Review: Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace

Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace
Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the publisher for review.

What a great addition to the one skein wonders series. I am a lace knitter by heart. So, of course I had a little “squee” of joy, when this book tumbled out of the envelope.

The patterns in the book are a wonderful array from easy beginners to intermediate projects.
The designs are for the most timeless and elegant (Trellis Leaf Stole by Judith Durant, April Showers Cowl by Meg Strong), as is so often the case with good lace. A few are really fun (Little Legwarmers by Gwen Steege) and some are just a bit out of my comfort zone, when it comes to wearing things (Butterflies are free and Paper Lanterns).

The instructions are easy and straight forward, the carts are easy to read and a nice size. No squinting required.

I like that the book is divided into sections. From Head to toe, Knits for Kids, It’s a wrap, Lacey accessories and for the home. This makes it easy to find things you are in the mood for.

Thanks to the yardage of some lace skeins, these are not just one afternoon projects either. This book has projects that will give you something to sink your needles into for a while.

Yes, it does have little projects for those that need instant gratification, or a fast present, but if you are looking for something to use up that one skein of 900 yards of suri alpaca, you will find something as well, that will not leave you with a ton of leftover yarn.

All in all a good book with solid designs and something for everyone.

I would say: Go, give it a shot at your next visit to the book shop!


Review: Knit Christmas Stockings, 2nd Edition

stocking book
Knit Christmas Stockings, 2nd Edition by Gwen Steege
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok. I think this is the fastest turn around in reviewing a book, I have ever done. I got it literally two hours ago! This book was sent to me for review by the publisher.

I unwrapped it and stuck my nose in it.

Ok. I will start off by saying: I like this book!
I have recently reviewed a sock knitting book that left more than a bit to desire (Knit your socks on straight! BARF), so I was a bit shy at first when this tumbled out of the envelope.

After taking an overview of the book, I noticed right away, it had a spine and real binding! So many crafting books now go for the “spiral binding”. I am not a big fan of the spiral binding. I am always afraid, pages will rip out of it. The only thing worse is the spiral binding with a hard spine.
I was delighted to see a knitting book with a real spine! THANK YOU! I will not have nightmares about pages falling out and trailing after me down the road with this book!

It is also a great size! Not as thin as a leaflet, but not War and Peace size either. Just big enough to have a good amount of patterns in it and keep you interested. Yet still small enough to fit in your project bag, without breaking your back.

I like a compact book.

The second pleasant surprise was the thumbnails of the projects in the contents list! Brilliant idea! Now I don’t have to memorize all the names. I can find it by picture.

Once you get past the usual how to section of any crafting book, it gets interesting. The patterns are cute without being overly ambitious. You can start any of these socks and actually get them done without loosing your sanity along the way. Some are easy enough to be next to TV knitting and some will need a bit more concentration, but I really think one does not have to be intimidated by any of them. There is something for a wide variety of skill level.
I looked through all of the patterns and of course found a few that would fit in with my family right away. My daughter joined me and we both decided that we definitely need to make the mix and match stockings for each of us, as they fit the best for our family. The Star Brocade was a close second and will go on my gift giving list.

The patterns themselves are well written and easy to understand and the charts are a nice size, where you won’t loose your eye sight trying to read them.

A further nice touch are the ornament patterns. Very cute! I love them all and will definitely make a few to decorate the house!

I would definitely recommend this book to my fellow knitters and Holiday enthusiasts! Great little book to get you “in the mood” and at $12.95 it won’t break the bank to get it.

Link to the book on Amazon. If you know of any little independent book store selling this book, please do let me know and send me the link. I would rather promote a “Mom and Pop” shop!!!

Review: The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers
The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers by Carol Ekarius
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was sent this book for review by the publisher.

I was at work, when my husband called and told me, a new book had arrived from Storey. I told him to open the package and let me know what kind of book it was. So he did and told me the title.
Can I just say: DAY MADE!!!!

I could not wait to get home and actually have a look at the book.

To say it’s brilliant would be an understatement!

Let’s start by the outward look of the book. It is small enough to fit in my purse, which is pretty much where it will live from now on. Ok, I should clarify: I am not a super girlie girl and carry purses, so I can CARRY stuff, not to have “the perfect accessory”. SO my purses are a bit bigger than a cell phone, or a credit card. The books size is about comparable to a small softcover dime store novel. It will work, alongside my spindle, or knitting project.

