Saturday, 31 December 2011

WIP's of 2011

So I have a number of projects that are languishing in the Work in Progress/ Unfinished Object Pile

UFO's that just need some finishing
The Pixie Socks - these only need a bit of crochet along the edging. 31/12/2011
The Purple Biker - needs the zip putting in.
Purple Versatility - needs the buttons putting in
Sherwood needs Blocking.

WIP's Long-term
Purple Serenity is a knit for when I need something to keep me occupied, it's a banket worked in the round. To use up some of the purple acrylic lurking in my stash.
Springfield Memories - worked in motifs this is proving to be a on-and-off project, currently off
Victoria is a doll pattern, who was stalled when the book was left in the rain and I had to try it out properly, so my momentum was lost, this is a complex pattern with a lot of clothes.
Multicoloured Square, an experimental project done with some test yarn.  Plan to make it into a cushion cover.
Using up some Plain yarn - using up the Art of Knitting leftovers doing the curve of Pursuit, I had more of this knit until I needed to finish the second Art of Knitting throw and discovered that I was missing yarn.
Sock Yarn Quilt- I have plans to change how this is made as I like modular where you connect the squares to minimise sewing up.  I think I'll do an outer edge of the centre out squares and then do mitered squares for the rest.
Leaf or Stay - this has to come to Dublin with me some day, I keep forgetting to knit it when visiting the folks
Carmel Knotty - needs to have another project rotated in, this languishes in work

Nearly there, some more knitting required
Purple Leap - only one strap left to go but it's tedious repetitive work now.

Ripping needed/done, restarting taking time
Blue Inara - I swear, I was done with back and side one, then discovered I was missing almost 40 stitches for the first, ripped, want to restart, it will be pretty when done.
Square Brown Cardigan, I was getting there with this until I discovered that the armholes aren't designed for me.  Sleeves need to be ripped and restarted. Yes, this is knit in an interesting modular way and I liked the fun of it.

I started a test knit yesterday, it's ploughing along.

The last project on my WIP pile is the Turquoise Drip Drop Cowl.  As I only started it 2 days ago I don't think it really counts as a long-term WIP

There are a few projects that are officially snoozing and need finishing but the projects above are first.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Gentle Art of Knitting Review

Impressions: Apparently her blog Yarnstorm (the posts about yarn/knitting) is quite popular, it now appears to be more about photography and food than knitting.  Her philosophy of Gentle knitting is mostly mindless knitting, the kind of knitting that you can put your brain in idle for.  And sometimes that's perfect knitting.  It's the knitting you do when your brain is working overtime and needs to focus on what it's thinking of rather than knitting but the knitting helps keep you distracted.  On the other hand, it's also an easy place to stay and not stretch your wings occasionally.  She talks about unfinished objects sitting in black plastic bags in her attic that are wrong, this can happen and I've sometimes thought in despair about never knitting another garment but if you don't learn from your mistakes then they're wasted energy, learning is what's important.

This is a 102 book, or maybe a 201 book (101 being basic starter stuff); some of these patterns would be some challenge for a beginner but many of them are pretty basic.  The bibliography, though is quite good.  It's scattered throughout the book and often related to the text.  Also note that measurments throughout are in cm.

Types of patterns: mostly accessories

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs, colour charts, no charting for anything else.

Schematics: no

Target Audience: Intermediate to almost intermediate knitters

How to knit guide: No

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Fairly classical.

Comments on patterns:

Red Wine and port socks are socks with cables running down the leg and along the top of the foot, the heel is a plain knit heel.  They're not bad socks.  Knit in Madeline Tosh "Tosh Sock" on 2.75mm needles

Plaited Bread Cables - 3 pieces a Blanket knit in a chunky yarn with blanket stitch edging this is a nice piece and fairly fun.  Knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky with a contrast edging, with 15mm needles.  A Rug knit in Cascade Magnum with a 15mm needle and lastly a cushion, knit in Cascade Magnum too with 12mm needles.

Big Woolly Jumper is a ragland shaped jumper  knit in pieces with a reverse stocking stitch bottom edge and cuffs and a floppy neck.  Knit in Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky and not worn in the book.  I'm not sure about the Collar, I'd knit it in the round, actually I'd knit the whole thing in the round, possibly from the top down.  Seams? Who needs them for this sort of thing.  This has a lot of ease.  A friend pointed out that in fact this isn't designed by her, it's designed by an unnamed friend.

Simple Squishy slouchy hats two hats, knit flat with seams, one with a single reverse stocking stitch detail the other with 10 rows each of stocking stich and reverse stocking stitch.  Both in Blue Sky Alpacas Melange with 3.75mm needles.

Literary Hotties  Inspired by vintage Penguin Paperbacks these are hot-water bottle covers. Knit in Aran (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran) with 6mm needles.

Buttercup and mustardseed fluted rib scarves  The scarves are basically the same scarf but with a minor variation, using a small amount of contrast yarn to edge and then a double sided pattern one with 35 stitches and another with 43 stitches.  Knit with 5mm  or 6mm needles.

Simple, plain dishcloth - a garter stitch dishcloth started and finished with a contrast yarn.  DK cotton yarn with 4mm needles.

Soft facecloths - 5mm needles and garter stitch with stripes make this up, originals knit in Blue Sky ALpacas Worsted Cotton in two colours.

Natural Linen Aprons:Striped Apron Checked Apron  Using linen yarn for the striped apron (Euroflax Linen) with 3.25mm needles with a moss stitch border for stability, this is pretty nice.  The Checked Apron is in Rowan Cotton Glace in 3.25mm with a broken checkered stripe.  Could be adapted. I'd make sure it's in washable yarn.

Toothpaste and toothbrush washbag with Blusher and Mascara Bag.  Small bags for holding whatever, knit in DK Cotton (Debbie Bliss Cotton DK) with 3.75mm needles in a variety of sizes, seamed along the side.

Floral Tea Cosy and Tea Cosy hat - The Tea cosy is knit in Aran-weight yarn, with 4.5mm needles. The hat is a Brioche Stitch hat that almost looks like a tea cosy but is knit with only one seam to be fully closed.  I would be inclined to knit the hat in the round.

Five stripy Tea Cosies the traditional style of the three-d ribbed style with dark contrast, the smaller ones are done with just a garter stitch stripe.

Faberge Egg Cosies - decorated with beads, this is a ribbed cosy, and could be used for the Innocent Smoothies! DK or 4ply weight yarn with 3.25 or 4mm needles.

Green and blue finger gloves - the only real difference is the decoration.  Knit with Cashmerino with 3mm and 3.25mm needles.

Wheel of colour cushion - using short rows to create wedges and with a contrast yarn between each wedge this is a DK yarn and knit with 3.25 and 3.75mm needles.  You could use a variety of yarns to make it.

Covered clothes hangers - two diferent covers, one in garter stitch  and another with a fancier pattern that would be nice with lingerie.  Knit in DK yarn with 4mm needles.

