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

Family Circle Easy Sweaters

Family Circle Easy Sweaters - 50 knit and crochet projects

Family Circle Easy Sweaters – 50 knit and crochet projects

Another easy week for me. This book is a pattern only book and not one filled with text and technique. With 50 knit and crochet projects, this book is a good value. It’s just not a book that needs to be on my shelf.

On a positive note, I’ve sold 19 books on Amazon so not only are some of my removed books off the shelf, they are gone, gone, gone!

Family Circle Easy Sweaters - back cover

Family Circle Easy Sweaters – back cover

This Sixth and Spring 2001 book is nicely photographed and has really clear, easy-to-understand patterns with good schematic drawings and charts.

Pattern with schematics and charts

Pattern with schematics and charts

Here are a few of the nicer patterns. Most sweaters are for intermediate knitters and crocheters, with a few easy designs.

Double Cross Cabled Pullover

Double Cross Cabled Pullover

Pattern Play Duo

Pattern Play Duo

Stitch Mix Guys Pullovers

Stitch Mix Guys Pullovers

There are sweaters for kids, mainly as duos with Mom or Dad and none for babies. Some of the yarns are discontinued, but should be easily substitutes.

Bye-bye Family Circle. This getting easier after almost 2 years of blogging!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Circle-Easy-Sweaters-Projects/dp/1931543372/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1446586233&sr=8-1&keywords=Family+Circle+Easy+Sweaters

Two Sticks and a String

Two Stick and a String by Kerry Ferguson

Two Stick and a String by Kerry Ferguson

In my quest to remove books from my shelves, I’ve decided to look at a few quick reads (aka mostly or all patterns). This one is the first of that group. Kerry Ferguson, who I knew as the person at the head of Creative Yarns International and importer of New Zealand yarns, is the author of this book published in 1999.

Two Sticks and a String - back cover

Two Sticks and a String – back cover

With 15 simple and nicely done designs, the book has clear photos, schematic drawings and charts. The sub-title is: Knitting Designs Inspired by Nature. That’s a bit of a stretch, but makes a nice theme. Quite a few of the projects feature color work techniques so this is not a book designed for the novice knitter.

Hands-Across-The-World Jacket

Hands-Across-The-World Jacket

Kerry’s clear drawings make a nice introduction to each design and actually look very much like the actual sweater on the facing page.

Aran Pullover

Aran Pullover

If I were to make one project from this book, the Aran Pullover would be high on my list. Unfortunately, it’s probably not in my future.

Mohair Pullover

Mohair Pullover

The Mohair Pullover is the easiest project in the book and would make a great “first sweater”.

I have to give this a Thumbs Down for me. It’s not a bad book, but not one I need or can use.

http://www.amazon.com/Two-Sticks-String-Knitting-Inspired/dp/1564772624/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445978422&sr=1-1&keywords=two+sticks+and+a+string

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

Quartet of STYLE books

Interweave STYLE books

Interweave STYLE books

I had a brilliant revelation this week. I first pulled out Scarf Style and Wrap Style to look a duo and then I thought – why not! I would look at all four of my Style books at the same time. Each time I seriously look at my bookcase, I realize that I’m really moving at a snail’s pace in trying to move my books along. Four books settled seems like a great idea!

Frankly as these books are mainly pattern books, it was pretty easy to whip through them. In full disclosure, Pam Allen, a designer and editor and I go way back to my early days at Vogue Knitting. As an aside –  Caitlin Fitzgerald one of the dreamy models in these books, is Pam’s daughter is now an acclaimed actress (notably in Masters of Sex on Showtime). She was once an intern for me at Lion Brand Yarns. History, history!

I’m going to try to cover these by the publication date.

Scarf Style - Interweave - 2004

Scarf Style – Interweave – 2004

Scarf Style - back cover

Scarf Style – back cover

Scarf Style is a nice collection of knit and a few crochet scarves. There were only two scarves that I thought I might make that follow. I’m going to make copies of these and move this book on to a better home.

Bright Stripes by Kristin Nicholas

Bright Stripes by Kristin Nicholas

I love this side-to-side scarf and will make it.

