How about some book reviews?

My sweater is coming along nicely and I’m sure you would all love to hear how I am now doing the exact same thing I was doing before, but in reverse. Don’t worry I will be posting all about that, but in the meantime I feel like I can add more entertaining things on here. Since this sweater is my only active project right now (don’t get me started on my cowl that I haven’t touched in a month and that ball of yarn that should be turning into the start of a scarf gift ANY MOMENT NOW) I figured I could post some awesome book resources for knitting and crochet.

Now, I’m no stranger to the internet. Ravelry, youtube, and reddit forums have provided me with a ton of amazing knitting and crochet patterns, as well as skills needed to up my yarn game to the next level. But when it comes down to it, I find it incredibly hard to actually concentrate on a computer screen. When I was trying to learn to crochet it took me 3 days because I kept bouncing between this one youtube video and the 93854968 other tabs of Tumblr/Facebook/Livejournal activity. So naturally I still turn to books for pleasure reading, and for my hobbies. I recently went on a little bit of a binge on them, and now I’m here to recommend some of my new favourites. 🙂

Knitting by Design

Emma Robertson

Amazon Link

Amazon descriptionFashion-forward knitters who crave more than a project book will delight in this visually rich collection. Emma Robertson presents a unique and creative approach to knitting as she walks readers through her process from the kernel of inspiration to its rewarding execution. For each of the 15 stylish projects, Robertson presents hand-drawn sketches, eye candy-laden mood boards, and Polaroids of the objects that inspired her-and encourages knitters to think outside of the yarnbox by incorporating other materials into their wares, from a knitted vest with a leather pocket to a breezy tank with a dip-dyed finish. With page after page of stunning photography, this book will motivate knitters to look around them, cull inspiration, and design their own fabulous looks.

Level: You probably should know how to knit and purl for this, it might get tricky in some parts.

My Thoughts: It’s delightful when a lot of the knitting and crochet books that I own (and yarn labels too) kindly offer up patterns to work on, along with skill building instructions. It’s really disappointing when the patterns themselves are so outdated that I actually check the manufacturing/publishing date on them. Knitting By Design is like a breath of fresh air, and I also liken it to “setting Ravelry’s search to ‘hip and trendy knitwear’ and then turning that into a book”. I was iffy on buying this at first, already holding in my hands 3 other books, but opening up the pages of Knitting By Design completely hooked (bad crochet pun and not even relevant sorry) me. Each pattern has beautiful photos of the finished project, as well as design inspiration captions and trial and error notes, which is basically my bread and butter in knitting (this usually helps me answer my question of, “where did I go wrong???”)

The instructions are super clear and offer the usual skill level, sizes, measurements, yarn, needles/tools, gauge, and any special stitch instructions. Clothing is divided up into sections, and accessories in clear steps. Remember my sweater anxiety? Totally ebbing while looking at how easy a long-sleeved sweater is to make in here. There’s a beautiful pattern for a cute pair of casual shorts, and even one for a gorgeous dress. I should warn that some sewing experience seems to be required here, but nothing out of the scope for a beginner.

Beyond the projects, the beginning includes a lovely introduction to the author and how she ventured into knitting, knowledge on basic tools and yarns, abbreviations, and information on how to create your own designs. (As someone that is very interested in doing this, I found this super informational and it has inspired me to start sketching my imagined knits!) The end includes resources of booked, online resources, and additional inspiration.

Overall, this is my favourite modern knitting book in my collection. I can’t wait to make the projects in here (and blog about them!) to wear, enjoy, and gift to others. 🙂

Stay tuned for another book review soon~

 

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Sweater Saga: Watch out! A neck-hole appears!

On our last post of the Sweater Saga, our intrepid heroine set out on her journey to master 4 rows of latticing. She bravely set forth and mastered this simple (yet sometimes trying) task and conquered 6 1/2 inches of lattice glory:

(She also got a better header for her blog and irritatingly decided to speak only in the third person and as if she were in an epic fantasy/adventure story.)

Anyway, the neck-hole’s been looming for the past couple of day now. After putting it off to the point where I refused to look at the damn thing, I devoted an hour of my time today to figure my shit out.

The first 23 stitches were easy enough, and so was my really quick review of binding off (something that no matter how often I do, I can never remember exactly what to do for it!)

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All done with the binding off part! I had a moment of realization after taking the picture below that I added on an extra stitch, so I slowly went backwards and fixed it. I also forgot how to breathe normally during this time because, knitting panic.

