Saturday, 21 July 2012

My Grandmother's Knitting

Book Depository Link, Ravelry Link Dublin City Public Libraries link

Errata Link here

I borrowed this from Dublin City Public Libraries, who pay my day-job wages.

A book with a slightly different slant,  a variety of knitting designers describing their relationship with their grandmothers, grandfathers and other ancestor and designing something inspired by their relationship with the knitting those who came before them taught them.  There are also some other patterns created by designers without a full story attached.

They're quite a bit of a mix of patterns and many of them echo older times, there are a few I would be interested in knitting but it's more of an interesting introduction to some of the designers, some known, some lesser known.

The first half of the book are the stories, the second is the patterns.
Designer and pattern links are to Ravelry.

Larissa Brown introduces it with her own story, the remainder of the stories are written in the third person.  Her pattern is the Family Tree Afghan

First up is Wendy Bernard who talks about her grandmother and her sculptor grandfather, finishing with her sadness in not being able to share her success.  Her pattern is Helen & Wendy's Slippers

Pam Allen discusses the memories her grandmother incorporated into her quilts and offers a Chickadee Cowl, a big lush cowl that reflects her mission to rescue the New England Mill that makes the Quince & Co yarns now.

Meg Swansen discusses her famous mother Elizabeth Zimmermann and about learning to knit and the legacy of such a famous mother.

Ysolda Teague discusses her grandfather who knit and who skewed her view of who knits in a family. He handcrafted violins and programmed using punch-cards for the paper mill he worked for.  Her pattern is Fiddler's Mitts

Jess Marshall Forbes is interviewed as one of the brains behind Ravelry, something which has changed the world of knitting.

Kay Gardiner is half of the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog and she talks about the example of simplicity that her grandmother left her with.

It came to me as no surprise that Joan McGowan-Michael had a stylish grandmother and that she was an inventive creator of her own clothes.  There was a tradition there that gave her support.  She offers the Angelina Shrug

Kirstin Spurkland  talks about her father and his Norwegian heritage that still inspires her. She designed the Rose & Cross Pullover

Teva Durham talks about her bigger-than-life grandmother Minerva who taught her that if she had to try and see vision and make it happen.  Her Minerva bonnet is inspired by a picture of her grandmother.

Jared Flood talks about his father's relationship with creativity and about how the wallpaper creativity of his mother's quilts became art as he studied  art and realised how they actually were beautiful in their own right.  His design is the colourful Tilden Baby Hat

Nora Gaughan talks about growing up in a house of artists and how if she thought of doing it that it was possible and how hard it was for her to have patience to learn how to knit.

Anne Hanson whose grandmother knit her an afghan that she still has.  Her pattern is the Crocus Patch Blanket

Leigh Radford remembers her honorary aunt Edna who taught her that it was okay to knit and how playing with fiber or playing with paint she regards it all as art.  Her pattern is Edna Slouch Hat

Chrissy Gardiner remembers gardens.  And while she doesn't remember learning to knit but remembers working with yarn.  Her pattern is Twining Vines Pillow

Adrian Bizilia remembers her grandmother carving out time to knit every day.  Inspiring Adrian to create yarn and complex patterns.

Kirsten Kapur whose life was full of women who created  and worked with colour so her concept of colour reflects these colourful women.  Her patterns are crayon cowls

Emily Johnson talks about her family trunk project, where she explores her family's past and creates patterns inspired by the people from family.  Her project is the 'Olina Socks

Keepsake Scarf by Rodger P. Murry - designed to use up some memory yarns
Vintage Gloves by Robin Melanson  - while her grandmother was a little overfond of bobbles she reckons she would have like to wear this when she was younger.
Concetta Cardigan by Cirilia Rose - an update of a family heirloom
Ice Skating Cape/Skirt by Cosette Cornelius-Bates is based on a heirloom
Grandma's Fan dishcloth by Judy Becker is a nice balance between lace and plain and had me want to reach for my needles, found inspiration in inherited lace medallions.
Conover Mittens by David Castillo inspired by his grandfather, one is a negative image of the other
Wan Jai Socks by Cookie A has lines inspired by the travels of her family to reach the US and are named after her grandmother.
Storm Cloud Shawlette by Hanna Breetz is a small piece that's reminscent of older times.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

This week's pretties and huh's

I'm going to start doing a new pretties and huh's hopefully weekly post.  I've been doing it on twitter occasionally but I think it would be nice to make the links a bit more permanent.

Pretties needs no explanation, huh's are those patterns that are not my aesthetic.  Your mileage may vary on both.  I'm going to try to explain what I like or dislike about it.


Raindrops, an apt pattern for the weather that's in it!  Love the water drops and thanks to the designer for permission to feature the picture

Rosewood Cardigan - now while this suffers from one of my pet hates, calling the pattern after the colour you designed it in, I love the way the cable twists around, it would be a great pattern for a tweedy yarn.

Chalet is another pattern with a lot of plain stocking stitch and some nice little details, yes I like v-necked cardigans, I find them more wearable for me.  I'm also a fan of pockets.  I'd be tempted to lengthen the body, or at least to see where it would hit and adapt if necessary to make it come down to the top of my legs.

I have a fondness for modular pieces and Taku looks interesting.

Vivika looks like my kind of winter jumper, not rounded neck, comfortable looking with multiple cables

I'm torn when it comes to heavier yarns in wools and fabrics that are more open for practical reasons, however I kinda like this one Sunray Medallion Tunic

Ivy - a scarf inspired by Art Nouveau ticks a few buttons for me, I'm a huge fan of Mucha and most Art Nouveau and this is a nice tribute to it.


