Review: Teach Yourself Visually Color Knitting

9781118066850 coverTeach yourself visually color knitting 9781118066850 by Mary Scott Huff covers a lot of things. It has two introductory chapters and then focuses on different types of color knitting: stripes, slip-stitch, stranded, intarsia, entrelac, modules and embellishment, with a final chapter on advanced skills. The chapters generally include some examples, an explanation of how to do it, patterns, and a small stitch library, This is a lot to cover. While I liked seeing examples of the techniques, I wasn’t that excited by most of the patterns. What I really wanted was information on techniques, how to (i.e. teach yourself). Those explanations look generally good (I read some but not all) and the pictures are clear. The intarsia section does not include information on knitting backward, which I have heard makes it go faster. But the book is far bigger (heavier and more expansive) because it also includes the patterns and small stitch libraries. The patterns may not date well and the stitch libraries are really quite small. I would have liked more on techniques, perhaps larger stitch libraries, so that this would be a reference book that would last and not become dated. If you are starting to knit, it might be a good book to acquire.


Review Luxe knits : the accessories

Luxe knits : the accessories : couture adornments to knit & crochet 9781600595851 by Laura Zukaite looked interesting on the shelf. When I actually flipped through it at the public library, I realized I wasn’t going to bother to check it out. I don’t see myself making any of these items; they just aren’t me. There is also an amazing amount of smocking in the book. It seems like at least 50% of the patterns involve smocking (this is without the book in front of me to actually check). The author includes her original sketches with the patterns and it is interesting see her idea and how she created it in the pattern. I also found myself liking some of her drawings, but being less enamored of them when knit.

Review: The Handknitter’s Yarn Guide

The handknitter’s yarn guide : a visual reference to yarns and fibers 9781250003072 by Nikki Gabriel would be a fabulous addition to the Guild library. It is definitely a reference book, not a reading book. The author covers basic yarn categories by weight and then by fiber type. For each fiber, there is a general description and then additional information on qualities, use and care, pros and cons of the fiber and sometimes burn test information. Most yarns include pictures of the yarn knit in stockinette, with a cable and in lace. Each fiber is generally shown in three weights. The book includes information on blends as well. One of the great aspects for spinners (or knitters working with handspun or who have just lost track of the yarn label) is the gauge and yardage guide, which includes recommended needle size correlated with wraps per inch. The book also includes a “textured yarn” section, including bouclé, chenille, ribbon, eyelash, flamme and ladder yarns.

Llama is oddly missing from the animal fiber section and isn’t even mentioned in he alpaca section or the “rare and curious fibers” section. This is the only problem I noted in the book.

This book would be great reference in any yarn shop to help people make informed decision about yarns with which they lack familiarity.

Review: Sensational knitted socks

Sensational knitted socks 9781564775702 by Charlene Schurch came out in 2005. When I was looking for pattern ideas on Ravelry recently, I decided to make one in the book and was surprised I didn’t own it. I have made at least one pattern from it, but using the library copy. I really like the book. It gives simple patterns that can be used for socks, separated by the number of stitches in the pattern, and hence the number of repeats in the socks. It also provides details for a variety of gauges. The patterns are mostly fairly basic, which it turns out I like best in socks. DJ will still get fancier patterns, but I like the feel of fairly standard ribbing (boring, I know). So, in short, I really like the book and now that we are entering gift season, I need to let DJ know I like the book. (Hint hint hint)

Review: Classic Elite quick knits

Classic Elite quick knits : 100 fabulous patterns for wraps, socks, hats, and more 9781600854033 is very much a pattern book; it has virtually no text other than the patterns. The short introduction says:

In this book, we have compiled some of the most interesting accessories published over the last few years. Because they are small, portable and wearable, accessories lend themselves very well to all range of knitters, and due to minimal sizing requirements, are great for gift-giving to friends and loved ones.

This is a better description of the book than “quick knits”; the bag on the cover does not strike me as a quick knit. The sections are “hats mittens, gloves” (40 patterns), “socks” (11 patterns), “scarves, cowls, wraps, shrugs, capelets” (41 patterns) and “blankets, bags, toys”  (8 patterns). Many of the patterns are quite nice and I can see making some.

However, something was bothering me as I was looking through it. When I got to Quincy hat I realized what was missing; no designers are given credit for the designs. This bothers me. I recognized this as a Brooklyn Tweed design. In the front the photographers are given credit, so you can find all the Jared Flood photos (which means you can find all his patterns), but other designers are completely invisible.

The book listing on Ravelry is incomplete; only about 1/3 of the patterns are listed, but most if not all are in Ravelry from the original Classic Elite publication, just not pulled together in the book, so you may need to find the book to see what is included.

Review: French Girl Knits

I have wanted to look at French Girl Knits 9781596680692 by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes since the time it came out in 2009, but I only now have carefully looked at it. Most of the designs use seamless construction, building on Barbara Walker’s and Elizabeth Zimmerman’s techniques. The 18 patterns are nicely photographed, showing garments on models and showing details of the construction from a variety of angles. Griffin-Grimes includes short sections on different seamless construction methods: side-to-side, top-down raglan, bottom up raglan, top down set in sleeve and bottom up set-in sleeve construction. The book includes a few other tips, such as grafting mohair yarns and knit to fit. For all these sections, the book is worth checking out. Some of the patterns are very nice and have interesting construction. Other patterns are not at all to my liking, so taking up precious bookshelf space is debatable. As with any knitting book, remember to look for corrections online.

The patterns are all given French women’s names, which is less helpful than their subtitles, so I’ll ignore 245 a and go for b. Oh wait, that was like work. I thought the Cable-edged cardigan (Sophia) on the front cover was fine, and then I saw the back (haven’t found a picture online) and now I may want to make it. The Cable and lace jacket (Stella) also has interesting construction and it looks like it would move well. I like the Airy Shrug (Veronique) so well that I may purchase yarn for it this week.

Notes mostly for myself: Other patterns I like include Tunic tank (Nadine) and Short sleeved cardigan (Viola). The lacy tie-hem tunic uses KidLin Lace. I haven’t seen this yarn before and now I’d like to find it since I am unfamiliar with linen mohair blends. A couple other patterns worth noting due to popularity in Ravelry (but not of interest to me) are the Lacy cap-sleeve top (Delphine) and the Leather-laced cardigan (Wrenna).

Review: Glamour Knits

Glamour Knits 9780307347206 by Erika Knight has a mere 15 patterns and little text. The patterns mostly involve ribbons, sequins or other sparkly elements. There are few patterns that I find at all appealing. If I made the Cable Vest, it would be in something other than Lurex Shimmer. I like the Lace Top except for the ribbon/organza bits. The Ribbed Shrug looks pretty ordinary and non-glamorous, which makes it more appealing than most items. Each item has 2 color photos, one worn by a model, and one with no model. I’m sure it saved a lot on production costs, but I find having all the pictures in the front and the directions at the back with purple-scale photos a bit awkward. It is like a common magazine layout, but the photos at the front are not labeled or numbered so it is not as easy as it should be to find the instructions when looking at the picture. Since there are so few patterns, it doesn’t take too long to flip through them all to find the one you want. A review on Amazon says the patterns are full of errors, which made any slight interest in this book vanish for me.