Tag Archives: knitting

Book Review: Knitted Toys – Must Have for Knitters

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Jody Long’s first knitting book is a grand-slam! This book is everything a knitter wants in a book of patterns. There are 20 different patterns included. Each of them have clear, easy to read and understand instructions. The amount of yarn, other supplies and gauge are included to help new and experienced knitters succeed.

There are smaller, easier projects like Squishy Beach Balls and Sebastian the Starfish. Some patterns have color work, which I personally love to do. The instructions are easy to follow even for a beginner. This could be the perfect time to try intarsia if you haven’t before.

At the beginning of the book there are several pages of information and definitions. Be sure to read them. A needle conversion is included, UK and US needles are both listed. The amounts of yarn (with suggestions as to the type to use if you aren’t using the exact yarn as the author) are listed in yards and meters as well as ounces and grams depending upon what country you are knitting in or more comfortable with.

Most knitting books have one or two patterns that are cute. Every single one of these 20 knitted toys are adorable. It is hard for me to highlight a few favorites, but here goes – and this does not by any stretch of imagination mean I don’t like the others.

The first one I plan on knitting is Mrs. Hopper the Rabbit. She is absolutely charming, wearing a sweater and holding a basket with carrots inside. She is 11 inches tall and will make a perfect gift for Easter.

Primrose the Nighttime Teddy has a nightcap and nightgown and Rusty the Puppy looks so squishy and cute I can just see a toddler cuddling up with these two for a nap.

Most knitters have yarn in their stashes with would more than complete one or more of these terrific toys. The patterns would make perfect take-a-long projects because each piece can easily be stashed in a purse or backpack. I like to knit during my lunch hour at work and will definitely be carrying these projects with me .

I highly recommend this book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from NetGalley that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

 

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Book Review: My First Knitting Book – Projects for Beginning Young Knitters

My First Knitting BookMy First Knitting Book

by Hildegarde Deuzo (Author), Marina Orry (Translator)

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

My First Knitting Book features clear, easy to understand instructions for new knitters. There are written instructions, diagrams and pictures to help any type of learner complete over a dozen easy projects. The basic knit and purl stitches as well as increases and decreases are detailed. The importance of gauge, which varies from person to person and is dependent on the type/weight of yarn as well as the size of needled you use is not addressed until the very end of the book. Hopefully readers will not just pick out a project before reading the whole book first.

The project instructions include the yarn type needed, needle size and easy to follow diagrams to complete things like scarves, a pouch and a stuffed owl toy.

This book is appropriate for older children (with help from an adult) to adults, but most of the projects are geared to children and younger teens.

While My First Knitting Book has all the mechanics included, I don’t find this book standing out from most other knitting books for new knitters.

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

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WIP Wednesday – Knitting 2016

 

When the new year begins I like to start a fresh to-do list for my knitting and crochet projects. I usually start out overly ambitious with a list longer than my arm. Some years I only get done up to my elbow, but that’s ok. I’m a gal that likes a plan, but don’t mind changing/altering/deleting the plan for a different plan when the need arises.

The first project I am working on is a pair of socks. The pattern is out of a book one of my son’s got me for Christmas, Socktopus by Alice Yu. It is called Om Shanti. I used 2 size 2 Addi circulars, making both at the same time until I got to the leg (these are toe up). Now I’ve divided them because the pattern calls for moving the stitches from needle to needle to jog the pattern. The yarn is some fabulous hand dyed Merino Superwash Wool in a beautifil colorway called Arizona Turquoise. I think they are working up really nicely and hope to finish them this week.

Arizona socks

 

So far I’ve been asked to make an adorable  Viking Hat for a friend’s new baby. I’m using this pattern: Viking Set – Viking Hat, Diaper Cover and Club by JTcreations check it out on Ravelry.

One of the gals at work asked me to make her a pair of socks. I’m going to use my favorite “plain” sock pattern that uses sport or DK wt yarn because she wants them to wear around the house when it is cold. You can find it here: Moda Dea LM0131, Knitted Socks. I’ve picked up some really soft washable yarn at Hobby Lobby that is part acrylic, part alpaca. I plan to start them when I finish my Christmas socks.

For the NICU unit this Easter, I plan to make these adorable Lamb Hats, the pattern was designed by Sarah Zimmerman. I won’t make the flaps or ties because they might get in the way since these babies have a lot going one.

