Hot Tip: When knitting or crocheting button bands, work a 10" strand of contrast color yarn where you want to place the button (same row and number of stitches from the edge as buttonhole). When it comes time to sew your button on, you won't have to eyeball it, count, or worry. Start sewing on your button, pull out the yarn, and sew securely and with confidence. I am familiar with the purl bump version of this tip for stockinette stitch, but I was using seed stitch for a project to be published in Clotheshorse. This is a great solution!
Reversible Knitting by Lynne Barr, pub. Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 2009
Lynne Barr's dictionary of 50 new reversible stitches is a showcase for the virtuoso knit designer. In the first section of the book, chapter titles reveal her thought processes: Faux Crochet, Rows Within Rows, and Divide and Combine are just a few. 20 thrilling patterns by designers such as Lily Chin, Teva Durham, and Nora Gaughan fill the second section. The clear, detailed photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy makes everything appealing.
I have already used these stitch patterns in my work, and I long to cast on for Lynne Barr's Folded Mini Dress and Debbie New's Double Wrap Stockings (right).
While some of the stitch patterns have 20 or more lines of instructions, this is no different from many interesting cable or lace patterns. And several, such as Linked Discs (below) need only 2!
Barr also suggests many places for knitters to branch away from her ideas and create their own motifs. The Special Techniques section at the back of the book is revelatory, including several new skills to master and an in-depth look at how to chart double-knits with completely different patterns on each side.
Stunning book, clear instructions, great photos. Just my thing!
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Reversible Knitting. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of either Stewart, Tabori, & Chang or Lynne Barr.
Pop Knitting by Britt-Marie Christoffersson, pub. Interweave Press, 2012
I couldn't wait for this book to arrive, and when it finally did it exceeded my expectations. The stitch patterns are gorgeous and wacky and delightful.
With chapter titles such as Slipped Stitches to Form Welts, Patterns on Bind-Off Rows, and Patterns with Buttonholes, Christoffersson has reached beyond flat colorwork, cables, and lace into an exciting world rich with color, texture, and dimension.
The introductions at the beginning of each chapter give the reader not only an idea of what they will find in the pages ahead, but a glimpse into Christoffersson's personality and creative processes. For instance, the introduction to Holes and Holes with Borders begins, "Lace knitting is not my cup of tea. Lace can be exciting to knit but the result is often too sweet and romantic for my geometrically inclined taste. Nonetheless, twenty years ago I sat down and thought deeply about how I might improve upon the technique."
The patterns themselves are clear, but sometimes written in fill-in-the-blanks style. From Holes and Holes with Borders #1: "Shape bottom edge by binding off. Shape one side and then the other. . . . When the fabric with holes has been completed, use the dpn to pick up stitches around the hole. The number of stitches to pick up should match the gauge of the background knitting. . . ."
The pattern does not explain how the sides are to be shaped, or how to determine the number of stitches to pick up (the border is in stockinette, the background in garter stitch; are we meant to pick up the circumference of the garter hole in the garter gauge or stockinette gauge?), and the accompanying chart if numbered as if one square = one row, but the text above it says one square = two rows.
This is fine with me, and I really don't know how she could explain it much better without specifying gauge and constraining the knitter more than is warranted in a stitch dictionary. Frankly, there are enough other beautiful patterns in this book written with specific details to satisfy even the most timid knitter. Such a knitter could choose some of them to work, then apply some of the variations found in photographs on following pages. For instance, there are eleven variations of Casting On and Binding Off within a Row 1. After this, the (now somewhat braver) knitter may be tempted to try a trickier pattern involving surface motifs or different directions. Finally, our hero may be ready to venture into the merely described patterns such as Holes.
The photography by Thomas Harrysson deserves special mention and is worth the price of the book. The many full-page photos of single stitch patterns and the "variations" photo pages show the stitches in full detail.
This is a wonderful book, and I'm excited to try the stitches described within.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Swedish Sweaters. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Interweave Press or Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
photo copyright Tangled magazine
Check out my work at Tangled Magazine and Galler Yarns.
I designed the socks pictured at left for Tangled about a year ago. They are named Van Halen after the band of the same name. Actually after the brothers, since the socks share a fraternal connection without being twins.
While they look intense, they only call for two colors per row. The stacking of different combinations of color is where the awesomeness comes in.
My Mountain Flight Cowl is a different exploration of color. Belangor Angora gives the appearance of birds flying in a spiral pattern through mountain mist. The pattern is available for free download from Galler Yarns.
Yesterday was my birthday. I opened gifts in the morning because it was going to be a busy day. The last gift I opened was a package from Nana.
Nana is a quilter, and I was hoping for something handmade. The gift was about the right size, and soft. Still, I wasn't prepared for this stunning bag. Note the side ties, making it adjustable, and the cute button. You can't see from the photo, but it has pockets all around the inside. My wallet and cell phone are in two of them. The green thing sticking up out of the bag is a response to my request for "a good place to keep scissors" a few years ago, made (of course) by Nana.
I also got recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos, and the book Swedish Sweaters, by Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
My thoughtful husband had noticed how much I was enjoying Pop Knitting and thought he would try another book by the same author. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. He really nailed it this time, though!
The book contains examples of historical sweaters as well as new designs inspired by them. The modern interpretations are all designed by Christoffersson, who maintains that challenging oneself, even in knitting, is important to personal growth. I agree wholeheartedly.
After opening presents, I took Cole and Gwen to church with me, and the Pie Fairy paid us a visit.
In the middle of our very eventful day I received a phone call from my sister, and I sheepishly admit to having forgotten it was my birthday. I actually asked her why she was calling!
Another treat came from my daughter, who presented me with this bejeweled picture. Very sweet!
Last week I treated myself to a new book: Pop Knitting by Britt-Marie Christoffersson. It is essentially a stitch dictionary, with vivid new stitches, and full page photos of three-dimensional motifs in comic book colors.
There are examples of these stitches used in garments, and a template to follow should you want to imitate them, but no patterns. I am mulling over a design for my daughter using three colors of Universal Yarn's Garden 3 cotton. I'm pretty excited about this garment, but it has to be top secret for now. In fact, you should probably destroy this post after reading.
The folks at DoublePlus Ecommerce made some "Buy Now" buttons available free on their blog. I chose a style, then enlarged it and added custom text with my free Gimp image editor. Then I added a new page to my site with a secret name that you'll never guess, and uploaded my new buttons. Finally, I opened each button image in a new window, then copied the new window's URL into the appropriate space in my code. Neat-o! The new buttons are visible under the first item on my homepage, with more to come soon.
This package arrived last week, courtesy of the lovely Helen of Troy from Golden Apples. The project bag, which looks handmade, is just the right size for a small shawl or pair of socks, and has a nifty notions bag filled with useful goodies (folding scissors, tape measure, yarn needle, stitch markers) and important luxuries (hand cream, knitting ewe rubber stamp).
The yarn and needles also came in the package. I already had some Inox dpns in size 2, but they are teflon coated aluminum (slippery!) and very frustrating to use. My family is used to the "ting . . . dang!" sound when they fall out of my knitting.
These bamboo needles arrived just in time! I'm about to start a secret project which will make good use of these. I'm very excited about it. Perhaps I'll sneak some more details in as time goes on.
Hi! I'm Kangath---
knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
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