Sunday, 31 October 2010


Or my likes and dislikes.

Okay, I'm opinionated about what I like and dislike in pattern books, and sometimes I get a little sarky, this being said I do try to be as balanced as I can. I try to point out good points in books, and often when I re-read posts I try to clarify that maybe it wasn't that bad, that maybe it was an overwhelming ugh that got to me. There are some things that will always get to me.

Lack of detailed pictures. I'm am guaranteed to get a little snippy if the model is more in focus than the knitted object, it's also guaranteed to make me a little sceptical about the garment. Lack of front views when there's details there? Garment unworn, particularly if other garments in the book are worn? Collar covered by a scarf? Closure not clearly shown? Repeated photographs, just with a little more focus on a random portion, or the worst sin of all, repeated photograph flipped? Oh yeah, colour me sceptical.

Lack of Schematics that actually tell you something. If the details in the introduction piece tell me that the garment is x inches or cm long and the sleeves are y inches long, I don't see why your schematics shouldn't tell me more. Useful details often include depth of neckline, width of waist, depth to waist if you have a fitted waist, the details that can help a person change things for the better. Your pattern will never be perfect for everyone, live with it.

Repeating patterns within the same book with no more a significant change than yarn or colour.

Online patterns, go to our website to get this pattern often means a year later it's gone and I have no hope of getting it.

The words funky or edgy fill me with dread. They usually actually mean this is an unholy mess.

I have to admit to a dislike of fun fur and other novelty yarns of most sorts, particularly when they're used for a whole garment, writers who insist that this style suits all women and other such absolutes. I also admit to a certain impatience with books that don't include mm needle sizes, or at least a quick guide to mm, but thats a bit of a personal preference.

What do I like? Well written patterns that allow me to adapt them to my 40" chest, 5'1" stature, I like classically styled pieces with some slightly unusual or different quirks. Yarns that aren't difficult to source or extremely expensive. Books that also make me think or inspire me will get my vote.

Another Pair of socks

My eleventh pair of socks this year! I am on track to knit 12 this year, particularly as I've cast on for the twelfth already and am into the first repeat of the ankle.

These are my George R R Martin socks


Why George R R Martin? The first sock was completed while listening to George R R Martin's Guest of Honour Speech at Octocon this year. Yes I'm a geek.

I love how Autumnal this colourway is, I think it may have originally been bought to make a pair of socks for my husband but they're mine now. They're quite apt for wearing today, which I am doing.

ETA: These are Hermoine's Everyday Socks which definitely lok more complicated than they are, a nice pattern that breaks up possible pooling on the yarn.

Simple Stylish Knits Review

Also known as So Simple Knits
Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: 24; Coat/Jacket (6); Hat (2); Cardigan (5); Top (1); Cape (2); Poncho (1); throw (1); Jumper (3); tank-top (1); Headband (1)

Split of patterns: Men/women/children - Womens only.

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs

Schematics: Yes, for most, however they're a bit thin on detail, often only mentioning length, no mention of the various widths.

Target Audience: beginner to intermediate

How to knit guide: Much of the basics are covered quite quickly.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: some classical pieces but it's mostly fairly modern.

Comments: A mixed bunch of patterns
The first chapter is "Classic"
Long Asymmetrical Coat - the photographs aren't clear about how it's asymmetrical but it's got a pointed front that fastens with a buckle, this is knit on 7 & 12mm needles so it's big and bulky. The bulky yarn brings down the shoulders and the sleeves look quite baggy on the model, classed as Easy.

Basketweave Coat and Hat are knit in Sirdar Bigga in 15mm needles. This is HUGE. and I have to wonder about the needs some experience for the Basketweave pattern, if you can do a neat rib you can do a Basketweave pattern. Rated as easy.

Long Shawl-Collared Coat this one is knit in Rowan Ribbon Twist on 12mm needles and comes across as being less bulky and not as heavy as the other two, this is designed to go down below your knees and may need some modification for the short. Rated as Easy.

Striped Sweater, it's a pretty standard stocking stitch and it appears to have waist shaping, although that's not evident from the pictures. The schematics aren't clear about the sleeve width but they look quite wide on the sleeve, rated as very easy.

Cardigan with Loop stitch Collar: stripes, loop stitch collar, ribbon tie and buttons. It doesn't appeal to me. Rated as easy.

Moss Stitch Jacket and top. The Jacket is knitted in moss stitch and knit on 6.5mm needles; the top in 3.25 and 4mm needles, there's pockets and fringing, the top is sleeveless. They're rated as Easy

Two-Colour Jacket is a high necked jacket; designed to be knit in a yarn with a long colour variation this would be a good piece for someone who liked a high neck jacket. If I was to knit it myself I would be tempted to knit it in the round to the underarm, and would possibly attempt steeks for the piece above the underarms in order to keep the colour moving smoothly. Rated as very easy.

Two-Colour Cape is knit in two contrast colours. Rated as very easy this has some textured stitches. The schematic isn't very clear, the only photograph on the page is the back the only clue about how it's constructed is the making up.

The second chapter is Weekend

Hooded Cardigan with Embroidery. It's a nicely designed hooded cardigan with a zip and applied cross stitch in a contrast yarn. It would still be a nice piece even without the cross stitch. It's knit in a relatively thick yarn, Rowan Cork and knit with 7 & 8mm needles, the hood is knit flat and seamed. This is the garment on the cover of the book. Rated as Easy.

