Monday, 9 November 2009

Name of Book: Patricia Roberts' Second Knitting Book
Author: Patricia Roberts
Any other info: 1983. W H Allen, 0491031017

Types of patterns: Garments with some accessories

Number of Patterns: (some are variations, i.e. cardigan and sweater in same theme) scarf (2); mittens (1); hat (1); Gloves (1); Cardigan (19); Jumper (27); waistcoat (2); fingerless gloves (1); shawl (1); childrens (3); pullover (1); Man's Jumper (1); Coat (1)

Split of patterns: mostly women

Size Range: 36-40 in many cases but it can be hard to find the sizing within the jumble of instructions.

Colour/Black & White: 80's colour pictures

Schematics: No

Target Audience: The 80's revivialist with a love of mohair and inartasia, along with a yearning for public ridicule. Seriously nothing really looks above intermediate really.

How to knit guide: Yes and check out the lace gloves, long nails and incomprehensible diagrams.


Comments: Gah, revenge of mohair and bad 80's hairdos, stoned models and scary charts. This is one to borrow to goggle at the idea that any of this was a good idea EVER. The cover says it all and that's saying a lot. The charts are handwritten and not all that clear, if you really wanted to knit them (WHY????) you'd have to rechart, honest, unless you're a real masochist.

What I missed on the first pass, formatting. Oh good gods, I did notice the multicoloured titles and the use/abuse of yellow for typefaces on white, but I didn't notice the fact that ends of patterns are shoved in wherever they would fit. So a pattern that starts on page 84 continues on page 81 for example. This is what happened before computerised formatting people, and still continues today by people who should know better.

I brought this to the inaugural Friday Fiber Fun meeting at the Tea Garden and I think I broke some people with the bad. It was also produced (and commented on) in This is Knit earlier that day, to much boggling and humour.

There are one or two okay patterns lurking under the fur but they're really nothing special.

Buy/Borrow: Only borrow this to boggle at what passed for fashion, why you shouldn't have designs with prominent features land on your breast and how to scare people silly. It also is an example of how some authors have learned and moved on.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries, thankfully stored away where it can't scare small children.

(see what I do for you all, suffer so that the truth can be told!)
Name of Book: the Art of Knitting
Author Eve Harlow edited
Any other info: Collins, 1983, 0004643017

Types of patterns: Garments and accessories

Number of Patterns: 35: Caftan (1); Dress (1); Jumper (6); Cardigan (4); Sleeveless top (2); Baby Dress (1 and cut out); Baby Jacket (1); Baby Hat (1); Girl's Dress (1); Child's Cardigan (2); hat (2); Scarf (2); Gloves (1); Socks (2); Jacket (1); child's hooded jumper (2); mittens (2); Child's Hat (1); Skirt (1); Waistcoat or sleeveless top (2)

Split of patterns: mostly women with some mens and childrens

Size Range: Women's 32-36 (a few 38); Men's 38-44

Colour/Black & White: Mostly colour illustrations with a few black and white, particularly for the older patterns

Schematics: No

Target Audience: Some pretty simple pieces and a few intermediate. One of the kids sweaters would be perfect if you wanted to learn how to do basic aran knitting and cables, it has only three patterns on the front.

How to knit guide: No

This one was modern for it's time but it's also experimental

Comments: Yes it was originally published in the 70's and it shows. However once you look closer at some of the patterns (ignore the caftan and some of the men's garments) and past some of the garish colour choices this is actually quite a good book of patterns. Many of the pieces rely on simple knit and purl designs to create interest in otherwise sedate patterns. That being said some of the designs are quite classic and in fact wouldn't take me much to be convinced to try them. Several of the designs are for a knitting machine.

The opening section that looks at knitting over the ages also has some interesting illustrations of early knitting and some of the surviving samples.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow this one before going hunting for it. It's interesting in ways for some of the implications rather than the patterns. Still they're not bad patterns and the illustrations of early knitting is interesting.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a copy. As noted the heirloom baby robe is missing for which the perprator deserves flogging.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Monday, 19 October 2009

Knitting Geek Code, lessee if I can get this vaguely right.

