelkin

Interesting collection of knitwear accessories under three basic themes; wrapped stitches, lace and beading.  I'm not sure why I'm not more impressed with this, it's possibly because it's not quite me.  They're nice but I was looking at it and I wouldn't buy it for me.

It's filled with interesting information, detailed advice on techniques and on swatching and in many ways it's an excellent book, but it's just not me.

Each project has a feature to it to lift it out of the ordinary, several clever ideas and designs.

Wrapped Stitches at Play has several interesting projects:
Wave Cuff - basically an exercise in how to work with wrapped stitches. Done in DK weight yarn on 4.5mm needles.

Prolix Mitts - worsted weight with 4 and 5mm needles, fingerless mitts with a long cuff, the wrapped stitches provide a rouching.

Folly Cloche crossed wrapped stitches pull the band in, very Downton. Knit in worsted yarn with 4 & 4.5mm needles

Laxo Hat - faux cable using wrapped stitches, a fairly unisex beanie hat.  Made in fingering weight yarn on 2.75 & 3.25mm needles.

Bootsy Boot Toppers - knit in bulky yarn with 8mm needles. A good test of the cross stitch method.

Las Cruces Shawl - two mirrored panels with a centre panel knit in a light fingering weight yarn with 4mm needles, sadly the only apparent photograph in the book is of it worn wrapped round someone's neck.

Traversus Socks - top down socks with a crossed stitch pattern down to the heel and along the edge, interesting for very busy variagated sock yarns. Knit in fingering weight yarn with 2.25mm needles.

Crux Cowl - dropped stitches and criss-cross stitch in a DK weight yarn with 4mm needles. Way to open a cowl for me.

Get your lace on features tips and tricks on lace knitting, including lifelines.
Gateway Cuff - something small to learn how to start into lace knitting useful for playing with some laceweight and 2.75mm needles.

Juego Cowl worked flat in a plain and patterned yarn using both slipped stiches and lace, worked flat and then joined. It's worked in sport-weight yarns on 4.5mm needles. With the right yarns this could be spectacular, the designer here uses a Noro yarn and something like that where the yarn play with each other would be amazing.

Fornido Shawlette worked from the bottom in an aran-weight yarn first making the border and then the body with short-rows.  Knit with 5mm needles.

Techo Hooded Scarf a hood with a scarf attached in sport-weight yarn and using 4mm needles.

Quadro Convertable Shrug interesting construction to this sport-weight shrug and shawl/scarf. Buttons enable the arms to be closed or left opened, it works from the centre with a square and then becomes a rectangle. Worked with 4mm needles.

Gyrus Tam - nupps and lace every round, this one would need care and attention.  Worked in fingering weight yarn with 3.5 and 3.25mm needles.

Loco Shawl - top-down lace shawl in laceweight yarn with 3.75mm needles. A central panel with two increasing triangles, somewhat unusual construction again here.

Beaded beauties details several methods of adding beads to a piece.
Bulb Cuff and necklace - again starting with a piece to learn the technique, the necklace fastens with a sew-on snap. Uses fingering weight yarn, size 8 beads and 2.75mm needles.

Hibisco Necklace A more complicated neck-piece this is in laceweight yarn with size 8 beads and 2.75mm needles.

Cha-Ching Tam - coin stitch with an attached bead. Interesting and looks warm uses light fingering-weight yarn and 3.25 an 3.5mm needles.

Cha-Ching Mitts - the gloves that decorate the cover of this edition, to match the tam, if you want, again with light fingering-weight yarn and 2.5 and 2.25mm needles.

Halli Shawl - garter tab shawl worked in lackweight yarn this is an interesting use of an ombre yarn.

Laden Fauxbius - worked flat and then twisted, grafted and anded to hide the seam.  Optional beads here, worked in fingering-weight yarn with 3.75 and 3.5mm needles.

Trapese Scarf - centre out both sides this is in light-fingering weight yarn with 3.5mm needles and size 8 beads.

Reversible Undulating Waves Scarf- a double sided lace that almost looks like entrelac in a fingering-weight yarn and with 6 and 8 beads and 3.75mm needles.

