Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bainin Hemlock

This weekend I'm going to Galway for my Nieces' Christening. The yarn was from an Aunts' collection. She died a few years ago from Breast Cancer and was my brother's (the father of my niece) godmother. I thought it would be apt and continuing history with family.


It's the Hemlock ring Blanket, basically an adapted doily pattern, a very clever idea.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hat Knit

Ireland had a cold spell recently and I was sick for a week which led to some knitting getting done.

Cabled Ringoli Hat link to PDF
Cabled Rangoli Side

from the top:
Cabled Rangoli Top

In some yarn dyed by the Dublin Dye Company who sell through This is Knit This was an aran weight yarn that they don't really do anymore but it was fun to knit. Several people have asked me how I managed to get the variety of variagation on it, I just knit it straight from the ball and I love how it worked. link: Inspired to Knit: Creating Exquisite Handknits

Name of Book: Inspired to Knit
Author: Michele Rose Orne
Any other info: 9781596680418, Interweave Press, 2008

Types of patterns: mostly women's garments a few accessories.

Number of Patterns: 21: Cardigan/Jacket (8); Caplet (1); Gauntlets (1); Shrug (2); Coat (1); Tunic (1); Jumper (1); Blouse (1); Top (2); Camisole (1); Halter (1); Skirt (1)

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range:34.5"-55.5" (87.5-141cm); not all garments cover these sizes, they were taken from a random sampling of sizes

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs and sketches; colourwork charts in colour, other charts in black and white

Schematics:yes; and with a lot of detail. Bottom to waist measurements, waist to underarm, underarm to top, waist, bottom and bust information, makes it easier to change any details you want.

Target Audience: Intermediate with some advanced ideas thrown in.

How to knit guide: for some of the more complex concepts

Some of it is pretty classical with some modern twists, some of it will date.

Comments: There are three levels to this book. The first is the patterns, more of which later, the second is the idea of moving from design sketch to design; some design notes that would give you further ideas and some notes on making it your own, how to change some things and retain the concept. The third are the Design workshop ideas, four in all reflecting the four parts the book is divided in (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer); all asking people to look further at what inspires you. There are times though that the author comes across as a bit pretentious.

The patterns are divided by season, first being Autumn
The Indian Summer Cardigan is an interesting but boxy cardigan, wouldn't suit everyone but has potential, the leaf shapes on the tip are inerestingly contrasted by the step concept below the waist, it has the 3/4 length sleeves that many people like

The Amber Beaded Cardigan is in gold with beads, quite a nice piece with a little lace on the bottom and a contrast around the edge. The sleeves are flared and full.

Walk in the Woods Jacket. Leaves and flowers in colourwork, you either like this or hate this, again the sleeves are flared and full.

Coral Roses Jacket - long jacket with a belt and inartasia large roses along the hem with a single rose on the back. Could be interesting on the right person, the sleeves use some cablework to pull them in at the bottom and some colourwork at the bottom

Fair Isle Caplet and Gauntlets. This got the most mockery at the Friday Fiber Fun session I brought this to. It isn't pictured with outdoor wear under and I think that detracts from it's possible usefulness. Very not my sort of things

Winter has: Shimmer Lace Shrug, more a cropped cardigan really and it would be cute as either an evening-wear item or possibly a wedding wear item. nice stuff

Snowdrift Cardigan, Cabling at the cuffs and collar that's quite bulky, nice concept but I don't know that it would be all that practical.

Winter Wonderland Coat - cables on the bottom, plain top, cabled cuffs to the elbow, deep collar to show off a nice scarf, this has a lot of potential, though, you'd have to make sure that the end of the cables hit you in the right place, it would be a spectacular piece. Usefully the schematics do show the different "hit" points so pretty easy to adjust.

Evergreen Sleeve Tunic - BIG Bulky knitting for a huge jumper. Looks big on the model, not my sort of thing.

Whisper Cuff Cardigan - torn on this one, large collaring with cables and sleeves with some inset details make it look interesting but I'm not sure that it would stay on well.

Frost Flower cuff Pullover. Interesting lazy daisy stitch embroidery with beading jazzes up this moss stitch jumper, the raglan sleeves with the cabling are also an interesting touch. The beads are sewn in afterwards so you could leave it out or substitute. The bead placement and embroidery are shown as concept rather than clearly worked out.

Spring has: the lily of the valley shrug, shaping created by the stitching, edging added, this isn't a bad design

Seed-Stitch Poet Jacket is a cardigan with an attached scarf with lacework, quite nice looking piece and could work well to dress up a summer dress for a spring or autumn wedding.

The Victorian Lace Blouse also provoked some discussion. It's quite fussy in places but I could see myself getting rid of the flouncing and knitting it as an under-shirt for some of the corsets I own. Underwear as outerwear and it would need careful planning when wearing as the lace needs camisole or such under it.

