Tag Archives: knitting

Book Review: Shawls Wraps and Scarves – 21 Elegant & Graceful Hand-Knit Patterns

Shawls Wraps and Scarves

21 Elegant & Graceful Hand-Knit Patterns

By Louisa Harding

Knitting a hand-knit shawl, wrap or scarf is like giving a hug to the lucky person you are making it for every time they wrap it around their shoulders. The patterns in Shawls, Wraps and Scarves have been lovingly been created to highlight stitches, yarns and color. Harding draws upon her photographs and memories to bring these works of art to knitters of all skill levels.

With full page color photos as well as the finished dimensions, type and amount of yarn needed, “needles and notions” and gauge. She also adds notes such as “I suggest using a circular needle” and “I have used markers every 20 stitches because this will help keep track of short row shaping”. As a knitter these comments are highly valued.

If you want a quick and easy shawl, try “Lark’s Alvina”, the pointed castoff elevates a simple shawl to stunning. “Evanthe” has delicate beads worked into the fabric for a bit of unexpected wow. Want to play with colorwork? “Raizel” uses two colors to create a pretty paisley wrap. I honestly could go on, telling you the highlights of each of the 21 patterns, each one beautiful and unique in its own way.

I highly recommend this book for knitters both beginning and seasoned. The instructions are clearly written and easy to follow. Patterns that need them also have charts for you as well as the written instructions. The back of the book has a section with abbreviations and a glossary, general information, yarn information and some information about the author that cannot be missed.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

 

 

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Book Review: Japanese Wonder Knitting – Beautiful Stitches for Knitters to Learn

Japanese Wonder Knitting

By Nihon Vogue

 Japanese knitting is different but similar to American knitting. The process of knitting is the same. Both use needles and yarn or thread, both have instruction charts. The major difference is Japanese knitting focuses on patterns that can be made into knit items, American knitting emphasizes items, not the patterns. Instead of picking a stitch, American’s normally pick a pattern instead. This may sound confusing, but when it comes down to it, knitting is knitting and with Japanese knitting the beauty of the pattern will draw you in, then you can find the perfect item you want to create using the charted instructions.

Japanese Wonder Knitting features a variety of stitches as well as the patterns you can create using them. There are “Point Lessons” that teach you each stitch. There are complete, easy to understand written instructions as well as color photos to walk you through each step. At the end of the Point Lesson, there are color pictures of the swatch as well as a list of the projects in the book using the stitch. There is also a section that lists the types of yarn used, including weight, yardage and type such as baby alpaca and British wool DK.

Some of the patterns included have some colored pictures. Some have no pictures at all, which is not my favorite way to determine if I want to make an item. The patterns are for knits large and small. There is a hat, headband and tea cozy, as well as a blanket, shawl and purse. The number of techniques featured is impressive. They include double-knitting, entrelac and smocking.

If you are a knitter and love to try new techniques and stitches, this is the book for you. After learning a new stitch, you can incorporate it into hats, mittens, scarves or just about anything you can imagine knitting. It is fun to learn and grow as a knitter.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Inspired Shawls -Stunning Patterns for Knitters

Inspired Shawls

15 Creative Patterns for Year-Round Knitting

By Laura Zukaite

Inspired Shawls is Fashion Designer Laura Zukaite’s brain child. She has created 15 stunning shawl patterns that range from easy to expert. All of her creations include beautiful color photographs, diagrams, charts and detailed, easy to read instructions. General abbreviations are listed at the end of the book, but any special abbreviations/instructions are conveniently printed on the first page of the pattern along with the gauge so you don’t have to keep flipping back and forth to the end of the book as you are knitting.

The beauty and diversity of these patterns is a knitter’s dream. Some of the shawls, like the Catagena and Nazca are as delicate as butterfly wings. Others are colorful and warm. I love the Geo Aztec Shawl. Knitted in DK/Light Worsted weight, with adorable tassels on each end makes this fun and functional shawl a favorite.