Forza Scarf is a free teaser from the book, included on the Ravelry page, but I don't recall it in the book.

The book closes with basic how-tos and abbreviations etc which is always useful if you need to check something that could be ambivalent. 

It's a book that I probably would have bought earlier in my knitting career but the projects aren't standout enough against the rest of the library for me to get it.  Nice stuff but the book isn't different enough for me to add it to my collection.  I'd say many people I know would really love it.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Crochetopedia review

The edition to hand was the UK edition in the link and the Dublin City Public Libraries edition.

Dublin City Public Libraries

The first thing that I really like about this book is that it's spiral bound, great for a reference book.  Starts with a history of Crochet.  It then moves onto a discussion of yarns and fibres, with a piece on yarn weights, equipment etc.  It even has a mention of where to measure a crochet hook.  Yarn labels are examined, yarn substitution and care are all covered, as are blocking and reading patterns.  The How-to even mentions left-handed crocheting (the advice of using a mirror is used), there is also a mention that this book is UK terminology and what the US terms are.  The descriptions of methods and stitches are detailed using drawings with supportive photographs.  There are almost 100 pages of introduction before any projects are discussed.  The words Worsted and Aran seem to be used interchangeably with some of the yarns.

The only way I think this book could be improved would be to have the page numbers associated with the skills alongside the skills list on the projects, and a bibliography.

Is it the only reference you will ever need? No. There is no one book that can offer everything, but it's a solid beginners book with a lot of jumping off points for a lot of techniques.  I would recommend it to beginners.

Projects are divided into Simple, Intermediate and advanced.  Each pattern comes with stitches and skills, yarn, measurement, notions and yarn alternatives.
The simple projects are
Square Pot Holder - could be done in a single colour but two colour allows you to hearn how to work with multiple colours.  Made in an Aran medium weight yarn.
Beanie Hat with Pom-pom - again some minor colourwork (I would use some of the alternative colour in the pom-pom myself.  This is pretty simple and easy enough, uses a worsted weight yarn.
Bow Headband - quite simple but can give a sense of pride, made in a worsted-weight yarn
Fingerless Gloves - made from side to side these have texture and are made in worsted/Aran yarn
Phone Cosy - made in worsted yarn, it's a chance to practice stripe colourwork.
Bobble Scarf - a chance to try texture, aran yarn
Baby Booties - this is a make a square and seam it for the shape, the original is in a DK yarn.
Motif decoration - another project that could be in any yarn, dependent on hook.  Original is in Worsted.
Arm Warmers - with the fashion for 3/4 length sleeves these are a useful bridge between bottom of sleeve and wrist made in a worsted weight yarn.
Flower Brooch - a felted project in a worsted weight wool
Amigurumi Russian Dolls - not nested dolls but like the nested dolls, enhanced with embroidery. Made in Sport-weight yarn these would be a good introduction to amigurumi.

Sampler Baby Blanket - Play with practice swatches using some of the patterns from the book or other books, make squares, join them together, use a single yarn to join, this is a good project to use up practice squares or spare yarn.  It uses worsted weight yarn but any yarn would do.  With some squares you might have to work it a few times to get the proper tension but with only about 20-22 stitches per square this isn't too hard.  The only thing not noted is to ensure that you don't mix yarn types, like pure wool and pure acrylic for ease of washing.
Chevron Rug - looks impressive, made in super bulky yarn and it does suggest using a hardwearing yarn, contrasting stripes.
Intarsia Cushion - a good learning tool to working in Intarsia, and pretty quick in a worsted weight yarn. Very Mondrian.
Lacy Beret - this one hits a bit of a button, it isn't very lacy, it starts with a small lacy motif and then works down in a solid pattern, which reduces the usefulness of the hat.  It's worked in a DK yarn.
Lace Scarf - worked to the middle and seamed, so both ends match, uses sportweight yarn
Starry Night place mat Plain worked mat with surface crochet on top. Uses worsted yarn.  While pretty I sometimes question the practicality of non-flat place mats.
Slippers - worked in worsted yarn, I would add a tip to research non-slip grips for painting or sewing on.
Felted Tote Bag - I am a big bag person, but this one is quite big. Also features no zip or closing mechanism, I'd be inclined to make the half-granny into a full granny and use half as a flap.
Honey Cat - worsted weight stuffed toy.
Little Hen - DK weight stuffed toy

