Knitting for the First Time

knitting_cvr

Knitting for the First Time

Knitting for the First Time by Vanessa-Ann (is this a real person?) was published by Sterling/Chapelle in 2003. I think it was put together by an editor and the author is just a made-up name. The first question is do I think this is a good book for a beginner. This is what I thought about as I reviewed the book.

Before I go further, I’ll say: Thumbs Down for this book.

knitting_bc_cvr

Knitting for the First Time – back cover

The answer would be no, no – not a great beginner book. It does start with a decent review needles, tools and yarn.

illus1

Illustrations

I do like the drawn illustrations as opposed to photo illustrations.

illus

Abbreviations

The order of all the basics is a bit strange. First abbreviations, then adding a new skein of yarn, then fixing mistakes and then finishing. I think a true beginner might find this a bit confusing.

basic_patterns

Basic Techniques with patterns

For me, here’s where it breaks down. Really – a color work Christmas stocking in beginning patterns. Plus, other than the cute baby pullover and hat, the other patterns are not great.

baby_hat

Cute Baby Hat

With the sweater, this hat is very cute!

Beyond the Basics

Beyond the Basics

More unimpressive patterns.

gallery

The Gallery

This spread and the next couple pages show sweaters designed by some of the designers within the book. No patterns for these – just pictures. I guess it’s inspiration, but all are really, really beyond a beginner!

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0806964154/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Exquisite Little Knits

little_knits_cvr

Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreirer & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel

Exquisite Little Knits is a nice little book for “Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns” as the subtitle suggests. Lark Books published Little Knits in 2004 in the hay day of specialty yarns.

little_knits_bk_cvr

Exquisite Little Knits – Back Cover

Do I love this book? It’s mainly a project book of simple accessories that depend of the yarn rather than stitches to make them interesting. Thumbs Down for me!

illus_photos

Photographed How-to’s

I liked the photographed how go’s. They are clear and easy to understand.

scarf_spread

Gemstone Scarf

Once the basics are covered, the book is broken down by various types of yarn. This scarf is from the “Lattice” section. It’s nice that a photo of the ball plus an image of the strands of yarn used is included.

hat

“Hat for All” from the Wool section

pattern

North Cape Balaclava from the Silk section

scarf_2

Golden Threads Boa from the Ribbon section

scarf_4

Flying V Scarf from the Wool section

I do like this scarf. True to form, I’m always more interested in projects that are made in simple yarns rather than novelty yarns.

scarf_3

Hot & Now Scarf from the Wool Section

Nice unisex garter stitch scarf! A good project for charity knitting or a gift.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Little-Knits-Luxurious-Specialty/dp/1579905366/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476305973&sr=1-1&keywords=exquisite+little+knits

The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book

green_mountain_cvr

The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book cover – Margaret Klein Wilson

After a long hiatus, I’ve realized that my mission to remove knitting and crochet books from my shelves has really stalled. Got to get back to it in a big way!

This book is a perfect one to start my book removal quest. It’s a nice book for someone looking for classic knits. The Green Mountain Spinnery has a wonderful back story that is worth a read.

Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book was published in 2003 by The Countryman Press in Woodstock Vermont.

Before I begin, I’ll start out by saying that I’m moving this book off my shelves. It’s a nicely done book, but not really relevant to my knitting these days.

green_mountain_bc_cvr

Back Cover – Green Mountain Spinnery Yarn

history

The Green Mountain Spinnery History

Where it all began. A 3-page section on the company’s history is a good way to start.

guernseys

Guernsey-style pullovers and Fair Isle cardigan

I liked the still life photos. They keep the mainly classic designs from becoming dated.

jacket_pattern

Instruction example

The instruction pages had a clear layout. There were shaded designer notes, size, materials and experience level. The instructions below were clear and included a schematic drawing with measurements.

charts

Pattern Charts

Good charts and a side-bar of 4 color ways make this project approachable and easy to follow. One might have to enlarge the chart to make it more readable.

raglan_pullovers

Easy Raglan pullovers

I love these top-down pullovers. The pattern comes in child’s and adult’s sizing – a real plus! I might copy this pattern before I move this book to a better home.