  Version: 1.1
KE@CR+++>$Exp++ SPM++KnitPro++ Wood++Bam+ Syn Nov-Wool++ Lux+++ Hemp+ Stash++
Scale++ Fin Ent FI>+ Int+ Aran++ Lace++ Felt>+ Flat+ Circ++ML Swatch+ DPN++
GaugeDK F W KIP++EZ+ FO++ WIP++(++) Blog SNB ALTCr X

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Name of Book: Knitting the complete guide
Author: Jane Davis
Any other info : Krause Publications, 9780896895911, 2008

Types of patterns: basic starter patterns

Number of Patterns: 8

Split of patterns: Adult

Size Range:38-51"

Colour/Black & White: Colour and black and white

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: Beginner

How to knit guide: What this book is all about


Comments: This is one of the best reference books I've seen lately. Blessed by a spiral spine, this compact and neat book has a basic refresher on knitting and then goes through some stitches, and includes a few patterns to get you going in different weights and different types of yarn. It would be an ideal book to have beside you to occasionally consult about the basics. It's not as good with finishing as some others but still it's quite good with what it does, with clear charts and the samples lead you to think about trying more and different projects. It also has a clear glossary and index.

Buy/Borrow: I'm adding this to my wishlist.

Where found: Library.

Name of Book: I Love Knitting
Author: Rachel Henderson
Any other info: Kyle Cathie, 2006, 1856266842

Types of patterns: Mostly Accessories.

Number of Patterns: Scarves: 4; Corsage: 2; Bowtie necklace:1; Bag: 5; Muff: 1; Hat: 1; Mittens(sleeveless) 1; Shoulderette: 1; Slippers: 1; laptop case: 1; Tea Cosy: 1; Wine Bottle Top: 1; Place Mat: 1; Glasses Case: 1; Dice: 1; Knitted cuff: 1; Pants/Knickers: 1

Split of patterns: mostly women, some men's patterns or unisex stuff thrown in

Size Range: One size for all

Colour/Black & White: colour pictures. Some Black and white charts.

Target Audience: Beginner to advanced beginner

How to knit guide: yes

Experimental/Classical/Modern: "hip" and "cool"

Comments: This book made me feel old and unhip. Most of the patterns were a bit blah and the missing information about the sizing of some of the bags was just uncool. Honestly for me there are much better patterns available online for free. I'm becoming a complete snob as well as I was seriously unimpressed with some of the sample knitting, obviously uneven and not blocked as well as I'd expect from a professional publication.

Buy/Borrow: Oh borrow this sucker first. If your local teen is enchanted, then buy but otherwise this is a bit of a waste, particularly if you're beyond beginner. I'd also have a sneaking suspicion that your local teen will grow out of it pretty quickly.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries.

Name of Book: Knitting for Special Effect
Author: Debby Robinson
Any other info: Little Brown, 1990, 0316751472

Types of patterns: Garments
Number of Patterns: 22; top: 3; cardigan: 6; Jumper: 9; Waistcoat: 2; Coat: 1

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: most patterns are in one size with a few with a second size; the sizing isn't given except with the schematics, so a little mathematics will be needed to find this out, one of the fitted garments is 36" & 38" (90cm and 94cm); many of the garments are oversized

Colour/Black & White: colour with black and white schematics

Schematics: yes with a fair amount of size detail, useful given the above

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced. There's some embroidery, entrelac and colourwork

How to knit guide: no. Some special effect tips scattered with the text.

Modern with some classical twists.

Comments: It does have some desperately 80's/early 90's moments but never underestimate the ability of fashion to recur. There are also some quite classical pieces that still have the ability to catch the eye. Also some of the ideas could spark some inspiration with other projects. I've knit one piece from this and am knitting another. I knit a waistcoat in cotton, which turned out very nice and I'm knitting a Biker Jacket at the moment, no I don't intend to actually wear it on the bike (except possibly for a photo-shoot) but it appealed to my sense of humour. Another pattern that catches my eye is one called Cultured pearl which is a top with beading, Lace and Crystal is a pretty twin-set; traindrops is a pretty jumper; black velvet could be modernised with smaller jewels, and the entrelac jumper is one that looks doable. Yes you would probably need to substitute most of the yarns but that's not the worst thing you'd have to do.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow and see what you think, the book is out of print but I found it online a few years ago not too expensively.

