Saturday, 22 December 2012

Twenty to make Mini Christmas Knits - review



Book Depository, Ravelry, Dublin City Public Libraries

Cute christmas knits.  Starts with an introduction and some basic techniques then has 20 different Christmas themed knits.

Twinkling star using sequin yarn, make 5 points and knit them together and then sew two pieces stuffing as you go.

Christmas tree with some ornaments - again make 2, sew together adding beads and a bell as ornaments as you go.

Gingerbread Heart - not sure what makes this gingerbread, it's more nordic to me or rustic.  Knit two heart shapes, sew together with blanket stitch in a contrast yarn, add felt or button heart to centre.

Mini-sweater with a cable, knit 2 sew together.

Mini-mittens, make 2, sew up

Christmas mouse.  sewn

Fairy mouse, like the ordinary mouse but with a tutu, wings and wand.

Stocking, again sewn.

Holly garland sewn onto a curtain ring

Sweetie cone, lined with felt, seamed

Fir tree egg cosy is one of the one that appeals, though it's layers of sewn strips of leaves.

Rudolph is another sewn ornament, you would need to use pipecleaners in the i-cord to keep him up, he's more of a hanging ornament as designed.

Snowman with a hat and scarf and i-cord twig arms and yes sewn.

Rocking Robin, body and breast are made seperately and sewn together, sewn on wings, beak, tail, legs and feet.

Christmas Pud - pudding, large icing drips, small icing drips made seperately and incorporated into the icing top, holly leaves made seperately and all sewn on

Christmas Angel would do for a very small tree.

What a hoot - a miniature owl made in many pieces and seamed together.

French hen - a hen with a scarf, again made in multiple pieces.

Turtle Dove - again complicated small pieces seamed later

Nordic Bunting made with some nordic style patterns these are cute.


One for those who enjoy fiddly seaming. AKA not me.  The only things that caught my attention were the egg-cozies (and I don't often eat eggs) and the bunting.  The rest didn't really grab me.

Friday, 21 December 2012

We Knit you a Merry Christmas review


  Book Depository, Ravelry, Dublin City Public Libraries

We knit you a Merry Christmas by Debbie Harrold

Some quite amusing, some groanworthy patterns.  All in dioramas, only 3 of them are on ravelry as I write this.

First up is a Brussels Sprout with a beard, moustache and Santa hat. fiddly seaming

Chill Out - A Chilli Pepper with glasses, magazine and paper hat.

Ha Pea Christmas - a pea skiing, wearing a Santa hat.

Turkey, a knit turkey with a Santa hat.

Go Crackers - a pair of crackers with Santa hats.

Let it snow - a group of snowballs sledding, wearing festive crowns.

Gingerbread - a Gingerbread man and woman

Choir Boys - choir boys with book

Snappy Christmas - a christmassy crocodile

Baa Humbug - Christmas sheep, with either Santa hat or antlers (made with pipe cleaners)

Three French Hens - hens with striped jumpers knitted in and berets or Santa hats.

Happy Christmas, Deer - yes, you guessed it, a deer with antlers.

Ho Ho Ho - Santa

Have an Ice Christmas - a polar bear with a scarf and skates

Penguin - with scarf and ear-muffs

We Three Kings - apart from the fact that I always understood that at least one of the kings wasn't Caucasian .. three kings with cloaks and gifts.

Chris Moose - a moose with a Chris label.

Angel - in silver dress and bearing a gift.

Snowman - with scarf and hat

Mistle Toad and Wine - a toad shown with a miniature bottle of wine.

At the back there are some knitting basics.

This one really made me groan, not for me it would probably appeal to people who like making miniature toys and playing with Dioramas.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Knitting without tears review



Book Depository, Dublin City Public Libraries, Ravelry.
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann


Elizabeth Zimmermann is the grandmother of modern American knitting and her books are in the bibliography of almost every knitting book in the last 10 or so years.  She's opinionated, antsy and she will tell you exactly what she thinks, but she's also entertaining to read.  It's full of illustrations and sketches by her and it has a certain charm.  The patterns are pretty timeless (provided you adjust for current fashion for fit) There are patterns for jumpers/sweaters, socks, baby wear, watch caps, socks, slippers, mittens and more here, along with advice on washing jumpers.  The Tomten jacket makes an appearance here and you may have to translate the yarns and needles but she makes you ask questions about why you knit the way you do and why you don't play with your knitting more.

This is what Elizabeth Zimmermann is famous for, not the patterns, but for making people think more about how they knit and how things go together and whether or not received wisdom is always the best way.

It's worth reading, even if you don't knit any of the patterns, if you're feeling like there's more that you could do in knitting, even if you don't agree with her, she makes you think.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Rowan Crochet Workbook review




Crochet Workshop - Rowan (Book Depository Link)
Ravelry Link
Dublin City Public Libraries have copies which is where I picked up my copy

Text links are to the patterns on Ravelry.
The presentation of this book is quite good, spiral bound makes it easier for beginners, however it's not a book for left-handed crocheters.  Right-handedness is assumed and there's no real mention of using a mirror or that it's possible to crochet left-handed.

The edition I read is the one on the Amazon.co.uk site and it was in UK crochet terms with a note about the US terms and conversion notes.

Workshop one takes you through some stitches like slip-stitch, double, half-treble, trebles and double trebles you then have a four-stitch coaster practice piece.

Workshop 2 - Stripes are explained next followed by a mixed-yarn striped scarf

Edgings are explored, with some simple patterns, a discussion of edging other fabrics with crochet.

Seaming comes up next, with a patchwork cushion cover to practice crochet seams.

Workshop 3 brings in shaping and working in the round, and some simple flowers. Project four is a Cloche hat with a flower.

Afghan Squares are explored with a couple of different types, often referred to as Granny Squares.  Project five is a Wagon wheel throw, with 188 motifs needing sewing up afterwards.

Workshop 4 takes you through creating textures, lace and some colourwork.  Project six is a crochet belt, covered in crocheted flowers.  Colourwork is used in some variety for the felted pots.

Workshop 5 is about garments and finishing. Project eight is a Baby Matinee Jacket, project 9 is a baby dress. After a piece about finishing with crochet button techniques and pocket techniques there's a woman's cardigan in a very simple stitch.  Short sleeved and made in pieces.

Workshop 6 is about embelishing crochet. Beads, felting and embroidering.  Project 11 is a crocheted necklace with beads. Project 12 is a felted bag with corsage, sewn after felting.

Most of the yarns used in the projects are dk or lighter.

Apart from the caveat about left-handed crocheters it's not a bad book, if you were looking to get into crochet it would be a good lead-in and after doing the projects you would have a good idea of what you were doing with a hook.  The photographs are clear but I don't think that they use enough of how Crochet can be done three-dimensionally, seams are ever-present where perhaps they aren't absolutely necessary.