Advanced Projects
Broomstick Lace Clutch - worsted weight, this is lined.
Beaded Earrings - with a bead this is a delicate piece and rather fun
Hairpin lace mobius wrap - made in a light or medium weight yarn this will expand the hairpin lace skills.
Lacy Cardigan - simple repeated clusters for this v-necked light cardigan.  Uses DK yarn.
Shell Top - small amount of shaping for this DK weight sleevless t-shirt.
Toe-up lacy socks - done in sock yarn.
Swirl thread bowl - spray starch is used to make this with 3ply yarn, you will also need a bowl form to finish.
Filet thread runner - has several elements of filet crochet in 3-ply yarn.
Tunisian Neck Warmer - two button to fasten bulky weight yarn using the Tunisian diagonal stitch.
Child's Unisex sweater - in the main quite basic but the contrast stripe features cable stitches to learn the technique.  Made in DK yarn.

The book closes out with a stitch directory, which isn't exhaustive but a good set of begining stitches.  It also has some motifs. 

They do mention Ravelry in the resources.  Many of the mentioned yarns are US brands.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Tatting Collage review

This isn't my usual type of book but after seeing some fo the amazing things a friend can do with tatting I thought I'd take a look at this one when I came across it.  This is a compact book that has a lot of ideas in it.  Multiple designs for flowers, butterflies and other shapes and then ideas to combine these to create pictures in thread.  Intimidating and inspiring but I'm not sure it's really a beginners book.  I'm still peering at the pictures trying to work out how to do it

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Fitted Knits Review

Stephanie Japel - Fitted Knits

Dublin City Public Libraries

Now this one strikes me like French Girl Knits, the patterns are nice, not me but there are a few that would inspire me to play with them and create something else out of them that would work for me.  Being of a broad shouldered build round neck and boat neck tops don't work on me, I also end up distorting close round necks when I wear them because I spend a chunk of my wearing time tugging at them as they tend to be a wrong fit for me.  This book is mostly populated by patterns of this type.  I'm also broader at the hips (and stomach, yes I admit it) than the bust so long-ribbed jumpers do nothing for me.  She's also fond of horizontal elements that really don't add to my comfort. However this book is full of ideas that make me want to play with the designs and make my own.  I also ain't small and large sized yarn tends not to flatter either.  So maybe sometime in the future I will mesh with this style more than I do now.

This is not to say that this is a book with no redeeming factors.  There are plenty of patterns in this book that are quite good and the introduction about knitting for your build is excellent.

The patterns follow a similar aesthetic with horizontal and vertical elements created by different stitches and there's a lot of fitted styles here.  If you suit that sort of style there's a lot here for you.

It's a book with patterns for women, done from the top down with a lot of visual elements.

After some instructions on how to decide on a size and how to tweak the pattern for your own measurements the first chapter is Tubes, tanks and tees, the first pattern is a split-neckline cap-sleeved tee.  If I was making this for myself it would be a v-neck and I'd eliminate the side fastening, but then again this would change it completely.  Edged in a contrasting yarn this is a fitted tee.  Rated as simple.

Coquette Lace Tube Top, one for the braver than me.  This relies on the stretch of the Tencel/Cotton yarn for staying power, it does suggest single crochet chains for straps, or ribbon or leather lacing. Rated Medium.

Drop Stitch lace tank is a buttoned top with a drop stitch detail, careful choice of underwear needed with this one as it will be on display.  Described as very stretchy it suggests choosing a size 6" smaller than actual bust measurement. Rated Medium.

Spicy fitted v-neck tee is knitted in bulky weight yarn and has a lacy detail running from the neckline down the front and along the sides to the back. Rated medium

Crisp rectangle tunic top is worked side-to-side using short rows for shaping.  It's fastened at the top with buttons. Rated Medium

The next chapter is Shrugs, Cardigans and Wraps.