The Vintage Linterie Top is not the best, the contrast piece underbust doesn't quite work for me, that could be just the photos. Not a bad piece, again could be useful as a corset underwear.

Summer has the Tiny Twists Camisole, interesting detail for the strap, not so sure about the body of the piece, still if that's what you enjoy...

Ribbed Halter - if you like halter tops this might be the piece for you. Made from the centre out it would be easily adjustable for most bodies.

Papillion Cardigan a short-sleeved cardigan with lace skirt andd contrast trip on the edge and cuffs.

Wedding Ensemble is a two-piece garment with a short sleeved top with lace caps and hem and a tiered skirt. I like the top but the skirt is too fussy for my taste.

Buy/Borrow: I own a copy, there are also copies in the Dublin City Public Libraries, if you're looking to start adjusting and designing it's a good book to kickstart ideas. It also helps that some of the patterns are quite pretty. The design notes and make it your own along with the well-drawn schematics make many of the patterns very adaptable, a feature not enough books have.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries have some in stock. link: Knits to Fit and Flatter
Name of Book: Knits to Fit and Flatter
Author: Jane Ellison
Any other info: 0715331469, David & Charles, 2009

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: 12; Sleeveless top (3); Cardigan (4); Jumper (4); Coat (1)

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 32-50 (though most are 32-46)

Colour/Black & White: Colour

Schematics: yes but they're not solid outlines, they're watercolour or something.

Target Audience: Intermediate to stretching beginner

How to knit guide: no, how to do some of the more complicated bits plus a lot of fitting to your own figure notes

Pretty modern but some classical pieces

Comments: I wanted to like this one, I really did. And there are a number of things to like about it. The fact that most of the pieces are done in two different yarns so you can see how a little difference would change things; though there is a cheat at least once where it's just a different colour of the same yarn. The fact that there are notes about how to change things to fit, also some notes on what flatters whom.
However, several of the garments are quite shapeless for a book called Knits to Fit and Flatter, in fact there's not a lot of fitting and in several instances I'd question the flattering! A slash neck, off the shoulder sloppy joe jumper neither fits nor does it flatter everyone. Straight lines predominate this book and I was left vaguely dissatisfied and feeling like the title was misleading. The patterns aren't bad (and I have to admit to having a bit of a lust after the Shawl collar cardigan) but they don't stand out for me and don't convince me that they necessarily work with the title given. I was also put off by some of the photography, the wrap top on the cover doesn't appear anywhere with a full front view nor does the Twice as nice cardigan (she reckons that a rib cardigan is an "intermediate" make BTW) the great lengths coat is only shown from the front in the blue colourway not in the Noro and you can see curling causing an issue. This is one where really the effort required to make the patterns work satisfactorily might be more than most are willing to put in.

Buy/Borrow: I'd borrow first and see if they inspire. I had a meh reaction.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a few copies.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 link: Travellers' Yarns
Name of Book Traveller's Yarns
Author: Sue Bradley
Any other info: 1988, Sidgwick and Jackson, 0283995262

Types of patterns: Garments & accessories

Number of Patterns: Waistcoat (1), Hat (9); Tie (1); Jumper (12); Gloves (3); Cardigan (8); Shirt (1); Coat (3); Bag (2); top (1); Bracelet (2); Headband (2); Skirt (2); dress (1); Earrings (1); slipover (1)

Split of patterns: Womens

Size Range: 81-91cm (32-36in)/97-102cm (38-40") are the commonest two sizes available

Colour/Black & White; colour pictures, some illustrations, colour charts

Schematics: Yes, at the back of the book

Target Audience: Intermediate, you need to know your colourwork for this one.

How to knit guide: no

Classic 80's.

Comments: Oh man, two sizes of boxy oversized pattern busy garments, this is quite the explosion in a paint factory experience. I could imagine using particular motifs from the patterns in an otherwise plain garment but these are just too much.

It does have some merit. There are interesting sketches and inspiration pieces, artwork and swatches before each chapter but the mishmash of cultural motifs and ideas just make me shake my head and wonder why.

