Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms

Sweaters from NE_cov

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!

Sweaters from NE_bc

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.

sources

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

How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

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How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

I’m starting this book review in a quandary – to keep or not to keep. On first pass, I was ready to chuck this one. As much as I love Debbie Bliss (fantastic UK designer), I didn’t think this book offered enough to keep on my shelf. On 2nd pass, I’m conflicted.

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How to Knit – back cover

The back cover could have added a little more info for the reader? What were the publishers thinking?

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Great illustrations

The illustrations in this How-to are very clear and would be easy for a novice to use.

Aran

Aran Workshop

This section comes pretty early in the book – Chapter 3 as a matter of fact. It’s really Debbie Bliss’s favorite style so I’m not surprised to see it covered extensively.

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Cable Workshop

In the middle of the Aran chapter, this simple cabled sweater is a simpler version of some of the other knits.

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Lace Workshop

The best thing about this chapter is the 23 lace stitch pattern samples.

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Edgings

Love the edgings. This makes the book a winner. I just used the leaf edging for a project. Wish the instructions were charted and not so UK centric with yf terminology that is not used by US knitters.

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Entrelac illustrations

Ok – I know you’re asking – what the hell is Entrelac. Not a common technique, but these illustration make it very clear.

 

What did I decide? I might keep this book for awhile and see if I refer to it before moving it along. My copy is a bit worn and I probably couldn’t sell. I do think the UK vs US make it less valuable for a new knitter, but then again – I’m not a new knitter.

 

https://www.amazon.com/How-Knit-Definitive-Step-step/dp/1855856964/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497383208&sr=8-1&keywords=How+to+Knit+Debbie+Bliss

Exquisite Little Knits

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Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreirer & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel

Exquisite Little Knits is a nice little book for “Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns” as the subtitle suggests. Lark Books published Little Knits in 2004 in the hay day of specialty yarns.

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Exquisite Little Knits – Back Cover

Do I love this book? It’s mainly a project book of simple accessories¬†that depend of the yarn rather than stitches to make them interesting. Thumbs Down for me!

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Photographed How-to’s

I liked the photographed how go’s. They are clear and easy to understand.

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Gemstone Scarf

Once the basics are covered, the book is broken down by various types of yarn. This scarf is from the “Lattice” section. It’s nice that a photo of the ball plus an image of the strands of yarn used is included.

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“Hat for All” from the Wool section

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North Cape Balaclava from the Silk section

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Golden Threads Boa from the Ribbon section

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Flying V Scarf from the Wool section

I do like this scarf. True to form, I’m always more interested in projects that are made in simple yarns rather than novelty yarns.

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Hot & Now Scarf from the Wool Section

Nice unisex garter stitch scarf! A good project for charity knitting or a gift.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Little-Knits-Luxurious-Specialty/dp/1579905366/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476305973&sr=1-1&keywords=exquisite+little+knits

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 http://btsadventures.com/argentina-uruguay-for-knitters/. It looks like this book will take me most of May to complete!

http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Knitwear-Paperback-Deborah-Newton/dp/B00BWDQHNI/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429223380&sr=1-7&keywords=designing+knitwear