There is an interesting page about Ms. Zukaite’s design journey. Born in Lithuania, she learned to knit as a child. Now living in New York, she has studied at Parsons School of Design and has designed for Gap and Ralph Lauren to mention a few. She has published patterns in various knitting magazines and is the author of Lux Knits, Lux Knits; The Accessories as well as Inspired Shawls. I love the color, patterns and the inspiration in Inspired Shawls.

I highly recommend this book to knitters from novice to expert level. Happy knitting!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Murder of a Needled Knitter – Honeymoon and Homicide!

Murder of a Needled Knitter

By Denise Swanson

Newly married Skye Denison Boyd and Wally, her brand-new husband have set sail on a romantic honeymoon cruise. The two of them are happy little love birds until they realize that there are a group of knitters on the cruise with them. Knitting doesn’t bother either of them, but they didn’t realize that Skye’s overbearing mother May is part of the knitting group and her father Jed has joined her. When they also see Skye’s friend Trixie and her husband aboard ship, the newlyweds realize they are sailing into different seas than they imagined.

When an obnoxious knitting instructor is found dying by Skye and Trixie, they realize a murderer is also aboard the ship. The bad news is, May is the lead suspect. The good news is Wally is a member of the police force back home and this isn’t the first dead body Skye and Trixie have stumbled upon. The three of them team up with a little help from Skye’s parents and Trixie’s husband to find the real killer before they reach the end of the cruise so May can go home instead of being remanded to FBI custody.

I love cozies, and Swanson is a master of this genre. Murder of a Needled Knitter has all of the elements cozy readers love. Amateur sleuths, hot hubbies and boyfriends, just enough bloodshed, but not too much and a solid plot that wraps up splendidly in the end. Swanson’s books are fun to read and beautifully written. The descriptions of the food on the cruise ship made me hungry and phrases like, “Rumors were spread like suntan lotion at the pool—thickly and with little regard for the slippery consequences.” made me chuckle.

This is not the first book I have read in the Scumble River Mystery Series. Denise Swanson is one of my favorite cozy writers. Since I live close to where the series is set, it is fun to read about places the characters go that I have been to myself. But you certainly don’t have to live near Chicago to relate to this fabulous cozy series. I highly recommend any and all of Denise Swanson’s books to readers who love a well-written cozy with interestingly engaging characters.

Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Margeau Chapeau, A New Perspective on Classic Knit Hats – Enter to Win a Copy!

Margeau Chapeau

A new perspective on classic knit hats

By: Margeau Soboti

Avid and sometime knitters alike have most likely created at least one handknit gift for the holidays. When the New Year begins, it is often time to cast on new projects either for yourself or someone you love. Margeau Chapeau is the perfect answer to the question: “What will I make next?”

Ms. Soboti has designed over a dozen knit hat patterns that range from easy to challenging patterns. Hat knitting is the perfect project to practice new techniques. The small size enables you to try new things such as Fair Isle, Brioche, Chevron or cables. Let’s be honest, learning something new usually involves a bit of trial and error. It is much easier to start again on a small project if necessary than a huge project like a sweater.

The patterns range in skill level from easy to intermediate. Each one lists the suggested yarns, most of which are worsted or bulky with a few specialty yarns like a mohair blend or alpaca. Of course, you can always change the yarn you use, but be sure to check your gauge and adjust the needle size accordingly.

Each pattern not only gives you the level of skill needed, size of needles, gauge and suggested yarn, but also includes measurements of the final project. The step by step instructions are clear and easy to follow. Conveniently, the stitch glossary is included for each individual pattern so you don’t have to bounce back and forth from the pattern to the glossary pages.

Dover Publications  has graciously offered to give a copy to one of my readers. To enter into the drawing, “like” this post on FB  or on my blog, https://writeknit.wordpress.com/. If you leave a comment on either FB (laura.hartman.96 ) or my blog, I will add 2 extra entries in the drawing for you. If you “like” and comment on both, you will have 6 chances to win if you like and comment on both FB and writeknit. The winner will be chosen  and announced on January 10, 2020. Dover Publications will mail the book directly to the winner. Good Luck!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

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Book Review: Knitting Notions – Adult Coloring Book for Knitters

Knitting Notions

Adult Coloring Book

By: Jessica Mazurkiewicz

The fun but stressful season of parties, presents and perpetual motion is over for another year. It is the perfect time to take a deep breath and relax. There is no better way to relax than grabbing some colored pencils, crayons or markers and lose yourself in the Knitting Notions Coloring Book.

