Tag Archives: book

Garter Ridge Winner!

It’s giveaway day!  Always a favorite (or at least my favorites).

Let’s get right down to it.  I’m giving away a free copy of Knit Picks’ newest collection, Garter Ridge, featuring a pattern from yours truly.  It’s a whole book full of understated, squishy, gorgeous, garter-stitch loveliness.330151And, so many of you responded, I’m just going to scroll down the page and land on someone at random (“The Price Is Right”-style).

Drum roll please!

And the winner is: Knitonepugtwo!

I’ll be sending out your email some time today, so keep an eye out for it to come through (sometimes they end up in the spam folder).

If you’re not the lucky one today, hop over to Knit Picks’ website to buy your own copy.

Dishcloth Winner!

It’s drawing day!  I always get so excited for drawing day!  (And I hope you do too!) (And I hope you forgive all the exclamation points!)

So, without further ado, let’s see who wins a beautiful copy of KnitPick’s 52 More Weeks of Dishcloths!32978[1]Drumroll please!

(Here’s where I’d put a picture of the bowl with everyone’s entry slips if I hadn’t forgotten to charge my camera this morning… whoops!)

And the winner is:  Sue!  Congratulations!

Sue, I’ve sent you an email so that you can send me your address and I can get this book in the mail real soon!

Until next time.

(And remember, if you’re not Sue, you can still find all the patterns available for free on the KnitPicks website!)

 

Book Worm

I’ve been thinking and planning and dreaming about the sweater I’m going to make with my big blue skein of yarn from Lopez Island.

I’ve decided I want it to be a cardigan, probably a V-neck, and, I think, a raglan. Like I said the other day, I’m planning on making this into a cropped sweater, but I’m not sure on how long I want my sleeves to be (at least long enough to cover the short sleeves of a couple favorite dresses).  Maybe 3/4 sleeves, or even long sleeves (if I have enough yarn).

All this together (raglan, a short body, and not being sure about the sleeves) screams “top-down sweater.” If I do the sweater top-down, I can try it on as I go, and keep going until I am happy with the length.  And when I make a top-down sweater, there is no other book to look to but Ann Budd’s “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re even a little interested in making your own sweater designs, grab a copy of this book.  In it, Ann Budd has done all the math to make virtually any sweater you want.  (She’s worked out 4 different styles of sweater, both cardigan and pullover, with v-necks and crew-necks in virtually any size and with nearly any yarn.)  Just find your gauge, decide your size and follow along.  You can follow the patterns as written for a super-classic sweater, or add cables, bobbles, lace or whatever else you like to create something really special.

Any time I decide to make myself a sweater and don’t feel like following an honest-to-goodness pattern or doing my own math, I turn to Ann Budd’s book.  (And, since I’m working with limited yarn on this sweater, I can make the body of the sweater, then work the sleeves until I run out of yarn! No waste and no guessing!)

I’ve got my basic sweater plan now it’s time for the fun stuff… the decorations!  The autumn rain is beginning to fall in Seattle, so I think I’m feeling some cables coming on.  But, this yarn is super-chunky, so I don’t want to make the sweater too heavily-cabled, or it will end up making me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  So, maybe I want to add a little lace, too.

Just like how I have a go-to sweater construction book, I have a go-to stitch pattern book.  But here’s the thing; I don’t even know its name.

It’s a Japanese stitch dictionary that I found at a grocery store in Seattle’s International District.  It’s got hundreds of gorgeous knit stitches in every style- cables, lace, textures.  It’s to die for.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you have a Japanese book store by you, totally see if you can find one of these books (I’m pretty sure it is from a series-I’ve seen other similar books elsewhere).  Or, if you search for Japanese knitting books on Amazon, you’ll find something like it.

Inside, it’s full of page after page of swatches, accompanied by surprisingly understandable charts.  I don’t read a word of Japanese, and I use it all the time!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking through the book, I think I’ve settled on this pattern- how pretty would that lace look down the back of a sweater at an over-sized gauge?

Now I’m itching to start knitting!

What knitting books are your go-to favorites?

 

And The Winner Is…

Woo!  Hello new folks!  And hello not-so-new folks!  Thanks for entering the  drawing for a copy of “Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes.”  I loved reading about your favorite childhood toys.  Such sweet stories and lovely memories!  If you haven’t read everyone’s comments on last Friday’s post, you should definitely take a look.

But, enough sentimentality!  You’re all here for the giveaway!32673[1]More than fifty people entered, but only one can win.  I wrote down everyone’s names, and picked one at random.

*Drum roll*

And, Jan!  You’re the big winner!  Congratulations!  I’ll be emailing you later this afternoon.

