Debbie Bliss – times 4!

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Quick Baby Knits

Today I’m trying something new! I have 4 booklets that are from 80 pages (3 of them) to one at 128 pages. They all come to us from the British Designer, Debbie Bliss. She is especially known for amazing photography, classic styles and wonderful kids/baby knitting patterns.

I am lumping this group together. What do they have in common? Three are published in 1998/1999 and the longer one in 2002.

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Quick Baby knits – back cover

On one of my London trips, I visited Debbie’s yarn shop and visited with Debbie.

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Debbie Bliss’s shop

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Autographed book

While I visited her shop, got one of the books signed by Debbie.

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Nautical Knits for Kids

Debbie is also known her oversized kid’s knits.

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The Family Collection

A nice booklet of designs for babies, kids, women and men.

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Cotton Knits for all seasons

The largest of these books includes 25 projects. Cotton is versatile and as the booklet title suggest – great for many seasons.

So why am I moving these 4 booklets off my shelf? The main reason is that they ultimately are books of patterns and not patterns I would probably ever use. Sorry Debbie!

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Baby-Knits-Over-Designs/dp/0312202512/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1527019878&sr=8-2&keywords=Quick+Baby+Knits

https://www.amazon.com/Nautical-Knits-Kids-Debbie-Bliss/dp/1570761078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527019929&sr=1-1&keywords=Nautical+Knits+for+Kids

https://www.amazon.com/Family-Collection-Knitwear-Designs-Children/dp/0091863570/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527020003&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Family+Collection+Debbie+Bliss

https://www.amazon.com/Cotton-Knits-Seasons-Debbie-Bliss/dp/157076218X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527020053&sr=1-1&keywords=Cotton+Knits+for+all+Seasons

 

Sensational Socks

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Sensational Knitted Socks

I’ve lumped these two books together and I’m putting them into the category of “why are these in my library?”. I have NO idea of where they came from or why I have them. I went through a period of being very interested in sock knitting so – maybe?

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Sensational Knitted Socks – back cover

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More Sensational Knitted Socks – back cover

I think the info in both books outstanding, but the designs and the colors are not to my liking. From the back covers, you can begin to see why I’ve decided to move these two books off my shelves.

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Foot sizes for women

From sock yarn to sock basic to tables for sizing socks for women, men and children, Charlene Church’s attention to detail is evident.

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Info on sock yarn

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Troubleshooting

Again, technical sections are really well done.

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Stitch Dictionary

Including stitches that make sense for sock knitting is a plus in both books.

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Charts for mosaic designs

While I didn’t care for the color combos of the socks, these charts are well done and easy to follow. See some examples below.

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10-stitch mosaic sock patterns

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Sock samples

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Solid 5-st patterns

If you are a sock knitter or what to be one, these books published in 2005 and 2007 would be perfect. I’m going to have to live without them!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sensational-Knitted-Socks-Charlene-Schurch/dp/1564775704/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525289905&sr=8-1&keywords=sensational+knitted+socks

https://www.amazon.com/Sensational-Knitted-Socks-Charlene-Schurch/dp/1564777170/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1525289905&sr=8-2&keywords=sensational+knitted+socks

 

 

Knitted Gifts – Ann Budd

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Knitted Gifts – cover

I’m conflicted about this 144 page book published by Interweave Press in 2009. It’s definitely a book of patterns – some good, some bad and some that you have to ask – why? There are a few I like, but not sure it’s worth keeping the book. The cover hat and mitts are really nice and a good selling point for the book. I do have many good things to say about Ann Budd and her editing/designing, but what was her contribution to this 37 project book?

In the end, I think I’ll move this one along. I can’t justify it’s space on what I’m hoping will be a much reduced shelf of essential knit and crochet books.

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Knitted Gifts – back cover

There are some fantastic designers who contributed to the the book. Then I have to point out two projects on the back cover are in the category that I called “Why?” The knit hobby horse (really!) and the ballet-style slippers (sort of OK).

