Knitting Around the World


Knitting Around the World

I would love to blame the complexity of this book for my lack of blogging, but truth be told,  I finished the book some time ago. I have no valid excuses other than life!

This slim volume was put together by the editors of Threads Magazine in 1993 and includes a wealth of material for those interested in the history of the knitting craft.


Knitting Around the World – back cover

Knitting Around the World  includes more than a dozen different topics that were once articles in Threads Magazine.


Aran Knitting – Alice Starmore

Starting out with the renown Alice Starmore and Aran knitting is a great way to introduce the reader to historical knitting. Alice, who lives in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland and has written extensively on the subject is the perfect person to author this feature. Included on the next few pages are Aran cable patterns and an outline of how to design an Aran pullover.


Bohus Stickning – Margaret Bruzelius

The less well known Bohus Stickning from Sweden is written by an old associate of mine who seriously researched this colorful knitting style. With charts on the following pages, the reader can easily experiment with Bohus knitting.


Another Swedish knitting technique

Also called “two-strand knitting”, this technique seems mainly used for sturdy mittens and socks. A pattern for the socks shown in the photo is included in the book.


Illustrations drawn and photographed

After Fair Isle knitting and Argyles, there is a short article with illustrations and photos of techniques for managing stranded knitting by author, Maggie Righetti. I have included here as an example of the clarity used in Threads Magazine on each subject. They always go above and beyond to make the reader understand techniques.



Historical Shetland Lace

I loved the inclusion of historical articles with photos, illustrations and a workshop on creating simple versions of the knitted lace.


Knitting from the Faeroe Islands

While not as well known as knitting techniques from the British Isles, this is nevertheless and interesting style of knitting and well-written piece of history.


Fair Isle Tam making – Alice Starmore

Knitting Around the World begins and ends with Alice Starmore – coming more or less full circle.

Should I keep this book? I’ve thought long and hard on this one. The subjects are interesting and varied. Would I knit from the book – probably not. I’m hoping the next knitter who gets it will love it! Sadly, it’s not going back on my shelf.

Book of Wool – the finale!


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.


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.


Chapter 4 – blending with angora, alpaca, cashmere


Chapter 5 – Patterns

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


Chapter 5 – socks

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


Chapter 5 – Instructions

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


Chapter 5 – Charts


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

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!


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 3


The Knitter’s Book of Wool

The whole chapter today is on breeds of sheep broken down into five categories.


Meet the Breeds

By the time I got from page 38 to page 78, I was introduced to more breeds of sheep than I ever imagined existed. Clara has broken them down from the finest fleece to the most course.


Breed Categories

The chart on page 40 gives a good overview of all the breeds covered in the following pages. There are 37 types of sheep. Many were breed from combos of other sheep to refine the best qualities of the bred sheep. Lots of history throughout these pages.


Sweet Fern Mitts

When I first started writing this blog several years ago, I thought I would make a project from each book I covered. Silly me! That lasted for one book – The Book of Yarn. When I saw these mitts – I said – why not? I’ll post a pic of my work-in-progress soon.


Finewool breeds

This is an example of a spread from the finewools section. Each breed is discussed, a chart covers the facts and the chart is followed by a lock of fleece and finished skein of the yarn. This reference section makes it worth keeping the book on my bookshelf!




Down wools

The final page of Chapter 3 features a list by month of various fiber festivals around the United States. There you will see many different sheep breeds.


Fleece Friendly Fiber Festivals




Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off

The sub-title of this book is “The Yarn Harlot’s Guide to the Land of Knitting”. The theme of 2007 book of essays is as you’ve guessed – traveling to the land of knitting and all that it entails along the way. It’s a clever little book with a bunch of good info along the way like a books titled “Good Reads for Knitters”.

Casts Off - back cover

Casts Off – back cover

I was amazed to find that I had had paid almost $15 dollars for this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well-written, funny, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at her best book. The problem is that once I finished reading it (and I did read it from cover to cover), I wanted to move it along and off my shelves.

Clever illustrations

Clever illustrations

The book is full of illustrations. They make Stephanie’s words come to life.

More illustrations

More illustrations

The one part  that I didn’t include in a photo here, but there is a story that goes throughout the book in the form of letters about a knitter and her journey in becoming a full-fledged knitter.

Thumbs down for me, but only because I’ve read it and won’t read again.

Knit Lit

Knit Lit edited by Linda Roghaar & Molly Wolf

Knit Lit edited by Linda Roghaar & Molly Wolf

I haven’t been hiding, I’ve been engrossed in this little paperback book called Knit Lit, Sweaters and Their Stories …And Other Writing About Knitting. I’ve had this book for a long time – it was published in 2002. It’s a subtle little book and was easy to overlook. This is a compact book with no pictures or illustrations – just stories!

I loved this book and glad that I read it. The back cover says: Touching tales, hilarious stories, moving recollections, memories of companions.  Yes, all these are covered.

The book is cleverly broken down into 4 parts with various headings in each part. The editing was really good. The writers were a mix of those who are well known in the knitting world and brilliant people who should be more known.

