Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
The moment I saw this in Knitting Daily's email I added it to my wishlist. I didn't even bother to read the article. As most of you are aware, my heritage is primarily Scandinavian, with one full-blooded Norwegian grandmother and one Swedish grandmother, and I feel a strong connection with their culture and art. I was thrilled when a friend gave it to me as a belated birthday present a week ago (thanks, M'ris!) and couldn't wait to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and lovely, lovely knitting designs.http://www.interweavestore.com/150-scandinavian-motifs
When I first read the author's bio, I squealed again. She's also from Seattle, and talks about growing up in the Scando community out there, and being exposed to the traditional artforms. All of which I can relate to - though my grandmother did knit, she was more into tole painting, but there were plenty of Norwegian sweaters scattered around the congregation at her covenant church. Thanks to this book, I now can identify them as lusekofte sweaters.
Not having done a lot of colorwork knitting, I found the explanations at the beginning of the book extremely helpful. They were some of the clearest I've seen for this kind of work. After the directions she provides information on how to plan a piece, how to use color and traditional motifs, and some historical background on types of garments made using the motifs. What follows is a motif directory where one can quickly reference the different motifs in the book side by side, with page numbers so that you can flip to their instructions and chart in the book.
Some of my favorite motifs were; The climbing vines of number 4, the boys and girls of number 44 (going on a pair of mittens for Connor), the traditional snowflake of 70 and 103.
It should be noted that this is not a patterns book. She does include four patterns as examples at the end of the book (none of which I liked, frankly), but that's it. This book is a more useful resource for creating your own designs and incorporating the motifs, which is why I wouldn't recommend it for a beginning knitter. You're going to need to know the basic 'how-to' of knitting a mitten or a hat in order to use these motifs, or at least know how to incorporate them into an existing pattern.
But if you are a more advanced knitter, and are interested in or like Scandinavian knitting, then this is definitely the book for you. I can already tell that it's going to get a lot of use at my house!- D
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Friday, August 16, 2013
Let me start by saying that this review is my opinion, and reflects my personal taste. I highly respect the work done by the knitwear designers to create these patterns and don't mean to offend. However, I am going to be honest about whether or not I like them. Starting with the Fall 2013 issue. This is the new editor's second issue and, um, wow I hope they get better. Link to the issue and photos is below.
My first thought upon finding the issue in the pile of mail was, "Holy 1985, Batman!" Seriously, could the sweater on the cover be more dated and ugly? All it needs is wooden toggle buttons. With a sinking heart I flipped to the back to check out the pictorial index of patterns.
Only it's not there. I flip back to the editor's letter only to discover that they've removed this feature from the magazine and moved it online. No. This does not work for me *at all* I keep all my back issues of the magazine and when I'm looking for a new pattern to knit I go through them, flipping to the pictoral index at the back, then flip to the pattern and instructions to see if I have a yarn in my stash that would work. I use the index constantly and I don't want to have to go online to look at it. I appreciate that the new editor may want to add more content but I think this was the wrong feature to cut.
So now I'm a little annoyed. I flip to the first feature - "As the Crow Flies," to look at its patterns. There are three sweater patterns, a dress pattern, and a cowl. The three sweater patterns all look waaay too similar. They have the same style and shape - long-sleeved pullovers - and even share the same neckline. They're fine, basic sweaters, but nothing special and nothing that calls out to me "KNIT ME NOW!" The cowl isn't for me, either, having that much fabric hanging in front of my chest would drive me nuts. Plus, it would collect all the food that my two year old spills while sitting in my lap *G* The dress is fine, but close-fitting and has the potential to look awful on any woman who may have *ahem* lumps under it? Ie, if you're not super tall and skinny I don't see this as being flattering.
Now thoroughly bummed, I find the next section "A Westerly Course." The surrey jacket is cool, I love the contrast border and the shape, though I might knit it a little longer. The way it's structured now the curve upwards and the open space between the two sides of the jacket draw the eye to the tummy bump. Great. Not exactly where most women want people to look!
The minstrel stole is pretty, love the color that they chose. It does strike me, though, that none of these patterns and colors seem to really 'go' together. They're nice on their own but as a collection they look like they were randomly selected. It's a personal thing but I don't like shrugs that are basically two attached sleeves - I find that they bunch oddly around the armpits - so the No 6 Shrug is out.
The "Colorwork Pastoral" feature contains the offending cover sweater. I'm pleased that they included a child's piece but it'd only work for a girl :( I think that the Concord jacket has potential if I knit the two sides to come closer in the middle, otherwise I'd spend all day awkwardly trying to tug them together. The cap is cute, the other patterns are decidedly 'meh.'
Oh, dear, a special on dropped stitches. "Drop me Here." I rarely like the way dropped stitches look - to me they're messy and often look accidental. And the patterns that use them often require the wearing of a tank/camisole/t-shirt underneath for modesty's sake and I don't always want that bulk. The Joan of Arc sweater is cool - love the shape - but why, oh, why would a woman want to draw that much attention to her hips?!?! The Filtered Pullover also isn't bad, though it would have to be knit longer to cover the tummy area. The other patterns, well... I'm starting to feel like I'm being a little b*tchy so I'll stop there.
This issue wasn't a total loss, but it definitely wasn't Interweave's best. I am apprehensive now that the new editor's aesthetic won't match mine at all. There's no question in my mind that I wouldn't have bought this issue in a store, I'd have glanced at it and returned it to the shelf.
If you're thinking of buying this one, I'd call it a pass. If you like one or two of the patterns just wait until they release them for sale individually.- D
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The cardgian is knit from the ribbon band up. While I found the construction technique interesting (knitting both sides of the band and then folding it together) I ended up with weird gaps on one side in the first row. Luckily, I could just make this the wrong side.
One thing that I didn't like about this pattern was that the swiss dot pattern and the shaping (increases/decreases) happened on the same row. God, I hate it when designers do that. Then I have to keep track of two things at once. And it wasn't easy to see where the last swiss dots happened in the shrug - they offset each other - even when I held it up to the light. So I ended up knitting an extra row in order to shift the swiss dots to a non-shaping row. Shhh! Don't tell! *g* It worked, the extra row wasn't visible in the shrug, and I didn't have to keep track of two things at once.
While the yarn was silky soft to the touch it was hard to frog, if needed. The yarn really sticks to its shape and the loops are hard to tug out without breaking it. Be aware, too, that if you drop a stitch it may not be immediately visible because the yarn does *not* unravel.
I find that with Interweave's patterns I end up in one of two boats by the time I finish the project. I either have two skeins of yarn leftover or I'm praying I'll have enough to finish the bind off. In this case I had a full skein and a half left. So if you're considering casting this one on but don't quite have enough yarn I'd say you're probably safe.
Monday, July 1, 2013
It's only $1.50 :)
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Connor is too big to showcase some of my designs for the younger set and I just finished a pair of baby legs and matching sweater for a twelve month old. I wanted to get pictures of them to include with the pattern. Kristie's baby Faye is a little younger than that, so the sweater ended up being more of a dress, but she was still a great model. She smiled, cooed and kicked in the front store window - a live display at its finest!
The baby legs are obviously too big for her, but I still loved how they looked, especially with the adorable hot pink diaper cover that Kristie had in stock.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
This pattern is actually from the third Jane Austen Knits, the 2012 issue. I'm always looking for some cute mitts and these fit the bill. The issue's release also coincided with a Knit Picks sale. Lucky me *g* Here's the finished product;
Something else I liked about the pattern was how it continued up the thumb - I thought that was a nice touch. I recommend putting markers around the lace repeats - don't skip this step or you'll end up ripping out and starting over *ahem*