Bunting pennants made and connected with a ric-rac ribbon.  Dk yarn with 4mm needles.

Stripy socks Using self-striped yarn, back of heel knitted plain, top down, with tapered toe and three-needle bind-off.  Knit in sock weight yarn with 2.5mm needles. To be honest this isn't really colourwork, this is using already coloured yarn in a plain pattern, nothing wrong with this, but nothing earthshaking and readily available online.

Sea Glass Chevron scarf (she has another Sea Glass Scarf on Ravelry that isn't this pattern) - knit a chevron pattern with DK yarn with 4 rows of a neutral yarn and 2 of a different colour, the original is in shades of blue for the stripes and cream background.

Planets cushion uses hand-painted yarn against a contrasting yarn to create splashes of colour, based on her earlier jelly-bean cushion pattern.  This is knit in DK yarn with 4mm needles.

Crochet starburst flower square Crochet squares with a variety of colours, aran weight yarn and a 5mm hook, you could probably use left-overs and build it over time, provided you got a lot of the edge colour

School colours scarf and blanket, by knitting scarves, you would eventually knit enough of them to knit a blanket worth.  Knit in Double Moss Stitch in Aran weight or DK weight with 4.5 or 4mm needles. Has a bobble edging.

Art deco crochet blanket - chevron patterned, aran weight with 4.5mm needles. You could make it with different widths but you could vary this depending on your yarn.

String of purls cushion using ususual pattern to create some unusual patterning without having any yarn carrying over.  Buttoned in the back.

Life on the open wave scarves using an openwork pattern to create an interesting pattern.  Drapy yarns suggested.  Using a 4.5mm needle or 5mm needle depending on the yarn used, original yarns were Habu Lamb/Linen or Tilli Thomas Disco Lights.

Moss stitch scarf a moss stitch and stripes biased scarf. in Aran Weight yarn with 5mm needles or DK with 4mm

Chanel-Style Bag a moss stich aran (used double) or chunky yarn used together with Kidsilk Haze with 6.5mm needles and a moss sitch pattern.  Small bag using plastic needles

Buy/Borrow: It's a particular aesthetic, and not a bad book for beginners or intermediate knitters, nothing is all that complicated but I have other books that have pretty much the same patterns, so it wouldn't be a useful addition to my library, your mileage may vary.

I've been talking about it with some friends, there are a few issues that I didn't really think about when I was reviewing it.  Thinking back part of my "not for me" was her lifestyle assumptions.  Needled's review struck a nerve and I have to say that yes, sometimes reading books like this make me break out in a feeling of being not quite female/womanly/domestic/content enough.  

I suppose it's an attitude of mind that leads to this.  I'm an advocate of sometimes allowing yourself to read/knit/cook where your brain is mostly in idle.  But sometimes you also need to break yourself out of the comfort zone and try something that makes you twitch, swear and break complacency.  You should be asking yourself why your knitted garments don't fit instead of allowing yourself to ignore it as a problem.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.

I have updated this post, please see the bold and italicised text as updated text today 27th November 2011.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Now I've read a lot of books about knitting, many of them are the 101 types. They often talk about essential equipment.

Here's my list of the essentials

Yarn: before you start knitting you will need at least a little bit of this.  Why do I start here?  Well what yarn you choose will depend on the needles you need for it.  Fine yarn can be fiddly and you won't see much progress but a very thick yarn can be clumbsy and the needles feel big in your fingers.  Most people in Ireland started on Aran weight or DK weight yarns.  Don't start with black yarn.  Experienced knitters swear at black yarn, don't weigh the odds against you.  Find a yarn that you like the texture of and is cheap, but not the cheapest acrylic you can find, you will want to like doing this, texture can be important.  However, try to use a smooth yarn for your first moment out.  You will want to be able to see what the knitting looks like.  Try not to fill your bag with yarn, trust me, you mightn't like knitting.

Next up you'll need needles.  Look at the yarn, there should be a symbol with a grid on it with a pair of needles underneath, or needles and crochet hook, it will have various numbers on it, usually one has mm after and one will have US after it, that's the needle size.  If the needlsize is a range, pick something in the middle of the range.  If 4mm falls somewhere in your range pick that one.  You can get kids 4mm needles in metal for very cheap, they're short like pencils, and they're a bit rough but I use them regularly for knitting facecloths.

Things that would be useful at this stage: tape measure, well a ruler will do too, the tape measure is useful when you move to making garments, so you can check your measurments, but when you're first out a ruler will do, and if you can get a short one, even better! They fit nicely in knitting bags.

A blunt-ended yarn needle is probably a good investment too, you'll need it to finish off a piece, even if it is a washcloth.

A reasonably good scissors - actually the kids craft scissors is really useful for a carry around, you won't get poke-through on your project bag.  You will eventually need more scissors than you think. They're up there with tape measures for getting lost and forgotten.

Now you can knit: Washcloths, plain scarves and many other things.

Next up:
first I'd get: Pins (when you start doing gauge or pinning out stuff these are essential) knitters pins can make counting gauge easier but they're not essential.

A Cable needle (or 3, they often come in sets of 3) will be useful if you start doing cables, I've also used the blunt ended needle, paperclips and other things to do this job.  There are folks who can do cables without needles, I can, I still prefer using the tool.

Needle Gauge.  Oh yeah, the needles will say something, DON'T trust them.  There are folks who use micrometers to fine tune their gauge, my tip? Once you get gauge, check what size you're using and if you break a needle or the sofa eats it double check that the needle you're replacing it with matches as closely as possible.  Note the size down somewhere, ravelry, on the pattern, on a postit stuck to the pattern, somewhere!

If you're working with metal needles you now need to go out and buy some plastic and some wooden needles.  Compare and contrast these, seriously, they do make a difference.  I have some of all of the above.  There are advantages and disadvantages to them all.  If your lips start tingling that could be the finish, I have some older aluminium needles that I have no problem with and the knitpicks metal dpns make my lips tingle every time.  Speaking of knitpicks they have a entry-level set of their inter-changables that feature a metal, wood (laminate) and plastic needle in different sizes, useful for this.

Circular needles and double pointed needles are essential when you start into knitting more stuff.  Many folks with hand issues use circular needles for everything, back and forth.  They're also used for knitting in the round.  Socks, jumpers, gloves etc. And Medalion knitting.

Bobbins- only if you get into colourwork, and then they can be made from cereal boxes if you're stuck.

Ring Stitch Markers - can also be made from a knotted loop of contrast yarn, or a straw.  They're useful, come in a lot of varieties and you'll probably collect a nice collection over time, which make pretty ornaments... You can also get some that are like little coilless safety pins.  These are amazing little things - that dropped stitch, put it into this until you get to it to fix it; use it to count stitches when you're casting on; mark the front of a project; pretty much anywhere you need a mobile marker.