What did I love? I loved the knitting disaster section – burned knitting and road kill knitting. You have to read these to appreciate the writing.

I could have cried over the story call The Baby Blanket about a young woman having a baby that she gave up for adoption and many years later meets her son.

“The Peaceable Fleece in Foreign Parts” has 6 stories of knitting with a global slant.

The back has a wonderful section of all the contributors and their “creds”. I found that it was most interesting to read the story and then read about the writer made my reading experience more interesting.

I’m not giving this a thumbs down, but having read the book it’s not going back on my shelf. Bye-bye Knit Lit!

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton – Part 1

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

Instead of more simple books I’ve done lately, I thought I’d tackle a more “meaty” book. This one I realize will have to be done in a few parts. Love, Love Deborah with all her wonderful words of wisdom, but her book is what I like to call “text heavy”.

Designing Knitwear - back cover

Designing Knitwear – back cover

I love this wonderful photo of a vintage Deborah. Her smile is infectious and one of the many things I love about her. Designing Knitwear was published by Taunton Press in 1992. They are best known for the magazine Threads.

Designing Knitwear - autograph by Deborah

Designing Knitwear – autograph by Deborah

Thumbs up or down – This page seals it! I could never get rid of this book with Deborah’s wonderful autograph. Note her quirky illustrations. They are a signature look of all Deborah’s design submissions and often used in various knitting publications.

Chapter 1 - Learning to See

Chapter 1 – Learning to See

The first chapter is devoted to learning to use visual details to begin to create your own designs. Deborah talks about her design process and how to use the book. A good way to understand designing.

Chapter 2 - Designing With Yarn

Chapter 2 – Designing With Yarn

All designs begin with the most essential part of the design – yarn choice and swatching. She covers all the basic animal and vegetable fibers as well as synthetic and novelty yarns. Deborah also goes over various yarn weights. I wish there were a chart included, but the Craft Yarn Council Standards on Yarn Weights came out after this book was published. This packed chapter also covers basic stitches such as garter stitch and stockinette and also how to estimate yarn amounts.

Designing Knitwear - sketching and swatching

Designing Knitwear – sketching and swatching

Learning how to work with swatches to create designs is an important beginning.

Schematics and What If...?

Schematics and What If…?

Good charts and alternate ideas make this book a keeper. The Three-Part Shawl seems a bit outdated, but having other ideas of what to do with squares is very helpful.

I’ll continue with Chapter 3 with Fit & Silhouette for the next part. It covers 36 fully-packed pages!

By the way, I’m off for a knitting trip with Behind the Scenes Adventures on April 24th It looks like this book will take me most of May to complete!


The Knitting Way – finishing up!

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

In my last post about The Knitting Way, I had read through Chapter 5. I thought I’d read a couple more chapters for the next post, but then I decided that I needed to move on to another book so I motored on and read through the end. This book is very “text heavy” compared to other books I’ve recently reviewed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as much of the text is thoughtful and well-written. Some of the spiritual parts don’t speak to me in my knitting life as I like to knit while I watch TV and am not that thoughtful as I knit.

The next chapter I covered was about “Making a Daily Practice”. Who doesn’t want to make more time to knit and find more time to do it? I sure do. I could relate to daily practice. They give lots of advice about finding a place and organizing knitting. Also, a good section on how to knit in a pain free manner.

The Mind and Body chapter talks how to connect what happens with your hands and connects with your mind. I love this sentence – “Knitting Sets a graceful rhythm between the hands and mind.”

“Paying it Forward” is a chapter about teaching and mentoring your skills. It mainly comes from the point of teaching kids, but could be adapted for teaching knitting to someone of any age.

Learn-to-Knit Projects

Learn-to-Knit Projects

These easy projects are ideal for beginners. It’s good that the authors give some easy-to-do designs that make learning fun.

Easy Gift/Charity Projects

Easy Gift/Charity Projects

The authors discuss how knitting for charity can not always go well despite good intentions. I was shocked as I always thought that knitting/crochet for charity was based on wanting to find a way to “Pay it Forward”. They give a reality check about how good intentions can go awry.

Top Down Shawls

Top Down Shawls

The Top Down Shawls are the perfect project for my Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church. Good for using up odds and ends of yarn.

The Resources at the end nine plus pages of great books. My only quibble with this resource listing is that there are many new and wonderful books published since 2005. If they ever update the book, this would be a good addition.

Author Page

Author Page

I wanted to end with the final author page that has photos of the authors and brief bios. They have covered a lot of ground in this little, low-budget book. Well done Linda and Janice.

The Knitting Way – Chapters 4/5

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

My journey through The Knitting Way continues. Chapter 4 was such a long chapter that I thought that would be the discussion of this post. Somehow I got momentum going and whizzed through Chapter 5 as well.

The Knitting Way - Chapter 4

The Knitting Way – Chapter 4


So Chapter 4 – Once Upon A Time – The Stories of our Projects. This chapter talks about the history of knitting and those who were the historical authorities, discusses Elizabeth Zimmermann’s role in knitting evolution, and personal knitting histories of the authors. I felt very connected to this chapter as it is a world I know and love. The discussion (over 2 pages) on my long-time buddy Kristin Nicholas was delightful. If you don’t know her work, google Kristin. She has written a number of well-thought of books. I might review her latest – Crafting a Colorful Home once I finish this book.