cables

His and Hers Aran Pullovers

Love these classics that are sized from chest size 37″ to 54″. A great range!

accessories

Classic Accessories

The last project is a group of accessories.

patterns

Chart of Patterns

This was something I don’t think I’ve seen in a book of patterns. It’s a very helpful chart outlining everything you need to know before starting a pattern including skill level, gauge, needle size, finished measurements and yarn needed. Great!

references

Favorite References

Another excellent feature was a page giving some great classic books that definitely should be in a well-rounded knitter’s library.

yarn

Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns

The 3-page section on yarns would best be described as “a word from our sponsor”. It is after all a book produced and edited by a company who sells. It’s also great for helping a knitter substitute other yarns.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Green-Mountain-Spinnery-Knitting-Book/dp/088150579X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473276436&sr=8-1&keywords=the+green+mountain+spinnery+knitting+book

Knitting Pretty

Knitting_Pretty_cvr1

Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival

Another little book today. Even though it’s little, it has taken me awhile to get this into my blog. Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival (published in 2002 by Chronicle Books) is an easy to read and easy to use book. I have some negative comments, but generally it’s a nicely done  120 page volume.

Thumbs up or down: I liked the top down sweater at the end of the blog post, but most of the patterns are too simple for me. I’m going to pass on this book and keep my shelf space for more important books.

Knitting_Pretty_bc_cvr

Knitting Pretty – Back Cover

There is the usual “Getting Started” and “How to Knit” chapters

illustrations

Knitting – American Style

The American Style “How to Knit” page shown in the book has very small illustrations ( all illustrations are similar and all too small). Could you really learn from these illustrations? The next page is the Continental Style with no illustrations – yikees! Plus I wonder if a beginner would get the difference between the two styles and why to choose one over the other.

instructions

Simple Garter Stitch Scarf

After all the “How-to” pages – through page 40, the first projects were simple and noted by a “1” in a circle. Clever graphics. The instructions tell you what you need to know and what page to refer to for a refresher on the technique – very clever. I like the step-by-step numbered instructions.

mittens

Warmest Mittens – level 4

I include this project only because I’ve been working on mittens this winter and looking at various patterns. There isn’t a section which shows how to cast on and join for double-pointed needles. Not the easiest for someone who is using the book as a novice although there are lots of places where one could go to find the technique on the internet.

swatches

Simple Squares

The swatches used to check gauges have other uses. This spread talks about ways to use squares, but the patterns are a bit vague.

sweater

Simple Sweater – Level 5

Knit in the round from the top down, this is a nice sweater. It’s made in a chunky yarn which would make it a faster-to-knit project. The lack of how to knit with circular needles makes it again a bit of a stretch for a novice.

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Pretty-Instructions-Fabulous-Projects-ebook/dp/B00HSXBZ8I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459799819&sr=1-1&keywords=knitting+pretty

 

The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits

simple_knits_cvr

The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits

simple_knits_bc_cvr

Simple Knits – Back Cover

This book is one of a series of books created by owners of the Yarn Company shop in New York City – Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs. This one was published by Carlson Potter in 2002.

Before I start the review, I’ll add a spoiler alert. I’m keeping this book and thus a thumbs up. Maybe I’m waffling in my old age or something, but the book does have some interesting designs and I’m almost in the mood to make a sweater. Haven’t done one in a long time.

simple_authors

Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs

cast_on

Cast on Illustration

The illustrations are clear and easy to follow. There are approximately 30 pages of how-to’s including a few finishing and simple crochet edgings.They are much better than photos.

decrease

Decreasing how-to

yarn_weights

Key to Yarn Weights

The above page shows weights of yarn used in the book. If I had one complaint about the book it would be that only heavier yarns are included. The lightest weight is a heavy worsted. On the other hand, the projects are quicker to make.

yarn

Variegated Yarns

Many of the designs are made with variegated yarns that a perfect for newer knitters.

cardigan

Simple knit cardigan

All the projects are photographed on mannequins that keeps the book from becoming dated.

pattern_opener

Pattern layout

pattern

Schematic drawings

The pattern instructions and schematic drawings are also clear and easy-to-use.

pullover

Hoodie Pullover

My favorite project! Would make a nice present for someone.

hats

Hats from Simple Knits

A few accessories and home dec pieces end the book.