© Repeat Crafter Me

I’m going to teach a Lunch & Learn class at work for anyone that wants to learn how to knit. Because we want the participants to make progress quickly, I searched for a pattern for a simple garter stitch scarf. Luckily I remembered Susie at our knitting night working on a cowl on huge needles. She is a new knitter and has whipped up 11 of them since November! She shared the pattern, which is just 10 stitches on size 50 (yes, you read it right) needles using super-bulky yarn. You work with 2 strands of yarn and it zips up super quick. I made a sample in a couple of hours today. As cold as it is here today, I could use this fluffy warm cowl to keep my face and neck warm. 🙂
Other misc projects I will get rolling on will be NICU hats for Christmas and either Thanksgiving or Halloween. Most likely they will be crocheted because they work up faster.
There will be a few Christmas gifts and I’d like to make a few more of the sock patterns that are in Socktopus. I certainly have a wide variety of yarns in my stash that I can use.
And of course my annual WIP. Seriously, I only have to do the one cuff ribbing and the neck ribbing on my brown sweater. I seriously am going to finish it. I have one sock to make to complete the plain black pair I started last February AND the afghans that I have had part of the squares completed for over a hear. As a matter of fact, I used part of the yarn for another project.
What do you plan to make this year?

 

 

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WIP Wednesday Christmas 2015 Projects

This was a busy and fun Christmas season. My favorite handmade gift was a joint effort. My husband made this beautiful doll bunk bed for my cousin’s little girl. I might have posted a pic earlier before I completed the bedding in her favorite color (purple) and of course Anna and Elsa comforters and pillows finished the gift.

Ella's doll bed

She really liked it 🙂 I highly recommend going over to Ana White’s website (http://www.ana-white.com/) . That is where I found this pattern and many others I am going to try and talk the hubby into making. 🙂

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I made 5 cabled ear warmers for my best friend to give for Christmas as well as 2 more for one of my work friends. They turned out nicely and I decided to make an additional one for myself. I used this pattern: Braided Cabled Ear Warmer by Jessika Cates, and you can see more pics on my Ravelry site, I’m “writeknit”.

2 earwamers done

This one is mine, made from the alpaca/wool blend that I bought when we visited the local Alpaca Farm last fall.

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As a joke, I made these fun shark slippers from this pattern Crocheted Shark Slipper Socks by Stacie L. Ratcliff. My girlfriend’s daughter jokingly asked for them for Christmas, so the least I could do is crochet them for her! They are fun and from what I heard warm. LOL

Shark slippers

Here is a side view:

Shark detail

 

I made my father-in-law’s annual flannel shirt. It is the 36th Christmas therefore, the 36th shirt. Honestly, it is the only thing he wants, so that is what he gets 🙂 The 2016 shirt will be made on the new sewing machine my hubby got me this year (read this in a VERY excited voice). I use the same pattern since 1980, but this will be the fourth sewing machine in as many years.

damn shirt 2015

My cousin’s scarf has been on my blog before because she isn’t on FB to see it. She really liked it so that made me happy also.

Becky's scarf complete

This year’s NICU hats numbered 31. I also made a Santa hat for the nurse that works in the unit as well as a Santa hat for my son’s godson. Here are all the hats before we delivered them.

NICU hats on tree

Last by not least, I wanted to make little snowflake ornaments for my family. I saw one at work, so I had a general idea as to what I was going to do, but it took a few tries with patterns that didn’t work out for me to finally write a simple pattern myself.

I began with a 2 inch tin with a removable top that that is clear. Next I worked up the pattern with sport wt yarn just a bit smaller so it was snug to pull over the tin. I blocked it dry then sprayed the heck out of it with spray starch, sprinkled with glitter, then let dry over night. Full disclosure, the first one I couldn’t wait for it to dry, so I used my blow dryer, which worked like a charm.

Ornament 2015

The hardest part was finding the perfect picture for each of my aunts and cousins that would fit in the 2 inch “window” nicely. The hubby helped scan them then I got each one cut and inserted into the tin, added the snowflake and a bow on the top. Here is one of the finished ornaments. This was for my Great-Aunt Kathie, the picture is of her mom and dad, my Great-Grandma and Grandpa.

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Here are more of them. By the time I got done making them, I was really loving the pattern. Lucky for me I made notes, because I’ll never remember how I did it next year if I decide to make more. I think I am going to write it up and offer it as a free pattern if anyone is interested.

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I was going to list my works in progress, but honestly, you all have to be tired of reading this by now. So, next Wednesday I’ll share my anticipated project list for 2016. I know for sure it will include at least 2 pr of socks, NICU hats, teaching a Lunch & Learn cowl at work and other adventures with yarn.

