Thursday, 20 May 2010

French Girl Knits

Book Depository Link
Ravelry Link
Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: 18: Tank top (3); Cardigan (5); Tunic (2); blouse (1); Skirt (1); Top (1); Jumper (3); Wrap (1), shrug (1)

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 30.25-48" (77-122cm)

Colour/Black & White: Colour with black and white charts (some enhanced with colour)

Schematics: Yes

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced

How to knit guide: No, pretty typical Interweave Knits guide to extra techniques, clarifying some cast-ons etc.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Pretty classical look to this.

Comments: This is not a book for me, but I can see it's appeal to some people, the style is not my style and this will be reflected in my opinion of the patterns.

Satine - floaty tunic tank, designed for negative ease this is intended to be knit in a mohair/silk yarn, using smaller and larger needles to create shaping. I would like to see it in a less fuzzy yarn, I still suspect it's not what I would wear, I know several people it would suit nicely though. Empire styling makes this interesting and a feather-and-fan-lace adds to the interest. Needs planned undergarments. Knit in Worsted and sportweight yarn

Sophia - cable-edged cardigan - knit cuff to centre and then grafted together this is interesting, not my style as I don't like cardigans that don't meet (I mightn't fasten them often but I find it important that I can sometimes), knit in DK weight yarn

Anjou - knit in laceweight yarn this has a tie at the hem. Quite a pretty piece, it's one of a few that made me think about knitting them, I'd do away with the tie at the hem and possibly knit it in two pieces to the waist, this piece is knit on 5.5 and 5mm needles so careful planning of undergarments is again needed.

Paloma is knit in a fine sportweight yarn, it has a circular bodice and cap sleeves and hugs your midsection. Again needs underwear planned.

Nadine is worked from side to side again, with lace on the sides and in worsted weight yarn, quite a pretty piece, this again has open lace in the bust area.

Wrenna - leather-laced cardigan - I'm definitely not a candidate for this garment, it's knit in chunky weight wool and I'm big enough thanks. I was tempted though while looking at it. It's soft, with lace framing it, lace ties and a very open neck, the back is palin to the waist and then continues the lace pattern. A nice top, though if I was to make it I might be tempted to make the sleeves longer.

Stella is another piece that while it and I wouldn't suit I wished that this wasn't true. It's biased and rather beautiful and would be a masterpiece for anyone who knit it. Knit in aran with some fine yarn it might work with yarn a smidge thicker if you didn't want the halo.

I looked at Cybele and thought about knitting it until I looked at the back, if I was to knit this I'd knit it as one piece around the back and avoid the back-fastening, it's a tank top knit sideways and buttoned with three buttons on the back. Knit in worsted-weight yarn

Ondine is an appliqued skirt, split quite high this would need an underskirt, knit in worsted weight yarn with some fire yarn for embelishment

Delphine is a lacy cap-sleeve top, well in my book it's a top with wide straps as the "sleeve" doesn't extend beyond the front shoulder bone on the model. Styled after a corset top this is an open piece knit in fine yarn with graduated lace panels

Niobe - a lacy bell-sleeved pullover knit in worsted with a fine yarn knit alongside it's fairly open but the lace is placed as a triangle at the base and on the sleeves starts at the bottom and tapers to along the middle of the sleeve, I'd like to see it in another colour to fully decide my opinion on it, but I like it. (I wrote this before seeing this version and that is soooo pretty, it would have got closer to convincing me to knit it!)

Celeste is a mohair lingerie wrap, this would also work as a formal jacket, possibly for a winter weading, it's knit in fine yarn (Kidsilk Haze) with 5mm needles, knit from cuff to centre this is then grafted together. I'd say a practice swatch for the grafting would be a very good idea. (I like the non-mohair versions on ravelry seriously check them out!)

Simone - flared-sleeve cowl this is a pretty jumper, fitted and with lace along the bell-sleeves, waist and broad collar this is quite a pretty piece. You would need to be thin to pull it off as the yarn clings to the midsection. Knit in worsted yarn

Viola - short-sleeved cardigan, is a cap-sleeved cardigan with three buttons down the front and a loose bottom section, knit in worsted and fine weight yarn this also features flouncing around the neckline and cuffs. Flounce I'm sure you could eliminate if you wished.

Martine - slip-stitch bordered hoodie - short sleeved with a plain body this features quite a pretty slip-stitch pattern along the sleeve ends and along the edging for the hoodie. I'm not a fan of hoodies and I'm not sure this wouldn't be better with longer sleeves. Still not a bad pattern overall

Louisa - lace tunic - lace for the body, cap sleeves and changing needle sizes to get some shaping this is knit in a chunky weight yarn, this could be stunning on the right person. The yarn used has a metalic fibre through it so while it could be wonderful for a more formal occasion as well as being quite pretty for everyday wear

Veronique - Airy Shrug, knit in kidsilk haze in a circular style this is seamless the back features some tucks for interest and theres some beading along the edge for style, if this is your kind of garment this is one of the best of it's types that I've seen.