Jacket with Funky Collar where funky collar is Sirdar New Fizz or a "novelty yarn" that knits to a large gauge, the body is in Sirdar Bigga. The whole thing is knit on 12mm and 15mm needles and is quite a large looking jacket and I don't think it would suit larger sizes. Rated as very easy

Patchwork Coat is knit four shades of yarn on 5.5 and 6.5mm needles big rectangles and the ribbed edge goes in. I would be inclined to add a hem instead. Though again it's not a piece I'd actually knit, the ribbed collar with fringing is an added reason not to. It's a very bulky piece and again lacks a full front picture. Rated as Medium.

Poncho and hat with earflaps: Knit in Rowan Big Wool Tuft which I'm sure you would be gutted to know is discontinued. It's knit on 15 and 20mm needles. The hat is seamed and the poncho has fringing. I think this classifies as my second least favourite piece Rated as very easy.

Sweater with Fringing - Knit in Rowan chunky print, with 7mm and 8mm needles, this has a slight point to the front, fringing and a cabled pattern down the front and back and a cowl neck

Throw-over wrap, knit with 15 and 20mm needles this is a fairly plain wrap you could possibly avoid seaming by knitting until the cast on for the neck and then knitting the other side and then knitting both together. There's no schematic for this one. Rated as very easy.

Third chapter is Casual
Cardigan with Ribbon ties - this has some contrast on the wrists and bottom of the cardigan and a slight shawl collar, The contrast is worked with a chevron knit pattern. There's some waist shaping. If I was to knit this I would leave off the ribbon decoration. Knit with 3.25 and 4mm needles. Rated as easy

Cardigan with Beads, high collared with a bead detailing around the collar. This is a pretty plain boxy cardigan. Knit on 7&8mm needles. The beads around the collar are quite bulky, I would be quite tempted to use them as buttons instead or as well. Rated as very easy

Sweater with frilled hem and cuffs. This is knit in Rowan Summer Tweed with 5mm needles. I'd be tempted to knit this with a different edging, if I was to knit it. The textured knit complements the yarn well, you could also do the centre piece in a contrast yarn. Rated as easy.

Scoop-necked top with lacy edging - knit on 5.5 and 6.5mm needles this has a leaf and bobble edge on the bottom, most of the body is knit in stocking stitch in the main, this is a wide-necked piece; almost off the shoulder. Has some waist shaping but the photographs are unhelpful. Rated easy.

Striped Sleeveless Top is knit in a chunky chenille, a standard v-necked tank top this one, it could be knit easily in a single colour, this has some waist shaping. Again the photographs reveal little. Rated easy.

Silky Mohair Cardigan is in Kidsilk Haze which some people like and some people dislike. Knit with 3&3.75mm needles. The original uses heart-shaped buttons. Boxy and knit mostly in stocking stitch it rates as very easy.

Chapter 4 is titled Glamorous.
Cape and Headband: Knit with 7&8mm needles (surely this is what everyone wants, a headband in big chunky wool) This is semi-circular shaped. Rated as very easy.

Sweater with Lace Collar and Cuffs, this is what it says, knit in lurex with 2.75; 3.25 and 4mm needles, this reminds me a little of work by White Lies designs not a lot of lace but enough to take this piece from mundane to a little exciting. Most of the body is knit in stocking stitch. Rated as easy.

Bolero Jacket - knit in 7mm needles this is a blocky piece but as chenille it's not too bad, it's cropped.

Last and definitely least in my book Wrapover Cardigan. This has frilled edge and piece on the cuffs. The body is knit on 8mm needles and the edging in 3.25mm. This one just makes me shudder and I can't say anything good about it. There's no shot of the front, it bags in the front at the waist, taking a garment that could be flattering and making it quite ugly. Rated as easy.

This book depends a lot on big yarns and blocky shapes, while there are a few very nice pieces they are also a few dogs, only if you like a few of the patterns would I get this one. While I'm interested in one or two of them overall I'm unimpressed by the whole thing of it.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow it, honestly if you want a look ask me. If you like it you should probably buy it but I could probably imagine that most who like it would be thinner types, bulkier yarns are often not flattering to larger women as they add bulk

Where Found: I own a copy, bought it second-hand.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Knitting And Stitching Show

It's the weekend of the Knitting and Stitching show and I'm not there. The why is a little complicated.

For starters I'm broke, broke as a broke thing in Brokestown. It was not helped by my having to visit a doctor or pay out on medication, I mean, I'm not destitute but I don't have a lot of spare money

Secondly: last year I wasn't all that impressed and didn't really buy an awful lot, to pay a relatively high entry fee and then not find things I wanted to buy is kinda annoying.

Thirdly: I have kilometers of yarn to knit. My stash needs reduction not increase! This is the main reason to stay away.

Hope everyone who visited enjoyed themselves.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Slightly Pink Socks

So these are technically September socks because I finished them last week.
pinkish socks
I knit the first two repeats on 2.75mm and the remaining sock on 2.5 and I could possibly have gone with 2.5 and 2.25 to be honest but the yarn has a lot of cotton in it and I predict that there will be some shrinkage over time. I still like them a lot.

And no, the colour and the style has nothing to do with the fact that October is Breast Cancer Month. Please support your local cancer support services, please know what's normal for you and realise that if you feel like you're wasting your doctor's time maybe you need to change your doctor, and also remember, women don't only get Breast Cancer, I didn't.