Stitch Stoppers.  Essential if you have too many stitches on a needle or putting something away for a while, and when I say essential, I mean I have some I rarely use.  I've pulled needles out of projects more often than I want to think about, I probably should use these, you can live without them.

Row Counter - there are several variants on this theme, this can also be replicated with a notepad or postits (postits can be useful for sticking to the right place in a pattern) and a pencil or pen.

Crochet Hook - well you might want to try crochet too and this can be essential for helping you pick up stitches.  When picking up stitches it can be useful to use a hook a size (or two) smaller than the needle size you're working with.

This is a selection of my knitting gadgets.  Many of which are complete garnish.

Garnish: Not necessary but can be so good.

Posh dressmaking scissors and or embroidery scissors.  Yeah, these can be useful later.  Steeking may happen, buttonholes may be needed, felt may need to be cut, good quality scissors will make this easier.

Safety snips - for travelling on airplanes, they're quite useful to put into your project bag so you don't forget and then lose a good scissors to the airport security.  Some folks have suggested unwaxed dental floss holders.  The cutter on it is useful and the unwaxed floss can be used for lifelines or provisional cast-ons.

Knitting Bag - I have one, I also use a tonne of cloth bags I got over time buying stuff in Ireland (we have a plastic bag tax and almost everywhere has these bags) and I have a cosmetics bag that is a perfect portable socks project bag (though failing these days)

A large white lint-free towel - for blocking purposes, and for drying woolens.  To be carefully cleaned and kept for this.  It won't transfer colour to elsewhere.

A sweater dryer/rack - I have one that goes on the bath, it's really useful for drying socks too!

Blocking boards - something you can pin your finished job to, I have some large padded floor tiles that I use.  Many friends use children's play tiles, damp a white/pale cloth, pin it to the tiles when you get them and check that they won't run.

A folder for storing patterns, you'll probably start with only one.

You'll need an ironing board and iron.  Sometimes things need to be pressed before moving on, a good ironing board can be used to block small items too, or even to block something in stages.

How to Knit book review

Book Depository Link
Ravelry Link

Impressions: This books starts with fiber and works it's way up from there.  Though I would wonder how anyone would really recognise different yarns from the pictures.  While tweed, or worsted is a visible style, yarns do come in different weights for different uses.  All pure merino isn't superfine for example, but I'm kinda nitpicking with that one.  They then move onto equipment.

Now there may be some people who argue the point, but to start knitting you need a hank of yarn, a suitable set of needles, and scissors.  Everything after that is garnish.

It goes into the basics, a few methods of casting on. Then it goes into some details about different techniques.

Sadly the first pattern you encounter is a baby blanket, with a lacey pattern.  Now it is a pretty straightforward pattern, but as a beginners pattern book starting with an intermediate pattern isn't good and it's not until you pass a few patterns that you find an easy pattern.  I think that patterns should be ordered in books like this in order of difficulty, and I'm not sure that there are really enough basic patterns that would make someone feel accomplished.  The patterns are pretty simple but I'd get this book for the how-to, which is clear and well-explained.  The patterns have a techniques list, possibly using a few postits would help a beginner here.

Types of patterns: babies, children, adult and accessories.

Number of Patterns: 20

Split of patterns: Blanket (1); booties (1)

Size Range: adult jumper to fit 38-46" (97cm-117cm)

Colour/Black & White:

Schematics: no, and no charts, there's a terse two pages on following charts with an emphasis on colourwork and no obvious mention

Target Audience: Beginners or people needing a refresher.

How to knit guide: most of the book

Experimental/Classical/Modern: pretty classical patterns

Comments on patterns:
The book starts with a section on Baby patterns.
First up is a baby blanket that's rated as intermediate, though there really isn't that much complications here, knit in colour strips, all you would have to do at the end is darn in the ends. The other advantage to this pattern is while gauge is useful to know what size it will be at the end it won't be the worst thing that happened.  Downside for a beginner is that it's the same thing for several strips. The original yarn is a aran to bulky weight (all seasons cotton knit with 5mm needles)

Next up are baby slippers or booties, another rated as intermediate, but this would be a good way to try out the techniques.  Original yarn is DK (Rowan Kid Classic with 4mm needles)

Snuggle Cardigan is next a one-piece cardigan, with some srtipes along the edges.  There are suggestions for other colourways, another intermediate pattern, knit in a dk yarn (rown wool cotton with 4mm needles)

Baby's hat and mittens: a basic pattern, knit flat hat with a barely visible striping pattern on the rib of the first photograph, the pink and cream is more visible with the striping. The hat is seamed as are the gloves, however the gloves are made in two pieces each and then seamed.  There are easier and better patterns made in the round.  Knit in 4 ply yarn (Rowan 4-ply with 3.25mm needles)

Cute for kids

Rugged Hoodie - an interemediate striped cotton cover-up.  Rugged doesn't come in white. I'd use the white as one of the stripes and use one of the darker yarns for the body, knit in DK (Rowan Handknit Cotton with 4mm needles)

Heart Sweater - a jumper in three shades with a heart intarsia and stripy sleeves.  Rated as intermediate, knit in DK (Rowan Handknit Cotton with 4mm needles) a very chunky jumper, the photographs don't convince me it's a good make

Winter scarf and mittens are a great introduction to colourwork and mitten making.  Rated as challenging. DK weight (Rowan Wool Cotton with 4mm needles)

Tassel Hat - rated as easy, knit a rectangle, sew it up, put tassels on the ends... not complicated. Knit in Sportweight (Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK with 3.75mm needles)

Gorgeous for Grown-ups

Starting with a single cable pullover in a chunky wool yarn (Rowan Scottish Tweed Chunky on 8mm needles) with a contrast yarn colour on the cuffs. Rated as Intermediate.

They don't bother to put the Slouchy Sweater on anyone, which always rings a certain amount of alarm bells with me.  I like books to have the patterns on people so I have an idea what they look like.  It's knit in DK (Rowan Scottish Tweed DK with 4mm needles).  It's a drop shoulder jumper, with a slightly high neck. Rated as intermediate)

Toasty Warm Gloves should be done in one colour as well as two colours, rated as challenging.  Gloves are a bit challenging but they're not bad, they also mention fingerless gloves but don't bother to show a photograph, and they're single coloured. Knit in Dk (Rowan Cashsoft DK with 3.75mm needles)

The Headturning Hat and Scarf are seamed hat and plain scarf (no mention of scarf curling and the photographs don't bother lining up the garter ridges.  For a beginner this would be a little fiddly, but not bad.  Knit in Bulky (Roawn Little Big Wool with 9mm needles)

Super socks are a bundle of fail for me for a beginner book.  Knit with DK weigh (Rowan Calmer and 3.75mm needles), cotton yarn is pretty unforgiving, with or without acrylic. The fact that there's a not saying that the heel turning is slightly different from the text is not enough really, this is lazy.  Adding in the embroidery is a nice addition to the pretty plain socks but this is a starter book. Rated as Challenging.