Bijou - Cropped Cotton Cardigan - knit in worsted weight yarn this is a two-colour top with short sleeves and a buckle fastening at mid-bust height. knit from side to size and grafted in the middle, an interesting piece for the right person.

Apart from some very nice patterns this also has a lot of advice on the hows and wherefores of the design methods, she does a good job of it and clarifies a lot of methods, with some very good recommendations and quite a good bibliography divided into themes. It's not a book for me but in the right hands this would be an excellent resource and inspiration.

As part of writing this I looked at some of the Ravelry projects and I have to be honest, some of the projects appeal more in different yarns but don't appeal enough to make me want to buy it.

Buy/Borrow: I'd borrow it first and buy if it inspires, many of the patterns are for women with a more ornate mind and dress style than mine.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Wrapped in Crochet Review

Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Scarves, Wraps & Shawls

Number of Patterns: 18: Scarf: 6; Wrap: 4; Ruana: 1; Shawls: 7

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: One size pretty much fits all for most of these; 30-42" for the garments that need sizing, though they don't require much sizing.

Colour/Black & White: Colour, diagrams enhanced with colour for clarity

Schematics: Yes for those that require it, several patterns also have extra diagrams for clarity of construction

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced. You'd need to have some idea of following crochet diagrams but there's nothing terribly complicated.

How to Crochet guide: The standard guide as usually provided in Interweave Crochet Magazine

Experimental/Classical/Modern: It's not all that experimental some are fairly classic.

Comments: I did want to like this book. Some of the ideas intrigued me and made me want to try things out but it seems to fall a bit flat. Don't get me wrong, there were several patterns that made me pause but nothing really begged me to reach for my crochet hook. The photographs don't always show the items in enough detail to make an educated guess about how they would look (I read a review online that suggested looking at Ravelry for better photographs, while I would do that as a matter of course, that's not the point, the photographs are not good enough). Sometimes the finishing isn't quite what I'd expect from a professional publication.

All pattern links below are to Ravelry
It's divided into three sections, Scarves, Wraps and Shawls.

Labyrinth opens the book, a scarf, this kinda bugged me, it didn't look quite finished, it's a log cabin motif one and sewn together.

is a row of corkscrews linked together at intervals to keep it stable. Includes notes on variations to make it larger.

Heidi - a woven and braided scarf - this is interesting, cables formed by weaving crocheted ribbons in two contrast colours into a mesh of a background colour. You could create all sorts of knotwork with this.

Starlet - Boa Scarf - large yarn, large hook, loops.

Ivy - Standard chevron pattern, nice yarn, repeat until you have several feet of it.

Tressa is an interesting hairpin lace scarf. Three strips linked in chevrons this is one of the few that attracted me as I have some beautiful ribbon yarn looking for a pattern.


Gali - infinity motif wrap - case in point about photographs, in no picture do you get to see the infinity motif in it's full glory, it sounded interesting but it let me down

Zeena - Tunisian Ruana - looks interesting - one of the few I looked at with interest and thought about doing, I do plan to learn Tunisian Crochet at some stage and this would be a piece I would seriously attempt.

Ayla - Circular Wrap with sleeves - a sprial wraps it's way around the back and then it's finished off with a hem, bell sleeves and a collar, lots of extra yarn flaring around your waist would need the right person to pull this off, and I'm not the right person for this.

Prima Ballerina - Lacy Cardi Wrap - again I'm let down by the pictures, I would never wear something with a knot tied in front and there is a suggestion of wearing it open but apart from some pictures with the model clutching at it from the front and a side picture, there's nothing to show how it would look or drape.

Geisha - Wrap with tiered edging - openwork mesh with tiers of edging at the ends.


Guinevere - broomstitch lace centres this piece and then it's edged with regular openwork. The only photograph of the back is a half-shot that doesn't really show how it looks, the broomstitch is supposed to be the pivot of this piece.

Maya - Medallion Triangular Shawl - plain shawl with medalions edging it, not a bad piece but it looks like it could do with some sort of patterning occasionally to break up the double/treble crochet.

Stella Circular Shawl - circular motif edged with mesh - this resembles an enlarged doily and while quite interesting just didn't grab me.

He Loves me He loves me not - Shawl with flower petal tiers- crochet a fairly basic shawl, add in fru-fru edging every few rows, not my style.

Farrah - Lacy Shawl with fringe - spiderweb shawl in a bamboo tape yarn it's fairly standard fare

Mother Nature - Triangle Square Shawl - it's pretty much a Granny square shawl, with triangles instead of squares joined togher with a black yarn into something that looks like it came from the 70's. Vastly underwhelmed by it, the finishing didn't impress either, it looked like it needed severe blocking and even then I don't think some of it's problems would have been solved.

