Debbie Bliss – times 4!

Baby_Knits_cvr

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.

Baby_Knits_bc

Quick Baby knits – back cover

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

postcard

Debbie Bliss’s shop

autograph

Autographed book

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

Nautical_Knits_cvr

Nautical Knits for Kids

Debbie is also known her oversized kid’s knits.

Family_cvr

The Family Collection

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

Cotton_Knits_cvr

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

 

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

Sculptured Knits – Jean Moss

Sculptured Knits - Jean Moss

Sculptured Knits – Jean Moss

Thought I would continue along with my quest to rid my library of books of patterns and review Sculptured Knits by Jean Moss (published in 1999 by XRX Books). This book is out-of-print, but used copies can be found on Amazon.

I’m giving this a big – Thumbs Down.

Before I’ve completely lost you my dear readers, let me tell you a bit about the book and the author. This is a book of 48 designs for women, men, kids and some home decor pieces. It is divided into decorative arts of the 20th century chapters, although I found it a bit confusing to go back and try to find a certain pattern as the chapters for me were not clearly defined. The sections are: Belle Epoque, Art Deco, Pop Art and Into the Millennium. One important factor that I never realized until I read Jean’s intro is that all the designs in the book are created in one color using textural stitches. Wow! How could I have missed that as that’s by far my favored knitting style.

Jean Moss

Jean Moss

Jean Moss lives in York and Mid Wales (or at least she did at the time of the book). She’s designed for Rowan and many international name designers. Jean is a very talented lady. She also teaches and did run some travel excursions.

My favorite patterns were the men’s sweaters and home decor pieces. XRX did a great job with the technical aspects of the book which is no surprise as they are noted for good techniques. I love the charted stitch patterns, schematic drawings and illustrations.  A couple of the kids/baby projects were done in the variegated Colinette Boucle, but for most were done in basic yarns that could be easily substituted.

Fitzgerald Sweater

Fitzgerald Sweater

Mariner Sweater

Mariner Sweater

Chrysler Throw

Chrysler Throw

Chrysler Throw - Green version

Chrysler Throw – Green version

Neptune Pillow

Neptune Pillow

Garbo Jacket and Skirt

Garbo Jacket and Skirt

This set has a nice jacket, but the mid-calf skirt made it a bit like a retro costume.

Sculptured Knits - back cover

Sculptured Knits – back cover

What did I not like about the book? Some of the sweaters were a bit dated – some longish and had an ’80s vibe. Generally though not a bad book. I think the main reason I’m not planning to keep the book is that I probably wouldn’t knit any of the designs and I’m trying to be ruthless about what gets kept and what goes.

http://www.amazon.com/Sculptured-Knits-Designs-Inspired-Decorative/dp/096463919X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414611727&sr=8-1&keywords=Sculptured+knits+Jean+Moss

Cables Untangled

Cables Untangled - paperback and hardback

Cables Untangled – paperback and hardback

Guess what happens when you have way too many knitting/crochet books? You buy the same book twice. Guilty! The main problem is which to keep. The paperback is lighter and if I’m thinking about books by pounds, I definitely should keep it. On the other hand, the hardback is really nice and firm and is likely to stay intact on the book shelf. Decisions, decisions!

Cables Untangled - trade paperback

Cables Untangled – trade paperback

Cables Untangled - hardback

Cables Untangled – hardback

 

I’m not sure which cover I like, but I think the hardback cover is more appealing.

So down to the book – I’ll give this one a thumbs up.

I’ll start by talking about the author, Melissa Leapman. She is a designer, teacher and author. Her hand in this book, published in 2006 is evident though out.

The illustrations are very well-drawn and cover lots of info on creating all sorts of cables. There is info on working from cable charts, although there are many variations used in creating cabling symbols and the ones shown in this book might not be ones a knitter would find in other publications. Techniques and abbreviations are covered throughly. I really like the way the book has been laid out so that all of this important info precedes the patterns.

illus

illus_2

 

The charts are also very clear and make the knitting of the projects much easier.

stitchpats

If I had one beef about the book, it’s the size of the photographed stitch patterns in the Cable Stitch Pattern Dictionary. I wish they were a larger size. That said, there dictionary is extensive and organized by yarn color of the swatches to group patterns such as allover cables and cable panels neatly into sections.

Some of the projects I like are following. Note that the ones I liked the best are all home decor. I wasn’t such a fan of the fashions, although there was one really nice man’s sweater.

Sampler Afghan

Sampler Afghan

Aran-style Afghan

Aran-style Afghan

Entwined Cables Pillow

Entwined Cables Pillow

 

Cables Untangled - backcover paperback

Cables Untangled – backcover paperback

Cables Untangled - backcover handback

Cables Untangled – backcover handback

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Untangled-Exploration-Cable-Knitting/dp/0307586480/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411333946&sr=1-1&keywords=cables+untangled

 

 

 

 

Handknit Holidays – Another Melanie Falick book

newhandknit_holiday

 

 

 

Another Melanie Falick book – Handknit Holidays seemed like a good one to review. I thought for sure that this one would be an easy in and out book and I could pat myself on the back having removed another book from the sagging bookshelf. The first section featuring all sorts of holiday designs made me think that this was just another book of patterns that don’t interest me. Delving further into the book, I changed my mind. I might later change my mind but for the first pass this book is staying.

Looking on Amazon, looks like this book published in 2005 is available in a digital format.

Final answer: Thumbs Up!