The soft cover makes me worry ab it about it, at the same time I think it is better for dragging it around with me everywhere and having it in my purse and possibly in my pockets. A softcover is definitely better than a hardcover in your pockets.

I plan on using this guide A LOT, so the binding is giving me a little concern. The pages are glued. True, I like it better than those blasted ring bound books, where the pages are want to rip out eventually when you carry them with you, but it does make me worry about it coming undone eventually from use. But this is a long way off, hopefully and I don’t have to worry about it until then.

Moving on to the content:

The book does not waste much time with page upon page of introductions. It goes right to the point. I LOVE THAT! I have a bit of a problem with the Wool allergy blurb. To say that almost all people that are saying they are allergic, are really not is a bit hard to swallow and without being a doctor I would not want to make a sweeping statement like that. Either way, I do agree that some people call it an allergy, but mean sensitive skin.

Page 12 is already right down to the bones of what the book is really about. THE SHEEP BREADS! See? The pages are full of information you actually were looking for when you bought the book! I LOVE THIS! I wish more books would be like that! I quote: “We love Wool, we love sheep, that’s why we wrote the fleece and fibre source book.” end quote. See? Short and sweet and oh, so to the point.

Every sheep breed has a two page display. The name of the breed and a clear picture of what this breed looks like on the left side, and a clipped lock and more information on the right side. There also is a measuring tape pictured with each lock, so you have and idea of staple length.
The pictures are wonderfully clear.
With this guide in hand, I would trust myself to pick out different breeds from a mixed herd.

I love the bits of history on how the breed came to be, the descriptions of the fibre are actually making sense and are telling you something. (I hate when in cookbooks for example it says: Nutty flavor. It means nothing to me…. It’s like saying: It’ tastes like chicken….) I LOVE the little note on how this fibre takes dye! VERY informative and the bit on best uses is just awesome! It really rounds out the information about the fibre perfectly and gives you a great idea of what it might feel like!

Last but not least: There are 100 sheep breeds listed in this book! Trust me, even a seasoned spinner and fiber artist cannot possibly know everything about all these breeds by heart and I know for certain I haven’t spun with half of them! Yes, I have used exotic fibres lie camel and yak, but seriously, THERE ARE A TON OF SHEEP BREEDS I NEED TO GET TO! It is intriguing to just read and think what you could do with the fibre of this particular breed, or that. I know for sure it has gotten me into looking a bit closer for different breeds and passing this new-found sampling-habit on to our customers at the shop. I will definitely try my hardest to bring them handspun fibre of more than just “the usual suspects” from now on! GET READY FOR SOME FUN STUFF, MY FRIENDS!!!!

In my opinion, this book is a great little tag-along for any fibre enthusiast, new or seasoned. I am glad I have it and I most likely will not be seen without it from here on out.

Review: Skirt-A-Day Sewing: Create 28 Skirts for a Unique Look Every Day

Skirt-A-Day Sewing: Create 28 Skirts for a Unique Look Every Day
Skirt-A-Day Sewing: Create 28 Skirts for a Unique Look Every Day by Nicole Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had this book for about two weeks now. I got it for review from the publisher.

This is one of those books, that makes you want to dive into your fabric stash and get going. HOWEVER! My stash is not that extensive and I really don’t have any fabric I would like to be seen in. SO I have to be happy with reading, until I can get my hot little hands on the right stuff.
From what I read so far, I declare, this book is fabulous! It explains everything in detail. Not just the notions and tools you will need, but the measurements, how to measure and why it is important to get this step right. It is not one of those know-it-all books, that intimidate someone (like me) that does not trust a sewing machine as far as she can spit. It rather builds one’s confidence. It assists instead of lecturing. It breaks the process down into steps that are manageable and easily comprehended. No fear sewing! That’s what I like!

It also seems more like a “recipe” for the skirts rather than “follow the instructions or else” type of manual! I love that it builds confidence right from the start for changing what one does not like about a particular pattern! Don’t like the pockets? Leave them off! Want a separated front? Go for it!
It makes you draft your own basic pattern for your own skirt and then gives you variations on how to use it! Brilliant!
I had no idea, that from one such basic pattern you can manage to make this many wonderful and diverse skirts. Looking at the front page (which displays all the patterns given in the book) I did not think they all come from one basic pattern and just changing little bits of it.