Last chapter of knitted patterns are accessories.

Now the author started off badly here by talking about how "All women love bags", she presents a "fab felted bag" knit in DK (Rowan Scottish Tweed DK with 4mm needles) looking at the pictures I had a certain suspicion, judging by the seams.  I was right.  The Pieces are felted first and then pieced together.  Sewing felted stuff can be difficult and the seams won't be as strong as those felted in place.  Other books have techniques for ensuring that a felted bag doesn't felt closed.

Chequered Cushion is an intermediate piece, probably for the lace edging.  If you're doing this check out techniques for not bringing colour up a row  (techknitter's useful tutorial on this) for a more professional finish.  The Edging is knit in bulky weight yarn (Rowan Cotton Rope with 6mm needles)

Big Blanket is a pieced piece with various inners.  While an intermediate piece you might want to make some tweaks here.  The sewing is good practice, you could knit each strip and then sew those strips together, this would give you a straighter edge on two sides.  It's knit in chunky wool (Rowan Big Wool with 12mm needles)

Tote bag is an easy project, something to make in cheaper yarn than the Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Dk to be honest and if you want to use it to actually tote things around with (rather than use as a knitting bag) I'd suggest it should be felted, if knit in wool, with slightly longer straps.  Yes it's knit in DK with 3.75mm needles.

The book finishes with a stitch gallery, the pieces are well photographed, again no charts but written out.

Buy/Borrow: If you're looking to start it's a good book, could do better.  It's not a bad book but the patterns let it down, the text and teaching is better, however many of today's patterns do use charts so I would suggest a beginner book that handles that.  It does, though, say something about a book that it only has four patterns knit from it on Ravelry.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Knits that Fit - Review

Impressions: I saw this book and the cover garment looked familiar, and then I looked at the back of the book.  "Portions of this work were originally published in the following" Big Girl Knits (the advice on big girl sizing); Knits Three Ways; More Big Girl Knits; Mother-Daughter Knits; Romantic Hand Knits and Runway Knits.  Yes, indeed, the garments are mostly recycled.  Now if you don't have the books, that's grand but if you already have some you might want to check it out. (all links to the books are to Ravelry)

Types of patterns: Jumper (8); Cardigan (4); shrug (3); shirt (1); top (7)

Number of Patterns: 23

Split of patterns: Women's patterns only

Size Range: 32-52 (not across all patterns, several only go to 38")

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs, black and white charts

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced

How to knit guide: no, there is a glossary that explains some of the more non-standard techniques but this isn't really one for beginners.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: A lot of the patterns are pretty classical.

Comments on patterns:
Marbled Top by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits). Not filling me with glee, horizontal stripes formed by the pleats above your bust would probably be unflattering to some along with the high neck.  Not for folks with big boobs really, like me. Knit in a medium/worsted weight yarn.

Roman Candle Pullover by Berta Karapetan (originally from Runway Knits) again high-necked but the basket weave cabling would be figure-hugging. Knit in a light/DK weight yarn.

Dark Victory Sweater by Annie Modesitt (from Romantic Hand Knits) - this has ribbing to the side and an interesting neckline with a small amount of colourwork, this would be a project for a very luxe yarn.  It's designed to be skin tight.  Knit in a medium/worsted weight yarn

Cecilia's Sweater by Melissa Matthay (from Knits Three Ways) - this has ribs that run vertically and then taper to the neck, you'd have to be careful about placement because if you weren't careful they could form boob frames. knit in a medium/worsted weight

Hourglass Pullover by Lily Chin - it looks like a buttoned cardigan but it's a jumper.  Has some reverse stocking stitch to create an hourglass illusion, and also uses the same trick (not quite to the same effect) on the sleeves.  Also has shaping. Knit in Light/DK weight yarn.

Flirty Top by Sally Melville (from Mother-Daughter Knits) - I am not a fan of ruffles... this has ruffles on the bottom and sleeves. Knit in Medium/Worsted weight this is definitely one I won't be knitting for me.

Corded Sweater by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits). - flares at the waist ans has vertical lines running down the front of the sweater.  The sleeves look a little long on the model so you might want to take some care here, also the high neck isn't exciting me. Knit in a bulky weight yarn.

Vintage "Sweater Girl" Cropped Sweater by Lily Chin (also available from the Lily Chin Signature Collection)- it's a fairly plain v-necked jumper where the v is quite wide and it stops on the hips.  Not particularly cropped to me, it could be lengthened to taste. Knit in a bulky/chunky weight.

Seashell Cardi by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits) - this is an unusual shape, interesting construction but the sleeves look a little off.  Knit in Medium/worsted weight

Mrs Darcy Cardigan by Mary Weaver (previously a free pattern but resized and some corrections for this book) - this has a deep v or scoop neck with ribs along the waist and raglan shoulders.  Knit in a medium/worsted weight wool in one piece to the armholes.

Cosy Moss Shrug by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits) - this is knit in super bulky yarn so a quick knit; ribbed.  The photos don't really show the front of the garment well.  For me this would be too much weight.

Two-way shrug by Caddy Melville Ledbetter (from Mother-Daughter Knits) - not exactly sure how this is a two-way shrug, I'm sure it's because it can be worn either way up, this is a very short, short-sleeved shrug knit in medium/worsted weight and might be ideal if you have a dress with a special top that you don't want to obscure.

Classic Shirt by Sally Melville (from Mother-Daughter Knits) - the photographs have it pretty much as a see-through shirt.  It's a button down shirt knit with fine/sport weight yarn with 3.5mm (US 4) needles One of the variations is more dense.  You'd need to play with fabric and gauge to get this one right for you.

Springtime in Paris Shrug by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits) - knit in Light-dk weight with two strands of yarn held together in a brioche stitch this looks dense and bulky on the model.  The sleeves are done using a single strand and the upper back likewise.  Interesting construction.

Sophisticated Hoodie by Sally Melville (from Mother-Daughter Knits) - knit in a light/dk weight yarn this is a light shaped hoodie.  Not my thing but not a bad design.

Ruffled Cardigan by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits), some minor shaping on the body with a ruffled curved edge and ruffled (optional) edge on the sleeves, This looks like it would be complicated to finish off and I have to say I'm not terribly impressed with the finish on the photographed piece.

Sea Foam Top by Berta Karapetyan (originally from Runway Knits) A summery top that needs lining and has a ruffle along the necline and a partial cap sleeve

Ninotchka Spaghetti-strap Tank by Annie Modesitt (from Romantic Hand Knits) Spaghetti-strap top with a shelf-bra inside.  I have Romantic Hand Knits and I do plan to knit this at some stage myself as I spend warmer summer days in tops like this.  Lace on the bottom and solid topped.

Sheila's Tank Top by Melissa Mattay (from Knits Three Ways) I'm not really sure where this fails to please me, perhaps it's the way your eye is drawn to the bottom of the bust and you start to see sag lines where there are none due to the chevron patterning.  Cleverly there are quite wide straps but this one is a pass.