Hypnotize - Spiral Shawl - again this didn't really impress, it starts out as a spiral and then splits at the bottom so it can be wrapped, it's not a bad piece, it just doesn't make me reach for a crochet hook, the pattern jars instead of flowing and it just didn't appeal.

Now I'm not completely unimpressed with the book, just underwhelmed, I expected better and more from the designer and the book failed to provide. Designers are under a lot of pressure to provide better than free on the web and I don't think that this book does that.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow it first to see if you want to crochet them, use Ravelry to see how they work with other crocheters but this isn't going on my wishlist. This is the second time through my hands, in many ways I wanted it to be better but it just didn't do anything for me.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a few copies in stock.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots

Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Garments and accessories for babies and toddlers

Number of Patterns: 25

Split of patterns: Babies & Toddlers

Size Range:6 months to 6 years, not all patterns cover all age ranges

Colour/Black & White: cute colour photos, colour charts,

Schematics: No

Target Audience: Some pieces are aimed at beginners, but with no schematics you'd need to have some ideas of how garments should look

How to knit guide: No, but there are some good finishing notes and notes on resizing

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Modern colouring but much of it is pretty plain.

Comments: Zoe Mellor is well known for her colourwork and this shows. Theres a lot of colour, much of it in stripes. Several pieces though are textured rather than coloured.

Daisy Dress - flower-motif dress knit in cotton, no sleeves, cute stuff. Very plain look needs the flower-motif to take it from bland. Could be faked with some edging or bought motifs

Little Star Sweater: Pretty unisex jumper with a large five-pointed star centred on it and contrast trim on the cuffs, rib and neck.

Lacy Sweater - knit in one colour with lacework on the sleeves and a lacy edge and a flower motif worked in lace and bobblework this is a girly top. Cute without being overcute

Little Blossom Cardigan - Zoe Mellor's signature blossoms. Done in three colours this could be made less pink and still be fairly cute.

Fair Isle Cardigan - Hearts make this rather cute, probably a good introduction to fair Isle.

Dots and Stripes Blanket - mixes blues, pinks, green and cream to create a fairly unisex blanket that could be made more gendered or less gendered if you wished

Funky Tank Top - tank top with stripes, unisex, shoulders could be made a little narrower for a slightly better look

Sundress - button fastening on the top sundress, striped.

Pirate Sweater - Skull & crossbones Jumper, skull has a bit of a smile. Could be very entertaining if done in very subtly contrasting yarns. Also cool in the original blues, reds and whites. She manages to make the skull cute and smile!

Strawberries & Cream Sweater - Jumper in an off-white with strawberries as an edging.

Heart-motif cardigan - frilled edging with hearts in a variety of colours and sizes

Fairy Dress - knitted bodice and sewn skirt.

Ship Ahoy! Sweater - fish and a boat decorate this jumper with contrast trim on the sleeves, cuffs and rib

Ballerina Wrap - Wrap top

Chunky Cable Sweater - contrast edging and an aran-style jumper

Multicolour bobble cardigan - Bobbles edge this cardigan, the cardigan itself is pretty basic with moss stitch edging, other ornamentation could be used.

Zip-up Jacket - Zipped Moss stitch cardigan with pockets, pretty unisex

Robin Hood Jacket - this is a rather cool cabled jacket which I would regard as pretty unisex, tassled hood and toggles enhance it and the cable around the edge of the hood is cool.

Hearts and Stars Blanket - All one colour the hearts and stars are done in moss stitch as relief. Rather cute.

Fair Isle Tassled Hat - Square hat with tassles at the ends. Knit flat

Striped Hat & Scarf Set - Stripes in five colours, hat has earflaps and is knit in the flat

Cabled hat with earflaps - it has a bobble and reeks cute. Knit flat.

Bold banded Mittens - with a string to keep them from getting lost. Knit in the flat

Polka Dot bootees & Hat - Slippers would be good practice for the hat, both knit flat.

Baby Slippers - Moss stitch slippers with mother of pearl buttons and cross stitch embroidery look like mary-janes but extremely cute.

The cute is strong with this one, I'd possibly eliminate many of the seams, particularly in the cardigans but still they're nice pieces, fairly classic stuff and amenable to change. Colour fashions change but the basics here are good and the shapes have some added interest to keep you going. Many of them would be workable for a beginner without some of the fru-fru and possibly enhanced after sewing up. This would be an ideal book for someone looking into playing with colourwork or lacy pieces without investing too much money or work to the item.

Buy/Borrow: I'd borrow first and see if it appeals. If I was knitting for kids I think it would be part of my library

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Shrunken socks

So I was proud of Mac's Birthday Socks, they looked good, he was happy with them, I was happy with them. They looked good.

This was them before they were finished

Ffrench 1

And then I finished them, and washed them (they were supposed to be superwash), and they just fit me now, they felted.

Shrunken sock

Yes, they're warm and they're nice but they were supposed to be his birthday socks, he was supposed to get mileage out of them!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Gauge Swatch and socks

After asking for help about what to knit in that aran yarn I found out that it looked best knit in 4.5 or 4mm needles NOT 5mm and while I did get gauge with it for Sea Breeze it just didn't look right to me.