Buy/Borrow: Oh if you don't believe people who shudder at the thought of some 80's pattern books, this is a must borrow. Wonder and weep.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a copy. link: The Rowan/brother Designer Machine Knitting Book

Name of Book: Rowan/Brother Designer Machine Knitting Book
Author: Stephen Sheard (editor)
Any other info: 1989, Century Hutchinson, 0712622411

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: Jumper (17); Cardigan (7); Skirt (3); Waistcoat (2)

Split of patterns: Men and Women

Size Range: 91-122cm (36-48") (not all patterns cover all ranges)

Colour/Black & White - Colour photos, black and white charts

Schematics: Yes

Target Audience: Machine knitters with some colourwork experience

How to knit guide : this has a primer on Machine Knitting involved

Classic 80's

Comments: This is full of boxy 80's cardigans and jumpers, colourwork from that time and models swamped by their garments. The men seem to fare a lot better than the women but it's touch and go sometimes. If you really wanted to you could probably knit them by hand or use some inspiration from them to handknit patterns. It's not the worst of it's kind and there are alternative colourways pictured regularly but it's quite dated.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow this sucker and buy if you must

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries have a copy or two. link: Oddball Knitting
Name of Book: Oddball Knitting
Author: Brenda Horne
Any other info: Kangaroo Press, 1989, 0864172567

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: Technically 8, Jumper (5); Jacket/Cardigan (3)

Split of patterns: Men/women/children; apart from the 2 oversized jumpers each pattern is presented as Men then Women then childs

Size Range: Men 110-130 cm; women 95-115cm; childs 67-89cm and then the two oversized are listed as sizes (uk one assumes); 16/18(20/22) just to confuse

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs in the centre; charts are hand drawn but well done and black and white.

Schematics: No

Target Audience: You'd need to know something about colourwork, and if you want to do two handed knitting it justs mentions that it's possible.

How to knit guide: Short and pretty basic


Comments: While the patterns are boxy and the oversized patterns made me scream "get thee behind me 80's" the rest are actually doable and the kind of patterns to use up odds and ends of yarn. There are three basic patterns, pattern a - Dancing Diamonds, which is stacked up parallelograms; B - Mosaic - diamonds inside a solid outline (one of the photographs has the look of stained glass with the outline in a dark colour and the inners in jewel bright tones); C: On the Slant - prety much longer dancing diamonds without the points. They're actually pretty clever patterns that if you picked the right yarn and colours would stand the test of time.

Buy/Borrow: I'm seriously thinking about hunting this one up to buy as I have a tonne of dk weight yarn that could do with being used up and these look good.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a few copies. link: Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories to Knit
Name of Book: Knitting Little Luxuries - beautiful accessories to knit
Author: Louisa Harding
Any other info: Interweave Press, 2007, 978-1596680548

Types of patterns: Womens mostly accessories and a few garments, some of the scarves are pretty unisex.

Number of Patterns: 21 in total - Hat(5); Handbag (3); Mittens (1); Wrap (3); Cushion (1); Tabard (1); Scarf (3); Purse (2); Fingerless mitts (1); Cardigan (1)

Split of patterns: Womens

Size Range:33.5-47" (96.5-119.5cm) for the tabard; 34-45" (86.5-114.5cm) for the cardigan. Everything else is one size.

Colour/Black & White: colour throughout

Schematics: Yes for the two garments (cardigan and Tabard)

Target Audience: Intermediate with some stuff that a beginner wouldn't be too unhappy trying.

How to knit guide: Short one

Pretty Classical stuff.

Comments: This is divided into a few sections- Eclectic and Quirky; Textured and Modern; Pretty and Feminine and Traditional and Folk. Some of it is quite pretty and it is the kind of thing that someone more into girly stuff would like. Honestly I see about three patterns I like but nothing in this made me want to reach for my needles.

I've seen some of the garments in person and they are cute but not me, I'm not a person for handbags, I'm a shoulder bag person and I'm weaning myself off looking at neck fastening cardigans because they drive me crazy. One of the things I really did like about the book was the way some of the items were knit in different yarns, smooth and fluffy so you could see the way a different yarn could change the look. Also some of the embroidery and embelishment was interesting. So for me it was a glance through and get inspiration book. The one garment I was interested in has been reproduced in a magazine I get, so I have it already.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow to see what's in it and if you're really attracted buy. This is the kind of book that you either love or feel a bit meh about.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries have copies.

Knitting in 1939 Link: 1939: The Last Season

From 1939 The Last season by Anne De Courcy, I have been interested for years in the interwar period and this was an interesting read, as I was reading I was amused to come across these little snippets about knitting.

p5 "Society lived well. The rich drove Daimlers, Rolls-Royces and the now forgotten Lanchester (its selling point: 'At 50 m.p.h. you can knit comfortably')."

p184 "The habit of knitting in the ballroom, however, was becoming ever more popular. Needles clicked away merrily among the rows of chaperones sitting along the walls. Lady Acland, respponsible for starting the whole thing a few weeks earlier, brought an ambitious piece of work with her to one dance, a wool dress to which she managed to add several inches during the course of the evening. Even so, one chaperone who brought a mauve jumper she hoped to complete during a dance at Claridges did not have the courage to bring it into the ballroom when she realized everyone else was empty-handed, and left it bundled up ignominiously in the cloakroom."