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

2014-10-10 13.27.09

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?

2014-10-10 13.18.51

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!

2014-10-10 13.19.12

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!

Salvaged

2014-09-13 08.13.11 How do you like my new pullover?

I am not sure if you know. I certainly haven’t really made it a secret… I am on a budget. A  TIGHT budget. So my clothes usually come from the thrift shop, yard sales, or free piles (which are plenty around our city).

I am not ashamed of it, if I can use something and keep it out of the landfill, I think I have done my job. I firmly believe we do not own the land, but are mere caretakers and as such should do what ever we can, when ever we can, no matter how small we think the gesture is.

My husband found the LL Bean, 100% Merino pullover in a free pile the other day. He brought it home, we washed it and then I noticed a little tear in the right sleeve cuff. No doubt, this was the reason it got tossed out in the first place.

2014-09-12 20.53.07

Well. It’s 100% Merino and the colour is amazing, so a little tear is not going to keep me from using it. I was thinking about how to fix it. Maybe a pretty ribbon? I don’t have any handy. OH!!!! YES! Some handmade lace! Why not? I have amazing gray coloured yarn that would look great with it.

A few blanket-stitches, so I have something to anchor the lace to and it also hold the cuff turned under, so the tear is not going to be seen. Then the fun part: deciding what lace to use.

2014-09-12 20.53.29

I opted for crochet this time around. There are so many beautiful edgings out there. Just do a search on pintrest and you will be busy for hours.

I finally narrowed it down and went for it. 20 minutes after making up my mind, I had a brand new sweater. One of a kind now, that I personalized it.

2014-09-12 22.17.21

:) I am happy about my new sweater and that one more piece is staying out of landfills for a little while longer. (don’t worry, when it gets to a point where one can’t fix it any more, I use it as a cleaning rag until there is literally nothing left lol)

2014-09-13 08.00.01

There has been knitting going on.

10616025_960918077336981_4494295686773284988_n 10687168_960918100670312_3162661821748524367_n

Remember the little arm guards I made last time it was cold?

I finally made the inserts to go with them! Phew! lol They still need to be blocked, but here they are, with and without the arm guards.

Pattern will be ready soon.

Off I go again. TONS more to knit! :)