Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Reviews

I am SICK right now, and although I'd love to be updating my other blog about our cruise, the pictures are on the downstairs computer and it's cold down there, and I just want to snuggle up on the couch.  While I have been knitting quite a bit, I don't have much to show.  I did recently though get some new books from the libary.  The library in my old town was small, but I think there was a knitter on staff as their selection wasn't too bad.  They had a display section near the front door where they put all new books, so it was easy to keep up with new knitting books.  Now, we're in this much bigger town.  The library is huge, and there's three branches.  I hate using the online catalogue, it's too ...clinical?  They do have display areas where they set out books on a topic, and I grab some interesting books that way.  The last time I was there, I was able to scan the shelves as I was looking for Cookie A's first book.  It wasn't in, but I did find some other gems!

"Knitting Plus" by Lisa Shroyer.  There is an extensive section on designing/altering for plus size figures.  It's actually a pretty intense section.  The patterns in the book are actually from multiple designers, which is nice.  They are arranged by the type of shoulder/armhole.  The designs are contemporary and classic.  What I find strange is the size ranges.  The sizes are not consistant.  For example, one cardigan (for which you'd want some positive ease), starts at 39 1/2".  Another more easy fitting sweater, starts at 47".  So, if the size small for the cardigan is meant for a 36" bust, then the loose fit sweater (actually, it's the cover sweater), would have 11" of ease...it does not look like that, and 11" of ease on a plus size body?  No thanks.  So just make sure to assess how you want the sweater to look and fit before choosing a size. 

I like the Barton Cardigan although the excess fabric on the back wouldn't look good on me with my swayback.  It also reminds me a lot of the February Lady Sweater, which (for my own reasons) gave me a real kicking.  I also like Passyunk Pullover, mmmm....on Ravelry, it's called the Passayunk Pullover.  I'm not sure about a yoke sweater on me, but I don't have any to compare it too.  I'd just have to watch that the neckline is not too high on my sensitive neck.  The Waltham Cabled Cardigan is charming and probably the most popular in the book, judging by Ravelry.  Vauxhall Tunic is a great fair isle option for women who don't want horizontal patterning that is the norm with fair isle.  This could also be adapted for a man's sweater.

"Knitted Wild Animals" by Sarah Keen.  I have my favourite teddy bear pattern, and I've made other stuffed animals (pig, dinosaur, elephant, alligator, bunnies...), and I love knitted stuffed animals.  However, I am torn between the quick and easy but often bland animals, and the more intricate but time consuming patterns.  These patterns seem to be a happy compromise!  They all evoke the "aaaahhhh" response, but at the same time, I'm not thinking "look at all the itty bitty pieces to sew together".  I also like the added touch of whimsical animal facts.  Watch the yarn recommendation.  It does say, in the pattern, "Light Worsted" and 3.25mm needles.  In the back, it does say that Light worsted is also known as DK.  I can't find anything that says what yarn was used for the patterns.  There is a small "learn to knit" section at the back, but it's very basic.

"Wendy Knits Lace"  by Wendy Johnson.  I like the variety of projects in this book; even the beginner projects are quite nice.  There's something for everyone.  I do have one BIG peeve with this book though.  There are no "flat out" pictures of the projects.  They're all arranged, styled photos.  In some of the pictures you can't really see the stitch pattern clearly.  I really like to see pictures of the details, or the shape, etc, so I can gauge my own piece and know if it's going right.  I am planning to make the Garden Party Cardigan, I just have to do a little math to alter the sizing to fit me better.  For some of the other patterns, I'm going to wait until there's more projects posted on Ravelry and hopefully better pictures.  And maybe I'll check her blog to see if there's pictures on there (I used to read it all the time, but got a little bored of socks all the time or shawls all the time).

What's your favourite new knitting book?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Blonde Walks Into...

....a machine knitting club meeting and knit a pink baby sweater.  It's an "all in one" design--the sweater is knit in one piece, and then  the edgings are added at the end.  She's happily knitting away on the first cuff, when she suddenly realizes that she had started a handknit baby sweater in the same yarn early in the spring...and she now wonders if the skein she had grabbed off the shelf was designated for the other, hibernating, project....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Warm Feet

I suffer from chronic cold feet.  Even in the summer, my feet get cold easily. 
Although I've been showing a lot of sewing lately (and have more to show!), I did do some knitting over the summer.  Like always, I needed a small project for sitting at the park, and a bigger project for on the couch at night.  I have been working on "Omelet" (a large shawl)

from Knitty.com for a while now, but my "purse project" went much quicker.  I showed the pictures of the socks from the day we went to the beach and it was cold.  It wasn't too long after that that they were finished.  However, the weather turned warm and I didn't feel like putting them on to take pictures.  Finally, on Oct 12, I was tired of seeing them on my end table, and I had the camera out taking pictures of my son's sprained ankle, so I snapped a few of the socks.  Always a challenge!
 Kroy Stripes, Mulberry.  I didn't want yarn left over, so these ended up tall, which is a nice change!
 Toe up, two at a time on one circular needle.  The eyelets going outwards on the top of the foot are the heel increases.  The eyelets going up the middle are paired with decreases.
 Once I got to the heel turning, I had to pair the outer eyelets with decreases too, so that they moved inwards and met at the middle.  In this picture above, you can see the little short row wedge (speckled grey)  at the top of the dark pink heel.  This just gave me a little extra heel depth to get over my high instep.
Part way up the leg, I realized I forgot to do the heel in a slip stitched pattern.  And that I wanted ribbing at some point.  I looked at my stitch dictionaries and found a diamond pattern to mimic the foot, and repeated it around the calf.  In the top half of the diamonds, I gradually shifted to ribbing.  It's a little hard to see in the striped yarn, but this would be a good way to add ribbing if you don't want a sudden start.
Not much else to say about them.  I did a little extra calf shaping at the top since they were getting tall, however, I did it a little late and a little sharply, so the top edge is actually a little loose.  They still stay up though.  I think they might become my new skating socks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Racer Back Dress

Back in the summer, I started reading a blog, www.ikatbag.com.  Shortly after, she posted a pattern/tutorial on making a racer back girl's dress, in a knit fabric.  I just knew I had to make it!  I especially wanted to try the way she showed the neck binding.  I had read other tutorials, but they left the inside edge with a raw edge showing.  This one treated the neck binding like bias tape, but in a knit fabric...could I do it (and if I could, then I could use it on the brown and black dress that I recently showed, and another dress that I was working on).

I had a bright pink jersey sheet that would be great for Meg.  The pattern came in three sizes, the largest was a 7, which is what I used (I'm pretty certain....this was a while ago now, LOL).  I did have an issue with cutting the binding for the armhole.  You have to measure the armholes yourself, but I didn't include the part of the back in the middle for some reason.

It's a great pattern!  She can put it on herself, the back is very different from the front so it never goes on backwards, it doesn't fly up high when she spins, but there's plenty of room for movement.  I really want one in my size, and I've been trying to figure out how to do a sort of shelf bra.  I think I've got it figured out, now that we're headed into late autumn, LOL.

I did have some issues with doing the binding; lining it up, sewing it even, how it should look on the inside.  But I'd still do it again!  I did a lettuce edge on the bottom.  I didn't have bright pink cones of serger thread, but I did have a red cone, and several spools of various shades of pink.  Later on, I did get wooly nylon and if I had known how great that would be, I would have gone to get some for this dress too.