First up is a Two-tone ribbed shrug, rated simple. A fair bit of picking up of stitches is involved in this and the ribbed edging wraps around the shrug.

Bold and bulky mini-cardi is one that I really wouldn't knit for me, big yarn, big buttons, and it would stop in the wrong place for me.  However it's an interesting piece that would allow you to modify it if you wanted for length.  Rated medium.

Carie Cropped flared-sleeve cardigan, a empire line end point on this, again in a bulky yarn this one would be all sorts of bad on me.  Rated medium.

Cropped cardigan with leaf ties.  A scooped neckline for this one with picot edging this one doesn't appeal to me.

Airy wrap-around lace sweater - This is one I would like more photographs of, particulalry open.  Knit with large needles and a mohair yarn it has decorative cables below the elbows on the sleeves and a tie-front.  The diagram doesn't really tell you much about the actual construction of the garment, I don't think it would be a good look on me but it's an interesting idea.  Rated Challenge.

Puff-sleeved feminine cardigan, a variation on a theme here, the puff sleeves and high neck wouldn't make me want to knit it. Rated Challenge

Short-sleeved cardigan with ribbing. Look at the photo of this one, notice the way the last closed button on the bottom is pulling? if I was going to knit this I'd add some increases at the bottom to help this or go up another needle size for the last half of the rib.  Also I think the waist of this could do with being a little higher for the model. Your mileage may vary, I'd look at the elements of this and pick and choose where things sit.  Rated Medium.

I adore the look of the Elizabeth Bennett Cabled Cardigan, but not on me.  Sadly the photography missed out on the flare on the sleeves but I do like the slight flare in the hips.  Beautiful stuff, if I was going to knit it I would play with the neckline, but I'm not sure that that wouldn't ruin the look.  Rated Challenge.

The next chapter is Sweaters, vests and coats.

Back-to-School U-neck vest.  I like this one, then again I have a weakness for tank tops/vests/whatever you're calling it.  Worked from the hem up for a change. Rated Medium.

Perfect Periwinkle, a turtleneck sleeveless vest. This one has not for me written all over it, to start with I don't have shoulders that need displaying.  Rated Simple.

Keyhole-neck blouse with eyelet details. This is another no, apart from the neckline, the horizontal stripe at the bottom before the rib would fall on the widest part of my stomach, yeah, that would be flattering.  Rated Challenge.

Cozy v-neck pullover with deep ribbing.  Deep, yes, all the way from just above the waist to the bottom. Rated simple.

Boatneck Bluebell sweater, has flared sleeves and some underbust horizontal stripes with stripes at the bottom after some ribbing.  This is a lovely sweater but not my type.  Rated medium.

Textured tunic with side buttons, this one has buttons on the bottom to the side and a button on the side of the neck.  Horizontal stripes above and below the bust with textured knitting along the bust line.  This is an interesting garment, again I like it but the neckline is a problem for me and I'm not sure that I could fix it without ruining the look of the garment.  Rated Medium

Alexandra Ballerina top.  Knit in a bulky yarn this has cables running down the front and breaks up the variagated yarn nicely, the cable runs down the sleeve, though the photos don't really show it.  Rated Challenge.

Thick and thin cardian coat is an interesting use of a thick and thin yarn with contrasting edging and cuffs.  Rated medium

Long coat with chevron lace is pretty simple but the lace adds some interest, knit in a bulky yarn (9mm needles here) it's interesting and would be a quicker knit than most coats.  Rated medium

Dress-up clothes is the next chapter

First up is a skirt and jacket set, tweedy v-neck, that needs better photography, nice cardigan, I could see myself wearing it.  Rated medium.

Saturday in the park perfect dress is a dress with cables and a u-necked front, rated complex this is a nice knee-length dress. The cables wrap around the waist.

I had some frustration with the photographs, sometimes it looked like they were trying to cover up issues with the outfits or were aiming for more artistic than informative, but that's a personal gripe.  Overall not a bad book at all.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Crochet with Flowers review

Dublin City Public Libraries

This is an interesting idea, using floral motifs to create projects.

