Tag Archives: yarn

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: Adorable Fruits and Vegetables to Crochet – Over Twenty Patterns

Adorable Fruits & Vegetables to Crochet

By: Marie Clesse

Beautiful color pictures of luscious looking veggies and fruit fill the pages of this pattern book. Lemons to leeks, peas in a pod, pumpkins and more are included in the colorful pages of Adorable Fruits & Veggies.

Step by step, easy to read instructions for over twenty colorful fruits and veggies are included for beginners and seasoned crafters to create. Cotton yarn is suggested, but other yarns can be used. There is a handy paragraph with substitutions and adjustments to the size crochet hook needed. You will also need stuffing and other basic craft materials such as scissors and pins.

If you have never crocheted or uncertain about some of the techniques, there are simple, step by step instructions with illustrations to get you started. These include single, half-double, double and triple crochet and how to work in the round or crochet in rows.

Proficient crafters will find the instructions simple and straightforward. The author also adds the approximate amount of time it takes to complete each project. The front cover of the book recommends using these fun fruits and veggies as “Delicious Decorations for Your Table”. As soon as I saw them, I thought immediately of making them for some of the young children in my life. Kids love to play make believe with plastic fruits and vegetables, why not make them out of yarn that can easily be popped in the washer and dryer instead? You may have to make several of each because they will love playing with them.

I recommend this book to all crochet lovers from beginners to seasoned veterans. The size of each project is perfect to take along with you to work on and is fast and easy. Most crafters have bits of yarn in their stash that can be used to create fun, soft, washable fruits and veggies with the instructions in Adorable Fruits and Veggies.

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: 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 Little Crocheted Christmas – Adorable Decorations and Gifts to Crochet

My Little Crocheted Christmas

Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright

By: Doerthe Eisterlehner

Most people that crochet have stashes of yarn. Little bits that are too much to throw away, but not big enough to make a blanket or scarf. My Little Crocheted Christmas will help you clear out your stash by creating adorable Christmas gifts and decorations. From cute little pencil toppers to cozy wrist warmers you can create lovely handmade gifts and decorations with very little yarn.

Each project has beautiful color pictures as well as step-by-step instructions. The difficulty level is clearly listed as well as the list of materials needed.

The patterns are grouped together in sections. The first section is “Sweets” which includes a wreath and Advent Calendar to create. Next comes “Gift Ideas”. These include an adorable stuffed fox, finger puppets and a cute cozy for the coffee lovers on your Christmas list. Lastly is “Decorations”. I love the little Santas and snowmen. They will make a cute addition to a wrapped gift and then can be used as ornaments after the gift has been opened.

There are bells and ornaments as well as an entire crocheted Nativity scene. It would be perfect for small children to play with during the holiday season and perhaps all year. When my children were young, they wanted to touch and play with Christmas decorations.  We always had a few they could play with because that keeps everyone happy. The Nativity set is perfect for youngsters to touch and play with – nothing breakable and just the right size for small hands.

Eisterlehner’s book is just what crocheters need to kick off the holiday season and clear out their stashes. There are projects that range from beginner to experienced, with a wide variety of projects to choose from.

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: Cuddly Crochet Critters – Make Your Kids an Adorable Animal

Cuddly Crochet Critters

26 Animal Patterns

By: Megan Kreiner

Kids love stuffed animals of all types and Cuddly Crochet Critters will help you make soft, huggable toys they will cherish. Using basic crochet stitches, which are demonstrated with color pictures along with written instructions, you can bring these cute critters to life.

Be sure to read all of the “how-to” sections. The author gives excellent instructions about the assembly & embroidery stitches, general assembly tips and the materials needed.

Each pattern begins with the yarns and notions needed as well as the finished size of the critter. Following that are the step-by-step crochet instructions. The critters are done in pieces, and then stitched together (thus the importance of reading the how-to sections). You can either use plastic safety eyes (for older children only), satin stitch eyes or crochet eyes. I prefer satin stitch eyes, because you can add expression to the faces with your stitches and there is no choking hazard.

All of the animals are a basic chubby tube shaped. It works out well for most of them. Penny Pig, Danny Dog and Henry Hippo are my absolute favorites. But the shape does not lend itself to some of the animals, making them cute, but not easily identifiable for the animals they represent. For example, Ella Elephant has a tiny trunk with tusks that are the same length. And Maxwell Monkey looks more like a sloth. Don’t get me wrong, they are still cute stuffed animals, but just the wrong shape to create the animals they are supposed to be. The body shape works best for the whale, cow, beaver and other animals with round bodies.

Overall, these cuddly critters are adorable and the kids in your life would love to snuggle with them. Because there are twenty-six patterns, there is something for everyone. You may have to make a barnyard or zoo full because animals have to have friends! They would also be the perfect, easy to make baby shower 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: Bookies Bookmarks to Crochet – Giveaway from Dover Publications!

5.19.19 lily

Elmer Unicorn

Bookies

Bookmarks to Crochet

By: Jonas Matthies

Throw away those sales receipts, pieces of string or whatever else you are using for bookmarks and replace them with Bookies, cute little bug eyed creatures.  Bookies take only a few hours to make. Each one has a personality that you can create out of inexpensive, washable cotton yarn. Some are crazy, some are funny and all of them are cute. With stuffed heads and flat bodies they look adorable hanging out in your book all the while holding your place.