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Easy Ribbed Socks

I thought I’d start off with a project I like.

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Lace Scarf by Nancy Bush

Love this project. It might be one that I might even make. Nancy Bush is a real pro at traditional designs.

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Felted Oven Mitts

This project is a great way to use up leftover 100% wool or rough wool that you might not want for a wearable.

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Fair Isle Napkin Rings

The napkin rings are something that doesn’t seem to be a terrific project. I couldn’t quite figure out the order of the projects. Didn’t seem like the groupings were by easy, intermediate, etc or by quick, more involved, etc. Strange to be sure.

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Glossary

Interweave Press is really good at featuring clear illustrations of techniques. The 6-page glossary is a good addition to the book.

 

 

Knits for Pets

Vogue Knitting Knits for Pets

Vogue Knitting Knits for Pets – cover

I have a bunch of the Vogue Knitting On the Go! series books. I looked over this little one and decided that it would be good for the blog and needed to be removed from my shelves. It’s not a bad book, but not relevant to me. Here’s a run down.

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Knits for Pets – Back cover

Illus

Start with basic how-to’s

Not surprising that VK would have good illustrated how to drawings. I recognize many taken from VK The Ultimate Knitting Book that I worked on many years ago. Nevertheless, good info for starting the book.

dog_bed

Great photos and instructions

As expected, VK produces wonderful images and clear instructions in all their books. I wouldn’t make such an involved project for any doggie, but it’s truly a masterpiece of Fair Isle knitting.

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Dog and cat inspired pillows

I did think these might make a wonderful gift for my animal-loving daughter. Really cute.

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Dog Bag for doggie on the go

Same daughter has a little dog and said this would make a lovely gift for her. Seems like a lot of work and involves plastic canvas to keep its shape.

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Glamour Pup

I might give this pattern a try before I let the book fly away! I wouldn’t use the novelty yarn, but something a little simpler.

So why let go of this one. For one some of the projects are silly (not shown in this blog): Dog hat that reminds me of the Pussy Hats made for the Women’s March wearing; a couple of dog sweaters that don’t seem to fit well; a dog poncho in orange and purple (really?!); and mutt mittens.

Good try VK, but not for me! Onward with my knitting journey!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Vogue-Knitting-Go-Knits-Pets/dp/1933027045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518816057&sr=8-1&keywords=Vogue+Knitting+Knits+for+Pets

Knitting Circles around SOCKS!

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Knitting Circles Around SOCKS

When I picked up this book, I thought – OMG! I’d never knit socks on circular needles. Why do I have this book? First opinions are sometimes not accurate. Read on….

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Knitting Circles around SOCKS – back cover

Antje Gillingham turned out to be a very detailed author with in-depth explanations. This 80-page volume was published by Martingale in 2007.

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Casting on illustrated photos

I’m not usually a fan of photos used to illustrate steps, but these were really good.

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More step-by-steps

You really understand how the two-at-a-time socks are worked once you get past the casting on.

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Basic Sock Pattern

I like the way that Antje begins with basic socks and then incorporates more complex socks as the book progresses.

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Pattern Instructions

The pattern instructions are clear and easy-to-follow.

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Cabled socks

Another pair of socks to master once you have done the basic pattern.

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About the author

The book has a column flap with an interesting bio of the author.

So what’s the verdict? I think the book is well done, but doesn’t need to be on my book shelf. If you want to give working two socks at the same time, I say – give it a whirl! Not me!

 

Celtic Knits – Debbie Bliss

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Celtic Knits – Debbie Bliss – Cover

As the year ends, I wanted to get one more book off my shelves. Since my last blog (was it really in August), I spent hours and hours going through yarn, bagging it, photographing it and finally selling lots on eBay. It seemed to go a whole lot faster than my very slow snail pace of going through and getting rid of books. Now I’m away from my yarn for the winter, it’s a good time to get back to reading, reviewing and hopefully eliminating books. A good goal for 2018!