Notorious low-cut top by Annie Modesitt (from Romantic Hand Knits) Fitted top, which needs a strapless bra for a good fit.  I'd invest in one first and organise some of the details of this top around the bra.

Rebecca's Top by Melissa Matthay (from Knits Three Ways) Somehow this lacks balance, I think the model for this has a deeper armscrye than the pattern allows for so a bit of bunching going on at the shoulder and underarm.  If I knit this I would leave out the ribbon and perhaps the eyelets for the ribbon.  I would also examine the armholes and make sure it fit right.  A piece designed to be worn over something or possibly on it's own it deserves a little more tweaking.

Mini Dress by Caddy Melville Ledbetter (from Mother-Daughter Knits). Honestly I wouldn't regard this as a dress, a tunic top maybe.  This is one for people whose waist lacks definition, as the horizontal stripe adds this definition.  However the placement of this would be all, it needs to be at the waistline.  This is knit from the bottom up.

Audrey Pullover by Mary Weaver is a shoulder-fastening piece with a round yoke neckline. A lot of shaping in this one.

Buy/Borrow: If you've fancied the patterns and don't own the books (or fancy the few that aren't in books) this is a useful book. The advice about fitting is comprehensive and overall it's not a bad one.

Where found: Cork County Libraries have copies in stock, I got mine via Borrowbooks.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Knit Now Magazine Issue 1

I heard online about a new magazine, and I wasn't sure if it was available here, so after I finished visiting my doctor recently I dropped into Easons on O'Connell Street.  Knit Now Magazine

I decided to pick up a copy, now granted the exchange rate of E7.10 (my keyboard won't do Euros at the moment) to £4.99 is pretty poor (a quick calculation thanks to tells me that £4.99=E5.73 +9% VAT = E6.25, and Easons is apparently losing money??), it's not a bad magazine.

There's a free 4.5mm needle with the magazine, they're the pretty cheap aluminium, not the best joins needles.  Would be okay but nothing special.

Also with the magazine is a clever Beginner's Guide to Knitting, that is almost worth the price of admission.

The magazine itself isn't bad.  Ravelry Link.  It has the usual suspects, book reviews, yarn reviews etc.  A lure for UK subscribers is a Free Moulin Roty Knitting & Sewing Suitcase. Starting with about what's new in Knitting, review a few books (Contemporary Irish Knits, Simple Knitting, 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, Sock Knitting Masterclass and Weekend Hats.  The reviews are quite short but pithy.  They have a letters page, an interview with Debbie Bliss.

They have a yarn pile, with a jewellery box theme.  A look at current commercial fashions.  A finding inspiration online section (entertainingly it assumes knowledge of Ravelry, recommending a group on Ravelry!)  Also a blog/diary piece.   They have a review of some British Yarns at a yarn roundtable at Baa Ram Ewe and apparently plan to continue getting knit groups to review yarns.  Some covetables are listed.  Debbie Tomkies answers some questions and there's a guide to the basics. Lastly there's a teaser for the next episode.  There's a limited to UK only competition but the provided web address doesn't work and the site doesn't have an obvious link to the competition.

The projects have an approximate price, a rough time to complete and a complexity rating.


Ribbon Tied Belt - what it says, 1 skein of Debbie Bliss's Bella (or two for a longer belt) a dk weight yarn which is from Debbie Bliss' Knits to Give/ Debbie Bliss' link

Tahquamenon Falls Hat and Fingerless gloves are up next, a sock yarn pair, 100g of sock yarn needed.

A made to measure Beanie allows you to work with a yarn you have and calculate a hat from it.  The original is in a dk yarn.  It's a simple rectangle gathered, with a pompom closure.

Sea Shanty hat is a hat designed for self-striping sock yarns with earflaps an interesting construction.

Diamond of the first water uses one skein of lace-weight yarn to create a triangular shawl. (hint, weigh before starting so you know when the half-way mark is reached, yarn weight isn't always what it says on the label)

Brick by Brick is a unisex top-down sock pattern, using sockweight yarn.

Then they have their Manos Silk Bend Challenge.  Three designers take a hank of silk blend (one of the 100g skeins) and make something out of it.  The Little Gem Dress is the first; a dress for a little girl. The Dropped off Snood is a largeish neckwarmer with ornamental buttons; to be honest the Pom Pom Necklace isn't what I'd do with a hank of Manos.  There's 270m here, more than enough to make a hat and handwarmers but no-one did.  Here is a search on Ravelry for free projects under 270m of DK yarn, some great ideas there.  I don't have kids so the Gem dress is academic, I'd consider the snood though.

Comfort Throw is a large throw and the first project to use more than one skein/lot of yarn.  Knit in Aran in two colours, it divides down the panels with a contrast yarn.

The Aria Cowl is an oversized cowl using a fairly basic lace pattern in a chunky yarn.

Bramble Picker is a big tote bag, you probably should line this one, though it doesn't mention that.

Little Snowflake is a trio of pieces for a baby.  Another one that will need more than one hank, Hat Mittens and cardigan in this with a fairly simple colourwork.

Merry Little Christmas is a trio of Christmas baubles, Lightbulb, Ball and Garlic Bulb shaped.

Winter Wonderland is a pair of Christmas Stockings.

Countdown to Christmas is an advent calendar in colourwork.

Cosy covers are a pair of hot-water bottle covers Jelly Bean and Mount Royal

Autumn Forest are a pair of long lacy gloves,with cables.  I'm not sure of the utility of gloves with holes but they're pretty.  I'd be almost tempted to make the leaves without the holes using directional increases.

Dainty Anklets are a pair of socks for a girl from Toe-Up sock for Everybody

It's not a bad magazine, it does show promise and I'd keep an eye on it.

The Beginners Guide to Knitting by David & Charles is just that. Starting with casting on and Garter Stitch, purl stitch and casting off, it then has a Garter Stitch scarf (which looks like it's knit in Noro), then a striped bag (lined) and a rib stitch scarf.  Then it talks about increasing and decreasing stitches. and then a bedwarmer.
Next up there's a section on reading knitting patterns and tension and finishing techniques, with a kit guide, general yarn guide, shopping guide, circular knitting guide.  Back to projects we have Children's mittens .
The next piece is on cables and then cable stitch wristwarmers.
A Piece on Lace Knitting and then a Lace Baby Set with mittens, hat and bootees.

Additional Projects include a Striped or Plain Beret; So Stripy Jumper - a garter stitch and stripes baby jumper - Happy Bunny- a stuffed bunny with lined ears; Seed Stitch Set is a scarf and hat in seed stitch with a corsage to match.  Ribbed Tube socks are a pair of socks with no heel fitting.  The magazine finishes with a troubleshooting section.