Zigzag Stripes by Debbie Bliss

Zigzag Stripes by Debbie Bliss

I’m a sucker for chevron patterns and this is a nice pattern for kids and adults.

Wrap Style - Interweave - 2005

Wrap Style – Interweave – 2005

Wrap Style - back cover

Wrap Style – back cover

I’m not wearing and probably not knitting wraps and shawls these days so this was an easy pass.

Wandering Aran Fields by Norah Gaughan

Wandering Aran Fields by Norah Gaughan

If you love cables – this is a beautiful piece. I just wouldn’t have a place to wear it.

Lace Style - Interweave - 2007

Lace Style – Interweave – 2007

Lace Style - back cover

Lace Style – back cover

A nice book, but no “must have” patterns for me!

Folk Style - Interweave - 2007

Folk Style – Interweave – 2007

Folk Style - back cover

Folk Style – back cover

A lot of color work. There is only one pattern I really love and it follows.

Modern Quilt Wrap by Mags Kandis

Modern Quilt Wrap by Mags Kandis

Bottom Line: I’m going to pass on all these books and make more room in my book shelf. I failed to say at the beginning that these books have good Design Notebooks at the end of each and the designers who created the projects are a “who’s who” of creative designers from the knitting world.

Love the wraps and shawls, but I don’t think I would make any of them. One that I love by Norah Gaughan follows.

http://www.amazon.com/Scarf-Style-Pam-Allen/dp/1931499543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471128&sr=1-1&keywords=scarf+style

http://www.amazon.com/Wrap-Style-Pam-Allen-ebook/dp/B00DH40SRG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471173&sr=1-1&keywords=wrap+style

http://www.amazon.com/Folk-Style-Mags-Kandis-ebook/dp/B00DH40YVG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471207&sr=1-1&keywords=folk+style

http://www.amazon.com/Lace-Style-Pam-Allen/dp/1596680288/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436471245&sr=1-1&keywords=lace+style

Designing Knitwear – Chapters 6 & 7

Chapter 6 - Classics

Chapter 6 – Classics

I’m going to cover two chapters in this blog. Both were easier to get through than one of the previous chapters. The good news is that I’m down to Chapter 8 (final chapter) plus and addendum!

Chapter 6 – The Classics was a bit disappointing. In the first couple of pages Deborah talks about what I call “real” classics – Aran pullovers, tennis sweaters, twin sets, Fair Isle sweaters and Icelandic circular-yoke sweaters. The rest of the chapter is an inspiration gallery that is not any of these classics.

There is a section in this chapter on the sketching process that I found really interesting. I’ve never been able to sketch or draw and finding a way to break it down was an “ah-ha” moment for me.

Chapter 6 - Chanel knits

Chapter 6 – Chanel knits

I liked Deborah’s inspiration on the classic Chanel jacket plus skirt.

Chapter 6 - Chinese Robe

Chapter 6 – Chinese Robe

One of the non-classic ideas was the spread on making a Chinese robe. Beautiful knitting, but not so much what I’d call as classic.

Chapter 6 - Motorcycle Jacket

Chapter 6 – Motorcycle Jacket

Chapter 6 ends with a knit motorcycle jacket. It’s an amazing accomplishment and it’s why Deborah Newton is such a fabulous designer!

Chapter 7 - Stitches and Samplers

Chapter 7 – Stitches and Samplers

Chapter 7 is called Themes and Samplers, but I’d call it Stitches & Samplers as it’s all about various types of stitches and putting them together.

I really liked the way Deborah introduces stitch types and talks about ways that the knitter can create their own version of this stitch.

The first section is about slip stitches, twisted stitches, lace stitches, cables and bobbles.

Chapter 7 - Cables

Chapter 7 – Cables

Chapter 7 - lace stitches

Chapter 7 – lace stitches

The section on creating your own cables and lace is really helpful in understanding how the stitches are formed.

Chapter 7 - Sampler cardigan

Chapter 7 – Sampler cardigan

Chapter 7 ends with a sample of color work and embossed leaf patterns meshed together to create another one of Deborah’s masterpieces!

