Monday, 23 April 2012

Lovely Knits for Little Girls - reivew

Now as Ravelry doesn't have this title I searched for the author Vibe Sondergaard and found Labour of Love which features at least three of the patterns from this book, so below that's the patterns I've linked to below, and the reviews on suggest that it's the same book  (so beware the offer from Amazon for the two together!).  The other suggestion to me that one may be a localisation of the other is that the needle sizing in Lovely Knits for Little Girl is solely in US sizing.

ETA: Taunton Press confirmed in the comments that this is indeed the case, they bought the US rights for Labour of Love and renamed it Lovely Knits for Little Girls.  

I got this title from Net Galley in exchange for a review.

This one I asked for, because, although I don't have any kids myself, I do have a 2 year-old niece, so I looked at this as an opportunity to get some patterns for her, I also used the opportunity of visiting Galway and meeting her mum to get her to have a look and offer her opinion.  To be honest there was nothing that she was urging me to knit, some it ranked a maybe.  I would have liked a few more more general wear pieces, a little more utility and a little less ornamental.

The book is beautifully shot and very well laid out.  Sized for 3-8 year old's.this is a book more for events than for everyday.  I could see several of the projects as being used for weddings or communions. 

The photographs are in colour, there are no schematics and they're made in pieces with side seams for the most part.  This was an e-book which required Adobe Digital Editions to read, I didn't come across an ebook copy on Amazon.  I also came across Lovely Knits for Little Girls in Hoggis Figgis in Dame Street and was quite impressed with the quality.  Looking through the book I'm not absolutely sure about the needle size listed, you might have to work with the gauge to get it right and if I was to knit some of them I'd be very tempted to knit some in the round or for some cardigans, as one piece, front and back to the armholes.  The patterns are mostly quite complex but there are a few that are more simple.

Starting with a Sweater section, the first is the Clara Alpaca and cotton sweater, described as a simple stocking stitch sweater with flared sleeves.  It's a statement piece, those sleeves are almost too big but it's a look that might suit a moment. Uses Rowan Alpaca Cotton and US 6 needles (listed as an Aran weight with 4mm needles)

Ruth Aran and Bobble Sweater, this is the pattern on the cover of  Labour of Love, short sleeved with  blackberry stitch and cabling, the sleeves are puffed and have a pattern running down them.  It's an a-line top.  Uses UK Alpaca DK and US 6/4mm needles.

Carolina high-neck sweater with ribbon.  An all-over cable pattern with an oversized look and a wide neck.  Knit in Rowan Lima with US 8  & 6 needles (5mm and 4mm), a worsted yarn.

Nora wide Aran Sweater with ribbon - Knit in Debbie Bliss Eco Aran with US 3 and 6 needles (3/3.25mm needles and 4mm needles), this is a trapezoid shaped jumper, which fastens at the back with a ribbon, a pretty simple honeycomb pattern covers this raglan jumper.

Matilda Round-neck Textured Sweater - using Rowan Cashsoft DK and US 6 & 10 (4mm and 6mm) needles this is an interesting jumper using texture, it's a raglan top, would probably work well in the round!

The next section is Cardigans, starting with Zoe Fan Stitch Jacket.  Knit in Rowan by Amy Butler Belle Organic Dk using US 6 (4mm) needles.  A fan stitch pattern decorates this one and it's fastened with a ribbon.  The bottom edge curves slightly the body is worked to the armholes and then worked as pieces from there.

Sofia Elf Cardigan with Fabric when I first looked at this one I almost missed the fabric piece, this requires sewing a gathered peplum with a slightly complicated piece that rises at the back.  The designer suggests that you could fasten with buttons and change the fabric.  Knit in Debbie  Bliss Eco Aran with US size 3 and 6 (3/3.25mm and 4mm needles)  This could also work as a shrug without the fabric.  It has some interesting details.

Elvira Frost Flower Cardigan - inspired by the Frost Flower stitch pattern this is knit in Mirasol Sulka (a bulky weight yarn) with US 8 & 10 needles (5 & 6mm) with short raglan sleeves, this fastens with one button on the front.