This entire part is clear and concise with very good illustrations.  It would be a good refresher or teaching tool!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Contemporary Irish Knits Review

(as usual all pattern links are to Ravelry)

Author Interview:

What surprised you about the Irish Yarn Industry?
When I wrote an article about Kerry Woollen Mills for Yarn Forward several years ago, I knew nothing about the Irish yarn industry.  I learned a lot preparing that article, both about yarn production in general and the Irish industry in particular, and it sparked a curiosity about the other mills producing hand knitting yarn in Ireland.  While travelling around researching the book, I suppose one major surprise for me was how much imported fleece needs to be blended with Irish fleece to produce the wool.  It never occured to me that the thriving (lamb) meat industry here in Ireland would mean that sheep were bred for quality of meat rather than fleece, although it makes sense once you think about it!  In some cases, the cost of sheering the sheep is not covered by the price you get for it – which really doesn’t encourage sheep farmers to breed sheep for their fleece quality.

Is there a difference between Irish Likes/dislikes in yarn and patterns to the US?
I don’t think there is a huge difference in the Irish and American markets; I suspect we are now such a global community thanks to the Internet that very strong national preferences are no longer as obvious (in knitting at least).  I do suspect that Irish knitters would have a little more tolerance for rustic wool, as the durable/rainproof qualities it has are of more advantage to us over here!

Have you been surprised about the ideas about Irish Knitting in the US?
I lived in the US for several years, and have many friends and family still in the US. My general experience is that there is frequently a very romantic, nostalgic vision of Ireland; both Ireland in general and of Irish knitwear (which is generally assumed to mean Aran knitwear) in particular. Aran stitches are beautiful, and are an important part of the knitting repetoire, but I think that it can narrow how knitters view the work of Irish designers. Just as contemporary Ireland is much more than pints of Guinness by a peat fire, I wanted this book to help create a new face for Irish knit design – building on the beauty of Aran stitches but moving them forward for today’s knitter. Hopefully as more Irish designers get their work out in the global market, knitters will develop a broader vision of both Ireland and Irish design.

What would you like to see happening in the Irish Market?
As I discussed in the book and other interviews on the blog tour, there are only a few mills producing yarn for hand knitters, and another handful of hand dyers who have emerged recently. They are all producing a interesting and unique range of yarns, and one thing I’d love to see is more pattern support for these yarns. I really want to keep producing patterns for Irish yarn and I hope that other designers (whether Irish or not) will come join me!  New and innovative patterns available for yarns really help rejuvenate how they are viewed by knitters.  When knitters get ideas from patterns about what they can do with a yarn, it inspires knitters to use it (whether or not they use the pattern itself).
I would also love if there was a way for Irish farmers to be encouraged (and financially rewarded) for breeding more sheep in Ireland that have fleece suitable for spinning. I’ve heard talk of co-ops and sponsoring so maybe this is something we’ll see in the next few years.

Have you come across any surprises in your research?
To be honest, until I started researching the whole subject of Aran knitwear I knew nothing about the history of the Aran and how relatively recently it came into being!  This was a real eye-opener for me.  I’d encourage anyone who wants to read further on this subject to take a look at ‘The Aran Sweater’ by Deirdre McQuillan which is a small book with lots of information. 

Have you been surprised about reaction to any of the patterns? Positive or negative?
I’ve been really blown away by the (positive) reaction to the book so far!  I’m very grateful that knitters are enjoying it so much.  The biggest surprise for me is how popular the men’s and girl’s patterns have been, in particular Straboy and Rossbeg.  Often women’s garments dominate but I think the full range is holding its own in the book!

Which pattern was the hardest to design?
I think one of the longest pieces to design was the Bundoran hat.  I had finished the Killybegs cardigan and wanted to do a hat with the same stitch pattern.  I thought it would just fly as I already had the basic concept in mind.  It took three hats before it was right! The first one was too cable heavy and dense.  The next one was too short and then, the third one was ‘just right’.  Sometimes it can take a few run throughs before you get a design to work from concept to reality.

Which one flew off the needles?
The first that comes to mind is the Rathcooney set.  While working with the cocoon stitch I started playing around with how it flowed into ribbing.  When I went to test the idea in the mittens and hat it worked perfectly first time round and was finished really fast!

Any Surprises in the Blog Tour ?
There have been a couple of book giveaways on the tour and I’ve been amazed at how popular they have been.  At last count the comments on the Knitspot giveaway were in the hundreds!  I was also very pleasantly surprised at how much fun doing a podcast was with Marly Bird.  It was my first time doing a podcast so I was fairly nervous.  Fortunately Marly made the whole process a lot of fun.  I’d really love to thank everyone who has taken part in the blog tour for doing such a great job, and This Is Knit in Dublin for hosting an amazing launch party last month!

Impressions:   Carol talks about Aran Knitting and it's origins (see my post as well on the topic) Starting with reviews and comments about the three remaining working Woollen Mills in Ireland with patterns using the yarns the book finishes with some Irish dyers.

To the left you can see some of the yarn I have accumulated over the years, much of it is used in this book, all either spun or dyed in Ireland!  There is some that's a bit rarer that isn't mentioned (like the Kerry Alpaca I picked up on holidays, which is only done in very small batches)   Some of this is quite modern yarn, some of it older but this book would allow me to use up some of it!

I found the patterns to be modern but not without respect to the past.  There are some great Aran inspired patterns here with some deft modern touches.  Entertainingly the names are places from the areas the yarns come from.

There's some helpful advice on sizing and adapting patterns, many of the patterns are in the round or flat with minimal seaming.

Types of patterns: Cardigans (3); Skirt (1); Children's cardigan (2); child sleeveless top (1); Jumper (3); Hat (3); Blanket (1); Shawl/wrap (2); children's jumper (1); bag (1); cowl (1); Fingerless Mittens (2)

Number of Patterns: 20 (the blanket is a variation on one of the shawls)

Split of patterns: mostly adult with some children's.

Size Range: Women's patterns are 27-51"; men's 37.5-53.5" and she does include the actual sizes the pattern is supposed to come to so that you can adjust for your own style.

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs; black and white charts

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced, there are no projects without at least a little cabling.

How to knit guide: not really, there are some guides to some of the extra techniques but not the very basics, the book assumes a certain competence with knitting

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Classical with a modern twist.

Comments on patterns (all links to patterns are from Ravelry):

Kerry Woollen Mills:

(c) Joseph Feller
Killorglin (pictured right) is the cardigan that features on the front of the book, knit in Aran weight yarn, this is the one cardigan that my husband requested I knit him.... I'm sure it would be fine without the shaping!

Tralee is knit in a DK yarn, this is a skirt mostly knit plain with a cable hiding in the kick pleat. I do like how this looks, not sure it would work for me but it's interesting!

Listowel is a shrug with a heart-motif on the back.  This would probably be a great item as a wedding shrug or communion shrug.  Knit in Aran weight yarn this would be a pretty quick knit.

Caherciveen hooded sleeveless, children's top, knit in Aran weight yarn.