This chapter also features well-known and unknown knitters and their stories from Mary Thomas to Mr. Rogers who wore cardigans knit by his mother. I’m being brief here, but it’s really an in-depth and well-written section.

Chapter 5 - The Bearable Lightness of Knitting

Chapter 5 – The Bearable Lightness of Knitting

The basic premise of this chapter is how not to be a perfectionist knitter and enjoy the process. There is some good advice for what you can do with a disappointing project. Also, knitting with yarns that are not really yarn – ribbon, fabric and even spaghetti!

The Knitting Way - Quad Socks

The Knitting Way – Quad Socks

In Chapter 5, Janice makes easy socks in a light worsted (DK weight) yarn. The idea is that if you have 4 socks you can mix and match and don’t have to worry about losing one or having it wear out. If you have 4 colors of yarn to make the socks, you can mix and match to use up all 4 balls, but ultimately when you finish, they will all be color connected. This is a project I’d like to try.


For next week, Chapter 6 is about making time for knitting. This is a pretty long chapter, but I’d like to make it through two chapters once again.

The Knittng Way – Part 2

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

I’ve been spending time in Chapter 3 of The Knitting Way. This chapter is so packed with info – my head is spinning! My big discovery is the web site for the book – If you get a copy, check out the site. It is a good add-on to the book.

So where to start… Chapter 3 is called Sacred Space so I’ll begin there.

The Yin and Yang of Knitting begins to discuss the knit side and purl side of knitting and the differences be the stitches. Knit stitches are vertical and purl stitches are more horizontal. Makes a lot of sense even if you’ve never thought about it.

Next comes combos of knit and purl stitches in the same rows (otherwise known as ribbing).

knit and purl combos

knit and purl combos

I did the sampler called “Experience it for Yourself”. I didn’t do the requested 20 stitches, but instead made mine with 12 stitches. It begins with knit 1, purl 1, then knit 2, purl 2, moving on to knit 3, purl 3 and ending with knit 3, purl 2. It does clearly show how different numbers of knits and purls contract or don’t contract. I didn’t do the mistake stitch or knit the welt version that has horizontal rows of knits and purls.

I’m skipping a few sections about knitting loops and the connections, knitted mirror writing and dropping stitches to see how a piece changes measurements.

I loved the section on primary, secondary and tertiary colors. Good primer on color – even on black and white pages!

The last section of Chapter 3 is about knitting a version of a Log Cabin Quilt. Describing the way that these quilts are created with light, lighter, lightest and dark, darker, darkest colors makes so much sense. Oh and one extra color for a center square. The Mitered-Corner Log Cabin Square is definitely something I want to try. It speaks to the orderly “Virgo Me”. I wasn’t crazy about the second version called a quilted square.

Chapter 4 is called “The Stories of Our Projects”. It’s about 30 pages so this will be the subject of the next part of The Knitting Way adventure!

The Knitting Way – Part 1

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way

The Knitting Way (A Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery) by Linda Skolnik and Janice MacDaniels was published in 2005 and appears as currently in print. When I first picked it up,  I immediately thought that this would be a book that I could easily discard – then I started reading. At first glance, the lack of full color pages were a turn off. I was ready to chastise the publishers for being too cheap to spring for four-color printing. In the end, I found that it really wasn’t the important part of this insightful volume.

To be fair to my readers, I must admit that I knew Linda Skolnik in my previous career. I much admired her interest in the knitting world. Her interest came from a deep place that wasn’t just about making money. She was (and I assume still is) truly vested in knitting.  As I started to read her book, my instincts were confirmed.

The Knitting Way - back cover

The Knitting Way – back cover

I haven’t gotten very far in reading The Knitting Way. It’s not the kind of book that you can speed read. In the Preface I learned more about Linda and her co-author  Janice. Reading this explains a lot about why they wrote this book. Chapter 1 is called Knitting into Awareness – basically soul searching that ends of in knitting. Each chapter ends with a pattern that relates to the chapter. This chapter ends with a colorful cube that when felted turns into a ball. That’s pretty simple, but later chapters have projects that are a bit trickier.

Science and Knitting

Science and Knitting

Making a knit spiral

Making a knit spiral

One could spend forever reading and understanding Chapter 2 Science, Mystery and Knitting. It was slow going. I was a bit lost in reading about Einstein, Electromagnetic force, Theory of Everything (wasn’t that just a movie), the Golden Ratio (phi), quantum mechanics and other major scientific theories. Science was never my strong subject, but I must say that it becomes more interesting when it relates to knitting.

Moebius Wrap

Moebius Wrap

I’ve been intrigued by knitting a circular moebius since I purchased a kit from Candace Eisner Strick. I was truly stumped by the technique.  I actually did a small one last winter in trying to solve this mystery. I’m going to put this project on my very long “to-do” list and see if I really understand the technique.

I’ve moved on the Chapter 3, but more on this chapter in an upcoming blog!