book reviews

Review: The Knowledgeable Knitter: From Planning Your Project to Fitting and Finishing, All You Need to Know to Unlock Your Knitting Potential

The Knowledgeable Knitter: From Planning Your Project to Fitting and Finishing, All You Need to Know to Unlock Your Knitting Potential
The Knowledgeable Knitter: From Planning Your Project to Fitting and Finishing, All You Need to Know to Unlock Your Knitting Potential by Margaret Radcliffe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a book! I have been knitting for a loooooong time (no, you may not ask for how long, and I have done pretty much everything one can do with the art, but I love having a place to check up on HOW I do these things. One cannot possibly keep everything in one’s memory!

Margaret Radcliffe is an incredible enabler!

The knowledgeable knitter is one of those treasure chest books.

It sits on your book shelf, minding it’s own business, until you try to do a dart in your next project and come heck or high water, you cannot remember for the life of you, how you did it that last time, 8 years ago….Pull out the book! It’s right in there!

So many other techniques and little tricks and tips.

I know I like to fall back on my “favourite” techniques, forgetting that there is so much more out there! I love having books like the knowledgeable knitter around. They tend to remind me, that there is SO MUCH MORE. There is another way, just around the corner. Yes, they may be ways we have wandered a long time ago, but completely forgotten about. there may have to be a bit of dusting off the cobwebs, but that’s why the book is here to help!

It’s an external memory bank, to put it in 21st century terms.

Not just for knowledgeable knitters however, this book is almost indispensable for new knitters! Jump out of your box and try something aside from a dishcloth! Hey! I LOVE dishcloths, but honestly, knitting is nothing to be afraid of. Try a sweater! I promise, with this book, it will be a success!

Want to go all out and make a cabled sweater? No problem! The book has a section on how to shape while cabling!

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Daring steeks for the first time? Ok. Let’s do it. there is a chapter on that as well! And not only how to cut open your sweater. It gives advice on how to enlarge necklines by cutting off part of the knitting! YES! I love this! I love not being scared of taking your scissors to your knitting! I do it when need be. With this book, you know it is possible and it will tell you exactly how to and you don’t have to worry!

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And then there were the seams. Well… not everything can be knitted with little to no finishing. Again Margaret Radcliffe to the rescue! Detailed pictures and intelligent, easy to understand instructions will make this a cinch!

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This book will take you from starting the design, to finishing the project. Every step is explained and taught with photos and explanations.

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I LOVE helping my students to go beyond patterns and go their own way. just you, your yarn and your ideas! I adore that this book, because it enables you to do just that!

Do yourself a favour. Get this book for your library!

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Review: Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More

Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More
Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More by Edie Eckman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s that time of year again. Everybody is getting ready for the holidays and for us, home made decor is always on the top of the “mood setters”. So when I received Christmas Crochet for review, it came just at the right time.

This book is full to the brim with the most adorable crochet projects! Tiny mittens and socks for garlands, felted ornaments for your tree, little birds of hope and tabletop “trees”, to name a few. I fell in love with the little birds and was going to make some to show with this review, but time ran away from me and BAM, it was Friday, November 7th and my turn to post in the blog hop. I started it though. I hope that counts!

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The full size stockings for the chimney caught my daughter’s eye and she might just make one, or four of them, to display around the holidays. The patterns in the book are well written and there is something suitable for all kinds of skill levels. So the three crocheters in the family (my son = beginner, my daughter = intermediate, and I = *master of the universe*) will find something to make, that will keep us occupied, without being boring.

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One of the best things about the book: It has all patterns in both written and charted form. I am a chart girl all the way, however a lot of my students like to have the written form, just to check back.

I find the “Project notes” that come with each of the patterns a nice touch. You can see at one glance what techniques will be required for this project and know right up front what to look up, if you might need help with a sock heel, or crochet in the round. (youtube is your friend!)

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Another nice addition is the different textures the projects offer. So many different stitches and even felted ornaments, there is something new to learn for everyone.

The projects are mostly small and can be finished in an afternoon. This is of particular interest to procrastinators, such as myself. Why hasten to make gifts , when you can wait until the last minute? Or maybe you are invited to a holiday party and just want a little something to bring as a hostess gift, that is not the predictable bottle of wine, or a third bouquet of flowers, the hostess will have to take care of.

The book is small enough to fit comfortably in your project bag and you can whip it out and get an ornament going while you wait for the bus, or sit at the doctors office. I like portable projects and books, that travel with me without weighing me down too much.

Want to know the best part about this review? There is a giveaway! You can win your very own copy of Christmas Crochet! Right here. All you have to do, is simply leave a comment and tell me a bit about what you are going to crochet this year! That’s it. Easy as pie! (Sorry, the giveaway is open to US residents only.Too much postage otherwise.)

And since this is a blog hop, there are more opportunities to win! Just check out the other blogs and see their requirements to enter!
Here is a list of all participating blogs:

4-Nov Moogly

If you are on Ravelry and want to add some of the projects to your queue, here is a link for you:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/christmas-crochet-for-hearth-home–tree/patterns
And in case you don’t want to wait out the giveaway, here is a link to storey, where you can buy your own copy of the book:
Storey: http://www.storey.com/book_detail.php?isbn=9781612123295&cat=Crafts&p=0

The giveaway will close November 14th at midnight and I will announce the winner on November 15th.

Review: How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title

How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title
How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title by Leslie Ann Bestor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leslie Ann Bestor is also the author of Cast On, Bind Off. A book I heartily approve of and have recommended to many a customer and student of mine.