Celtic Knits by Debbie Bliss was published in 2000 first published in the UK. This is a tip off that the patterns are more UK centric in terms of pattern writing. There are many patterns for kids/babies with some for women and one or two designs for guys.

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Celtic Knits – back cover

Spoiler alert – this is simply a book of patterns. As wonderful as Debbie Bliss designs and photographs, it is in the end just a slim 80 pages of patterns.

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Cabled Hearts Sweater

Debbie Bliss does lovely oversized children’s designs and this one is particularly nice. It comes in sizes 3-5 years old, but the oversized pullover probably will fit larger sizes.

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Simple Sweater with Collar

It’s wasn’t easy to understand, but this is actually a child’s sweater (sizes 2-10 years). I originally thought it was an adult pattern. The largest size has a chest measurement of 43″ so it certainly would fit many adults.

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Cabled Tweed Jacket

Love the cables, but it is disappointing that this cardigan only comes in two sizes – chest/bust size 37 and 41 inches.

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Moss Stitch Baby Jacket

This is a typical Debbie Bliss baby design – sizes 3 to 12 months. The oversized sizing make it ideal even for toddlers.

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Classic Fair Isle Socks

These socks are paired with a matching Fair Isle cardigan for a baby/toddler. There were many Fair Isle patterns in the book, but I only choose to include this sample as I prefer the one-color designs.

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Instruction Sample

Notice that the measurements are given in inches and centimeters to make them workable for the US and UK markers. For the US knitters, slogging through all the cm measurements within the pattern can be disconcerting. I would recommend to make a copy of the pattern and highlight measurements and numbers that pertain to the size made.

To keep or not to keep – Nope! This one is going. Looks like it’s out-of-print, but still available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Knits-Designs-Babies-Children/dp/157076140X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514319273&sr=8-1&keywords=celtic+knits+Debbie+Bliss

 

Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms

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Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – cover

I’ve been carrying this book around for sometime while reading the 8 stories about various sheep farms around New England. After all it is summertime and I’m moving in “slow-mo”.

One of the joys of reading Sweaters from New England was that many of the small yarn dyers are familiar to me as many have shown their wares at yarn shows I’ve attended. I found their stories engaging. But back to the essentials and more about the book!

Sweaters from NE_bc

Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – back cover

Candice Eisner Struck wrote and published this book with Down East Books in 1999. It’s a combo of 26 designs (mainly sweaters for women and men) and stories about the farms that produce the yarns for the designs.

I think it is a gem at 128 pages. The sweaters are a bit oversized (long and loose) as was the style of that time, but could be easily updated for more modern styling.

Does this book belong on my book shelves? Sadly, the answer is NO. I’m not going to make the sweaters and although I enjoyed the read, it wouldn’t be a “must have” for me.

Morehouse_pullover

Man’s pullover from Morehouse Farm yarn

When I read the story about Morehouse Farm and Margrit and Albrecht Pichler who ran the farm, I couldn’t help thinking about Margrit’s death in 2015. A great loss to many of the Morehouse Farm fans. From looking at the current web site page, it appears that the ┬áMerino yarns are still being sold and that the business still prospers.

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Stories of the farms

Candice did a very good job of describing her farm visits. Her journeys made the reader feel that they were along for the ride. She interviewed the owners and talked about how the yarn came into being and the dye or not-dyed process. Some of the owners used fleece from their own sheep. Some did not raise their own animals.

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Rockport Gansey pullovers

The classic pair about are perfect for a man or woman!

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Charts

I was very impressed with the in-depth written patterns and charts. Again, Candice is very precise and there are good examples of her skill throughout the book.

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Sources

For those who want to make the sweater patterns in other yarns, there is a page of suggested commercial yarn companies along with 2 pages for making substitutions.

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Books given away!