Cushendale Woollen Mills:
Knockmore is a nice compromise of a man's jumper with enough patterning using twisted stitches to break up the monotonous acres of knitting without offending male sensibility, the only objection my husband had to it was the original colour. Knit in a dk weight.

Ballyragget is an interesting hat knit in DK using the twisted stiches from Knockmore

Dangan is either a baby blanket or a shawl.  Knit in a sportweight yarn.

Belville  uses the tweediness of the yarn to create a nicely shaped jumper with some colourwork on the yoke, knit in dk weight yarn.

Ballinagree is a sleeveless jumper designed for boys in a DK weight yarn, looks pretty unisex to me!

Kilmanagh uses some colourwork on the flap (a bag with a flap! I'm planning for this one!) and sides.  It's interesting and knit in DK weight.

Donegal Yarns
Killybegs is an interesting cardigan with the cables providing some help with shaping.  Interesting work.  Using Aran weight yarn.

 I liked this one enough I started it (progress pic to the left)!  Though I couldn't help messing with it and adding in colourwork.  It's not finished because I have to get more of the pale turquoise yarn.  I like how the cables interact with the yarn.  Knit in Aran weight yarn, using some of the features of the cables from Killybegs.

Ardara is a nice sleeveless cardigan, one on my would like to knit shortlist. Knit in Aran weight yarn.

Glengesh  is a wrap in an Aran weight yarn; worked from the bottom up with some shaping provided by short-row shaping.

Straboy is another one that makes my husband mutter noises about wanting one!  Knit in an Aran yarn I've seen this in action and it looks well.

Rossbeg is an interesting design, knitting in Aran weight this starts with a yoke and works down, it's an interesting piece.

Hand Dyers:
(c) Joseph Feller
Dalkey Cowl (pictured right) and Mitts combine cables and lace in a fingering weight yarn I have the yarn all wound up to start this one!  I love how this looks.

Rathcooney Hat and Fingerless Mitts simple elegance, this is an interesting piece the cocoon stitch changes to ribs.  It's a worsted weight yarn that has some silk in it.  Hence the name!

Buy/Borrow: I have to admit that if I hadn't got a copy, and I had borrowed it from the Libraries I would have bought it.  I like it and want to make too many patterns from the book not to want it.

Where found: I got a copy to review from Wiley, Dublin City Public Libraries has some copies in stock

The Blog tour:
15/9/2011 Stephen West 
17/9/2011 Hoxton Handmade 
21/9/2011 Shannon Okey
23/9/2011 Rosemary Hill 
25/9/2011 Ann Kingstone 
27/9/2011 Marly Bird 
29/9/2011 JC Briar 
1/10/2011 Woolly Wormhead 
3/10/2011 Anne Hanson 
7/10/2011 Stephannie Tallent 
11/10/2011 Alice Yu 
13/10/2011 Michelle Miller 
15/10/2011 Deirdre Thornton 
17/10/2011 Ilga Leja

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Listening to a podcast earlier today, if I remember correctly it was Just One More Row, they were talking about a month of casting on, where you would cast on a project every day of one month and I gasped and thought that it was a strange thing to do.

And then I thought about it again.

Maybe doing a swatch when you bring the yarn planned for a project the week you get it and casting on the project within a set number of days?  I tend to have issues finishing, buttons are my nemesis, so I'm thinking using a lure of allowing myself to cast on only if I sew on a few buttons on an almost finished item.

Why shouldn't I start a tonne of projects?  What is my problem?  Not enough yarn?  HAHAHAHAHAHA! Not enough needles? Not the issue.  Not enough project bags, nope, I have a glut of fabric bags due to Ireland's Plastic Bag tax. I'm starting to think that I should maybe have a project on the go for every category I have in my queue.

Is this madness?  Could this work?

Friday, 23 September 2011

entreKnits review

EntreKnits from Interweave Knits
PC Version
Mac Version

Ravelry Link

 Impressions: This is an enhanced ebook.  Well designed.  You can flick through the book page by page or use the index to go to what you're looking for.  There are portions of the pages that are interactive, videos, and some horizontal scrolling on some pages so if basically it's like chapters that you then can go down rather than having to flick through something you're not quite interested in to get to a more interesting chapter.  Also usefully, if you're navigating by arrow, when you go left or right it brings you to the top of the next page.  You can resize the pages, useful when I was looking at my small screen netbook for this review.

It starts with a section on storage, where you can open the items to see what they're like, and click through to the company's website, usefully using the default browser on your machine.
Next up is a yarn review, the initial page is the swatches, done in diamonds, and you can scroll through or click whichever one catches your fancy, the quick reviews talks about usefulness for entrelac knitting.
Now a Book review, where they look at some books, patterns and dvds with some modular/entrelac designs
Now the meat starts; Annie Modesitt talks about maths and kniting and about befriending maths, this will probably be a chapter I return to again.
next up is a pattern, the Turn About Wrap

The next section is Entrelac - Meg Swansen gives a guide to blemish-free blocks; and talks about knitting backward, while Eunny Jang shows in a video how it's done.  A pattern called Cochin Shrug is next  (photograph to left) 

Then they have some links to some Interweave Knits entrelac and other modular knitting

Quilt Inspired is the next section; starting with the Sweet Hexagon Cowl, an oversized pieced cowl where they're all linked as you go.  The Lancaster Blanket is a blanket inspired by quilts, made modular. 

Modular is the next section where Jenna Wilson (the Girl from Auntie) looks at the history of modular knitting and patents
Soap Bubble hat by Norah Gaughan comes next, an oversized hat
Vivian Hoxbro looks at 3D Domino knitting and provides a pattern for a folded domino bracelet

The penultimate page has resources where you can find all the websites in one place.
To finish (and I almost overlooked it! due to the last page) Knitter and photographer Maryse Roudier takes some images and knits them, a very interesting section of inspiration

Overall I think it's an interesting magazine with a lot of samples of the kind of different modular and entrelac forms, it's a good introduction to the methods and some of the big-name designers in the field.

 Colour/Black & White: All colour 

 Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced knitters

 Comments on patterns:
The Turn about Wrap creates a square wrap out of three triangular units with an two-colour iCord edging

Cochin Shrug is an interesting shrug made from various sized blocks.

The Sweet Hexagon Cowl is an interesting draped cowl, not really what I need in a cowl (I need something a little tighter for under my motorbike jacket), tempting though!

Lancaster Blanket (pictured right) is a patchwork-style piece, it would be a good introduction to the concept of constructing a patchwork style blanket using patchwork patterns.

Soap Bubble Hat is an oversized hat using bubbleshapes and designed by Norah Gaughan.  Very oversized, if you're fond of that style it might appeal but it's not my type of thing.

Vivian Hoxbro provides a Folded domino bracelet.  A different pattern, not really my style but an interesting method of design.