Maggie Grandpa Cardigan - an oversized cardigan with shaping and long-length sleeves, raglan shaping, this could last someone a few seasons.  Knit in Rowan Lima (a worsted weight yarn) with US size 4 and 8 needles (3.5mm and 5mm)

Marie Cardigan with Lace Edges - this uses Garnstudio Drops Alpaca (a fingering weight yarn) used doúble throughout, with US 3 & 6 needles (3/3/25mm & 4mm needles), this has a curved front and lace in the body and edging, the author suggests that you can use plain stocking stitch in the  body and only lace in the edging "cast on a few less stitches".  The cuffs are with the same lace as the edging.

Rosita Warm Wrap Cardigan is the cover pattern on the Lovely Knits variation. Knit in Rowan by Amy Butler Organic Aran with US 7 (4.5mm needles) it starts at the center back, it's an interesting garment.

Dresses and Tops is the next section.
Penelope Garter Stitch vest - this has a gather in the back, knit in one piece and only the shoulder seams sewn.  Using Mirasol Miski (a worsted weight yarn), and US 6 & 8 (4mm and 5mm) needles.

Holly Warm Loopy Vest, using loop stitch this is a mock fur jacket, with curved fronts uses Rowan Drift (a super bulky yarn) using US 11 (8mm needles). Knitted in one piece and fastened with a ribbon at the neck.

Bertha Shoulder Wrap is a shoulder wrap or caplet that is quite a classic style.  Knit in Louisa Harding Millais (a super bulky yarn) with US 8 (5mm) circular needles. Fastened in the front with a ribbon.

Isabel Cable and Little Branch Dress is a long-jumper short-sleeved style dress with a cable and bobble pattern that forms a tree and flower pattern. Knit in Rowan by Amy Butler Organic DK with US 3 & 6 (3/3.25mm and 4mm) needles.

Emilia Mohair Lace Dress - Rowan Kidsilk haze (laceweight) used double with US size 6 (4mm) needles.  There are no photographs of the dress full length. The author also suggest that it would need something to counter the transparency of the dress.  It has cap sleeves.

Skirts and Snoods is the next section.  Flora Layered Skirt is the first pattern, a skirt with layered leaves, knit in individual layers, knit in Louisa Harding Albero (worsted weight) with US 6 & 3 (4mm & 3/3.25mm)

Mia Raspberry Mini Skirt - using blackberry stitch knit in Rowan Pure Wool DK with US 3 & 6 (3/3.25mm & 4mm) needles.  This would need leggings to counter the somewhat see-through nature of the stitch.  It can be also worn as a cowl.

 Skye Big Wool Snood or Mini Skirt knit in Garnstudio Drops Eskimo (Bulky weight yarn) with US 10.5 & 11 (6.5 & 8mm) needles.  This is shaped with a large cables to the middle.

 The final section is Charming Accessories.  Starting with the Laura Frost Flower Hat and Poncho, again using the Frost Flower pattern, this uses only a few repeats in each piece.  Knit with Rowan Cocoon.  Bulky yarn using US 8 &10 (5mm and 6mm) needles, both seamed.

Naya Garter Stitch scarf and hat with eyelets - using Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran with US 6 and 7 (4 and 4.5mm needles) alternating colour and using a lace pattern, you could do this in one colour  but I'm not sure that it would be as effective.

Lastly the Olivia Mohair Scarf with Bobbles.using Rowan Kidsilk Haze (laceweight) used double throughout; using US 6 (4mm) needles, worked from the long-edge to the center.

Overall it underwhelmed me.  If you are looking for patterns for an event where you have a pre-teen girl this could be a good book, I wouldn't regard it as great for everyday wear.  Then again it would depend on the girl.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Knitting lulls

I'm just coming out of a knitting lull. My hands decided that RSI flare would be fun, my back decided that moving was optional and my husband's job went away. It's also meant that my incentive to write has been missing too. Now I'm starting to come out of the physical and mental issues and hope to get back into blogging.  I would like to set up a template for my phone for reviews so I can work on it a bit more smoothly.

Here's hoping things contine to improve.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Knits For Nerds - Review

Kindle Editions
Knits for Nerds: US Kindle Edition Knits for Nerds:UK Kindle Edition

Other Locations
Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Now I have to point out before I get started into this that this I got from NetGalley with the proviso that I review it.  Freebies are good, this is a limited time copy that I got for the purposes of the review.  The netgalley copy works on my netbook as it uses Adobe Digital edition that I don't have on my laptop (Ubuntu)

I had spotted this in Hoggis Figgis on Dame Street before and had glanced through it but the price they were asking for it seemed a bit steep for the one or two patterns that attracted me at the time.  The patterns also seemed to me a little unpolished and after looking at Ravelry, I have to say that buying it would involve seeing more finished projects and then making a decision.