Tension square cotton
is the gauge swatch 4mm to the left, 4.5mm in the middle and 5mm to the right. It was washed and the gauge checked after washing, I even put some clothes pegs on it to pull it down a bit.

So I had to find another pattern with smaller needles so I picked the Seaside Cardigan And am almost finished the shoulders and increasing part.

Today I finished the first of another pair of socks.

Honeycomb sock 1

The yarn is called Hummel or Bumblebee and the pattern is called Green Merino Socks but I think it looks like honeycomb, I'm liking it, I think it will make me smile in the winter and think of warm summer days.

Debbie Bliss' Celtic Collection

Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: The over 25 comes in at 26 (The numbers won't work, several patterns are offered in child and adult sizing): Women's Cardigan (7); Scarf (2); Jumper Men(3); Jumper children(3); baby cardigan (3); Baby Socks (2); Cardigan children (2); Jumper Women (2); Baby top (1) Hat (1); Baby Jumper (1); Baby Wrap

Split of patterns: Men/women/children all of the above

Size Range: 32-38 (women) child 2-10 years (22.5-43.25"); Men (48-53.5"); Baby 6-24 months

Colour/Black & White: Colour throughout

Schematics: NO!

Target Audience: Beginner with some Intermediate work

How to knit guide: No

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Modern but some classics

Comments: "Inspired by the legends and the landscapes of the Celts" according to Debbie this is a book with some rustic looking touches. An excuse to play with some fairisle and cables.

First out we have Fair Isle Cardigan with Chenile Edging. Button up to the neck with horizontal stripes. The chenille edging is quite a nice touch.

Fair Isle Scarf has a 13 row fair isle motif either end, knit flat and then joined down the middle. If you were looking to learn how to do fair isle, probably a good starter piece, though the over 40" of plain knitting might just be hard work.

Simple Sweater with Collar - deep rib, plain body with dropped sleeves and a ribbed collar, perfect, simple plain jumper for children or men.

Denim Tunic with Pockets - for kids up to 5 this is a plain tunic, with two pockets in moss stitch, it wouldn't be a Debbie Bliss pattern book without at least one pattern with moss stitch!

Boxy Aran Jacket
- cropped to the waist and quite wide this is not the most flattern garment I've seen. The shallow pockets do not really work for me.

Classic Fair Isle Cardigan
and socks - for babies aged 6-26 months this button to the neck cardigan and socks with fair isle tops reflects the earlier fair isle cardigan, using half the motif for the pattern.

Smock Jacket - Cables help pull in the piece with cabling on the body and smocking on the sleeves and collar. Quite sweet piece for a 1-3 year old.

Herringbone and moss stitch Sweater
- A jumper for men from size 32-46, polo necked.

Lace Jacket
- Lace chevrons on this v-necked cardigan - arty shot of thistles obscure the photograph of the cardigan, knit in black (pet hate!!) so any hope of knowing any detail is lost.

Lace Alpaca Scarf
- Lace chevron scarf, in alpaca.

Child's Zipped Jacket
- designed for ages 3-5 this piece has a fair isle pattern across the chest, making this otherwise fairly plain pocketed jacket quite interesting (photographed child seems determined to test the pockets to destruction!)

Cabled Hearts Sweater - drop shouldered girly jumper designed for ages 3-5, knit in Denim it also features a cute hem.

Cashmere Crossover Top - not a lot of sizes offered for this top but it's not a bad version of the type, only pity is that it's only is sizes 32-36"

Lace and Cable Tunic - offered in only one size this is a fairly pretty piece, knit in denim this would appear to be more for teens than adults. has pockets.

Moss stitch denim jacket - baby jacket in her signature moss stitch with pockets - quite sweet.

Cabled Tweed Jacket - for women, quite a nice piece, this has cables running lengthwise it buttons near the top with a small collar, has a vent in the back and would appear to be fitted but no schematics so I'm only guessing here! Also only comes in 34" & 36".

Shaped Denim Jacket - Women's cardigan with cables and moss stitch and it would appear to have shaping - photographs don't tell enough!!! Again only offered in 34" and 36"

Longline Aran Tunic - one size to fit 34-38" this is a sloppy joe style with a very deep neck.

Argyle Twinset - Baby short sleeved top and cardigan with argyle pattern along the chest of the top and along the bottom and end of sleeves of the cardigan to fit from 6 months to 3 years.

Shawl Collared Sweater - knit in chunky yarn this is a basic drop shouldered mens' jumper to fit sizes 48.75-55"

Beret - Beret with fair isle patterning.

Fair Isle Sweater with Socks - personally speaking I have to admit that the neckline on this doesn't work for me, nor does the pockets. It's got a open collar, I would be tempted to tweak it. The socks with the fair isle cuffs are cute.