This book is definitely a God-sent for me! I want to get into making more of my own clothes. I also have definite ideas, as to what I want those clothes to look like and haven’t found any commercial patterns to accommodate me in this endeavor. THIS BOOK is opening a door for me, that seemed locked with seven seals!

THANK YOU, NICOLE SMITH! I will be eternally in your debt!And so will be my wardrobe!

My recommendation: if you are a beginning seamstress, or just a fraidy cat like me: GO GET THIS BOOK AND DON’T LOOK BACK!
I will definitely sew up a few skirts, as soon as I can find the right fabric! Ready? Set! SEW!


Review: Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs

 Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs
Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs by Alice Curtis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I recently received this book for review from the publisher.
Let me start at the beginning: I have been a knitter for over 30 years now and I have knitted plenty of socks in these years. Both from patterns and after my own designs.

When the book first arrived, I though, “Oh, what an interesting notion!”. Then I opened the pages. The first pattern the book opened up to was the Carnegie Hall socks. There is obviously no fighting over taste, so I told myself to just overlook this faux pas and move on. I went to the beginning of the book and started reading.
I have to say: I am a knitting teacher myself and I have also homeschooled out children, but it would never occur to me to help them slack off. I would find a way to explain it differently, or to use different words and techniques until they get it. To figure out a way and make them not try something new just goes against my better judgement as a teacher. All right, Bridgett, I thought, get over yourself, maybe there are people that would like to get into knitting socks in the round, after trying these!So give them a chance.

I read on and hit the page with the moccasocks! Oh boy! Bleach for my eyes, please!

Since I am a knitting teacher, as I mentioned before, I figured it would be good to give this technique a chance and at least knit one pair of socks with it. I will have to have answers once people start knitting socks this way and need help (and boy will they need help. So Off I went. Grabbed yarn off a shelf at my shop and started off. The socks I picked were really the nicest pair in the entire book. The problem is: I just could not get into a rhythm with this pattern. Nobody’s fault… It happens now and again.

So, I decided to switch to one of the simpler patterns instead, because I have other knitting projects with looming deadlines and wanted these socks off my needles asap. I started out and so far so good, it all worked out and the sock grew right fast.

I got to the heel. I worked the heel exaclty as it stated in the pattern. I find the heel flap a bit short, if you ask me. I usually make them so they square off. None the less, I stuck with the pattern, although I already had a sinking feeling. The pattern then prompted me to pick up 16 stitches along the sides of a too short heelflap. I ignored again my better judgement and went for what the pattern suggested. I finished the sock and found out the heel is puckering at the gusset stitches. the toe is pointy, the heelflap too short and the overall fit of the sock just a little too wide for my taste.

Now, maybe it’s just me, maybe other people have a better experience following this pattern. Maybe I should have used different yarn….I won’t make another pattern from this book. I will not waste my time and my yarn on this!

Apart from the bad experience with this pattern, I must say : The seam will bother you, once the sock is done. If you wear this sock in a shoe, the seam will push into your foot, never mind if it is on the bottom, or the top of the foot.
I also don’t like that one cannot try the sock on while knitting it. In the round (never mind if toe up, or cuff down, circulars, or DPN’s) I can try the sock on and find out two inches into the cuff, that it won’t fit, or know exactly where to stop increasing for the toe.

I do believe people not capable of knitting in the round will not be happy following the patterns in this book. You will not find out until you are done, if this sock will fit you. If you haven’t knitted socks before, you will not be able to simply change the pattern to make it fit, as you don’t know what won’t fit until you are finished and have the sock sewn up. Also the “target group” the author wrote the book for, is people not wanting, or being able to knit in the round. I want to venture, that these same people will not be able to simply change a pattern to begin with.

I would recommend for everyone to try and knit socks in the round. Never mind, if you want to use circular needles, or double point, TRY IT! You will end up with a sock that fits and makes you happy, instead of something you have to bury in the back garden and discouraged to ever try socks again.
If you think I was mean, or I am making this sound worse than it is, I showed the sock to our knitting group at the shop and they were appalled.
Like I said: over 30 years of experience…. trust me when I say: knitting socks in the round is not that hard, but definitely worth it.