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

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Knitting & Crochet Bible

 Impressions: Take the Knitting Bible add the Crochet Bible, bind for cheaper than the two separately, et voila. I'm not really going to review this one as I have both and plan to review them separately. I didn't see any new patterns and the copyright information didn't mention any revision details only published and dates.

 Buy/Borrow: If you want both books but didn't get them separately

 Where found: Dublin City Public Library has copies in stock