This is a book designed to appeal to, well, nerds.  Fantasy, SciFi, comics and Manga and general nerdishness is covered here.

Patterns (links for patterns and designers - only linked for first mention- are from Ravelry) :

First section is Fantasy:
Alchemy Scarf- designed by Toni Carr -  inspired by the Alchemists tattoos in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, this has occasional metallic patterns scattered throughout the scarf, knit in metallic embroidery thread.  I couldn't really get the overall effect from the pictures. knit with 4.5mm needles with Patons Silk Bamboo and DMC Embroidery thread.  Ranked Intermediate.

Hobbit Feet slippers - designed by Toni Carr - hairy feet slippers knit with thick needles. The hair is attached afterwards.  Inspired by Lord of the Rings. Knit in Lion Brand Hometown and Patons Divine with 8mm needles, rated intermediate.

Summer Queen - designed by Rilana Riley-Munson - inspired by Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely and a nice shawl with a repeating panel of leaves. Knit Picks Comfy Fingering and 3.75mm needles, rated intermediate.

Dragon Rider Gloves - designed by Toni Carr - inspired by Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, lacework fingerless gloves. Araucania Nature Wool with 3.5mm needles, rated advanced.

Light of Eärendil Shrug - designed by Ashley Fay - inspired by Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, leaves, wide sleeve ends with star stitch, beading it is somewhat reminiscent of her pattern from Vampire Knits - Sidhe Shrug at the body and arms. Knit Picks Bare Shadow Lace Yarn, 4 & 5mm needles and rated advanced.

Baby Elf Beanie - designed by Toni Carr - a beanie with elf ears applied afterwards. Bernat Softee Chunky, 5mm needles, rated intermediate.

Mr Nancy's Hat - designed by Toni Carr - inspired by Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, with accompanying Mr Nancy's Gloves (with yellow gloves from the other book in the series American Gods) - the hat is felted and if I was to knit the gloves I would add a longer cuff, they looked a little too short on the model. Hat in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, 5mm needles, intermediate. Gloves: Knit Picks Swish DK, 3.5mm needles, intermediate.

Secret Beaded Bag - designed by Toni Carr - a small beaded purse, probably suitable for dice or small bag. It looks like the beads are along the edge and on the drawstring, but the photographs don't make it very clear. Cushendale Worsted Weight, 5mm needles, Intermediate.

Next section is Science Fiction:

Horrible Gloves - designed by Toni Carr - inspired by Dr Horrible's Sing-along blog.  Buttoned fingerless gloves. Striped.  Knit Picks Swish DK, 3.5 mm needles, rated intermediate.

Cunning Scarf - designed by Toni Carr - inspired by the Jayne Cobb Hat. Knit in Knit Picks Swish DK, 5mm needles, rated easy.

Cunning Socks - designed by Laura Hohman - again inspired by the Jayne Cobb hat this is a pair of mismatched striped socks.  Knit Picks Swish DK with 2.75mm needles, intermediate.

Space Princess Hats - designed by Genevieve Miller - inspired by Star Wars and Princess Leia, the body is the same but the pattern allows for "hairsyle" variations. Knit Picks Gloss HW, 4.5mm needles, intermediate.

Padme's Battle Cape - designed by Linda J Dunn - the pattern is on the front of the book, inpired by Padme in Star Wars, knit in Berroco Comfort with 5.5mm needles, rated intermediate.  This is pretty basic.

Nest Generation Sweater - designed by Toni Carr - slash neck jumper inspired by Star Trek uniforms. Knit in Lion Brand Wool Ease with 4.5 and 5mm needles, rated intermediate.

Trek Girl Dress - designed by Toni Carr - mini-dress uniform from Star Trek, knit in Knit Picks CotLin DK, 3.5mm needles, rated intermediate.

Troublesome Toy - designed by Toni Carr - inspired by Tribbles from Star Trek, knit in Knit Picks Suri Dream with 5mm needles, rated intermediate.

Robot of the Future - designed by Marilee Norris - inspired by Cybermen from Doctor Who, but made cuter. Caron Simply Soft Heather and Brites, 3.25mm needles, rated advanced.