My blogging is going so slowly that I decided that a bunch of “pattern only” books had to go. I hope that they will find a good home with an avid knitter!

https://www.amazon.com/Sweaters-New-England-Sheep-Farms/dp/0892724463/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502739713&sr=8-1&keywords=sweaters+from+New+England+Sheep+Farms

Folk Mittens

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Folk Mittens

Folk Mittens published in 1997 (one of my oldie-but-goody stash) by Marcia Lewandowski is the latest on my chopping block! A lovely book to be sure, but I’m not likely to be making ethnic mittens any time soon.

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Folk Mittens – back cover

Marcia is a Minnesota gal who at the time of the book was living in Bolivia. I looked her up on Ravelry and it seems that many of her posted designs are very Andean inspired so she may well be still living in the Andes.

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Mitten Shapes

This page of mitten shapes and thumb styles is really a good addition and great for a novice mitten-maker.

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Basic Mittens

For those want to start out with the basics, classic mittens are perfect!

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Ethnic Mittens

The majority of the mittens in the book have ethnic roots and are real beauties.

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Colonial New England Mittens

Love these mittens with the clever inserted hearts!

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Andean Mittens

A nod to Marcia’s adopted homeland in Bolivia.

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mini_mittens

Fun tiny mittens are a nice ending to the book.

 

How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

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How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

I’m starting this book review in a quandary – to keep or not to keep. On first pass, I was ready to chuck this one. As much as I love Debbie Bliss (fantastic UK designer), I didn’t think this book offered enough to keep on my shelf. On 2nd pass, I’m conflicted.

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How to Knit – back cover

The back cover could have added a little more info for the reader? What were the publishers thinking?

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Great illustrations

The illustrations in this How-to are very clear and would be easy for a novice to use.

Aran

Aran Workshop

This section comes pretty early in the book – Chapter 3 as a matter of fact. It’s really Debbie Bliss’s favorite style so I’m not surprised to see it covered extensively.

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Cable Workshop

In the middle of the Aran chapter, this simple cabled sweater is a simpler version of some of the other knits.

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Lace Workshop

The best thing about this chapter is the 23 lace stitch pattern samples.

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Edgings

Love the edgings. This makes the book a winner. I just used the leaf edging for a project. Wish the instructions were charted and not so UK centric with yf terminology that is not used by US knitters.

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Entrelac illustrations

Ok – I know you’re asking – what the hell is Entrelac. Not a common technique, but these illustration make it very clear.

 

What did I decide? I might keep this book for awhile and see if I refer to it before moving it along. My copy is a bit worn and I probably couldn’t sell. I do think the UK vs US make it less valuable for a new knitter, but then again – I’m not a new knitter.

 

https://www.amazon.com/How-Knit-Definitive-Step-step/dp/1855856964/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497383208&sr=8-1&keywords=How+to+Knit+Debbie+Bliss

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

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More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Spoiler alert! I’ve already listed this book on Amazon so you know that it’s not going back on my shelf.

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Back cover – More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Joelle Hoverson has teamed with Melanie Falick to create this beautifully crafted book. It’s full of fairly simple patterns that are grouped by the time needed to make the gift starting with “less than 2 hour gifts”.

Pattern groupings

Pattern groupings

What else did I like about the book? I did like the number and alphabet templates. I did a project last year where I needed alphabet charts. Of course, with my many, many books – who knew?

alphabet charts

alphabet charts

number charts

number charts

There were a few projects that I really liked, but not enough to keep this book.

fingerless gloves

fingerless gloves

ribbed hats

ribbed hats

The photos of graphing were really helpful for anyone trying this technique.

grafting

grafting

My final thoughts. I loved the feel and look of this book, but my feeling for books of projects really doesn’t allow for shelf space for this one. Hopefully another knitter will find a good home for this lovely book!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Minute-Knitted-Gifts-Joelle-Hoverson/dp/1584798602/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495654342&sr=8-1&keywords=more+last+minute+knitted+gifts