The book starts with section on how to crochet, which doesn't have a section on left-handedness and also appears to neglect to mention the difference between US and UK terminology.  It's divided in three sections: Starting out; Practice makes Perfect and Confident Crocheting.  There are basically two types of use of Floral motifs, applique and as part of the stitch.

Chapter 1: Starting Out.
Poppy Purse - a purse with a poppy motif in Aran yarn.

Kindle Cover - crocheted flat, seamed and lined with flower appliques, in sportweight yarn

Tote Bag - made in pieces, seamed and with appliqued flowers.  Aran weight yarn.

Rose Headband - this has been in and out of fashion and it's an Aran Weight, with an applied Rose.

Baby Beanie Hat - Another pattern with applied flowers in a 4 ply yarn.

Ear Flap Hat - small earflaps on this aran-weight hat with applied flowers and a contrast trim, this one is quite pretty.

Fingerless Gloves - fingerless gloves with a small trim of flowers in a contrast colour around the wrist.  Worked in Aran-weight yarn.

Bunting - triangular bunting in a DK yarn with a floral centre and linked by flowers.

Egg Cosies - again with applied flowers. worked in DK weight yarn.

Floral-edged Jam Pot Covers worked in DK yarn this is quite ornamental and would be suitable for gifts.

Pin Cushions nested flowers stuffed in DK yarn.

Hexagon Flower Throw work multiple hexagons in DK yarn this could be a good use of leftovers.

Pansy and Kittens - Cat toys with flowers applied.

Chapter 2: Practice Makes Perfect
Butterfly and Blossom Key Ring- worked in Cotton Glace this is a set of key-ring charms.

Blossom Necklace a fine necklace worked in DK yarn that is reminiscent of Daisy chains.

Flower Garland - a series of flowers on a chain in DK

Shelf Edging - a shelf edging with flowers along it in a 4-ply yarn.

Floral Shell Stitch Cushion Cover - fairly simple cushion with bouquet of flowers in the centre in Aran yarns.

Tablecloth - flowers are used as weights in each corner, DK yarn.

Lido Swimming Cap Tea Cosy Aran weight yarn used double for the body and then decorated with multicoloured Flowers, just like an old-fashioned swimming cap.

Crown-edged Cushion Cover it's like a granny square but with multicoloured centre and plain around until the edging which is in a crown-like edging.

Place Mats - using a heavy cotton yarn these circular mats have applied flowers in a finer yarn.

Oven Cloths - floral centres on these lined oven cloths.

Buggy Blanket squares created and then connected together, done in dk weight yarn.

Chevron and Daisy Scarf - Rows of colour interrupted with a few rows of a contrast and then embellished with flowers, made in an Aran weight yarn.

Beaded Craft Kit Roll - Catherine Wheel stitch in two colours with beading in a DK weight yarn.

Baby Blanket a shell stitch blanket in a dk weight yarn with an edging embellished with flowers.

Chapter 3: Confidence Crocheting

Brooch - a flower made into a brooch made in a dk yarn.

Floral Bag - multiple flowers make up this bag that's then lined.  Made in DK yarn.  The flowers are each created separately before, making it easy to connect them.

Daisy Scarf - worked in squares in a sportweight yarn and then joined.

Floral Lace Scarf - a flower edged shawl worked in a fine mohair yarn.  Edged with flowers in a variety of sizes.

Vintage-style Vase Coaster - doileys worked in dk weight yarn. in multiple colours.

Round Rose Cushion - multiple roses worked in Aran-weight yarn and then attached to a croceted backing.

Gypsy Queen Throw - DK weight yarn in multiple colours, worked in squares and crocheted together with a loop edging.

Wash Cloths - floral centered wash cloths in DK cotton yarn. There are three, a Blossom Burst Cloth; Flower Square Cloth (with a 3-d flower); and a Petal edged circle, which is both centered with a flower and edged with a petal like edging.