Where found: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown has a copy in stock (I know because I recently borrowed it, again, mine being elsewhere); I got it through Amazon for myself.

Name of Book: Vintage Knitwear for modern Knitters
Author: Lise Lotte Lystrup
Any other info: Thames & Hudson, 9780500514207, 2008

Types of patterns: Mostly women’s jumpers and cardigans with a few accessories

Number of Patterns: Cardigan/Jacket: 6; scarf: 3; Jumper: 5; Tube top: 1; Bolero: 3; Twinset: 1; top: 2; Wrap: 1

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 32” - 42”

Colour/Black & White: Both, reproductions of the vintage designs are in black & white; modern versions in colour

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: I’d say intermediate, there’s some cabling and patterning but nothing looks too complicated. The author seems to regard anything with cabling as advanced, but colourwork is intermediate for her. This is aimed at knitters wanting something old-fashioned.

How to knit guide: no, a basic guide to some tweaks is there and the abbreviations are spelt out.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Modern takes on some fairly classical styles.

Comments: This has potential, one of my major issues with the modern pictures are that they’re all pictured on a dressmakers figure, so really you don’t quite get an idea of how someone’s arms interact with the piece, or how it sits against their neck. From that figure it looks like the patterns have been moved from fairly negative ease (as was fashionable in the 30’s to 50’s) to positive ease. The schematics for one of the jumpers (Sports Sweater in Basket Weave) the 32” bust size is 36” around so if you want the look you might have to look at the finished sizing and see what you want out of it. The patterns themselves don’t tell you how the sizing comes out or what kind of ease is involved in each piece. The author complains about inadequate and faulty older patterns, seemingly unaware of some of the Vogue books with updated patterns.

For me there were one or two that slightly tweaked my interest but nothing that made me want to borrow the book, never mind reach for the needles.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow. You might really like the patterns but I was underwhelmed.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.
Name of Book: Custom Knits
Author: Wendy Bernard
Any other info: 2008, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 978-1584797135

Types of patterns: women's clothing,some accessories with the instructions men's clothing could be adapted

Number of Patterns: Jumper (5); Cardigan (6); top (7); Cape (1); Waistcoat (1); Beach Cover-up(1); wrap/shawl (2); Hat (1); Skirt (1)

Split of patterns: Women's

Size Range: x-small (30") to 3x-Large (51")

Colour/Black & White: Colour photos throughout, some sketches; someone though decided that bikini's were the best other clothing to not distract from most of the pictures. Sometimes it's difficult to see some of the construction details from the photos.

Schematics: Yes

Target Audience: Intermediate. There's no beginners guide here but most of the pieces are mostly stocking stitch.

How to knit guide: no

Experimental/Classical/Modern: a lot of the pieces are pretty classic.

Comments: An interesting book. It starts with the authors philosophy and a "how to make your own custom dress form" guide, then takes you on a journey through some patterns and then to how to adapt said patterns to suit yourself.

This is all top-down construction, which suits some people and doesn't suit some others, but it does talk about adjusting designs and working them for yourself. This is a book for someone who knows something about what they're letting themselves in for. Definitely not a beginners book, though many of the patterns are mostly stocking (or stockingette) stitch or with a little bit of fairly simple design involved. It's a book to stretch you, to make you think about your relationship with your favourite jumpers and see how you can make them yourself, in your own favourite colours and with your own detail.

Buy/Borrow: borrow first and see how you like it. I bought a copy after deciding that I needed to tweak something I wasn't incredibly happy with. The patterns don't sing to me, but the design advice is proving invaluable.

Where found: Proving very popular in the libraries!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

New finish

Summer cardigan side

A summer cardigan done in Tivoli's Linen/Cotton with a Tivoli Pattern, I knit it slightly shorter than the pattern to match the garment to the image on me. This has actually been on needles for AGES. I estimate at least 5 years, if not more.