 Anyone can use the complexly patterned pages to relax, especially knitters. Each page has yarn and yarn related images. It is the perfect way to play with color before casting on your New Year’s knitting projects. Mixing colors in knitting is part of the joy and individualism of a project. But knitters know there is nothing more frustrating than completing a project that has taken hours to create and find out the colors just don’t work. Experimenting with color on the pages of this coloring book just makes sense. And is really fun.

I highly recommend Knitting Notions Coloring Book. The images are fun I guarantee they will stimulate the colorist inside of you to branch out and try new combinations and color palettes.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: My First Knitting Book – Great How-To Knitting Instructions

My First Knitting Book

Easy to Follow Instructions and More than 15 Projects

By: Hilegarde Deuzo

My mom taught me how to knit when I was eight years old. But not everyone has someone who can teach them, but still would like to know how to create their own knitted items. My First Knitting Book is the perfect solution.

With colorful illustrations and easy to follow instructions you will soon be casting on (getting the yarn on the needles to start) and knitting your first few rows. The instructions will also teach you how to purl. You will need to practice making each of these stitches. The “Tips” section will show you how to change colors as well as bind off (which is removing your knit item off of the needles properly).

The combinations of knit and purl stitches are used in most patterns. The seed stitch, basket weave stitch and the moss stitch are introduced. They are combinations of the basic knit and purl stitches. It is fun to see the different patterns emerge as you follow the directions for each of these.

Finally you are ready to create something for yourself or loved one. Bracelets, scarves and hat patterns are included. If you want to make something small and quick there are patterns for coin purses and mug cozies. Knit in festive colors, they’d make great gifts for those on your holiday list.

Maybe you know someone who wants to learn to knit. If so, a copy of My First Knitting Book along with some needles (size 4 to 8) and yarn (worsted in a light color – not fuzzy) would be the perfect gift.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

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Book Review: Knitted Toys 20 cut and colorful projects – Worth a Second Look!

Knitted Toys

20 cute and colorful projects

By: Jody Long

You might recognize this title from last year when I reviewed Knitted Toys for Netgalley. When I received a copy from Dover Publications this week, I sat down and read through it again and felt it warranted another shout out because it is an informative book with adorable patterns.

Like any good knitting pattern book, it begins with the list of supplies that are needed as well as helpful tips such as how to stuff your toy creations properly so that the toy will not lose shape or be lumpy through lots of hours of loving as well as surviving the washing machine. It was particularly interesting to find the suggestion of using plastic straws for shaping. They don’t break, are not sharp and can be washed and dried without breaking.

The patterns are colorful and varied. The airplane and firetruck are great for little boys and girls; it is nice to see something different from the usual animals even though all of them are adorable. Samuel the Snake will be easy for little hands to hold and the Squishy Beach Balls are great for indoor play.

My favorite pattern is still Primrose the Nighttime Teddy. She has a nightcap and nightgown and will be the perfect buddy for a child to take to bed at night. My other favorite is Rusty the Puppy. He looks so squishy and cute I can just see a toddler cuddling up with him for a nap and dragging along on their daily adventures.

I hesitate but need to note that beginning knitters may need a bit of practice before creating these cute animals. All of the patterns are clear and should be a snap for experienced knitters. There are small paragraphs of instruction for the basic stitches in the introductory pages. They are easily understood if you have knitted previously, but a new knitter may need a bit more info. But who am I to rain on someone’s parade? There are YouTube videos for everything including some wonderful detailed knitting instructions so novice knitters, go for it!

Most knitters have yarn in their stashes that 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.