Fair Isle Baby Wrap - is what it is sizes a little under 19x30" I would be very tempted to line this one if I was giving it to someone for use with a child, floats and babies aren't always a good combination.

Chenille Jacket - small shawl collar, moss stitch edges to this button front cardigan, uses the velvet look of chenille well.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do own a copy of this book, I've just never really looked all that critically at it and to be honest I would have fitted the sizing when I bought it (ah youth!). The pictures are arty, the kids look cute but I dislike the fact that it lacks schematics, there's no real way to work out what the garments would look like without knitting them, she does occasionally use charts but a lot of the cables are written out line for line.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow it, look at it critically and you might find something you would like in it. I've seen it going cheap a lot of places. Some of the patterns are quite good and the mens patterns fall into the men would wear this range! I know many people who have said that Debbies kids stuff is in the large size. I find it amusing that she has more sizing for kids than adults.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries have a few copies.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Harmony Guide to Knitting Techniques

Amazon.Com linkBook Depository Link(sorry no ravelry Link

Any other info: 0711100640, 1993, Lyric Books

Types of patterns: How-to

Number of Patterns: 1

Split of patterns: Men/women/children - Family sized pattern

Size Range:20-30" for children and 32-42" for adults

Colour/Black & White: mostly colour, though the drawings are restricted

Schematics: no, not for the supplied pattern, though in the "Working from a pattern" section "Measurment diagrams" are mentioned

Target Audience: Beginner, could lead to intermeditate or expert behaviour!

How to knit guide: Yes, actually this is what this book is about.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Classic

Comments: this 96 page book takes you though learning how to knit, learning how the fabric is constructed (in the English manner) and how to do all sorts of techniques (including short-row shaping, labelled Working and turning. It explains grafting, in garter and in rib, it explains a multitude of methods of working and gives a few samples of colourwork, cables, lace etc. It also has a good section on finishing. It's a good basic how-to book that's a little dated but not much. The illustrations are clear and probably better than photographs and photographs are judiciously scattered where it helps.

There is one garment listed, a family guernsey garment, knit in the round with underarm gussetts for children and adults.

Buy/Borrow: If you're looking for a good basic reference work that you can carry around, you could do much worse. The index is pretty good and the information is clear. It is a bit dated but not too much so it would be available cheaply making it an ideal accompanyment to a knitting bag.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a few copies.

Friday, 7 May 2010

April & May Socks

Most of these socks were knit in April but I just finished them during my lunch today.

These are my latest finish I'm going to have to see if I can find a more sunshiny yarn for the rest of the month, these make me think about my garden as it is now, all brown with some colour peeking in. The leaves are largely hidden, rather like those of my Purple Basil that I almost lost in the soil.

muster socks 002

The pattern is kinda lost in them it's the Berlin Muster (Ravelry Link) socks in Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Multieffekt, I can't remember where I picked it up.

They nearly match pattern wise, those who know me know that isn't deliberate!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Blueprint Crochet link
Bookdepository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: accessories & Garments

Number of Patterns: 19: Earrings (1); Necklace (1); Bag (1); Bracelet (1); Scarf/Wrap (2); Tunic (1), Belt (1); Shawl (1); Bolero (1); Cardigan (3); Top/vest (4); Dress (1); Jacket (1);

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 34"-46" (86.5cm-117cm)

Colour/Black & White: Colour pictures, black & White diagrams with some colour highlights

Schematics: For garments

Target Audience: Feels like Intermediate Crochet to me

How to knit guide: Basic guidelines and motif crochet guidelines at the start.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Modern but some pieces are pretty classical.

Comments: I'm not an expert crocheter, and these pieces aren't terribly complicated, I did want to really like them but while they're nice, there's something missing here. Nice but not nice enough really. I think it's possibly that they're just not me.

Heather Earrings & Necklace - crocheted in fine crochet thread these are an interesting use of crochet motifs.

Nicki Tote - using circles, crochet a bag, this needs the lining to be useful.

Julie Cuff - Motif braclet, perfect for people who are allergic to metal, particularly if fastened with a non-metal button

Madison Scarf - Various sizes of motifs in a worsted weight yarn fastened in sequence, this is probably a perfect introduction to joining motifs as you go.

Isabella Wrap - a one-size fits all sport-weight wrap with some interesting openings, and edging, looks like a folk costume shawl/wrap

Maureen Tunic - This one attracted me and then I looked again, it's almost off the shoulder with a deep v front, nice but I'm not expert enough to make this work for me.

Nora Belt - semi-chain-link belt.

Sheryl Shawl - almost shell shaped semi-circular shapes join to make a shawl in sport-weight. Done in two contrast colours this could be quite an interesting piece

Katie Bolero - Worsted Weight bolero that fastens with two toggle buttons, it's a nice piece, I'd be tempted to do it for a special occasion but the under-garment would have to come first. Wonderfully ornate and interesting

Megan Sweater - A coat/cardigan in quite open motifs, this one tempted me but I realised that I prefer my cardigans a little more closed for the main body. Worked in DK weight yarn

Maggie Wrap Top - Short wrap top that again would tempt me if I had the garment to go under it, again in DK weight yarn

Paige Sweetheart Top - DK work, summer short sleeve cardigan

Raeanne Shawl Sweater: Interesting piece in sport-weight yarn, side buttoning very wide shawl collar that reminds me of sailor collars.