I came across it recently and realised that all I had to do to finish it was to knit the rest of a sleeve and sew it up so I went back to it last week and bought the buttons today and attached them.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Neckwarmer for me, Chimera is the name

Buttons around the back and is just beautiful, field testing will happen tomorrow when I go back to work.

Chimera from the front


Chimera back

Opened out in front


Knit in Noro Cash Iroha

Kool Kotton Pile

Mount Kool Kotton

Most of the colours I have of the Kool Kotton Range, a few of them are enticing me to buy more to knit a full garment out of this Cotton and Acrylic blend.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Mio Bandido

He asked for a neckwarmer (he rides a motorbike almost daily) and he asked for it to be in rib for warmth, I saw this pattern Darkside Cowl PDF on Ravelry and thought of him



It's easier than it looks, I made it about 10inches long instead of the size on the pattern out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece bought from This is Knit

Vogue Knitting Very Easy Knits

Vogue Knitting Very Easy Knits: The Best of Very Easy Very Vogue
US Link

Vogue Knitting Very Easy Knits isn’t exactly what it pretends to be. They’re not Very Easy but a lot of them rely on knit and purl stitches to create interesting effects. You need to know about guage swatching for this one as many of the patterns are made with obsolete yarn and many of the pictures are very dated, still colours and fashions do cycle. I’ve knit one pattern from this the Short-sleeve ribbbed pullover and I like how it looks. I have a few queued as well. I wouldn’t class them as easy more as next-step knitting, stretching some of your boundries without too much of a stretch.

Passion for Colour

Passion for Colour: Designer Knitting with Natural Dyes
US Link

Passion for Colour by Sarah Burnett. I got it from Rathmines Library, part of Dublin City Libraries (yes I work for them, sometimes even I can be surprised what’s lurking on the shelves). Sarah Burnett still dyes yarn and can be found here but this book is a collection of advice on dyeing using natural dyes and patterns. The patterns are quite colourful and none of them really tempted me, there were some childrens’ wear that I could see would work but some of the patterns are too fussy, both in terms of colour and style for me (I’m not a frills person).

However what was good was the section in the front about dyeing. She has a lot of information there, which might appeal to some of the dyers around. Pretty practical and with helpful pictures (and warnings about the chemicals involved in some of the processes). She also has some nice illustrations of colour combinations and instructions on how to achieve them.

But boy are the patterns dated!


Name of Book Tweed: More Than 20 Contemporary Designs to Knit
US Link

Author Nancy J Thomas
Any other info Potter Craft, 2008, 978-0307381323

Types of patterns: Garments and accessories, some homewear, all knit in either Aran or bulky weight.

Number of Patterns: 21 (just over the “over 20” they advertise on the cover

Split of patterns: mostly women’s but a decent number of mens scarves and hats make an appearance.
Hats: 3
Scarves: 4
Women’s Garments: 10
Bags: 2
Household: 3
Men’s Garments: 1

Size Range: most patterns go from x-small (35”) to 2X (52”) for women and the solo man’s garment, the Dublin Cabled Vest runs from Small(37.5”) to 2X(52.5”)

Colour/Black & White, full colour photographs, mostly from the front with some side views. Most graphs are in black and white with some colour emphasis but the Lake District Throw chart is in full colour.

Schematics: Yes

Target Audience: Mixed; the book is divided into Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate and advanced projects (called “Walking on the Moors”; “Hiking the Scottish Uplands”; “Walking the Irish Cliffs of Moher” and “Sailing the North Sea” - gah)

How to knit guide, no only a few stitch patterns

Experimental/Classical/Modern - pretty classical stuff with the odd quirk thrown in

Comments - once you get past the twee and some of the Oirishness it’s actually not a bad book. The tweed yarn referenced is mostly spun in Kilcar and looks quite suspiciously familiar to those of us who knit with Kilcarra Tweed. Several of the patterns are interesting and I want to knit a few. I’ve gone and ordered my own copy. The scarves are pretty unisex and I like the colour use, mostly. Most of the patterns in the Tahki yarns Donegal Tweed are from the Kilcarra palette so for a change not too much mucking about to get a alternative yarn.

