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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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Book Review: Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods – Perfect for a Quick Gift!

Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods

By Diane Serviss

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.

Knitters – grab your needles! Diane Serviss has created a collection of knit hats and hood patterns that will make you race to your stash or local yarn shop. There are patterns for every style, each with explicit, easy to read instructions that novice knitters as well as seasoned veterans of the craft can enjoy.

Her introduction, How to Use This Book is straightforward and easy to comprehend no matter what your level of knitting is. She explains how to make changes in needle size to accommodate different knitter’s gauge as well as the different types of needles available and how each is used differently.  Yarn substitution guides will help when you are using stash yarn – which is the yarn that all knitters have in the house from other projects as well as some perfect yarn we had to buy but haven’t used yet.

The pictures of each of the 30 hats and hoods are featured before the patterns. When you choose a pattern, if there are special stitches involved, detailed instructions are included. For example, the Red Vine Cable Beanie (on my list to make) includes Right twist (RT) with a paragraph of instructions on the stitch if you are unfamiliar with it. Additionally, there is a reference section at the end of the book with pictures and step-by-step instructions from casting on to binding off and everything in between.

I chose to knit the Wildflower Fields Beanie. Using some stash yarn I completed it in less than two days. It was fast, easy and turned out perfect. As a member of the Fox Valley Knitters Guild, I participate in Charity Challenges each month. October we are knitting hats and scarves for the Elgin Community Crisis Center ( www.crisiscenter.org), so I was excited to find this beautiful, quick pattern to knit up and donate. I hope to finish a few more before our next meeting.

Whatever your style is, you will find the perfect pattern in this book. It is available on October 1, 2018, just in time to begin holiday knitting. I know more than one of these beautiful hats will find its way under our Christmas tree this year.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Creepy Crawly Crochet – Perfection!

creepy-crawler-crochetCreepy Crawly Crochet

by Megan Kreiner

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley and the publisher.

As an experienced crocheter (I’ve been crocheting for over 50 years) I feel confident in stating Creepy Crawly Crochet is the perfect instruction book with really cool, creepy but cute patterns.

It begins with fiber and hook suggestions as well as where to find black fiber fill (around Halloween they sell it under the name “Halloween Hay” – who knew?!). This is important for creepy figures that are done in dark colors, because no matter how tight your stitches are, the crocheted fabric will allow white fiber fill to be seen. From felt to project bags there are suggestions and guidance regarding the best type of each item to turn out perfectly.

Kreiner gives step-by-step instructions for crocheting from the beginning slip knot to binding off. She then follows with each stitched used in the following patterns, including “Finishing Touches” like whip stitching your project together and embroidery stitches that will add details to your project.

Tips and Tricks is the next section that helps with the little things that will make your Creepy Crawlies perfect.

The patterns themselves are clear, concise and detailed. There are images to enhance and clarify the directions. Each pattern has a color picture to allow you to see exactly how the project will look when finished.

All of the Creepy Crawlies are cute – in a creepy way. It is hard to pick out one or two that are my favorites over the others, but I have a soft spot for Frankie. He is on the top of my list to make for my grandson. My other favorite is Poe the Raven – he would look very cool sitting on my desk at work next Halloween.

If you aren’t that into creepy, you can still love this book. For instance, Jack and the Headless Horseman is a great pattern for a horse stuffed animal. You could make Jack with a head, and it is just a guy on a horse that all kids would love.

After the patterns, Kreiner has templates for the felt pieces used to finish off the characters. She also gives the abbreviations for the pattern instructions, crochet hook conversion charts, yarn weights and resources.

It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, if you crochet toys or dolls, this is the book for you. I can’t wait to make my favorites.

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Book Review: Knitted Toys – Must Have for Knitters

knitted toys.peg
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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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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Filed under baby hats, Crafts, Crocheting, Easter, Knitting, NICU, Ravelry, socks, WIP Wednesday, yarn