Sarah Bee Dress - openwork dress that needs a lining or full slip. Broad shoulders would cover most bra straps but the underarm looks from pictures as if it needs a bit of work.

Rachel Swing Jacket - Elbow length sleeves with a bit of contrast, this is a double breasted swing jacket that's worked in Sport-weight yarn from the top, the sleeve and a strap on the back are done in contrast yarn. This one is definitely not me.

Rebecca Vest - tank top with small eyelets and contrast edging (edging almost lost in the photograph - bad stylist, no cookie) done in fingering weight yarn

Christin Crop- trop top with short sleeves in Worsted weight yarn, off centre closure

Courtney Corset Top - the name is a bit of a misnomer, it doesn't really say corset to me but it is a deep v neck top with short puff sleeves with a high rib (on the cover of the copy I have it's the central picture)

The book also has the back flap with the symbols on it, very useful.

As I said, while some of the pieces appeal they didn't appeal enough to make me want to reach for my needles, however they're not bad designs and I wouldn't mind looking at them again some day.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow and see if they appeal, it's not a book I plan to buy right now but it might just get bought sometime in the future.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has some copies.

Cardigan plans

I have 10 balls of this yarn
i.e. 1,690m of Aran weight cotton yarn.

I'm thinking about making a cardigan out of it.

I have a long-list, I prefer low necked cardigans and preferably something that looks as good open as shut.

First up is the Ruffled Surplice Ravelry Link it's pretty, but maybe a little too pretty and lacking a bit in the usefulness I need.

There's Ophelia Ravelry Link possibly underusing the yarn, I would be left with a lot of it over.

There's Hey Teach Ravelry Link possibly a bit too girly for me really, again a bit of an underuse

Sitcom Chic Ravelry Link may be a little to short around the shoulders, I wouldn't fasten it up there as well. I could add a row of eyelets underbust to where it would suit me better.

Otis Ravelry Link could be quite nice, fails in the fastening but there are suggestions of different ways to fasten it that would suit me for my more open style

If I make one of the patterns with less yarn I might make this Candy Cardigan Ravelry Link afterwards out of the leftovers

Salt Peanuts (ravelry Link) is also a possibility but I'm not sure that it wouldn't be better in wool.

Nordique Swing(ravelry Link) is also a possibility but with the same reservations as Salt Peanuts and the collar would probably annoy.

Dollar and a half Ravelry Link has possibilities.

Nantucket Jacket Ravelry Link is another possibility.

Buckland Cardigan - PDF Link Ravelry Link has the advantage of being plain to reflect the slightly variegated yarn

Sea Breeze - PDF Link Ravelry Link is interesting. The cable will keep me knitting and keep my interest

Fern - PDF link Ravelry Link is kinda cute but maybe too cute for me and too cute for that yarn.

The Eyelet Cardigan (Ravelry Link) has some interesting structure but I'm not sure that it wouldn't be more ornamental than useful and I'm looking for useful in this.

Que Sera
- Ravelry Link Appeals, the neckline is a little open, but I might be able to fix that.

The Java Foldback Placket Ravelry Link is interesting but may be a good forum for using up some left-overs.

Drops Cardigan
- Ravelry Link is again fairly plain, the rib has some interesting detailing.

So does anyone have any input? Advice? Opinions?

ETA: Part asking and part collecting the patterns in one place (and closing tabs!)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Closely Knit link BookDepository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: garments and household stuff

Number of Patterns: 34

Split of patterns: mostly women but some men and children

Size Range: Women: 32-40; Men 36-48

Colour/Black & White: Colour throughout

Schematics: For garments there is a sketched schematic with a variety of information that might help sizing up or down

Target Audience: Beginner with some experience, some of these pieces will stretch you a bit

How to knit guide: No but the glossary is actually helpful and has paragraphs about the techniques rather than a one liner.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Modern classics

Comments: Helpfully the timer for length of time to knit the projects is actually in the contents page, also the glossary is useful and quite clear, with some of the projects there's some tips for if you're stuck for time.

The first chapter is devoted to mothers with 5 projects.
First a Bird's Nest Pincushion, cute
Lacy Hanging Picture Frame, not my thing but fine for what it is.
Mohair-Blend Square Pillow - pretty basic stuff, maybe not the best present for a person who doesn't like fluff all over the place
Cashmere Ruffles Scarf - Interesting almost leaf-shaped scarf. Short rows make this interesting and it would be a good thing to learn short-rows with.
The Cabled Cardigan finishes the chapter. Wide sleeves with a ruffle, ruffled hem and buttoned to the neck with a cable down the back, it's fitted. My biggest gripe with this pattern is that there is no photograph of the back featured, only of a portion of the back so there's no idea how this cable works overall with the garment.

