Celtic Knits – Debbie Bliss

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Celtic Knits – Debbie Bliss – Cover

As the year ends, I wanted to get one more book off my shelves. Since my last blog (was it really in August), I spent hours and hours going through yarn, bagging it, photographing it and finally selling lots on eBay. It seemed to go a whole lot faster than my very slow snail pace of going through and getting rid of books. Now I’m away from my yarn for the winter, it’s a good time to get back to reading, reviewing and hopefully eliminating books. A good goal for 2018!

Celtic Knits by Debbie Bliss was published in 2000 first published in the UK. This is a tip off that the patterns are more UK centric in terms of pattern writing. There are many patterns for kids/babies with some for women and one or two designs for guys.

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Celtic Knits – back cover

Spoiler alert – this is simply a book of patterns. As wonderful as Debbie Bliss designs and photographs, it is in the end just a slim 80 pages of patterns.

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Cabled Hearts Sweater

Debbie Bliss does lovely oversized children’s designs and this one is particularly nice. It comes in sizes 3-5 years old, but the oversized pullover probably will fit larger sizes.

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Simple Sweater with Collar

It’s wasn’t easy to understand, but this is actually a child’s sweater (sizes 2-10 years). I originally thought it was an adult pattern. The largest size has a chest measurement of 43″ so it certainly would fit many adults.

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Cabled Tweed Jacket

Love the cables, but it is disappointing that this cardigan only comes in two sizes – chest/bust size 37 and 41 inches.

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Moss Stitch Baby Jacket

This is a typical Debbie Bliss baby design – sizes 3 to 12 months. The oversized sizing make it ideal even for toddlers.

socks

Classic Fair Isle Socks

These socks are paired with a matching Fair Isle cardigan for a baby/toddler. There were many Fair Isle patterns in the book, but I only choose to include this sample as I prefer the one-color designs.

pattern

Instruction Sample

Notice that the measurements are given in inches and centimeters to make them workable for the US and UK markers. For the US knitters, slogging through all the cm measurements within the pattern can be disconcerting. I would recommend to make a copy of the pattern and highlight measurements and numbers that pertain to the size made.

To keep or not to keep – Nope! This one is going. Looks like it’s out-of-print, but still available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Knits-Designs-Babies-Children/dp/157076140X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514319273&sr=8-1&keywords=celtic+knits+Debbie+Bliss

 

One Skein

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One Skein 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet

Ending the year with a blog sounds like a good idea to me. I just have to make my 2017 resolution to blog more often!

When searching Amazon, One Skein is lost in a sea of “One Skein Wonder” books. This slim volume is written by Leigh Radford and published by Interweave Press in 2006.

It’s a thumbs down for me. The patterns for the most part are just OK and not worth the room on my shelf.

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Cabled Hats

I do like this pair of hats. Seems like an easy project in a chunky yarn on size 11 (8mm) needles.

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Rib & Cable Scarf

This was shown as a “Quartet” with 4 versions. One scarf shown on a man is so short that it had to be fastened with knitting needles – really! It is a simple project, although none of the projects are marked for skill level.

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Fingerless Garter Mitts

I do love fingerless mitts and am always prowling around to find good ones. I’m not crazy about this pair with elongated stitches and no thumb.

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Felted Striped Tote

Not a bad project, but I’ve seen similar ones before.

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Felted Bowls

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Crocheted Cap

The cover does say “projects to knit and crochet”, but the crochet projects are few. This is OK if you are a knitter/crocheter. If you only do one or the other craft, this is not the book for you.

I’ve omitted pics of the leg warmers, bags, projects for baby and ones for home such as a bath mat. Many are not worth including.

https://www.amazon.com/One-Skein-Leigh-Radford-ebook/dp/B00DH40O7U/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483039896&sr=1-10&keywords=one+skein+wonders

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

 

 

Aran Cable Stitches

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This book is going very slowly, but this week I feel like I made headway. I got through the text heavy ¬†speculations on when Aran Knitting actually started. In the end in the final speculation Alice believes that the reality is that the first ’40s and ’50s – much later than anyone else dared to say. By the time I got through it, I’m not sure that I really care anymore. Aran Knitting is still interesting to many knitters – especially those who buy this book!

So from there I went on to Aran Patterns – Yeah! All the stitch pattern photos were knit in Alice Starmore Bainin (an Aran weight wool). It’s actually a really good yarn for the stitch pattern which appear crisp and stand out well from the reverse stockinette background. The light plum color photographed very well. Actually better than off-white and definitely better than a dark shade.

This is a meaty section – from page 52 through page 99. A great reference library for cable lovers.

I thought I knew lots about cables, but I did learn more than I thought I would from the book. For me, this is the most important factor in my own personal “keep or lose” in book reviews.

First, There is a good chart key, although the actual symbols are not ones that I see generally used in US publications. I give Alice good marks on including excellent illustrations/drawings of how to create various cables beginning with the simplest cable crossings.

Alice covers many cable variations from double cables to diamond shapes cable formations filled with bobbles, seed stitch, and twisted stitches. The honeycomb panels – I hate. The plaited cables – I love. The surprise was the openwork patterns.

What did I learn?

1) A problem I’ve often had is to figure out what row to actual make a cross. The drawing of “counting rows between cable crosses” shown from the back of the work makes so much sense. Why didn’t I ever think of that before?

2) A good tip – decrease stitches before binding off so that the bind off does flare out.

No, I’m not quite done with this book. In my next post I’ll talk about the designs shown in the book. I want to look at the original book to see if there are any new ones added. As we say in publishing – tk (to come)!