What are you hoping to get done this year?

 

 

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NICU Charity Challenge 2015

An email popped into my mail this morning announcing this year’s Christmas Charity Challenge. This is the sixth year for the challenge, and will be my second year participating.

The challenge is to knit or crochet 12 hats for your local NICU unit in 12 days. The yarn police do not knock on your door if you only finish one or two. I know you are busy. Tomorrow is December 1st and you have at least 3 months of things to do in the next 3 weeks. But think about this. I completed 2 NICU hats today on my break & the last 1/2 of my lunch at work. While watching a bit of TV yesterday, I finished 5 of them. They are tiny and work up quick.

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Last year when I decided to do this challenge, I contacted 3 local hospital in my area, and neither one even answered me. Then I remembered my best friend’s sister is a nurse in a NICU unit! Duh – I attribute my airheadedness to the Christmas season of craziness, but it was probably just an every day airhead moment. She quickly responded that they would LOVE to take them, and I’ve been making  hats for them all year.

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I always use acrylic yarn because it is easily washed and dried. There are no strings or buttons that might fall off or get in the way of treatments or cause a choking hazard. This is a great way to use bits of yarn you have left from other projects.

If you are interested and want to know more, please go to Sunset Family Living’s blog. http://www.sunsetfamilyliving.com/christmas-charity-challenge-2015/ . As an extra bonus, when you sign up for the challenge, you will receive a free pattern for an adorable baby hat in you email each day. If you really want to warm your heart, once you go to the website, you can follow the link to her Facebook page to see all of the hats current and former participants have donated. Nicu hat #11

 

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Home Farm Wensleydales – Customer Service Extraordinaire!

I ordered some yarn last week after reading about the farm in a blog post for Woolvember.  The pictures of the countryside and sheep made me want to hop on a plane and visit Cotswolds, England to see it for myself. Per the card I received with my order, the Home Farm has been in existence for over 500 years and is now fully operational spanning 150 acres of “ancient ridge and furrow. I am aching to see it!

Isn’t possible, I decided to order some of their wool. The sheep are Wenselydale and Bluefaced Leicesters, and the pictures on their website are adorable in a sheepy way.  Check it out: http://www.homefarmwensleydales.com/

I purchased two different kinds of yarn. Even though the pure Winsleydale isn’t soft, and recommended for felting or “lacework or aran type coarse jumpers” I felt I wanted to work with some of the pure yarn that was the natural color of the sheep. I absolutely love the color and can picture the sheep that were walking around the countryside wearing this before they were shorn.

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It is not soft, but I love it anyway. I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, but whatever it is, I won’t decide until after the holidays.

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I also purchased a blend of Wensledale and Bluefaced Leicester that has been spun and dyed a beautiful spring green color. I am picturing a spring shawl. It is very soft and feels absolutely lovely. I haven’t decided what I’m actually making, but it will be fun to search for the perfect pattern.

Other than being extremely satisfied with the wool I received, the purchase was easy and delivery was fast. As a matter of fact, it only took 8 days to receive this order. It took over  a month to get an order from a warehouse less than 25 miles from home and this came all the way from England! I cannot explain it.

When I opened the package, the two types of yarn were carefully wrapped in separate tissue paper packages. There was a post card with information on the farm and the sheep, and a delightful, handwritten card thanking me for my purchase and telling me about the yarn. Now THAT is customer service and why I love purchasing yarn and other goods from the farms and people who are tending the sheep or growing the food whenever possible. If possible, I hope you do too.

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WIP Wednesday

Here it is Wednesday again. I’ve completed 3 of the 4 items for my friend, and hope to finish the last one tonight when I get off of the computer.

The big WIP completed this week was not by me but for me. My friend Leslie completed the beautiful lace shawl she was making for me.

Here is the link: singlestitchknit.com/2015/11/16/percy-shawl-challenge-done

Leslie does fabulous lace work, you have to go to her site (above) to see all the details. I grabbed one of her pictures of my shawl to pique your interest.

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The dinosaur hat fit my son’t godson perfectly, so I was very pleased. I am going to make Santa hats and snowmen for the NICU babies and plan to make Cooper one also since I know his size now.

I am going to make 2 ear warmers for one of the gals at work next. I hope to start the first one tonight.

Then I have 2 more Christmas gifts to complete in the next couple of weeks. Busy but fun times; the holidays are my favorite time of the year. But I could do without the snow 🙂

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