 

What’s good? The photos are “Melanie worthy”, good clear layout of patterns plus a good section at the end on Special Techniques and Abbreviations (although no illustrations). Betty Christiansen who’s work I’ve admired worked on this book with Melanie.

handknit_bc Back Cover

What follows are a number of patterns that made me think twice about “deep sixing” this volume.

diamond_throw Community Afghan – the intro suggest this as a project for a group. Squares are all knit in garter stitch.

hoodie Cardinal Joy Hoodie – Given in 3 chest sizes, it’s pretty hard to figure out the actual size child this would fit. Hoodies are perfect for kids of all ages and this one (I’d do without the pocket design).

socks

Log Cabin Socks – This look like they’d be really fun to knit. I’m not sure if they’d be practical to wear with shoes, but would be great under boots.

triangle_scarf

 

Snowy Triangle Scarf – The modular construction of this scarf (and hat) looks like a really knitterly project. Nice way to try out the technique without making a really big project.

http://www.amazon.com/Handknit-Holidays-Knitting-Year-Round-Christmas-ebook/dp/B009SYI0BU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410039446&sr=1-1&keywords=handknit+holidays

Mason-Dixon – Outside the Lines – Part 2

MD_cover I thought this might be a multiple part epic, but once I got past the “The Daily Sweater” I realized that most of the rest of the book wasn’t  a “must-have” for me.

My final decision: Thumbs Down. It’s going in my sell, give away or donate pile. Yay – one down and out!

socks

 

I will amend that slightly. I do like the next knitted cabled sock project. It’s included as a teaching cable project, but seems like a good project for anyone. Might copy this pattern before I move it out of my library.

From there it gets a little dicey. Here’s the next project. It’s called “The Mystery Sweater” and features some timeless quotes from Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi, but knit in a darkish purple the quotes are really hard to read. The most disappointing part is that the lettering is not knit-in, but rather chain stitched on after the sweater is complete. I didn’t think that the instructions on doing the lettering would be easy-to-follow for someone who hasn’t done much or any embroidery. Also, the romantic peplum seems a bit overdone. I don’t know too many people who could carry this off in ordinary life.

letter_sweater

 

The next whole section is on Fair Isle. The featured project is a throw with a Victorian wallpaper look. Too much work for the result. The info on Fair Isle plus illustrations are good, but I’m not going to use this chapter. I do like the rug made in Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky. It’s done in a circular manner and then steeked. No – not for me!

rug

 

I’m going to skip the whole “Covering The Small Human” chapter. The designs were really not wearable by any child I know, except the Jane Austen Shrug. This is based on the same idea as The Daily Sweater so this must be why I like it. Do these women really have children?? Wow!

The last chapter with kitchen items is kind of interesting. This could be a money-saving duster for those who whip through “Swifters”. It’s done in a matte cotton so it’s perfectly washable. Would I make one – probably not.

duster

 

Knitting For Baby

knitforbaby

Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas (two women I so admire) is next on my list.

Even before I begin: Thumbs Up!

What did I like about the book? I’ll start with the colorful illustrations (all drawn by Kristin Nicholas) on all the techniques – from the simple knit stitch to knitting on double-pointed needles that are interspersed throughout the book. I love the way the book moves along in easy steps starting with the simplest stitches and projects and moving to designs that require more skill. Each chapter gives the reader all the tools and techniques needed to make the projects. I will surely turn to this book for baby projects. Here are a few of my favs.

I love, love the cover sweater. This Garter Stitch Cardigan is perfect for my knitting style. I’m always in favor of garter stitch and adore easy, easy projects. This cute little sweater comes in sizes from 3 months to 24 months. The yarn used is a bit heavier than I’d like. It calls for a yarn that’s 18 stitches to 4″. I’ll use a lighter weight yarn and will adjust the sizing.

backcover

The back cover with more adorable projects!

babyaran

I already made this Baby Aran a couple of years ago for my niece’s new baby.

diaperbag

Felted Diaper Bag – I want to make this as a fun tote.

booties

A great baby shower gift. I would use a pastel shade – unisex for those who don’t yet know.

mittens

An easy mitten pattern is always nice to have  – sized for toddlers in a medium weight (slightly bulky yarn), it could be made smaller (using a thinner yarn) for a smaller child.

http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Baby-How—Knit-Instructions-ebook/dp/B008ZR8CAK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404332030&sr=8-1&keywords=Knitting+for+Baby

Vogue Knitting Baby Blankets

Baby_Blankets

Two little books surfaced today. They don’t have tons of fluffy text, they simply have knitted patterns for baby blankets. I was really ready to move these to the “out-the-door” with other thumbs down books. Sadly I did find a few patterns that made me change my mind.

Here are a few stats on the books. The first Baby Blankets was published (Sixth & Spring) in 2000 as part of the On the Go series. The second, Baby Blankets Two (2004). Both have several pages of Basics which would be helpful to those without too much experience. Both have 24 patterns – kind of amazing in such little books. The photograph is good with simple still life views – not a baby in sight.

Here are a few of the ones that made me reconsider dumping these two. Sadly they aren’t the best photos. You can see that I’m in love with sampler styles and counterpane pieces. I also do love miters although, I’m not nuts of the colors used for the one shown.

baby_blanket2   baby_blanket3

  baby_blanket1

Here are links to the books on Amazon. While not available as new, can still be purchased.

http://www.amazon.com/Vogue-Knitting-Go-Baby-Blankets/dp/1573890197/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402351165&sr=1-1&keywords=vogue+knitting+baby+blankets

http://www.amazon.com/Vogue-Knitting-Go-Baby-Blankets/dp/1931543437/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=082BC1BVN8R8YXZNKP12