It's a good book of designs which aren't too complex but do have a good result, many of them involve a lot of finishing. Many of them are too flouncy for my taste but they're quite nicely done if that's your taste and you're happy with a fair amount of sewing.

As usual this was borrowed from Dublin City Public Libraries who offer no inducement to write these others than supply plus my wage.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Knit Nordic Review

Dublin City Public Libraries

 Using a variety of patterns inspired by Nordic traditional jumper patterns creating accessories.  Most of them could be interchanged with each other.  Creating a huge variety of patterns.  I have knit one of them, the iPad cover
FlickrDroid Upload myself as a gift. And I found the instructions clear and simple.  The recipient is happy with it which is a bonus.

Each section covers a particular pattern; Marius; Setesdal; Fana and Voss, there's also a section on techniques and advice on stranded knitting.  She discusses each pattern and it's history in Norway and how it developed.

Marius mostly blue and white with some red highlights.
All-Day Handbag using a chunky yarn in the original the bag has red highlights on the top
Racerback top with a deep rib and patterning above it, then red on the top and along the edging on the top knit in DK yarn
Hotpants - exactly what they imply, red to the bottom.  4ply yarn.
Maurice the Teddy Bear - mostlly blue and white with some red highlights and a red head.  Knit in DK
Christmas Stocking - red heel, toe and some highlights, knit in DK.

Setesdal black and white contrasts, it's an interesting traditional pattern
iPad Cover - see my version above, it's a nice piece, the contrasts make it stand out.  Knit in DK.
Necktie - mostly black with a black and white end.  Knit in DK.
Slippers - the slippers swap the regular pattern exchanging the white and black and Brioche stitch sides and bottom.  Knit in DK.
Wristwarmers - lowering the contrast to grey and cream, knit in DK again.
Beanie Hat - again using the grey and cream, also pictured in white and red.  This is knit in DK.

Fana lowers the contrast yet again to light blue and white, delicate but interesting.
Beret - knit in DK.
Half-sweater - again in DK this is sometimes referred to as a Caplet by many people, it's a shoulder cover that comes just down to the underarms.
Sleeves - could be combined with the half-sweater under or over a coat for added warmth.  Knit in DK again.
Cafetiere cosy - Knit in DK again, this would be a good starter to learn how to do the techniques.
Cup Cosies - also in DK, this uses a variety of the Fana patterns for handle-less cups or tall glasses.

Voss - almost like tiles, patterns are contained within squares.
Toilet Roll Cover - for containing one toilet roll, knit in DK.
Potholder - tiled potholder, knit in 4ply doubled
Snood - a dk neckwarmer.
Cushion Cover - a superchunky cushion cover.
iPhone cover - knit in 4ply yarn

I got this from Dublin City Public Libraries and it's one I'm somewhat tempted to buy.  Its another book that's very useful as inspiration for adapting traditional patterns, it's a book that would encourage looking at traditional patterns and adapting them for new uses.

Dublin City Public Libraries offer me no inducement to write these other than a salary and access to the books.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Review of Pop knitting

Dublin City Public Libraries

This is a book to inspire, to expore and work with knitting stitches to create different textures and to play with shapes in your knitting, a book to add to your design library more than a book to just knit from, there is a pattern and some samples but they're just there to help you start.

Many different ideas, some of which were more along the lines of what I wouldn't knit, I don't really like jumpers with holes in, but other people's mileage may vary.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Review of Knitter's Book of Wool

Dublin City Public Libraries 
Ravelry Link

  The book starts with a tonne of information about wool and how it's processed to produce the yarn we know and many of us use.  It's interesting and informative and worth the admission price.  It expands quite considerably on the information in the Knitters Book of Yarn.

The patterns are almost an added bonus to the book.

They fall into four categories; Hats, Hands and Feet; Sweaters and Tops; Scarves, Shawls and Stoles and Home and Beyond.  Any patterns without designer attribution are by Clara Parkes

Hats, Hands and Feet
Hill Country Hat - a simple hat with an interesting twist. In a bulky-weight yarn.