32673101[1]And, if you’re not Jan, you still want the book, right? (Of course you do.  Because it’s stupidly cute.)  Head on over to Knit Picks and pick up a copy for yourself.

Barbara Bretton and Novel Knitting

I love books.  I love to read them, I love to listen to them, I love to collect them, and I love to download them to my Kindle (it’s basically magic!).

I usually tend toward more “guy” types of books.  Lots of swashbuckling, dragons and evil robots.

But, sometimes I end up swinging the other direction.  The girly, romance-y, knitting-filled direction.

When I researched my post on Knit Lit, back in November, I found a book with a synopsis that I thought was pretty amazing:

Sugar Maple looks like any Vermont town, but it’s inhabited with warlocks, sprites, vampires, witches, and an ancient secret. And Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & String, a popular knitting shop, has a big secret too. She’s a sorcerer’s daughter in search of Mr. Right, and she’s found him in Luke MacKenzie, a cop investigating Sugar Maple’s very first murder. Bad news is he’s 100% human, which could spell disaster for a normal future with a paranormal woman like her.

Too ridiculous not to read it, right?  (and it’s only six bucks on Amazon)

I bought Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton, and read it in about two days over Christmas break.

3109566[1]And, you know what?  It was delightful.  Maybe not high literature, but really fun.  It was a little chick-flick-y, a little bit of a cop story, and a little bit paranormal.  And, the whole book is full of goofy little knitting jokes.   The main character is introduced as she’s trying to block a particularly difficult lace shawl.  She threatens people with her US15s.  And, she has a magical bottomless basket of roving.

I even went on to read the second in the series, Laced with Magic, which was just as good.

6195236[1]If you’re looking for a new author, something a little goofy, and fun, you could do worse than the Sugar Maple Chronicles from Barbara Bretton.

Have you read anything good recently?

While you knit: Overdrive

Let’s keep the celebration of novels going!  I love reading a good book, and I love knitting.  But, surely there must be a way to enjoy a good story without putting down my needles.  This is the 21st century, after all.

In fact, there is!  Audiobooks.  I always have an audiobook or two (or twelve) on my phone, ready for me to listen to at a moment’s notice.  They’re great for driving, doing yard-work, cooking, and of course, knitting.

But how do you get Audiobooks onto your phone without spending an arm and a leg at Amazon or on iTunes?  (Or, if you’re a cheapskate like me, the question is: how do you get audiobooks for free?)  The library!  And, you probably don’t even have to leave your house.

Most libraries these days have started online collections of digital media (audiobooks, e-books, and Kindle books) accessible through the library website.  You sign up in person at the library, and get a pin number, which you can then use to get digital media through the library’s Overdrive account.  (Think of Overdrive as an iTunes-like download service for libraries).

Overdrive%20Media[1]My library lets me check out 24 books at a time, and they automatically are returned when my loan is up (no late fees!).  There’s nothing better than discovering a new, great book.  Especially one that’s free!

So, if you haven’t already, take some time on your next trip to the library and ask about their audiobooks.  Then, spend some time curled up with your knitting and a good book.

NaNoWriMo 2014

It’s November, again!  And you know what that means: it’s NaNoWriMo time!

nanowrimo-crest[1]Last year, I did NaNoWriMo for the first time, and it was so much fun!  I never finished my story (because plotting is hard.  My main characters kept ending up in jail.  And it’s difficult to save Chicago from a jail cell).  But, I more than passed my 50,000 word goal for the month.  I learned a lot about my writing style, and how to maximize my productivity.  (I know it’s weird, but it turns out that I am most productive when I work in my car.  Something about not being able to access the internet, combined with a not too comfortable seat.  Who knew?)

This year, I’m  feeling pretty good about my prospects.  I am taking a creative writing class about writing a novel, and while some of the information is pretty obvious, I’ve learned some things that will really come in handy.

I’m working on a small-town murder mystery, this time around, and my goal is to actually finish the story, not just make it to the 50,000 words.  So keep your fingers crossed for me!

But what that means for you, dear readers, is that I’m going to be busy writing away on my novel, and might be a little slow to respond to comments, emails and other shout-outs.  I haven’t forgotten you, and the posts will still come, although they might be a little shorter than usual,

Wish me luck!  I’ll see you all in December!

Whoops! A Counterpane Follow-up

Do you remember Grandma Anna’s Counterpane?  I spent hours reverse-engineering one of my great-grandmother’s bedspreads from a little snapshot my Mom sent me.  I even posted a pattern.

It turns out, I didn’t have to.  (Insert sad noise here.)