Next is a chapter on Daughters:
Lace-tipped striped scarf and hat starts the chapter, exactly what it says, cute but for me it doesn't quite work.
Vintage Knee Socks. This does appear to have some shaping built in, a diamond pattern along the leg and a plain foot.
Cuddle Bear - big fat bear-ish toy with dungarees that can be removed. The proportions don't work for me.
Cap-sleeved eyelet top - tank top with cap sleeves, another poorly photographed project. Starts with ribbing, then lace pattern, then ribbing at the waist and more lace. Sleeves are plain, not bad but I'd like to see a full photograph of the garment
Tree of Love Wall Hanging - Big ass inartasia project with miles of appliquéd i-cord and some embroidered words. Recipient would need a wall with space for a 21" (or 53cm)Square piece. Before launching into this one you would need to be certain that this would suit the person involved.

Next chapter is Sisters:
Multi-direction scarf and hat: modular work, these are interesting but in some ways not interesting enough to catch my interest to try them
Embroidered flower socks: Picot edging adds to the plain socks and then some lazy-daisy embroidery along the leg.
Pinwheel pillow uses short row shaping and an edging with a cable, this piece is one of very few that made me think about making it.
Bright Stripes Throw - garter stitch throw over 125 stitches in wool, edged with a picked up border, the stripes would take away from the miles of knitting involved.
Tiered Skirt, accented with ribbon this is one that could either have you lynched or loved. Skirt is designed to sit below the waist on hips, elasticated waist, again not shown clearly in the book in a photograph.

Men in our lives are up next
Juggling balls start the ball rolling. cute.
Urban Beanie, Snug fitting with small earflaps
One-by-one ribbed scarf - designed to be knit with Noro this is a pretty simple rib scarf.
Man socks - socks in worsted weight yarn, remember these don't always work for people who don't wear boots or heavy socks regularly.
Simple Sweater - worsted weight simple round-necked jumper with fitted sleeves. Honestly I prefer the ones with something to keep my interest. This would be perfect for a film-marathon!
Rustic Sweater Vest- V-necked tank top in dk weight yarn. Again plain

Wee Ones is the next chapter
Square-top hat and mitts are pretty simple small baby gifts.
Kangaroo vest is a 12 month to 18 month inartasia pattern.
Heart-Patch Pants - again for babies these are baby pants with hearts on their knees
Ducky Cardigan is a pretty plain cardigan with ducks on the pockets highlighted with some embroidery. Not very big these would possibly be good for people starting at colourwork
Patchwork Blanket - five strips make this up which are later sewn together, a single apple breaks the tedium, I feel a need to mention that it's 32"x40" (81cmx102cm) knit on 2.75mm needles, 48 stitches per strip. While the original design has you pick up stitches along the edge, I'd be inclined to crochet the edge.

Last chapter is Friends:
Heart Pin - cute small project.
Earflap Hat - the earflaps are actually cabled, making them somewhat interesting and in a contrast colour, the hat is pretty plain
Striped mittens - pretty much what they say, knit flat and sewn up the side at the end.
Pocket Tote - Knit on 10mm in a bulky weight yarn this isn't felted but possibly should be, it mentions optional liner for the bag, probably more sensible to line this than not.
Birdie Felted Patchwork Bath Mat - felted mat with other felted stuff appliqued.

I did really want to like this book but somehow it just didn't impress me enough to want to buy it. It's not a bad book but the projects just didn't sing to me. YMMV. I know that some of the projects intrigued me but not enough to make me want to knit them for me or anyone else. I'd be more interested by the Patterns in Knits to Share and Care than this one. I'm not impressed with the photography either, it seems to miss out in showing some of the details which are part of why you'd want to knit something in favour of arty shots which makes me wonder what's wrong with the project.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow and if you like them, buy.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a few copies.

Monday, 3 May 2010

101 Flowers to Knit & Crochet

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet LinkBookdepository LinkRavelry Link

Types of patterns: Flowers, vegetables and butterflies

Number of Patterns: 100

Split of patterns: Flowers:71; Leaves: 14; Butterfly: 3; Veg: 4: Nuts/Seeds:2; Fruit: 5; insects: 2
Crochet:60; Knit:40

Size Range: N/A

Colour/Black & White: Colour with black and white crochet charts

Schematics: no illustrations suffice

Target Audience: Pieces divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced under both Crochet and knitting
How to knit guide: The very basics are included and it's really all you need.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Flowers, veg and butterflies are really universal

Comments: UK terms but it's stated and the differences explained in the how-to section of the book, most of the crochet is charted so if you understand that you can just use that. I've only tried two of the patterns, which were pretty easy to follow after some thinking (and swearing, yes indeed there was some swearing). It's isn't just Flowers. There are leaves, Vegetables and butterflies as well. While the author doesn't state what yarn or needle to use there's plenty of scope for using up leftovers to create a garden of flowers. I'm almost tempted to make acrylic plant markers using these. Yes the total above is 101 but there's rosebuds rolled together with rolled roses, which I counted separately.