Buy/Borrow : I’m buying myself a copy. At around the E22 mark it’s a little over E1 per pattern, and I have my eye on about 5-6 of them to add to my queue.

Where found: Coming to a library near you very soon.

Twinkle's Weekend Knits

Name of Book:Twinkle's Weekend Knits: 20 Fast Designs for Fun Getaways
US Link

Author: Wenlan Chia
Any other info: Potter Craft, 2008, ISBN: 9780307346131

Types of patterns: Jumpers, scarves, hats, tops, shawls, hanger covers, I-pod cover, has some colourwork, cables & lace

Number of Patterns: 20

Split of patterns: Women’s, some of the scarves are unisex, the i-pod cover has no gender

Size Range: xs-l; i.e. 31” - 42”

Colour/Black & White: Colour photos, how-to drawn in black & White; charts black and white

Schematics: Yes, for EVERYTHING, including scarves and i-pod cover

Target Audience: Beginner, some stuff that I would class as almost for intermediate but more beginner looking to stretch themselves. Aimed at a younger person than me, i.e. 20’s and skinnier too! (how to make me feel old!!)

How to knit guide: Just a guide to the more complicated stuff, no how to cast on or simple cast-offs here.

Experimental/Classical/Modern - I’d rate this one an modern

Comments This isn’t a book for me. I’m not a small lass and the only pattern that uses below 8mm needles is the i-pod cosy. None of them really sang out to me or made me want to knit them, this is not to say that there aren’t good or interesting patterns in this, it and me just aren’t going to have a future relationship. The one pattern that almost tempted me is the Riverbed Shawl and the Urchin hat isn’t significantly differnt to others around. The Cloudburst Cardigan has potential but not for me.

Buy/Borrow Borrow, if it appeals to you there is potential there for some pretty quick knits.

Where found: Coming soon to a Dublin City Public Library near you.

Blankets and throws to Knit

Name of Book Blankets and Throws to Knit: Patterns and Piecing Instructions for 100 Knitted Squares (Uk Link)
100 Afghan Squares to Knit: Patterns and Instructions for Mixing and Matching Afghan Squares for Blankets and Throws (US Link and a slightly different title)
Author Debbie Abrahams
Any other info Collins & Brown pub, ISBN: 9781843404712

Types of patterns: Throws mostly, all pieced

Number of Patterns: 12 throws, 100 squares

Split of patterns: Mostly colourwork but some shades of one colour
Target Audience: Mostly beginner, some intermediate patterns, there’s some colourwork, cables, beadwork, sequin work and some embroidery.

How to knit guide There’s a technique guide at the back, she assumes the basics and then talks about Intarsia work; Knitting with beads, knitting with sequins, adding embroidery, piecing the pieces together (mattress stitch) and care and washing of the afghan.

Experimental/Classical/Modern most of the patterns are pretty classical, some have colours that are quite “now” but it’s not overwhelmingly so, many of them are a little sameish.

Comments If you’ve been doing the Art of Knitting throw and want to expand your horizon this may be the book for you.

Buy/Borrow Borrow. Some nice ideas in it but not really spectacular.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries. Coming soon attraction!

Harmony Guide Lace and eyelet stitches

Name of Book: The Harmony Guides: Lace & Eyelet Stitches: 250 Stitches to Knit(Uk Link)
US Link

Author - edited by Erika Knight
Any other info C&B crafts

Types of patterns: Lace and eyelet stitches

Number of Patterns: 250

Split of patterns: just stitches

Colour or Black & White Colour Stitches, Black & White techniques.

Target Audience: everything from easy to difficult

How to knit guide: Yup, done with sketches

Experimental/Classical/Modern - this is pretty classical stuff but it would encourage experimentation

Comments - the new edited harmony guide, some of the photos aren’t as clear as maybe I’d like but overall it’s pretty good, could be improved by being spiral bound, most patterns have a single page.