 Buy/Borrow: it's a bit of an ARGH! Because my primary machine is Ubuntu this is a little awkward to access, and part of the reason it took me a while to get around to reviewing it, which would probably be a barrier to my actually considering buying it, but I do like it and would have bought it if I could have easily accessed it.  (It requires Adobe Air to be installed - if you can get it working on your machine you should be able to get the Windows version to work, my computer is just not playing ball.)

 Where found: Interweave Knits gave me a free copy for review, weeks ago.

The Cover Photograph is from Interweave Knits Website and the two pattern photographs are from Ravely and copyright their originators. 

Friday, 16 September 2011

Review of Crocheted Wraps & Throws

Published in the UK as Crocheted Throws and Wraps and the US as Crocheted Afghans

Impressions: Meh overall.  Some of the pieces aren't bad but they're really not making me want to crochet them.  Soem of them look rather insubstantial and wouldn't appeal to me for throws or shawls.  Overall it didn't speak to me.  I think part of the problem may have been the photography and settings.

Types of patterns: Piecework in crochet.

Number of Patterns: 25

Colour/Black & White: Colour

Schematics: no

Target Audience: it all looks like pretty basic stuff, the advantage with this sort of thing is that once you get the single blocks or the length roughly correct you can just make it bigger or smaller to suit.

How to crochet guide: yes, but the difference between UK and US terms isn't explained

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Pretty classical pieces

Comments on patterns: The first chapter is Vintage Style and they start with a Cream Comforter, pictured on a table, not what I'd use for a table is a piece with raised pieces.  Made in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK (11 balls).

The Pale Green Textured Blanket is pretty simple, crocheted in one piece, with puff stitches, made in Debbie Bliss Como (22 balls).

The Circular Coverlet is first show as a shawl on a model, inspired by a vintage Doily.  Made in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (19 balls).

The Shetland-Style Shawl uses the shetland idea and makes a shawl with it in crochet.  You could probably knit the center and crochet the outside, it's an interesting take on the Shetland blanket style.  Knit in Baby Alpaca or Pure Wool DK (7x50g)

Puffs Baby Blanket - many, many puffs joined to make a blanket, the baby blanket requires 35g of colour A; 60g of colour B & C; 45g of colour D, E & F and 50g of G in 4ply.  It notes that for every 10 puffs you will need 20g of yarn.

Argyll Afghan - worked initially like a parge colourwork granny square style affair from side to side with applied overchecks.  This needs 9x 50g balls of Sirdar balmoral in 4 colours.

Gingham Blanket - a dense baby blanket worked in three colours and then edged, 8 x50g balls of Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK

Chapter 2: American Dream

Shaker-Style Throw - now the yarn isn't identified but it's a Silk Mohair and Wool Mix Aran weight in Random Shaded Grey (7x50g balls) and my mind is suggesting Noro.  While this is an interesting homespun look, it doesn't say quaker to me, it isn't dense or practical enough.  Also the squares aren't joined as you go but joined at the end.

Navajo Blanket center star and radiating saw-tooth borders.  Inspired by Navajo design this one needs 18 balls of pure aran wool weight yarn in 6 different colours, done in pieces that are fastened together.

Seminole-Style Blanket - two strips that are then joined together; needs 14 balls of pure wool dk.

Sunshine & Shadow Throw, working in alternative squares of bright dark and light colours in a diamond pattern and then a plain border this usess dk yarn (wool rich); 270g of a, 65g of b, h; 50g c, e, g; 100g d, f; 200g I it would be aproximate though you could work with scraps of yarn depending on how much you had and work with filling in with approximate colours.

Log Cabin Coverlet - an interesting lesson in colour use and how to change colours in a round uses DK cotton yarn, 100g of A; 30g of B & C; 40g in D & E; 50g in F&G

Crazy Patchwork throw. Flowers are made square - about 170g of dk yarn in a mix of colours, this one could use up a lot of leftovers.

Chapter 3: Outside Inside
Rainbow Baby Blanket - strips joined and then with a rainbow sequence edging. - dk yarn 60g of A&B (red & Orange); 40g of (C, D, F) Yellow; Green & Violet; 90g in shades of blue (E) and 100g in Navy which is used as the edging.

Flower Garden Throw - Aran yarn made in hexagonal flowers and then joined - 11 x 50g balls in a variety of colours

Wild Flower Throw - flowers made from triangles and then set into squares and then worked together. Done in DK weight yarn with a single background colour and could be used to use up almost matching reds and pinks.

Roses and Daisies Throw - this one could be used to use up scraps with a solid background. 400g of a mix of dk yarn and 8x50g of background yarn.

Seascape Wall Hanging - this is a brown and blue hanging that echoes a seascape, as it's a hanging you could use any sort of yarn for this.

Landscape Play Blanket - a patchwork blanket
 making fields, hills and sky for children to play with animals with.  Done in a variety of dk greens with some yellow and blue scattered in.

Chapter 4 is Around the World
Tartan Blanket - bands of colour with grids of holes to weave contrast colours through.  Done in DK yarn with 11 balls of dk yarn this could be one to for those who follow their clan tartan

African Beads Circular throw - inspired by tribal circular beadwork patterns.  USing a contrast background to highlight the pseudo-beads, done in aran weight yarn, you would need 10 balls of yarn for this.

Scandinavian Sampler Throw - a red and white throw is cross stitched with red; 7 balls of 50g dk yarn

Aran-style throw - all in cream this is actually done in Aran Weight yarn - you will need 7x100g balls.  There is a mock fringing which is quite effective.

Kelim Carpet runner - this makes me think more of New Mexican designs rather than more Turkish designs but we have here eight pointed stars in octagons joined in a strip. Aran yarn and you would need 7x100g balls for this, split over 5 colours

Indigo Ikat Throw - diamonds in the centre with chevrons coming off them in strips. a variety of blues, whites and creams dk weights

Buy/Borrow: I was a little underwhelmed; but this would be a great stashbusting book.  Several of the designs look more ornamental than warming to me, I'd borrow to see what you think.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Irish Patchwork


 Impressions: This is a book that accompanied an exhibition of Irish Patchwork. A useful place to start if you want to look at the traditions of Irish Patchwork. It's an interesting peek into times gone by. There were three main methods. Mosaic, Log Cabin and Applique. Applique seems to be in the majority. She defines Mosaic as small pieces of cloth sewn together, while log cabin is where strips are sewn to a square. This shows how some women took what they had available and made something out of it. Patchwork was never, apparently, seen as commercial so this was a domestic task only, so people made them as gifts or for themselves.

 Colour/Black & White: All colour 

 Target Audience: visitors to the exhibition 

 Comments on patterns: This would be useful if you're doing Log Cabin or other forms of pieced knitting, in making you look again at the concept and perhaps finding a different sequence you could take the piece in. The Cover map of Ireland is also interesting as a concept piece. 

 Buy/Borrow: I'd borrow, finding copies could be interesting as the exhibit was in 1979. I've seen copies pop up 

 Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies in stock