I received a package from a great-aunt a few weeks ago (one that also included a few of my great-grandmother’s crochet hooks).  In the package was also a couple of my grandmother’s old craft magazines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis booklet, the Learn How Book, was published in 1952 by Coats & Clark.  It has a few simple projects and extremely thorough instructions on crochet, knitting, embroidery and (very usefully) tatting.  (The projects are actually pretty and practical, especially considering the publication date.  There’s even a sweater that I would totally make for myself, if I wore a girdle.)

But, right at the end of the crochet section, something popped out at me and literally made me do a double take.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s the counterpane!  The counterpane!  I couldn’t believe it!  Not more than a month after spending all that time working out the pattern from a tiny, blurry, cell-phone picture, and the pattern lands in my lap!  I couldn’t believe it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt even used the word “cluster” for the bunches of stitches, just like I did.  Weird, right?  (Sure, the big clusters were called popcorn stitches in this pattern, but hey.  Close enough.)

I scanned through the pattern, and it looks like we both did mostly the same things, which is amazing.  Although, it’s a little hard to read the pattern in the booklet… look at that block of text!

The biggest difference I saw, though, was that they used a much, much finer gauge on their bedspread than I did.  I used a size H crochet hook, which is about 5 mm in diameter.  The booklet calls for a size 7 steel crochet hook, which is super tiny!  It’s actually less than 2 mm in diameter.  That means that instead of the blocks being about 10 inches across, like mine turned out, the original counterpane squares were only 5 inches by 5 inches!  That means, if you’re following the original pattern, you’ll need 260 squares just to make a twin-bed-sized blanket.  Talk about dedication!

I’m glad I got to see the original pattern, and I love seeing my great-grandmother’s old-fashioned handwriting in the margins of some of the patterns.  But one thing is for sure, I definitely won’t be making this bedspread at the original gauge.  That’s just crazy!

Merry Christmas!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope you’re having a fantastic Christmas, and I hope that Santa brought you everything that was on your Christmas list.

I’ve got one more extra-special present just for you, dear readers! A little bitty knit doll of your very own.  And, she comes with a little bitty storybook of her very own.   She has long flowing hair and a removable dress, and she is just as ready to play house as she is to go adventuring with her friends.

The Little Knit Doll’s construction is very simple.  She is knit in the round with minimal sewing.  All shaping is done with simple increases and decreases, except for the feet, which are worked like tiny socks.  Her luxurious long hair is applied with a crochet hook, just like adding fringe to a scarf.  She is totally safe for children of all ages, with her embroidered face.  And, her adorable green dress is knit in the round with virtually no finishing.

The Little Knit Doll is now available through Ravelry for $5.00.

Get the pattern here

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m posting The Little Knit Doll here exclusively for about a week.  But starting next week, the pattern will be available through Ravelry for $5, so download it now, if you want it for free.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHo Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

An Amazing Surprise

A friend of mine, Heather, has been threatening to give me “a bag of knitting junk” for a really long time.  Apparently a friend of her mother’s had been about to donate all her knitting things to Goodwill, when my Heather’s mom took the bag to give to her daughter, who is an occasional knitter.  Unfortunately, Heather lives in a tiny apartment with a dog and two cats, and thus, did not really want the big bag of “knitting junk.”  So, she decided to give it to me.  (Woo.)

I tried not to take it, since these sorts of situations usually result in me having to pretend to ooh and aah over a half-dozen skeins of fun fur and three mismatched knitting needles.  But, Heather was persistent and last Thursday she brought along the big trash bag  full of craft supplies to our evening practice.  I tried to appear appreciative as I opened up the bag. 

When I actually looked inside, I was totally floored.  More than a dozen almost-full balls of crochet cotton, about 20 pairs of antique knitting needles, and the best gift I have received in a really long time:  The Bantam Step-by-Step book of Needlecraft by Julie Brittain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s an amazing all-encompassing needlecraft book with pictures that are awesomely eighties, but instructions that are totally timeless.  It’s got knitting, crochet, embroidery, tatting… everything.  It covers the history of needlework, as well as including patterns and techniques.

And best of all (this is actually  making me tear up a little), it’s the same book that my mom had when I was a kid.  I spent hours and hours (probably days… maybe even weeks) pouring over this book.  I taught myself so much from its pages.  It’s the reason that I know what Turkish Crochet is, how to do the Bobble stitch, and the recipe for my favorite mittens.  It was simply amazing to receive something so dear to my heart, and that I had totally forgotten about for years.  I’m pretty sure the rest of my team thought that I was a little crazy, the way I was carrying on.

But, you knitters understand!  Here are some of the fantastic knitting contents of this book:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAwesome eighties sweaters!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADelightful lace patterns!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClassic mitten and glove recipes!

Do you have a pattern or book that is particularly close to your heart?