Well done Julie and Jordana!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Yarn-Girls-Guide-Simple-Knits/dp/0609608800/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457620323&sr=8-1&keywords=the+yarn+girls%27+guide+to+simple+knits

Book of Wool – the finale!

Book_Wool_cvr

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally done with Clara Parkes wonderful book. Before you even ask – it’s a keeper.

In this blog, I’m going to discuss Chapter 4 – blended fibers and Chapter 5 – patterns along with a bit about the end material.

Cptr4_open

Chapter 4 – Plays Well With Others

Mixing wool with fibers such as silk, mohair, alpaca, cashmere and angora bring the best of all worlds. Clara talks about blending wool for different effects. The results are wonderful for knitters.

Cptr4_angora

Chapter 4 – blending with angora, alpaca, cashmere

Cptr5_open

Chapter 5 – Patterns

Now that we know so much about wool, having patterns to use the yarn is a “no brainer”.

Cptr5_socks

Chapter 5 – socks

Wool is a natural for socks. It’s warm, it wicks and it lasts with wear.

Cptr5_pattern

Chapter 5 – Instructions

I’m always looking for clear instructions, charts and schematics. This book doesn’t disappoint.

Cptr5_charts

Chapter 5 – Charts

wash_wool

Washing Wool

How do you wash wool? Hand washing is outlined step-by-step. Good advice. The next page covers keeping moths at bay. More good advice.

resource_list

Resource List

The resources plus processors on the next spread are a great follow up to the book. The book ends with abbreviations, a glossary, recommended reading and info on the pattern designers. What a way to end the book!

wrister

Sweet Fern Mitts

My mitts are above. Notice that the one of the left is a disaster. The cables are wrong and I really wanted a few more rows between the cables (decided part way into the mitt. The right mitt is much better. I need to make another pair now that I’ve corrected my mistakes!

 

 

Book of Wool – Chapter 2

Book_Wool_cvr

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

Today I’m going to cover Chapter 2 and tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned.

cptr2_opener

Turning Wool into Yarn

The chapter begins with getting wool fleece off the back of the sheep and I found out that there are many steps in the journey. Big ah-ha moment – using a skilled shearer makes all the difference. They need to get the whole fleece off at one swoop to avoid getting “twice-cut” fibers that are shorter than the first cut fibers. A real no-no. Who knew how much was involved?

cptr2_breaks

Scouring and Lanolin

Before the fleece can be processed it goes through a washing process called scouring. Depending on the processing some or all of the lanolin is removed. Sometimes less processed yarns  from smaller mills leave some of the lanolin in the fleece.

cptr2_worsted

Worsted and Woolen spinning

Clara gives a good explanation of the difference between the woolen (oldest and easiest way to make yarn) and worsted (produces smoother, stronger yarn).

She then goes into the various ways that yarns are dyed – as fleece, as fibers, as skeins.

Spoiler alert – Chapter 3 covers breeds and their differences. It’s 40 pages long so it will take me a while to read.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Vogue Knitting this weekend. Maybe I’ll even get to rub shoulders with Clara Parkes or at least say hi to her! Lots of knitting and yarn – yes, yes, yes!

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

Book of Wool

Book_Wool_cvr

The Knitter’s Book of Wool

A new year and a new long book! One of the first books I reviewed when I started my blog was Clara Parkes’ Book of Yarn. I read and reviewed it over a number of blog posts as it was full of information and text. It was a perfect book to cover for my “away from home in Florida” time of year. So here we go with Chapter 1 of The Knitter’s Book of Wool.

Book_Wool_bc_cvr

The Knitter’s Book of Wool – back cover

cptr1_sheep

Book of Wool – Preface

What better way to begin a book about wool than with a photo of a flock of sheep!

cptr1_opener

Chapter 1 – What is Wool?