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434397224&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

 

 

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Color & Graphics

Chapter 5 – Color & Graphics

Chapter 5 – read and reviewed! I’m half way through the book and Chapter 6 doesn’t look so “text heavy”. Very exciting!

What did I learn in Chapter 5. My head is spinning! If you want to know anything about color in knitting and designing, read this chapter.

Chapter 5 - Colorwheel

Chapter 5 – Colorwheel

Deborah started with the color wheel. It actually looks a little brighter in the photo than it appears in the book which makes it a little hard to visually understand. Deborah does a good job of explaining how to use the wheel and what it means in terms of using color in designing – notice how many sections I’ve underlined. She has an interesting explanation of how the introduction of white and black change a solid shade into a lighter or darker version of the color.

Chapter 5 - same motif in different colors

Chapter 5 – same motif in different colors

Light and dark, two shades of the same color, shades on opposite sides of the color wheel  all change the look of a motif as you can see in the photo of Deborah’s swatches.

Chapter 5 - A Japanese print by artist Hiroshige

Chapter 5 – A Japanese print by artist Hiroshige

Deborah uses a Japanese print to create a sweater. She starts by sketching the sweater design.

Chapter 5 - The finished pullover and swatches

Chapter 5 – The finished pullover and swatches

I was amazed at all the swatches it look for Deborah’s inspiration into a real sweater. So much work for such a beautiful pullover.

Chapter 5 - creating charts for color designs

Chapter 5 – creating charts for color designs

This section starts out with more simple vertical and horizontal lines. Making curves in flowers such as above is note quite as simple.

Chapter 5 - More inspiration for sweaters

Chapter 5 – More inspiration for sweaters

Deborah calls this section “Swatch project & designer notebook”. She uses the inspiration in this photo to create the two sweaters at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 5 - Black & White Pullover

Chapter 5 – Black & White Pullover

This sweater is a bit dated in the tunic length, but there is no doubt that it is a masterpiece! On to Chapter 6.

 

 

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Knit & Purl

Chapter 4 – Knit & Purl

Who knew that there was so much to say about Knit & Purl stitches. Deborah has an amazing amount to cover in this chapter. I was blown away! This chapter is worth the whole book. I love the knit/purl one-color designs. She covers lots of variations and most importantly how to incorporate them into designs.

Knit & Purl patterns

Knit & Purl patterns

I was happy to see that Deborah included my favorite basket weave pattern (pink swatch on lefthand page). There are lots of combos of simple knit and purl stitches.

Chapter 4 - Charting patterns into a Design

Chapter 4 – Charting patterns into a Design

Once you master the basics, Deborah walks the reader through the steps to insert the pattern stitch into a design. This worksheet is a terrific tutorial to learn how to place patterns.

Chapter 4 - edgings

Chapter 4 – edgings

Deborah is the master of creative edgings. I don’t think I’d ever heard of the “no-edging edging” until I met Deborah. It’s brilliant! She lists it under “Quiet Edgings” – makes sense. Seems like she could have done a complete book on edges on knits.

Chapter 4 - Grafting

Chapter 4 – Grafting

When I started reading the page titled “Coping with ribbed trouble”, little did I know that it was going to be a really good tutorial on grafting. I always have to pull out my VK Ultimate Knitting Book to graft. Now that I know, I can pull out Designing Knitwear (page 94) to graft my next project!

Chapter 4 - Guernsey Sweaters

Chapter 4 – Guernsey Sweaters

The chapter ends with two Guernsey Sweaters. The tunic style seems a bit dated, but with the knowledge I’ve already learned, I could alter the design and make it shorter.

Chapter 4 - Guernsey Pattern

Chapter 4 – Guernsey Pattern

The final pages have the well-written pattern complete with schematics and charts. Now on to Color and Graphics. Chapter 5 is about 40 pages, but I’m not so much into color knitting. I’m hoping Chapter 5 will change my mind!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432756641&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 3

Designing Knitwear - Chapter 3

Designing Knitwear – Chapter 3

Ah, Chapter 3. This chapter almost killed my blog writing. I didn’t think I’d get through it. Don’t get me wrong – good info – amazing info as a matter of fact. The problem for me was that there was so much text. In this blog I’m glossing over lots of stuff about ease, fit, armholes, sleeve types, but I didn’t want to loss the reader. It was all covered in this chapter.