Unlike some other books like this that I've read, these are quite familiar flowers for this Irish person, and while, yes, it's not 100 flowers the other filler is quite fun and didn't make me feel cheated. I bought myself a copy and look forward to trying more.

I knit one of the Daffodils this year from this. It was a satisfying make.

Buy/Borrow: I bought a copy, it's available in libraries.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies, I'd borrow before buying and try one or two out, I've seen reviews that state that there's some errors but so far I've been lucky.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Everyday Crochet

( link) link Bookdepository link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Garments and a few accessories

Number of Patterns: 24

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 30-52, not in all patterns but some are quite loose so it doesn't really matter.

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs. Black and white crochet charts.

Schematics: Yes and broken down into modules, like sleeve length to cuff, cuff size etc.

Target Audience: Not really aiming at the rank beginner, still it's not the most complicated and once you get the shells she uses and the starting chain stitch you've really got the basics you need right there

How to Crochet guide: No, some guides to some of the stitches and symbols but that's about it.

Experimental/Classical/Modern : Modern feel but fairly classical shapes and concepts.

Comments: This one had me reaching for my hook and wondering what yarn to use first. I like the concepts and the styles, while some of them are a bit much and I really would like to see a v-neck cardigan in the mix I like how it's done. While there are 24 patterns (including some accessories) really there's 5 patterns with some variations and the accessories. They're divided into chapters for you to follow what you're doing. Then go to page 138 for the starting chain and then get stuck in. Remember that this is US terms.

Pattern Links to Ravelry.
Chapter 1 needs to be read, particularly the part marked "I told you So", read it again after reading the pattern.

Chapter 2 is called Sleek Starters: Cami-Tanks. Camisole tops and tank tops. The first one is called Cameo. Scooped top, pretty plain, slim straps. What people in Ireland would probably refer to as a vest.

Sweet Tea is the first variation (the one I made) Thicker straps basically. I should have made them longer, this may have to be fixed later.

With Somnambulista she takes the vest and ads a skirt for a nightdress or slip. Sweet stuff

Chapter 3 is called Tops of the Line: Pullovers. Starting with Jewel, a 3/4 length top with an open neckline.

No Sweat lengthens the body, adds vents, longer sleeve cuffs and round collar and produces a jumper.

Runaround adds a crew neck shortens the sleeves and works in a lighter fabric for a t-shirt style top.

Tall Latte: puts a cuff on the 3/4 length sleeves and changes round to V for the neck, contrast colours on the cuffs adds a bit to this one.

Rah-Boon-Dee-Ay adds ruffled lace cuffs and end and plays with the v again for an oversized top. the sleeve holes in this look a bit too open but I think it's meant to be that open. You may have to adjust before finishing.

Chapter 4 is Captivating Cover-ups: Cardigans.

Starting with Cinnabar which is a pretty classic cardigan. The only thing that makes me think twice about this one is the neckline, I'd prefer a more v-ed shape. I keep coming back to it and thinking about it!

Soft Serve is pretty much a bed jacket, it could be a quite pretty evening jacket

Mocha Rocha widens the sleeves to a bell and adds a contrast trim and cuffs. The edge curves away nicely. This one isn't my style, I could see people who might like it though.

Mei-Mei is a bolero jacket, it features on the cover of the copy I have, I'm not impressed by it.

Chapter 5 is Layer it On: Vests starting with Galena which is a pullover vest, deep v - probably my next project in crochet.

Eve's Rib Tunic adds length and a cowl collar and ribbed armbands

Insight is also vying for my attention, open fronted, plunging neckline with ties for a nice fluid waistcoat.

4-S Vest The four Sstand for Short, Striped, Sassy & Shell. It's done in yarn that needs a 6mm hook, rounded neck, 3 button waistcoat

Chapter 6: Warm Ways- Coats. Starting with Haru, a open tunic style top designed for a yarn like noro.

Shannon adds longer sleeves and a collar.

Outta Sight - it's pretty much a reflection of the 60's long waistcoats, with design notes to finish earlier or later if you wish. Short sleeves

Chapter 7 is Added Interest - Belts and Closures starting with sash-A, pretty much a plain belt.
Hardware is a bulky crocheted variation on Sash-a

Software is a loop belt, joined links

Multitask- tabbed belt that takes some aspects of Sash-A and some of Software

In-Line Links are paired buttons so that you can use the advantage of the crochet to move buttons to where you want them on the day.

Buy/Borrow: I borrowed a copy and then bought my own, the relative simplicity appeals to me. The crocheting was almost mindless at times but gave me a great garment at the end.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies, I bought mine from the Book Depository.