Time Traveller Scarf - designed by Toni Carr - a garter stitch Dr Who inspired scarf.  Knit in Plymoth Encore Worsted with 5mm rated easy.  This is only 15 stitches wide but 10.5 foot.  You'd need to be careful with the first and last stitch for an even edge.  There are a lot of patterns for this scarf with a variety of degrees of accuracy.

Aim to Misbehave Brown Jacket - designed by Toni Carr - inspired by Firefly with lace edging to the sleeves and bottom of this coat this is one pattern that I really, really like and want to knit.  Knit in simply cotton sport with 3.5mm needles, rated advanced

Next section is Comics and Manga.

Starting with the Super Awesome Fantastic Mega Super Cute Manga Leg Warmers - by Toni Carr - to get that manga foot look with wide boot legs.  made in Plymouth Encore Worsted with 5 mm needles, rated as intermediate.

Tank Girl Socks - designed by Laura Hohman - brightly striped knee socks inspired by the Tank Girl comics and film.  Made in Knit Picks Stroll Sport Sock Yarn with 2.75mm needles, rated advanced.

Top this Fascinator - designed by Toni Carr - mini-top had inspired by Death from the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman.  Knit and then felted.  Knit in Cascade 220 with 5mm needles and rated as intermediate.

Creepy Filler Bunny by Toni Carr - inspired by Jhonen Vasquez, a pink felted bunny with weird stitched eyes.  Knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes with 4mm needles and rated as intermediate.

The Cat Woman Hat - designed by Callie Need - an oversized hat with cat ears. Knit in Lion Brand Jiffy with 6.5mm needles, rated as easy.  Not something I would knit.

Mystique by Toni Carr is a three piece adaptable piece that can be a sweater, a tube top, a halter top or a shrug.  Knit in Stitch Nation Full O'Sheep, with 5mm needles and rated as intermediate.

The last section is Other Stuff for Nerds

The Book Wizard is intended to carry an iPad or e-reader and has a strap, done in Gryffindor colours there's a suggestion you could also knit it in Slytherin colours (or Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw). Plymouth Encore Worsted with 5.5mm needles, rated intermediate.

Tie it on by Toni Carr is a tie with a double helix pattern travelling along it. Knit in Knit Picks Swish DK with 3.75mm needles and rated as easy.

Big Bang Guy's Sweater Vest designed by Toni Carr and Irene Basey - a v-necked tank top for men with cabling, I would regard it as unisex, inspired by the Big Bang Theory.  Knit in Lion Brand Wool Ease with 4.5mm needles and rated as advanced.

Big Bang Girl's Sweater Vest - designed by Toni Carr and Irene Basey -  based on Big Bang Theory's Penny's work uniform, this is a U necked fitted tank top. Knit in Lion Brand Wool Ease with 3.75 and 4.5mm needles, this is rated intermediate.  I think I would possibly knit one of these two, but honestly I have comparable patterns.

Real Genius Sweater by Toni Carr is an oversized sweater designed by Toni Carr which is an off-the-shoulder tunic/dress knit in Knit Picks Swish Bulky knit with 6.5mm needles and rated intermediate.  It's not something I'd knit for me.

Checkmate Laptop Bag - designed by Toni Carr.  A felted bag knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes with 5mm needles and rated intermediate, it's designed that you could use it both to carry your laptop and play games of chess on the checkerboard.

Mobius - designed by Toni Carr is a neck warmer Mobius with some added instructions to make a longer scarf.  Joined with a twist and then knit alternatively knit and purl rows.  Knit in Knit Picks Swish Worsted with 5mm needles and rated easy.

The book closes with abbreviations and clearly photographed with large needles techniques.

Conclusion: while a few of the patterns made me think twice about the book, overall it didn't impress me enough to make me want to buy it immediately.  There are 1-2 patterns that made me think about knitting them and maybe 2-3 more I'd possibly knit but I really would like to see them knit and finished a bit better before committing to the book.  I also think that a lot of the nerdishness comes from a generation younger than me.  The font was a little awkward to read on the netbook, I'd say it would be quite hard on a smaller screen.  In some ways it was good but in other ways I felt that there was some wasted potential in the book.  Many of the patterns were a bit predictable and there were a lot of similar patterns available already.

I'd borrow it or look carefully at it before buying, it might be your sort of thing but you would need to be sure.  It's not bad but there isn't enough there to make me buy right now.