This new book of hers is not deviating from her previously displayed excellence. I love the easy to understand instructions and the general voice of the book.

Aside from teaching you how to create the knit and purl stitches Mrs. Bestor gives lots of information on other things important to knitting, but often overlooked, such as choosing a needle that is right FOR YOU!, how to fix mistakes and runaway stitches, why gauge matters, yarn sizes and measurements, how to read patterns and charts, and how to recognize what stitches create which fabric.

Everything is brought to you with a little bit of humor to keep things light. I adore her style of writing.

I believe any willing novice can learn to knit with this book, without frustration in a short while.

I will certainly recommend this book to people without ready internet access and even with the internet. It’s always nice to have a little guide in your knitting bag, to just quickly look up what comes next. Internet is not always available in all the places we like to knit!

View all my reviews

Review: How to Crochet: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques

How to Crochet: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques
How to Crochet: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques by Sara Delaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book for beginning crocheters.

If you ever wanted to learn how to crochet, but don’t have anybody to show you how, or a LYS around you to take a class, there are plenty of books to help. Some with greater success than others. This is one of the good ones. Trust me, I teach crochet and knitting for a living.

Easy to understand, concise instructions will make sure you are not getting lost, or confused with too much input at the same time.

I find the trick to start practice on a piece of tulle quite smart and might use it in my classes from time to time.

The book walks you through the importance of Gauge in your crochet. An important step, if you want to make garments that fit the intended recipient. Many first time classes forget all about it. I know I drone on in my classes about gauge and try to make it second nature for my students to check it before starting a project.

Aside from showing you how to perform the stitches and an entire chapter on gauge (Yes, it IS that important!!!) Mrs. Delaney also has a chapter on finishing your work. Sewing in ends, changing yarns, adding an edge and finishing off with blocking your piece. I find it incredibly important that this is also given. The student is not just left with the finished square, to fend for themselves. A lot of people don’t know, a hand crochet piece will look infinitely better after blocking. Not to mention HOW to block it.

Of course, there is lots of information to be had online, however, not everyone is connected at all times or can access it readily. A book on the other hand will wait patiently in your bag, or on a shelf until you are ready.
Also: Although there are tons of youtube videos, if you don’t know what to search for, you won’t find it. I think a good mix between youtube and this book should set you up just fine.

I will definitely let my students know about this book, to have something to look things up, after the class is done and they just need a small reminder.

View all my reviews

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PLY MAGAZINE: a Rave and a review

I have been following PLY magazine on FB for a while now and been drooling over their issues as they came out. Sadly it is not in my budget to subscribe to it at this point.

Somehow I got talking to talking to Jacey Boggs Faulkner, Editor in Chief of the magazine and wonderful person all round. Anyway, she was sweet enough to comp me an issue (or was it really evil???? Because now I am obsessed with saving up for a subscription) for review.

Well. The Community issue arrived here just a few days ago. OH BOY. What can I say?

How about ITSABSOLUTELYAWESOMEANDILOVEIT! Seriously, this magazine is amazing. SO MUCH INFO! The ads in it are decent and do not distract you from the experience,  like in so many other magazines these days.

I rather love the idea of a magazine gathering it’s content around a theme, rather than just the seasons for once. There is so much to sink your teeth into with a theme. So many variants to explore!

The Fall issue is all about community. Let me just cite you some of the articles in it: Communities through time and art (my favourite one!), Shetland Sheep & Wool: A crossover of communities, Ravelers spin together. See what I mean it’s all about community?

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The other amazing thing are the patterns in the magazine. They are beautiful and wearable. The patterns consist of a SPIN IT section (the designer explains about how she spun the yarn for the project, gives you the specs of the wool and the finished yarn you will be aiming for and general encouragement to go try it for yourself). Then there is the pattern itself, as we are used to them in other knitting/spinning magazines. I find PLY’s patterns clearly written and very detailed. I love that it’s not all squished together. The patterns have room and are nicely formatted. It’s very easy to follow them and not lose your place. The patterns in this magazine are for a really really cute cardigan, a fun hat and a shawl. There is something for everyone! If you want a big, sink your teeth into project, or just something little and quick for that bit of fluff, you just could not say no to at the fibre fair.2014-10-10 13.19.41 2014-10-10 13.20.03

Ads.. well, it is a magazine and it does have to make money. There are ads. HOWEVER, they are decently placed on the edges of the articles. You do not have to flip through pages and pages in a row. I really DO appreciate that! I hope that won’t change.

The magazine is 104 pages of INFO, ENCOURAGEMENT and FIBRE. It’s a catalog lol I am smitten!

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When you get this magazine (see how I said WHEN? Because I URGE YOU to go subscribe to it), go make yourself a nice cup of tea, or coffee, or chocolate (or grab a glass of wine) and make yourself comfortable. This is a READ not a brows and look at pictures magazine. Although the photos in PLY magazine are really wonderful shots and some are supplied by the readers themselves. There are frequent shout outs and requests on the PLY FB page for photos of sheep or diverse other things. I love this level of inclusion of the readers. I find it wonderful to see a community come together and create something so inspiring.

Of course the big part of the work is done by the editors and photographers. To them I would like to extend a big THANK YOU! and Please continue the hard work you have put in so far. It is amazing and wonderful and worth every penny!

Want to subscribe now, or contribute to the magazine? Here you go!