Ficka Hat - fairly simple colourwork hat, a band of colourwork, sportweight yarn.  Designed by Shelia January
Sweet Fern Mitts - fingerless mitts with a cable, simple but effective.  Worsted weight yarn.
Risti Mittens - Colourwork mittens with colourful cuffs, designed by Nancy Bush. Fingering weight yarn.
Cabin Socks - lightweight yarn socks with a simple pattern.  Effective and quite beginner or conservative male friendly.
Windjammer Socks - a sock with nice cables and a little lace, designed by Jennifer Tepper Heverly.  In a fingering weight yarn.
Reversing Leaves Socks - a Cat Bordhi pattern with an interesting patterning in a fingering-weight yarn.

Sweaters and Tops
Bella Baby Ensemble - a wrap top for under 2-year-olds, quite sweet, designed by Sandi Rosner, knit in pieces and seamed.  Knit in sportweight yarn.  Also a Bonnet and Booties
The Three Bears Pullovers - designed by Sandi Rosner a set of family jumpers, children and women's jumper features a wide rib, man's jumper is knit plain.  Simple jumpers but well designed.
Comfy Cardigan - in a mediumweight yarn, worked side-to-side on the top and then down from the bodice.  Designed by Pam Allen.
Allegan Cardigan - ribs make this worsted-weight cardigan designed by Sandi Rosner with tapered ribs which make the yoke a feature.  Sleeves and body are worked first and then joined at the yoke
Leafy Glen Shell - has strategically placed lacework, designed by Ilga Leja in lightweight yarn, for me this would need carefully planned underwear, which might negate the airiness of the top.

Scarves, Shawls and Stoles
Nara Scarf - lightweight yarn lace scarf designed by Shelia January
Prairie Rose Lace Shawl - fingering weight shawl by Evelyn A Clark with diamond patterns.  Flower and leaf pattern.
Falling Waters Shawl - designed by Jane Cochran, knit in a lightweight yarn, this is miles of beautiful stole that is begging for a special yarn.
Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole - fingering-weight yarn lacy shawl with beads, designed by Sivia Harding, knit from the centre and then out the side.
Lillia Hyrna Shawl - 2-ply laceweight yarn, triangular shawl with several motifs designed by Shelia January in two-colours.

Home and Beyond
Frida Pillow - by M. Diane Brown, knit in DK weight yarn, this is a colourful cushion.
Reflecting Pools Bag - knit in fingering-weight yarn, this is an interesting colourwork pattern with flowers and stripes.

The book closes with some advice on washing wool.

Overall the information on Wool itself attracts me more than most of the patterns, it's the shawls and the bag that attracted me most.

I got the book from Dublin City Public Libraries who offer me no inducement to do these other than paying my wage and giving me access to the books.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Review of the Irisn Countrywomen's Association book of Crafts

 Dublin City Public Libraries

I will admit that I have not been positive about the ICA before but I'm trying to be as positive as possible here. This is part of a series the ICA have recently published, most of which are cookbooks, this one is crafts though and it does have a few knitting patterns, none of which seem to have made it to Ravelry, yet.

The book is divided into 4 sections; Stitch and Sew; Make and Wear; Store and Keep and Celebrate and the range of skills is quite impressive. However I felt, looking through it, that it wasn't really for me, many of them felt too simple, maybe it's just my skillset.

The book starts with a short introduction to the ICA and how it has been involved with crafts, with an emphasis on how the ICA enabled women to create their own income. This did lead to women realising that they could have an independent income.

Stitch and Sew 
Entertainingly the first pattern is by a family friend. The Hairpin lace Stole that is a basic instruction on how to do this technique.  Aran weight yarn used.

Crochet Cushion cover is made using motifs which are then joined, which if you wanted could create a bigger project, like a bedspread.  The instructions are written out. No. 20 crochet cotton used.

Alsorts Patchwork Quilt very sparse instructions, quite general.

Chicken Scratching Embroidery Tea Cosy "you can check the internet for patterns"

Smocking gives basic stitches and how-tos but really doesn't enter into any depth, the created piece illustrated is beautiful.

