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

Knitting Books – What was I thinking duo?

Ocean Breeze - Silk Knits

Ocean Breeze – Silk Knits

I was going to do each of these books separately, but a quick review of each made me realize that these are just a couple of books of patterns. I’m disposed to dislike books that are just patterns put together in some form to create a book. I have lots of magazines that full of patterns, but lets not go there. Once I get a handle on my books, magazines might be next.

Are these books staying on my shelf? Thumbs Down.

Let’s start with Ocean Breezes – Knitted Scarves inspired by the Sea by Sheryl Thies (published in 2007 by Martingale).

scarf_bc

 

The premise is nice and scarves photographed in nature as still-life images is interesting. The scarves are OK. I like the cover scarf – mostly the edging. I also like these two scarves. Does this make keeping this book worthwhile – nah!

cable_scarf leaf_scarf

Moving on to Silk Knits – 20 Designs in Fabulous Fibers by Elaine Eskesen (published in 2007 by Martingale).  This book has a bit more meat. It includes info on working with silk, the types of silk and a history of silk. The big “but” is that as I looked over the patterns, I couldn’t really find patterns that I found very interesting. The chapters of the patterns is broken down by season – spring, summer, fall, winter. Below is the one pattern that I do like, but not sure I’d make it or have a place to wear it.

Silk Knits back cover

Silk Knits back cover

knit circle vest

knit circle vest

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ocean-Breezes-Knitted-Scarves-Inspired-ebook/dp/B00HANSOOE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409084658&sr=1-1&keywords=ocean+breezes+knitted+scarves+inspired+by+the+sea

http://www.amazon.com/Silk-Knits-Designs-Fabulous-Fibers-ebook/dp/B00I0GHKP4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409084725&sr=1-1&keywords=silk+knits+20+designs+in+fabulous+fibers

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

 

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines

 MD_cover

A new book for a new day – Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne (published in 2008). I’ve been reading this book for about a week, but haven’t posted. It’s a rich one with lots of interesting material so I’m reading it in bits and pieces. It’s definitely not just another pattern book. It’s going to take more than one pass to get through this one so “Hang On”!

MD_back_cover

I’m already giving this one a thumbs up.

What do I like about the book? I love the back and forth banter between Kay and Ann. Each has a point of view and the sum of the two parts equals essays, tips and tricks worth reading. I really like that they begin with their #1 rule – “knitting is spoze to be fun.” Right from the beginning I knew this was worth reading further. I like that the intro tells you that it’s going to be broken down into five sections. I’m only covering a part of section 1 today – Decorating Yourself.

cardi_cosyThe first project is called a Cardi Cosy. The perfect lightweight piece to wear over a store-bought cardigan. Very clever indeed. It can be worn on its own for a more glam look, but the first purpose seems to be ideal for most of us who aren’t often in the glam-wearing arena. It’s made with Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze – heavenly!

daily_sweater

The next sweater that I really like is knit from the top-down which offers multiple possibilities and is an easy way to get the correct body and sleeve length. It’s called The Daily Sweater. I take this to mean that it can be worn every day. It’s a knit alternative to a sweatshirt. Kay explains in great detail why sweatshirts are unflattering at best. I would be game to knit this one.

tableWell, until I came to this chart. Uh, what can I say about this page. It’s a brilliant way to show a pattern with 6 sizes (I did find one typo – Large is labeled X-Large). Reading it seems a bit daunting, but I figured that if I was knitting it, the chart would become crystal clear to me. At least that’s the hope!

schematicTwo other elements of this sweater that I like. The clever little V purl/knit element at the neckline adds a bit of “sweatshirt” style to the pullover. I also like the clear schematic drawing with the measurements, although a sleeve length from the underarm would be helpful.

More about this sweater in my next post!

http://www.amazon.com/Mason-Dixon-Knitting-Outside-Lines-Confessions/dp/B008548F14/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1406929873&sr=8-4&keywords=Mason-Dixon+Knitting+Outside+the+Lines

Patchwork/Mitered Knitting Books

horst_schulz_covers

 

I’ve radically from baby knits to two books called “patchwork knitting“. Knitters also know this style as “mitered knitting“. Both books by Horst Schulz were published in 1997.

horst_schulz_back_covers

Let me start with with Patchwork Knitting as this is book I’m giving a: thumbs up.

It starts out with a bunch of how-to info including casting on new stitches to add more squares to the knitting and the best way to create edge stitches. Before going into various ways to create patchwork, there is a section on making a paper pattern to use as a template for the patchwork squares, strips, diamonds, etc. This is really important to understand as there are no patterns for each technique featured throughout the book. You are pretty much on your own. This requires a bit of skill and I wouldn’t recommend for those who have never made a sweater.

pattern

Horst uses a type of ribbing for all the designs that I called corrugated  ribbing (two-color ribbing). It’s not my favorite, but it looks good with the colorful patchwork sweaters.

Moving along into the style gallery, it starts out with easy strips that are sewn together. Featured midway through are the most familiar squares and diamonds. My favorite is one that looks like squares in front and back. Very clever!

photo-6

I also like the the techniques below.

square   shell_sweater

Book two: New Patchwork Knitting – Fashion for Children

kid_design

This book: thumbs down

Why? It’s not a terrible book, but for me similar to the first book and I’m not a fan of some of the designs shown. I do like this sweater with the zig-zag edge. I don’t think I’d make it for any child I know.

kid_design1

 

 Bottom line: Buy one or the other book if you love the mitered technique. Horst Schulz is German and many of the resources for yarns given at the end of the book are for European companies. Also, keep in mind that the styling is very ’90s looking.

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Patchwork-Knitting-Horst-Schulz/dp/0620261951/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405017245&sr=8-1&keywords=patchwork+knitting

 

http://www.amazon.com/New-Patchwork-Knitting-Fashion-Children/dp/0620261943/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405017345&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=horst+schultz+fashion+for+children

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

Debbie Bliss Classic Knits for Kids

Classic__Kids_Knits

In keeping with my “baby/kid” book quest, I took a gander at Debbie Bliss Classic Knits for Kids with 30 Traditional Aran and Guernsey Designs for 0-6 year olds.

It was published in 1994 so some of the sweaters are a bit on the oversized look. However, I do know that Debbie does love to style and show baby/kids sweaters that have a loose and oversized look. She’s known for creating the kind of sweater that is perfect for growing into and will last for several years.

This is definitely a thumbs up book. I will say that when I looked it up on Amazon, new copies go for over $30 so I can’t be alone.

What did I love about the book: the photos are so sweet and the whole book has lovely styling. I love the fact that all the sweaters are one color with tons of texture in knit and purl stitches and interesting cabling.

What did I not like: I would have preferred to have separate stitch patterns or charts rather than row after row of patterning. When this book was publishing the default wasn’t charts for stitch patterning so that’s a minor complaint. The language is a bit “English” style rather than “American” which could be a bit off-putting to some.

My favorite sweater (especially after my Aran journey) is called Cotton Aran Sweater:

denim_aran

A few others I like –

yellow_sweater  gernesey

Baby_Arans

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Knits-Kids-Traditional-Guernsey/dp/1570760268/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402606597&sr=8-1&keywords=Debbie+Bliss+Classic+Knits+for+Kids