Chapter 3 - a spread of text

Chapter 3 – a spread of text

OK! You get the idea about the text. It made me appreciate Deborah Newton so much more. What a mind that could put this all down on paper. Although there were charts and illustrations, I wish that some of the explanations would have been a bit more point-by-point or in more charts.

Chapter 3 - Necklines

Chapter 3 – Necklines

The neckline chart is well-done. As you can see, I took to underlining various sections that I thought were important. It helped to get through this information.

Chapter 3 - Skeleton Chart

Chapter 3 – Skeleton Chart

The Skeleton Chart was brilliant. Graphing actual body measurements and then graphing the actual sweater over the skeleton makes a visual to help you see how the sweater will fit on a knitted sweater.

Chapter 3 - Calculating all the essential points

Chapter 3 – Calculating all the essential points

This page boils down the 30 + pages of the chapter to the essential. What you learn is how to design or alter your own sweater.

Chapter 3 - body measurements

Chapter 3 – body measurements

Learning to take and record body measurements is essential to designing a sweater. Deborah gives good advice about taking these measurements. Notice that I’ve underlined the cross shoulder measurement. I must admit that I never knew where this was found on the body.

Onward to Chapter 4 that focuses on designing with Knit & Purl Stitches. I know that this will certainly be easier and I promise gather steam and not to fade into the woodwork!

http://www.amazon.com/Threads-Book-Designing-Knitwear/dp/B000N5YJW2/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431981478&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear

Kaffe’s Classics – soft and hard cover – Got both!

KF_cover_duo

I’ve done it again – duplicate books. This was more of an honest mistake. I think I might have gotten the soft cover as an editorial copy at some point and already had the hardcover book. I tried to give one to a friend, but she had already ordered it online. I’d definitely like to keep one. It’s kind of a toss up.  The hardback weighs more, but it’s ultimately more stable. Also, I do love the hardback cover with the pic of Kaffe (on the right above) and the famous tumbling blocks throw. The soft cover version is off the shelf!

It would be a thumbs up for Kaffe’s Classics – if only for sentimental reasons. I’ve known Kaffe for many years. Actually since before he was “a knitting rock star” and simply a friend of my BFF, Sally Harding. Sally said that I should take a workshop from her friend who turned out to be Kaffe.  I think that might have been in the mid ’80s. The rest is history!

Houses Vest

Houses Vest

I hadn’t looked at any of Kaffe’s books in a long time. I got an email from a friend who was looking for the Houses design so I looked through my books and found both copies. It seemed like great fodder for my blog.

colorful_trio

 

The Windows Coat makes a beautiful spread. The coat is definitely a bit late ’80s/early ’90s styling, but what an amazing piece of work!

Kaffe's Classics back cover - soft back

Kaffe’s Classics back cover – soft back

Kaffe's Classics back cover - hardback

Kaffe’s Classics back cover – hardback

Color, color! Beautiful garments that spell Kaffe Fassett. Who could not love them!

Lattice pullover and Mosaic vest

Lattice pullover and Mosaic vest

A beautiful duo. Geometric and colorful. Pure Kaffe and truly classics.

 

Kaffe Fassett - chart

Kaffe Fassett – chart

Here’s the chart for the Lattice Pullover. A two-page spread. That’s where the “rubber meets the road”. I call this a knitting nightmare or a test of patience. Obviously there are knitters who love a challenge, but sadly this kind of knitting isn’t my favorite.

Tumbling Blocks Throw

Tumbling Blocks Throw

I wanted to save the best for last. I love the tumbling blocks design that has been knocked off many times in many ways. Another “Kaffe Challenge”.

Knitters who love color work knitting will have a field day with this book. I love the photos and the designs, but I might not get around to knitting anything in this lifetime!

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Kaffes-Classics-Glorious-Knitting-Desings/dp/1561584134/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416436516&sr=1-2&keywords=kaffe%27s+classics