Shadow Embroidery again a general description of how to do the technique.  No real depth.

Redwork Embroidery Cushion Cover basically using a stem stitch in red embroidery thread to create a pattern. An outline pattern is given but no notes on enlarging or anything like that.

Cross-Stitch Bookmark - using a piece of Aida and not using strips of Aida that are readily available, and glued with PVA to felt.  This made my inner Cross Stitcher twitch.

Rag Rug again quite general. Mentions a rag rugging tool but doesn't go into any specifics.

Make and Wear 
Child's Aran Jacket written in pieces, raglan sleeves.  This is written as I have seen many traditional patterns written with a pattern set between a set number of edge stitches.  Mentions Aran yarn

Crochet Hats starting from the top and working down in a shell like pattern.  DK weight yarn

Whirl Scarf using the astoundingly popular wide mesh-like yarn, this is the basic instructions on how to knit with it. The illustrations are poorly reproduced and look like multiple generation photocopies.

Upcycled Child's skirt and Cap using very general instructions that would require basic sewing skills, and honestly would be best done with a commercial pattern as a template to help.

Clones Lace Wild Rose Medallion Necklace uses no10 and no20 crochet cotton.  A Rose medallion with a crocheted chain.  Would also look good in Pink and Green threads.  Written instructions

Irish Crochet a crochet sequare and an abstract flower

Peyote Stitch Bracelet a basic how-to on Peyote Stitch with extra instructions on adding the fixings for a bracelet.

Beaded Ring Necklace how to use some fairly basic beading and how to make rings that connect.

Tissue Paper Pompom exactly what it says.

Donegal Tweed Necklace and Ring using fabric, beads and buttons to create a ring and necklace.

Felted Bead Necklace how to use needle felting and wet felting to create beads.

Button Rings - using buttons and beads to create rings.

Store and Keep 
Lumra Rug written directions in quite a general manner, using wool tops. Sounds something that would be quite doable but I would like some illustrations to help me, it is one of those crafts that is sadly under-represented online.

Leather Bag basic instructions on how-to create a bag.  Again suggests using the internet to find patterns and leather.

Covered File Box the quite good instructions are marred by a preamble that involves getting "hubbie and his tools" to work on it.  Why not learn how to use new tools?  Apart from that the instructions seem clear.

Hedgerow Basket no-nonsense how-to with willow weaving.  I was reading this wondering if I could use some of my lavender or grape vines to make this.  I found it inspirational.

Rushwork Coil Table Mat - using bull rushes, suggests shaking off mould before using which made me worry about the instructions, granted there is varnishing afterwards but mould needs to be treated carefully.  There's no real information about joining lengths of rushes.

Hand Stamped Tea Towel using potato stamping and a Cookie Biscuit cutter

Lace Crochet Baby Bonnet and Bootees using no10 crochet cotton, this looks like the kind of heirloom project for a very special occasion like a baptism.

Iris Folding an interesting way of playing with paper, somewhat like quilting.

DIY circular disc Banner - sewn 5" paper circles,

Mr and Mrs Claus two stuffed toy figurines, lacks patterns or templates

Two little angels mostly knit figurines.

Carrickmacross Lace an embroidered lace piece, well illustrated.

Mini Wreath stuffed and plaited, interesting.

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats again lacking patterns or outlines, this gives general outlines on how to create the runner and place mats.  Despite the lack of patterns the instructions are quite clear.

Hat Pin Cushion a lace adorned pin cushion.
DIY Ribbon Dispenser painted pasta jar with hole cut in lid... yes indeed.

Christmas Card Holder this design would also be useful as a mail holder for a family in a more plain fabric.

Knitted Easter Chick DK knitting yarn, with a stuffed head and embellishment. Cute egg cosy.

Homemade Blackboard Sign exactly that.  Painted blackboard, beading as framing glued on and then holes drilled for a cord through it.

Honestly my overriding feeling from it is that it needs more, more patterns, more information, could be so much better, sadly left me wanting.

I got this from Dublin City Public Libraries who offer me no inducement to writing these reviews other than the unlimited access I have to the book stock.