The directions are written and several pictures are included to assist you. I am a visual learner, so it helps me to see what the finished head, legs, or other body part of the Bookie should look like when it is completed.

There are a total of seventeen Bookie patterns rated from level 1 to level 3. I completed the Elmer the Unicorn as well as Gloria Giraffe for the kids next door. Both are level 2 projects. I let each of the children pick the Bookie they wanted and both of them, as well as me, are happy with the completed project.

5.19.19 giraffe

The basic stitches are given for the crafter, but because of the construction, changes in color and small details, I would recommend these patterns for an experienced knitter. I have made that comment before, and will again tell you that if you are a novice knitter and want to create a bunch of Bookies, don’t let me rain on your parade. Go for it!

Matthies has an intro section in the beginning of the book telling the reader about his interesting journey as a person and a crocheter. Be sure to read it before you dive into creating your own Bookies.

Dover Publications has graciously agreed to mail a copy to one lucky person. To be entered into the random drawing, just like this post, leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook or other social media with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know how you have shared this post by leaving a comment so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

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: Delicate Crochet – Beautiful Crochet Patterns for Experienced Crocheters

Delicate Crochet

By Sharon Hernes Silverman

Crochet can be many things. All of which are beautiful, useful, warm and cozy. It is art made with a crochet hook and usually yarn. When I think of crochet I think of warm blankets, hats and mittens. I have crocheted each of these items over my years of enjoying the art of crocheting.

Delicate Crochet has introduced me to a whole new kind of crochet. Light, lacey, feminine crochet that is delicate and elegant. Of course I have seen the lace doilies my grandma made with cotton thread. They are beautiful and I have many of them she made over the years. But I have never seen shawls, scarves and other garments made of soft, lightweight yarns.

In Elegant Crochet, eleven designers created lace crochet patterns using traditional crochet stitches that any experienced crocheter would have no problem following at home. The projects vary from wraps to mitts to a Tunisian crochet cardigan. Each of them has detailed instructions, with charts as needed. There are full color pictures that highlight each project.

If you feel more comfortable working with patterns that remind you more of traditional crochet, the v-neck cardigan may be your first choice. It is created with openwork motifs (read beautifully lacy granny squares) and raglan sleeves. This is the perfect take along project with beautiful results.

At the end of the book, basic crochet techniques are spelled out completely with accompanying pictures. That being said, as comprehensive as they are, this book is not filled with patterns that are for beginners. But I you are ambitious and have never picked up a crochet hook in your life but feel you want to start on a delicately beautiful shawl or sweater, I will not be the one to rain on your parade – go for it. Conversely, experienced crochet crafters might be challenged by some of the patterns but all of them are so beautiful, they are worth the time and effort to use a lusciously soft and delicate yarn instead of sturdier worsted so often called for in crochet patterns.

As soon as the dust settles from the holidays, I plan to start making the Iced Silver Fox  Sweater designed by Kristin Omdahl. It is worked with a size F hook and features a delicate diamond motif on the front and back. It is meant to be worn over a solid top or turtleneck that will showcase each stitch.

Delicate Crochet is a book that will give you many patterns to choose from. Accept the challenge that might put you out of your comfort zone but will expand your crochet skills. Either way, this is a great book to have in your library as well as the perfect gift for the crocheters on your list.

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

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Knitter’s Dictionary – A Must Have For Knitters

Knitter’s Dictionary

Knitting Know-How From A To Z

By Kate Atherley

Kate Atherley’s newest book The Knitter’s Dictionary, is a must have for fledgling as well as seasoned knitters. Her no nonsense, easy-to-read information about everything from alpaca to wool and everything in between will keep your needles busy creating successful projects.

There are so many interesting and informative tidbits in this little book, it is difficult for me to choose my favorites, but I have finally narrowed it down. At the top of the list is the comprehensive section on gauge. I know that gauge is the part of knitting most knitters hate. Seems like a waste of time – until the garment you have spent a month making is either too small, too large, too long or way too short. Knitters know you should always swatch for gauge. Atherley goes further to explain how to correct needle size and/or yarn type depending upon how your gauge is off to ensure your finish project is perfect.

There is great advice for choosing the perfect yarn for your project. Each fiber gives feel and strength info as well as additional information to keep problems to a minimum. For example, Possum yarn (from Australia, not the United States Opossum!) is warm, soft but can be pilly. It is not a strong fiber when used alone. I can confirm that description 100%. I purchased some of this yarn and created a beautiful shawl that is warm and soft. But working with it was a challenge do to the tendency of the yarn to simply pull apart.

Lastly, I loved the section on sweaters. The illustrations are detailed and the descriptions include shaping and the actual fit of the different types of sweaters. Atherley’s detailed definitions are easy to understand and inspire knitters of all levels to push themselves a little bit further then they may have thought possible.

If you need one more nudge to get this terrific book, The Knitter’s Dictionary is the perfect size, 8 inches by 6 inches. It will easily slip into your project bag or purse. Since the holidays will soon be upon us, you just might want to purchase two; one for yourself and one for one of your knitting buddies.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Bookish and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

 

 

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