Wednesday, 27 March 2013

review of New Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques

 New Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques by Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths.

 Inside the cover it states "a comprehensive visual guide to traditional and contemporary techniques" and I would be hard-pressed to disagree. There are no garment patterns in this book, this however is an excellent introduction to knitting and a comprehensive reference to most techniques for knitters. Illustrated with both diagrams and photographs. It's also described as a lightly updated edition of the best-selling "Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques"

 Starting with the basics this book then goes into a variety of cast-ons, and a variety of techniques, along with advice on reading patterns and choosing patterns, though it does only show the threaded on method of adding beads. There is a section on design that's not comprehensive but good basics. The second part of the book is a stitch collection, along with most of these there are sample garments for inspiration. All of the stitch collection are charted as well as an explanation of how it works and how the fabric behaves with these patterns. They also provide a key to the patterns at the back, as well as a comprehensive index.

 This would be a good book for a beginner or intermediate knitter to expand their repertoire  More experienced knitters may also want it but it covers the same territory as a few others in the field. A good book, worth adding to your library as a reference if you need one, if I didn't have a comprehensive library of reference books I'd be buying this one to add to the collection. The only thing really missing is a bibliography or other recommended reading list.

 Obtained from Dublin City Public Libraries who pay me my wages but offer no inducement to write these.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Review: Cool Stuff: Teach me to Crochet

Book Depository, Dublin City Public Libraries, Ravelry

Cool Stuff: Teach me to Crochet by Leisure Arts Originally published in 2002 and aimed at the Teen/Children audience.

The book opens with some very clear photographs of how to proceed with left-handed instructions.
They start with some Daisies after learning how to do chains and suggest some uses.  This is a fairly simple, nicely done.

 Next project is a loopy hair scrunchy. Simple and straightforward.

 Spiral coaster comes next which shows how to count stitches and using a stitch marker/

 Expanding from the Spiral coaster there's a soft drink cozy, all of these are worked with single crochet.

 Half double crochet is introduced and a Round Pillow project.

A Ruffled Hair Scrunchie helps to introduce double crochet.

A curlicue key chain helps expand skills.

 A striped scarf uses only the chain and single crochet and hides the ends with a fringe.

 A floppy hat is the next project, this introduces the importance of gauge.

 A dog's toy ball is next up, in different sizes.

A Cat's Toy fish is up next

 A cotton dishcloth starts small and increases.

 A CD Holder or small bag is next.

 A Ripple Lap Warmer is the last project

 There are some pages at the back with US vs UK terms and US hook sizes vs Metric. There are also some reminders about the stitches with some very clear photographs, again with clear left-handed instructions. The back cover of the book also features a ruler.

For a beginning kid this isn't a bad book at all, in fact it's not a bad book for many ages. Teens may find it a bit kiddish but overall it's a good gentle introduction to crochet.

 Obtained from Dublin City Public Libraries who pay me my wages but offer no inducement to write these.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


I police comments pretty strictly and for this I give no apology. If your comment looks like spam and reads like spam it will be deleted. I have an open comment policy to enable legit people to comment but at this stage I'm deleting 5-8 comments per DAY. A few legit comments may have been deleted, but I doubt it.

I get an email for every comment, I try to deal with stray comments as soon as possible, feel free to email me if something slips through, my contact details are on the sidebar, or at least were last time I checked.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Review: the Cool Girl's guide to Crochet

Book Depository; Dublin City Public Libraries; Ravelry

By Nicki Trench

This one is aimed at teenagers and folks in their 20's opening with a chapter entitled New-age Crochet.  Much talk about it no lomger being associated with black-clad grannies of Southern Europe. This leads into a section on how it's now hip and cool and if you're a man you can use it to pick up girls. Can you see the eye-roll that induced? Then "crochet is so much easier than knitting" and I started to realise that this really wasn't being marketed at me. The closing quiz is full of puns.