Ruffled Sparks Clutch now I will admit that clutches aren't my thing, I like bags with shoulder straps, I don't like carrying things around (and my hands dislike it too) and ruffles make me twitch, so this just isn't my thing

I know owls are popular but this doesn't really appeal to me.  Give a Hoot Crochet Owl Hat oh man, not my idea of pretty.

Saturnalia should be my kind of thing, but there's something about it that just doesn't gel with me.  I keep looking at it and wondering.  I think it might be the band, tweaking it might make it work.

Now I like the actual garment but file this one under Photographs make a difference, Ombre Dyed sweater and also it feeds a minor pet hate, it's a cardigan, to me sweaters don't have an open front.

Nice Idea for a pattern, Woman's Sideways Cabled Cardigan but it's a bit too bulky, bulky yarn plus cables = huge bulk, it's not flattering if you have weight.

I am a fan of waistcoats, but this Lets Go Loopy Waistcoat made me shudder

I think I've done enough here for this go-around.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Knitters Home Companion Review

Book Depository LinkRavelry Link

I got a free time limited copy of this title from the publishers, Open Road Media, via Net Galley in exchange for a review.

This is more a book about knitters than knitting.  I found it quite a quick read and while it's not really the kind of book I would add to my collection it's a book I would have happily read from the library.

There are several patterns in the book but they are more background than foreground.  There are also recipes and book suggestions included in the book.  I was actually surprised when I saw how many patterns there were in the book because they didn't really make as much an impact as the text and story of Michelle Edwards' life and experience with knitting.  It falls into the same category as some of Elizabeth Zimmermann or The Yarn Harlot's books, only in Michelle's own style.

An interesting video here on the publisher website

It's an interesting read and an interesting look into a life with fibre.

There are some errata available for some of the patterns

Zigzag Baby Blanket  - a two colour blanket with some interesting garter stitch in it, it's pretty plain but interesting.

Playtime Cape - a cape for kids to play in, with pompom details on the bottom and an i-chord or french knit tie. (I have to admit that I was wondering about upscaling it...)

Clutch of Inspiration - intended to be a portable holder of some inspirational bits and pieces to raise someone's spirits.

Quick and Easy first socks (aka Gussies) - knit with 5mm needles using a bulky yarn, these are more house-socks than anything else and would be good first socks to get some of the concepts.

Good Karma Slippers - t/hese would be the pattern I would be most likely to knit from this book.  Not just the pattern but the story behind them intrigued me.

Lacy Scarf - an interesting scarf worked in a bulky yarn, but like any scarf could be knit in whatever yarn you really want by adding more stitches into the pattern.

Chicken Egg Warmers - chicken shaped egg cosies.

Quick and Easy Mittens (aka Pearl) - knit in a similar way and in the same weight yarn as the socks you can change your mind when you reach the heel or thumb.

Updated Ripple Afghan - working a garter zig-zag pattern this is a nice afghan knit in an acrylic yarn in a few colours though you could knit it in as many or as few colours as you'd like.

Victory Scarf and Wristers - inspired by war knitting, these are intended as a gift to someone undergoing strife.  They say wristers I say fingerless mitts as they have a thumb.

Trio of Lacy Washcloths - three different patterns for three washcloths, they're nice and look very serviceable. 

Genie's Hat  - a hat with some embelishment

Michelle Edwards designed most of the patterns but Theresa Gaffey designed the Lacy Scarf; Trio of Lacey Washcloths; and Updated Ripple Afghan

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

My first design

After doing some of the crochet recently, I got interested in Tunisian Crochet and it's possibilities. Then I was asked for some Bunting for an event I'm attending later this year and I thought to myself that I could do it in Tunisian Crochet, I knew the basics from doing several of the shawls, like decreases, this wasn't going to be complicated. Surely someone would have done this? Not that I could find, so I decided to do it, and then I decided that I could write it and offer it for free. So I did several iterations, after ripping out several false starts.

tunisian bunting
to the left  was the first one. I didn't like the edges, it had ended up being quite stepped and the two sides didn't match.

bunting no 2Then I did the next one (the brown one) I wasn't really happy with the slip stitch edging, you could see some of the edging through it, but it wasn't bad, it was just not quite right.

Then I tried the green one
and when I was finished with it it was what I wanted.

tunisian knit stitch So then I made a few more.

  I even experimented with Tunisian knit stitch and the edges just didn't quite work either It might be the fact that this was the first time I had used that stitch.

helpful blues So now I have six and the pattern is available through Ravelry for free

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Cast on, Bind Off review

Book Depository

I got a free time limited copy of this title from the publishers, Storey Publications, via Net Galley in exchange for a review.

This book is interesting in that it looks at one topic, cast ons and bind offs, the book is basically divided in two, cast ons and bind offs, starting with cast ons. They're then divided into various headings.  Basic, stretchy, decorative, circular, double-sided, multicolour, provisional, tubular and mobius.

Part two is bind-offs, again basic, stretchy, decorative and sewn.

The two column layout in some parts makes reading this as an e-book an exercise in scrolling up and down a few times.

She starts off with some elementary descriptions and some basics.  Where she clearly defines some techniques she's going to use later.  While a lot of this is very elementary, it is useful to be clear before starting exactly what you mean by something, there are often several meanings for different things in this game.

I loved the section beginning sketches and the photography is very clear.  This is one I'd prefer in paper and within a few weeks it would end up festooned with post-its.  She's quite clear about the pros and cons of each cast-on and bind off, and also what they're good for.

This is one that's going on my wishlist, and I hope to buy it relatively soon.  I used it for a recent project when I was checking on a cast-on and found it very useful.