As I wrote before; I highly recommend this book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Beginner’s Guide to Colorwork Knitting – Fun for Experienced and New Knitters

Beginner’s Guide to Colorwork Knitting

By Ella Austin

New and seasoned knitters will enjoy the patterns and techniques in Beginner’s Guide to Colorwork Knitting. Basic patterns are included for items such as a scarf, socks, hat and reversible cowl. The key to this informative book is how to work with color and master new techniques to create beautiful knit items.

My favorite part of this book is the depth in which the author goes to ensure success with colors. If you have ever knitted with two colors that are both beautiful, yet find the finished product not pleasing to your eye, Ms. Austin gives you the tools to create the color combos you are searching for. To start, look for things in nature, art, food or honestly anything that catches your eye. I don’t know anyone that likes to swatch, but swatch the colors together and see if they are pleasing to your eye.

Easy to read info regarding hue, value, saturation will make you look at your yarn in a different light. Tidbits of information will help you create the knitted fabric you are picturing. My favorite is to take a black and white photo of your two colors to see if the combination has enough contrast to make the pattern pop. It is easy to do with your smart phone. Most of them have the option of turning your photo to black and white. On my Samsung, I just take a picture, go to edit, and then click on the icon on the bottom that shows three connected circles. It will then change the colors of the picture across the bottom of the screen and one of them is black and white. If your colors bleed into each other making it all look the same, you may want to try another swatch.

All of the patterns are written out and charted so no matter which you prefer to use, the author has you covered. The tutorials on what could be confusing instructions in other publications are perfectly clear and easy to follow. Pictures are included as well as step by step instructions to ensure your success. It is always beneficial for me to see an actual picture instead of a drawing when learning a new technique or in the tricky part of a pattern. The patterns are great, but the star of this book is colorwork and the color techniques you will learn.

Adding the new dimension of color to your knitting will make it pop in ways you may not have imagined. A simple or difficult pattern will transform with the colors you use. Armed with the information in Beginner’s Guide to Colorwork Knitting you will be creating works of art with your needles and yarn.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman.

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Book Review and Giveaway – Adorable Baby Knits by Jody Long

Adorable Baby Knits

25 Patterns for Boys and Girls

By: Jody Long

Jody Long has compiled a fabulous collection of knit patterns for babies in sizes 0 to 18 months. Adorable Baby Knits begins with handy information for all knitters. For example, she tells us how to substitute yarn, the equipment needed, walking the reader through a few basic stitches, her preferred cast on and other general information on the patterns. An abbreviation dictionary page is also included to ensure success with her patterns.

The variety of patterns offers options for both veteran and new knitters. Each pattern is rated by the skill level, on a scale from the easiest (1) to the most challenging (4). The patterns each have a box at the beginning with easy to access information. It includes the list of materials needed, the measurements as well as the gauge with a reminder to “TAKE TIME TO CHECK GAUGE”. As a knitter, you know the importance of checking your gauge even though you would rather jump into the project with a wing and a prayer. But nothing is as frustrating as working diligently on a project only to have it be too big or too small for the recipient of your gift.

 There are sweaters, booties, hats and a simple baby banner. I plan to make more than one of the sweaters, but the baby banner has me thinking of other uses for the project. The instructions are given for four blocks – A, B, Y and a heart. It makes an adorable banner for a baby shower. But how about using the blocks separately to make cute and useful baby washcloths? For a baby shower, the decoration can be given to the mom to use them to bathe her newborn instead of buying a cute paper banner that will be discarded. Or you could make more of the squares and create a baby afghan by knitting or sewing them together.

All of these patterns look cute and fun to knit. My favorites, which are so hard to choose since I love almost every pattern, are the Sheep Sweater and the Cabled Cardigan.

I am very excited to offer a free copy of Adorable Baby Knits to one lucky person. Dover Publications has graciously sent me an extra copy to give to one lucky knitter. All you have to do to enter for the give-away is one or more of the following:

  1. leave a comment on my blog post (writeknit.wordpress.com)
  2. leave a comment on Twitter (lh171)
  3. leave a comment on Facebook (Laura Hartman)

For each of the above, you will get one entry in the drawing to be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2019. The winner will be posted on my blog, twitter and Facebook. The winner must be a resident of the continental United States. Good luck!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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