Rapidly leaving that chapter I flicked through the what you need and what to do with it chapter which has a pretty good run-down of yarns and what they're good for, apart from the slightly smug "if you buy a woollen garment that has been hand knitted or crocjeted in South America, it is sometimes rough on the skin and may even have bits of wood and straw tangled up in it that haven't been removed at the fleece combing stage; it seems the South Americans are less concerned with the roughness of some garments, maybe because they use these as jackets or over-garments and wear something else underneath them." or maybe it's all they have and can afford? Or maybe they keep the nicer stuff for themselves and sell what the tourists are willing to buy...

First steps in crochet are covered with a right-hand assumption there is no mention of the possibility of left-handed knitting that I noticed. There is a mention of the differences between UK & US terms.  There's plenty of good photographs of techniques here.

Part three are patterns with a preamble talking about them and how they could be adapted.

First up is a beanie hat using three basic stitches it's a pretty good beginner piece. Worked in an Aran yarn with a 4.5mm hook

A flower throw is up next using a granny-square variation, seamed with a double crochet seam, worked in an aran-weight yarn with a 6mm hook

Next is a simple shawl in Rowan Kid Silk Haze and a 3.5mm hook

A pet's playmat is up next with a fringe, in aran-weight yarn and a 4.5mm hook

Summer flower camisole has simple appliqued flowers sewn on after making this garment that's worked in pieces and then seamed. Worked in 4ply cotton

A stripy dog blanket worked in an Aran-weight yarn and a 5mm hook would make a great stashbuster.

Striped hairbands have a tie fastener worked in Rowan Handknit Cotton and a 3.75mm hook

A bag made with debbie bliss cotton dk and colinette point five, a mesh bag that some may want to line, uses 3 & 5mm hooks.

A tie bolero is up next in debbie bliss baby cashmerino and 2.5, 3.25 & 3.5mm hooks, made in pieces.and sewn this can be tied around or in the front.

flower power beaded belt links flowers with robust beads and ties with a ribbon, worked in Dk cotton and 4.5mm hook

Summer brimmed hat is a floppy hat with an applique flower and contrast trim, Rowan handknit cotton with a 4mm hook and cotton glace and a 2mm hook for the flower, I suppose, check for errata on this one.

Daisy cashmere scarf uses granny-square variations sews them together and adds pompoms. Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and a 3.25mm hook

Fingerless gloves in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Dk and a 3.75mm hook

Beaded purse uses aran yarn and a 3mm hook. It has a contrast frill and handle

Ribbon slippers have a ribbon threaded through the top and flowers sewn on. Worked in a chunky yarn for the body with 4.5mm hook and a dk yarn and 3.25mm hook for the flower.

Hot water bottle cover is pieced, in big wool and a 5.5mm hook, personally I'd be inclined to work it in the round.

Cushion cake two worked pieces, joined with a frill and decorated with s flower. Worked in aran-weight yarn and dk for the flower and 5mm & 3.25mm hooks.

Loopy cushion is worked in aran-weight yarn with a plain back and some contrast stripes, worked in pieces using a 5mm hook

Clutch bag with bow is worked in dk yarn with a 4mm hook and lined. Note the lining isn't included in the materials list

Last pattern are placemat and coaster worked in cotton with 5mm hook

The book finishes with a love questionnaire, to which I have to ask why? Also knitty magazine makes an appearance in the useful websites list but not ravelry and a quick look at the copyright page reveals that it was originally published in 2006, this edition is 2011, so double check the resources.

I wasn't terribly impressed, but then I'm not the market for this, which also would mean that it probably would be short-lived in someone's collection.

I got this from Dublin City Public Libraries who pay my wages, but have offered no other inducement to reviewing this book. Many thanks to the Cataloguers who pass Knitting and Crochet books on to me.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Review of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies

 Kindle editions  

 Book Depository; Dublin City Public Libraries; Ravelry

 Vintage Knits for Modern Babies
Hadley Fierlinger

I will admit that some of these patterns are very cute, and I do agree that good quality yarns are a good thing, particularly if there is a stay-at-home parent with an awareness of yarn (probably another knitter or crafter), but chances are that some parents won't have the mental capacity to launder some of these as they need to. And from what I know of children they will get sick (and do other things) on a lot of things, ensuring it can be cleaned can be very important. On the other hand some of the garments would also be great special occasion garments. Hadley also gets some kudos from me for dressing a little girl in blue, loses some for not having schematics and for the addiction to seams, even in hats.
The book starts out with an introduction, an introduction to the background of the author and a run-down of some of the fibers used.

