Tag Archives: book

Pattern: Bubbles Pullover

Hey guys!  I made a new sweater!

Introducing, the Bubbles Pullover!

It’s a totally cute (if I say so myself), comfy, every-day yoked pullover featuring some pretty adorable polka-dots around the shoulders.  It’s a simple top-down, seamless sweater.  A few short-rows at the back of the neck and a couple inches of colorwork is about as difficult as this sweater gets.  But, the overall finished effect is pretty great, if I say so myself.I wear my Bubbles all the time- it’s super cozy and comfy.  Mine is worked in greens and browns, but I love the navy-and-pastel palette that Knit Picks chose to showcase in their book.  I think this sweater would be a great way to play with color without a lot of commitment!  (Rainbow dots on a white background?  A purple/lavender gradient with pale cream?  Deep blues and sea greens on a sky-blue background?  The possibilities are endless!)

Oh!  Speaking of “Book”!  This pattern is featured in Knit Picks’ newest collection, Encircled, which is all about yoked sweaters. (It features 10 gorgeous patterns in every style of yoked you could think of- it’s delightful!)Grab your copy of Encircled here!  Or, if you just want to knit up a Bubbles Pullover, get the pattern here!

A Treasury of Awesome

When I’m coming up with a new design, sometimes an idea pops wholesale into my brain. Sometimes I get a small idea that grows slowly over time.  And sometimes… it’s like pulling teeth.

When I get stuck like that, there’s nothing better than pulling out my stitch treasuries for a little dose of inspiration.

I’ve got two books that are my particular favorites, and I’d like to share them with you.

First, I love Barbara Walker’s classic “Treasury of Knitting Patterns” collection.  I got the first three books for Christmas  couple years ago, and I use them all the time.  Sometimes I’m looking for an idea for a nice all-over pattern, sometimes I need a particularly complex cable that I can’t figure out on my own.  And sometime I just want to look at all the pretty knitting.

Unfortunately, these books are fairly old (the first one was originally published in the 60s), so some of the designs aren’t explained as clearly as I would like.  And, almost all the designs are written out (except book 3, which is all about charted patterns), which drive me up the wall!

But, despite these small problems, I can’t recommend these books highly enough.  If you haven’t taken a look at them already, swing by your library and pick one (or four) up.  You’re sure to be inspired.

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara WalkerMy other favorite knitting pattern treasury is a little different.  Most noticibly, it doesn’t contain any English!

I found this treasury in the book section of my local Asian grocery store (Uwajimaya… If you ever visit Seattle, stop by, because it’s absolutely amazing).  I was looking at Japanese craft books, because there’s something crazy soothing about the Japanese Craft Book aesthetic (when I look at them, I suddenly think that wearing beige smocks and headbands decorated with pompom critters seems like a really good idea).

Anyway, I found this book, and it’s densely packed from front to back with thickly-patterned knitting designs, some I’d never seen before. Crazy slipped stitches, wrapped stitches, and pompoms.  Delicate lace, thick squishy cables, and gorgeous patterns that defy categorization.

Of course, since it’s not written in English, it’s a little tough to parse the patterns at first, but if you go slowly, there are plenty of diagrams explaining each symbol.  And, since the book was published in the 80s, the color palette leans a little hard on the mauves and mustards.

But other than that, it’s the best! If you can find a copy at an Asian book store, definitely buy it (or just order it from Amazon).

Knitting Patterns 500 by Nihon Vogue ShaDo you have a favorite knitting reference book?

Winner Winner, (Spring) Chicken Dinner

It’s that time again!  Time for me to send out a copy of Knit Pick’s newest collection to one lucky reader.  (I almost wrote “listener.”  I think I’ve been spending too much time with my podcasts lately.)

Last week, I asked you to write about your favorite parts of spring to help celebrate the launch of Knit Pick’s latest spring-y collection, Flourish.  And, boy, did you come through.  So many lovely descriptions of spring- you’re all poets!  Seriously, if you’re looking for something delightful to read, just go check out those comments.  You really made my day.

Anyway, through a highly scientific and random process (also known as throwing a bunch of numbers in a bowl and picking one out at random), I have selected a winner!

Tina Fagan!  You’re the winner!  Congratulations!

I’ll send you an email in a little bit, so keep an eye out for it (and if you don’t see it, let me know), and we’ll get you hooked up with a copy of this super cute collection.

If you’re not Tina, have no fear!  You can still get a copy of Flourish from the Knit Picks website!

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!