Knitted Gifts – Ann Budd

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Knitted Gifts – cover

I’m conflicted about this 144 page book published by Interweave Press in 2009. It’s definitely a book of patterns – some good, some bad and some that you have to ask – why? There are a few I like, but not sure it’s worth keeping the book. The cover hat and mitts are really nice and a good selling point for the book. I do have many good things to say about Ann Budd and her editing/designing, but what was her contribution to this 37 project book?

In the end, I think I’ll move this one along. I can’t justify it’s space on what I’m hoping will be a much reduced shelf of essential knit and crochet books.

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Knitted Gifts – back cover

There are some fantastic designers who contributed to the the book. Then I have to point out two projects on the back cover are in the category that I called “Why?” The knit hobby horse (really!) and the ballet-style slippers (sort of OK).

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Easy Ribbed Socks

I thought I’d start off with a project I like.

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Lace Scarf by Nancy Bush

Love this project. It might be one that I might even make. Nancy Bush is a real pro at traditional designs.

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Felted Oven Mitts

This project is a great way to use up leftover 100% wool or rough wool that you might not want for a wearable.

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Fair Isle Napkin Rings

The napkin rings are something that doesn’t seem to be a terrific project. I couldn’t quite figure out the order of the projects. Didn’t seem like the groupings were by easy, intermediate, etc or by quick, more involved, etc. Strange to be sure.

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Glossary

Interweave Press is really good at featuring clear illustrations of techniques. The 6-page glossary is a good addition to the book.

 

 

Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms

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Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – cover

I’ve been carrying this book around for sometime while reading the 8 stories about various sheep farms around New England. After all it is summertime and I’m moving in “slow-mo”.

One of the joys of reading Sweaters from New England was that many of the small yarn dyers are familiar to me as many have shown their wares at yarn shows I’ve attended. I found their stories engaging. But back to the essentials and more about the book!

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Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms – back cover

Candice Eisner Struck wrote and published this book with Down East Books in 1999. It’s a combo of 26 designs (mainly sweaters for women and men) and stories about the farms that produce the yarns for the designs.

I think it is a gem at 128 pages. The sweaters are a bit oversized (long and loose) as was the style of that time, but could be easily updated for more modern styling.

Does this book belong on my book shelves? Sadly, the answer is NO. I’m not going to make the sweaters and although I enjoyed the read, it wouldn’t be a “must have” for me.

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Man’s pullover from Morehouse Farm yarn

When I read the story about Morehouse Farm and Margrit and Albrecht Pichler who ran the farm, I couldn’t help thinking about Margrit’s death in 2015. A great loss to many of the Morehouse Farm fans. From looking at the current web site page, it appears that the ¬†Merino yarns are still being sold and that the business still prospers.

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Stories of the farms

Candice did a very good job of describing her farm visits. Her journeys made the reader feel that they were along for the ride. She interviewed the owners and talked about how the yarn came into being and the dye or not-dyed process. Some of the owners used fleece from their own sheep. Some did not raise their own animals.

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Rockport Gansey pullovers

The classic pair about are perfect for a man or woman!

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Charts

I was very impressed with the in-depth written patterns and charts. Again, Candice is very precise and there are good examples of her skill throughout the book.

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Sources

For those who want to make the sweater patterns in other yarns, there is a page of suggested commercial yarn companies along with 2 pages for making substitutions.

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Books given away!

My blogging is going so slowly that I decided that a bunch of “pattern only” books had to go. I hope that they will find a good home with an avid knitter!

https://www.amazon.com/Sweaters-New-England-Sheep-Farms/dp/0892724463/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502739713&sr=8-1&keywords=sweaters+from+New+England+Sheep+Farms

Book of Wool

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool

A new year and a new long book! One of the first books I reviewed when I started my blog was Clara Parkes’ Book of Yarn.¬†I read and reviewed it over a number of blog posts as it was full of information and text. It was a perfect book to cover for my “away from home in Florida” time of year. So here we go with Chapter 1 of The Knitter’s Book of Wool.

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The Knitter’s Book of Wool – back cover

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Book of Wool – Preface

What better way to begin a book about wool than with a photo of a flock of sheep!

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Chapter 1 – What is Wool?

The first chapter begins with the fibers and their make-up. Did you know that wool is a resilient fiber than can be stretched to 30 percent of it’s length and return to it’s original size? I sure didn’t.

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Book of Wool – sidebar boxes

This book (besides being full of insightful info) has wonderful called-out sidebars with extra tidbits.

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Chapter 1 – Scales and Felt

As you can see by this spread, there is lots of text to read. This will be a slow blogging book for me!

What did I learn from Chapter 1? Wool from different animals is wildly different and result in very different types of the end product – yarn.

More to come…

http://www.amazon.com/Knitters-Book-Wool-Ultimate-Understanding/dp/030735217X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451937652&sr=8-1&keywords=book+of+wool

 

 

 

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)!