The first chapter begins with the fibers and their make-up. Did you know that wool is a resilient fiber than can be stretched to 30 percent of it’s length and return to it’s original size? I sure didn’t.

cptr1_crimp

Book of Wool – sidebar boxes

This book (besides being full of insightful info) has wonderful called-out sidebars with extra tidbits.

cptr1_scales_felt

Chapter 1 – Scales and Felt

As you can see by this spread, there is lots of text to read. This will be a slow blogging book for me!

What did I learn from Chapter 1? Wool from different animals is wildly different and result in very different types of the end product – yarn.

More to come…

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding/dp/030735217X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451937652&sr=8-1&keywords=book+of+wool

 

 

 

Learn to Knit

Learn to Knit by Penny Hill

Learn to Knit by Penny Hill

So you might ask – what the H – – – are you doing with a “learn to knit” book? Yes, dear reader, I asked myself the same question. This UK book published in 2003 somehow landed on my book shelf – magically I’m sure!

Learn to Knit - back cover

Learn to Knit – back cover

Since it won’t be staying on my shelf much longer and is most likely destined as a library donation, I will at least give it a review here. It’s an OK learn to knit book for a novice and covers quite an array of material to be sure. The simple projects shown on the back cover go from easiest to easy with some clarification along the way. It’s actually a good book for more experienced knitters, if one might be looking to knit simple projects.

Photo illustrations

Photo illustrations

I’m not usually a fan of photo “how-to’s”, but these are fairly clear. Usually drawn illustrations are easier to follow.

How to create stitch patterns

How to create stitch patterns

These are clear photos of simple stitches, but the UK version of stocking stitch vs. the US stockinette might be confusing to a beginner.

photo of sweater pieces

photo of sweater pieces

This was a clever way to show what the finished sweater garter stitch pieces will look like and more or less how they will be stitched together.

Finished sweater

Finished sweater

Here’s the finished sweater nicely styled. The book uses no live models which probably keeps the book from looking dated.

How to make a set-in pocket

How to make a set-in pocket

Towards the end of the book, this technique plus several others such as buttonholes makes the book more valuable in the long run.

http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Knit-Penny-Hill/dp/1580111750/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447521398&sr=8-1&keywords=Learn+to+Knit+by+Penny+Hill

Knitting in No Time by Melody Griffiths

Knitting in No Time by Melody Griffiths

Knitting in No Time by Melody Griffiths

A quick read and discard for today. This is one of those books that made me say – “what was I thinking when I bought this one”. It’s more of my dislike of a book of patterns rather than a book of substance.

This UK book was published in 2006 and I did like that it’s broken down into clear chapters with projects such as accessories, wraps, jackets and bags. It makes it easy to find something you might want to make.

Knitting in No Time - Back Cover

Knitting in No Time – Back Cover

A definite – Thumbs down on this book.

Pull-On Hat and Hand Warmers

Pull-On Hat and Hand Warmers

I thought that the hat and hand warmers is an easy good looking project. Each project has a tip box which is especially good for beginning knitters.

Chevron Poncho

Chevron Poncho

Another nice project and good use of a variegated yarn. It’s made in a Noro yarn that’s readily available throughout the US.

Circular Sweater

Circular Sweater

I must be on a Noro yarn fan jag! The above sweater is knit from the top down and pretty easy to make in stockinette stitch. A good “bang for the buck” where the yarn does the work.

Cable Illustrations

Cable Illustrations

The book ends with about a dozen pages of techniques. These are well-done and especially good for new knitters.

Summer Lacy Shawl

Summer Lacy Shawl

This is my favorite project in the book. I saw it as more of a throw when shown photographed over a chair on the intro spread. I was surprised when I found that the actual project is called a “Summer Shawl”. At 24 1/2″ wide and 45″ long, it could easily be made a little wider and used as a throw. It’s made in a DK weight (lighter than worsted weight).

The book could have used a few home decor items or those for baby/kids, but I’m sure that the editors plan for this volume was to stitch with women’s fashions.

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-No-Time-Collection-Quick-knit/dp/0762106654/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445104384&sr=8-1&keywords=knitting+for+no+time