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Then I call this part: Krissi learned “cabled cast-on”, it’s supper effective!

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I should also add it was hell on my hands, and so was the next row after it.

 

But now we’re all done that and I have a neck-hole that seems right. So in my PJs, sweater backwards, I decided a self-congratulating selfie was in order.

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Now, back to doing everything I’ve already done in reverse. That should take me another two months to accomplish and then I’ll finally have a sweater to wear! In July. In summer.

I clearly didn’t time this well at all.

Sweater Saga: Slightly less repetitive work.

So I’m happy to report that I’ve FINALLY moved on from inches upon inches of stockinette to new and greater things: The Back Lattice.

Unlike my ribbing attempt when I first started, I was determined to not frog/tink/whatever-else-we’re-calling-failure-today this part of the sweater, so looked up the perplexing part of this section: yo k2tog

I’ll pause here for a moment and let you all laugh at me. Okay? Okay.

 

ANYWAY, reading about it failed me yet again. So I turned to youtube and used this handy video:

Fuelled by my new-found knowledge, I threw myself into this and managed a whole 1 1/2 inches of it before my hand cramped up in defeat. Apparently this requires longer breaks to accomplish, so I’m sure I’ll have another sweater saga post to share with you in a few months. 😦 In the meantime, enjoy this close-up of the lattice. Really bone-crushingly pretty isn’t it?

Don’t worry though – I’m also working on a cowl, scarf #2 for my boyfriend, and I’m thinking of crocheting a hat with all my leftover small yarn amounts, so there will be more to post!

 

Still Making a Sweater: Now with Filler!

So I’m still battling the sweater. At this point in time I’m two inches away from (temporarily) finishing row after row of suckingnette. On the plus side, I am now able to knit while reading, watching tv, and probably while sleeping IT’S THAT MONOTONOUS OF A STITCH. I took this photo on Friday to showcase my ~dazzling~ progress

I would also like to share that while working on it, a friend’s mother commented that I have “excellent tension” and it was probably the best comment I’ve ever received. I think by next week I’ll be ready to start my contrast colour on this!

In the meantime, I’ve been combating the mind-numbing chore of this sweater by engaging in other things, like starting a seed stitch cowl in multiple colours!

This was way easier than I assumed it would be, so long as I remember what row I’m on and to switch colours. I love the yarn as well… who would’ve thought DeSerres carries an awesome selection of yarn now?! (Hint: not me.)

I also grabbed some super bulky yarn because I’ve never used it before and made myself a really thick warm scarf. I thought I wouldn’t need to use it until next winter, but given that on this lovely spring April day we had 5cm of snow and it was a balmy -9C I actually took it for a spin!

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And that’s my half-assed yarn update for today. I’ll leave you with what my entire “”””stash”””” looks like – yes I’m using my Litas box to store yarn and yes I really like neutral whites/creams/greys clearly.

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Sort of like a filler episode: here’s a headband!

So while I’m working on 12 inches of suckingnette stitch for the sweater, updating about it isn’t as exciting as you would think. I really don’t have anything important to say about it other than, “so I purled one side, turned it over, and knit the other side. KA-POW ACTION HERE’S 50 PICTURES OF IT.” and I don’t think that even merits a blog post. In the meantime, as I get over this boring hurdle of my knitting life, I’ll just make posts on past things I’ve made and share some awesome patterns I’ve found.

I was shopping on Red Heart a month ago and I learned a new lesson in life. The thumbnail picture of the yarn may not necessarily reflect what it will look like in real life. You’d think I’d have learned this lesson when carelessly ordering through Forever21 and realizing their graphic editor’s version of “green” isn’t actually the store’s version of it. ANYWAY, I ordered a skein of bull fleck and a skein of tan – both of which I assumed would have a more beige/darker tone to it. So I ended up getting two skeins of yarn that I just didn’t care about – they looked more orange to me than anything. SO WHAT COULD I MAKE WITH THESE???

I found this adorable pattern: Eyes of Style – Chunky Cable Knit Crown Headband

I thought this was perfect since I also ordered 9mm needles with said yarns, and I had several cable needles and an unspoken affinity for cabling in general.

What I was missing was super bulky yarn, but I figured I could really just two birds one stone it by using both balls of yarn at the same time. So thus began my journey into knitting with two strands.

Thankfully I started from the inside of the yarn and kept everything nice and clean.