Next we have some Pattern instructions and Special Techniques. The patterns are sized from 0-5 years, she also lists what her experience levels mean.

First pattern up is the Layette Cap, a fairly simple hat, knit flat in Cashsoft Baby DK on 4mm needles, then there's Pompom booties; Tiny Trousers and a Crossover jacket to match, all in the same yarn, all knit flat and seamed.

Next up is a Matinee Jacket, using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK this is knit with 2 fronts, a back, sleeves and then joined to knit the yoke. Has some seed stitch details. Honestly, I'd make the body as one piece to the armholes, these are paired with slippers with a "feminine strap"

Nana's Bunnies are a pretty simple toy with minimal shaping, two colours in an organic cotton that uses low-impact dyes to minimise issues with children sucking on them, Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Organic Cotton and 3.5mm needles for this. If you make a few you can put them on the Bunny Mobile that has a decorated embroidery hoop and some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino trim

Next is a Wavy Cashmere Blanket, knit in 15 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (which would set you back about €94 in This is Knit - price from website on 25/1/13) with 3.25 mm needles. Done in 3 colours this could also be a great stashbuster for DK weight yarns! Basic Feather and Fan changing colours every 4 rows.

Angora Bolero - knit in pieces, this is knit in Sublime Angora Merino (and my edition has a typo in the number of balls for the pattern in the larger sizes, check before committing with ravelry and publisher errata) this would be ideal for a girl who is going to be involved in a wedding or event.

Organic Heirloom Blanket, a simple eyelet pattern in Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton and 5mm needles.

A Modern baby Bonnet, in Sublime Baby Cashmerino Silk DK and 4mm needles, uses a button fastening, seamed down the back.

Vintage Pixie Cap, basically a peaked hood in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK with 4mm needles and a button fastening. Matching Mittens as well, seamed again.

Anya's Cardigan is an exception to the rule, worked in one piece to the armholes this raglan cardigan is round necked and the eyelet pattern adds interest and could be omitted, a good piece to adapt. Knit in Rowan Wool Cotton with 3.25 and 3.75mm needles.

Cabled Booties in Jo Sharp DK Wool with 3.25 and 4mm needles, this has a plain foot and mock cables along the leg.

Baby Clothes Hanger Covers in leftover light worsted or DK and 5.5 mm needles as you use the yarn doubled and decorate with buttons.

The Apron Dress is cute, fastening with buttons, this is loose and can go from dress to tunic. Knit in Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk this is knit flat and has a pocket.

Ballet Blossom Cardigan is knit in RYC Baby Alpaca DK and 3.25 and 3.75mm needles. A wrap cardigan with a flower detail.

Charming Raglan Pullover is a pretty plain raglan jumper knit in pieces it has buttons at the back opening, knit in Jo Sharp DK Wool with 3.25 and 3.75mm needles.

Double Breasted Car Coat, knit in RYC Cashsoft DK with 4mm needles, this is an a-line coat with a large collar and pockets. There's a Petite Beret to match with a contrasting i-cord that threads through.

Lavender Sachet has embroidery applied and a ribon to hang it with, knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Organic Cotton with 3.25mm needles.

Birdy Cardigan is a round-necked cardigan with duplicate stitch birds, knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino with 3.25 and 3.75mm needles.

The Hooded Caplet is knit in White but admits inspiration from Little Red Riding Hood. Knit in RYC Cashoft Baby DK with 4mm needles. Pompoms decorate the twisted cord ties.

The book also has a useful terms and abbreviations list inside the front cover. 

The patterns are pretty and classic, a pretty good book of nice baby patterns, but use the yarn that would suit the parents.

Borrowed from Dublin City Public Libraries who pay my wages but offer no other inducement to write this.