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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!

Review: Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids

Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids
Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids by Patricia Hoskins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok… I got this book for review and my first thought was: Aaawww, I don’t have little ones….
Then I opened the book.
Oh my gosh! I LOVE everything about this book! I love (nearly) all the patterns in it. I ADORE the fabric choices! I love how easy to understand the instructions are.


If you know me, I do not often give five stars….but this one deserves it.

The fabrics chosen for the samples in the book were absolutely delightful! They made you want to run out and get sewing. I kid you not! One of the few times, I actually read the source in the back of the book, to see where I can get these scrumptious fabrics.

The patterns in the book are relatively easy and straight forward. They are cute and practical and a few whimsical ones.

As I was sitting and squeeee-ing over the book, my daughter came to check it out with me and even she (18 year old teenager) thought the patters were absolutely adorable and she found a few things she would like to make to use for herself. (no, no babies on the way, or even in our circle of friends, just really great ideas on the pillow and bag- front)

All in all: If you even have a remote chance of having a little one around the house and are a seamstress: GET THIS BOOK! Even if you DON’T have little ones, this book will inspire you to get sewing! It certainly has for me!

View all my reviews

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.