This was super fast – less than a hour to make and so easy to remember that I didn’t need to keep track of my rows after the 3rd time. I had to ditch the cable needle though, because it was way too small and my knitting got super tight when I used them. Instead I traded for this giant red knitting needle I have that isn’t double-pointed SO for the back cabling I had to transfer them on the damn thing, do my cable magic, and then pull the needle out and reverse it with all the cat-like grace and agility I could muster. That being said, I lost the stitches more often than I care to share here, but I only had to do that like 9 times out of the entire thing so really…

In the end I made something cute and warm…

.. that I realized was one pattern repeat too large for my head SO I cut through it, frogged 9 rows and re-joined it. Always a learning process, always a learning process.

Then I made 2 more as gifts. 🙂

Seeing as it’s snowing today because we already had that one day in March where it was warm, I think I’ll wear it when I go out.

Making a Sweater: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the circulars.

The Goal: a cap-sleeve all season sweater

The Pattern: Purl Bee’s Cap Sleeve Lattice Top, found after bitterly searching for something that wouldn’t send me screaming into the hills out of fear. The words “worked flat” and distinctly familiar yo, k2tog, and suckingnette stitch made me feel ready to tackle this.

So let’s start with the fact I went to my LYS and prepared myself for this THREE months ago. Instead of white and grey, I decided the best approach is to blind my enemies with candy apple red and white. I left them in my yarn box to (possibly) ferment for a while, along with two circular needles until this past weekend.

Let me start this with a “Don’t Do What Donny Dont Does” for you all: First, try getting acquainted with circular needles before starting. Second, try actually making a gauge before starting as well. Thankfully for the latter I’m on point, which brings me to…

I started off all right, casting on my stitches

Unfortunately as I started the only two rows of simple purls and knits needed for the first 1 3/4 inches of this thing, I had no actual idea what the fuck I was doing anymore. I accidentally walked away after finishing a row and had no idea what side I was on. I ended up fixing this briefly by deciding to use a safety pin and attaching it onto the side I needed to start on next (and shortly after that I figured out what was the “right” side and the “wrong” side so now that’s a useless dangler. This was also after I started over 3 times and did an entire row wrong because I couldn’t be bothered to go back and read the instructions for row 2. All the times I’ve said, “did you read over the question?” to my students was completely lost on me, apparently.

And we’re off!

After this promising streak of success, I plunged into moving all 103 stitches onto my larger circular AND begin a one-row yarn over and k2tog thing that I destroyed to badly within the first 5 stitched that not only did I wreck that row, but also two rows below it I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW. I pulled that all apart, had a one-woman prayer circle on my floor, and managed to put my smaller needles back on and re-do that entire mess.

I still have no idea what I did. I didn’t even end the row where I was supposed to, but it still has 103 stitches and the promised eyelets. So I have now moved on to 12 inches of exciting neverending fun suckinette stitches. Here’s where I am now:

So as I continue on this brave new world with (hopefully) minimal swearing and needling throwing, I’m going to update with progress pictures and any new riveting adventures about this. Because this is riveting stuff, I’m sure you’re all really happy this is a knitting and crochet blog now, aren’t you?

How to properly destroy your soul while engaging in the yarned crafts.

I’m my biggest critic when it comes to making things. While you’re sitting there in awe wondering how this human took yarn and made a bunch of consecutive loops in it to form a perfect hat, I’m sitting there repulsed by my flimflam. Attaching things with yarn? Wow, way off. Did you even follow the pattern? Probably not, words are hard. So lately (and thanks to a lovely conversational thread on smash_club – will get into that later) I’ve taken to offering myself some scathing criticism to really up my yarn game. Some lovely gems I’ve mumbled to myself in the middle of a brioche stitch scarf that honestly makes my wrist hurt, a basketweave knit scarf that was frogged last night, and several crochet projects of varying importance:

“You call that a stockinette stitch? More like suckingette stitch.”

“Your purling has made me seriously consider hurling.”

“This is genuinely a thing of knitmares.”

“Double crochet? More like double fail.”

Since there is a huge time gap between what I wrote above and what I’m currently writing (two months later, I decide to blog moar) I’d like to update that I’m still very good at self-deprecating yarn crafting. Tonight, my start of making a sweater began with cautious optimism and was shortly followed with several froggings and a lot of, “what the fuck did I just do with this thing? Circulars? Actually, circuFAILS.”

It’s really got me thinking that the main purpose of this blog (yes, I’m changing it again) should be an online recording of all my knitting and crochet successes and losses. Because I really want to scream about not getting a pattern right. Or showcase my latest “nailed it” piece.

I hope you enjoy the crap I will be spewing on here from now on. 🙂