Buy/Borrow - if you’re interested in this stuff buy, if you’re looking for a one off borrow.

Where found: bought it in the book bargain shop opposite Easons on Abbey Street, they had it reduced to E10.99 so I couldn’t really resist.
Name of Book : Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner(Uk Link)
US Link

Author : Aneeta Patel
Any other info - this is not to be confused with a book of the same name associated with the US TV series, this is an English production

Types of patterns: very, very basic, the ubiquitus Garter stitch scarf, Baby Booties (with some variations), hats, zig-zag scarf, baby or child cardigan, cable bag, lacy wrap, mittens, hot water bottle cover, necktie, fingerless wristwarmers, phone cover, “manly” scarf, girly scarf, little’n’large cushions.

Number of Patterns: 24

Split of patterns: Men/women/children a mix of all of the above

Size Range: baby/children’s cardigan is 3/6 months or 2-3 years, it’s the only real pattern that has sizes

Colour/Black & White: colour photos, quite clear to the guidelines

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: Rank Beginner

How to knit guide: well this is what the book is about

Pretty classical, but I can see it not aging well.

Comments: I’m trying to be nice but this is not the best of it’s type. The finished objects don’t look the best, in fact to me they don’t look very inspiring. It would be fine as a book for starting with but unlike some others of it’s type it wouldn’t be a book I’d add to my owned pile.

Buy/Borrow: I’d borrow, it does go through the basics but it’s not a book I’d keep.

Where found: Coming soon to the libraries
Name of Book Knits for Men: 20 Sweaters, Vests, and Accessories (UK Link)

US Link

Author Margaret Hubert
Any other info creative publishing, 978-1589233591, 2008

Types of patterns: mostly jumpers with few hats, scarves and slipper socks

Number of Patterns: 22 (including 2 hat and scarf sets); jumpers: 11; cardigans: 4; waistcoats: 1; sleeveless pullover: 1; slipper socks: 1

Split of patterns: Men mostly though the hats and scarves are pretty unisex and one of them would probably be a great introduction to slip stitch techniques!

Size Range: 34”/36” to 46”-48” (while disingeniously supplying the yarn council standard up to XXL or 50”-52”

Colour/Black & White: Colour photos; Charts in colour, most patterns spelt out rather than charted; nice detail close-ups of any special techniques or patterns for each item.

Schematics: yes, quite detailed in both inches and cm

Target Audience: I’d rank this as both beginner and intermediate. Several of the patterns are quite basic but some are more intermediate. There are some things that might be a little more complicated (like the entrelac pullover and the slip stitch patterns) but there’s nothing thats terribly challenging. Most of the patterns are drop shouldered.

How to knit guide: yes, photographs, does assume a certain knowledge but as well as some advice on finishing near the beginning, there’s some advice on paired decreases, yarn bobbins, i-cord, three-needle bind-off and grafting.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: pretty classical stuff with some twists occasionally

Comments: passed the husband eyebrow test, i.e. his didn’t approach his hairline too often when flicking through and there were some approving noises as well as an enquiry as to whether or not I planned buying it. Some of the patterns tempt me as well and while I may not be the biggest fan of some of them they mostly rely on simple stitch patterns to break up the huge expanse you have to knit for men. The patterns are varied enough but also plain enough to keep most men pretty happy and with a stitch dictionary you really could ring the changes with it.

Buy/Borrow: I’m buying this one to add to the collection.

Where found: This one is sitting on the shelves in a few Dublin City Public Libraries now.
Latest Finish.


I started it when I was quite a bit bigger. I do like the edge detail, it took me ages to decide which way I wanted to go. It's based on the Modified Drop Shoulder Cardigan with the lace edge ripped from the lace edged cardigan from The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges (UK Link) US link

This is a great book if you want to start trying design, took me a little outside of my comfort zone but that's not a bad thing.

Made in Patons UK Washed Haze DK in Rose Pink, got from Hickeys in Henry Street
This is intended to be a blog for knitting book reviews and updates on what I'm knitting these days.