Have another book review, plus some pictures.

Hey, how about a book review to distract from the fact that I have 4 current projects going on and no willpower to complete them. In case anyone’s keeping track of them, they are:

  • The sweater. (Haven’t touched that other 10 inches in stockinette yet…)
  • A seed stitch cowl. (I did two rows today after forgetting about it for a few months, oops.)
  • The Leyla Cowl. (Fantastic One-Skein wonders project, you can see an example of it here on Ravelry!)

That being said, let’s talk about the book I got the Leyla Cowl from:

Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World

edited by Judith Durant

Amazon Link

Amazon Description: Finally, a One-Skein Wonders book just for crocheters! Edie Eckman and Judith Durant offer 101 great crochet projects — from jewelry and scarves to bags, hats, dresses, and home dec items — that each use just one skein of yarn. Whatever your experience level, you’ll find something here to delight you!

Level: Some experience needed – the usual sc, hdc, dc things, plus the ability and knowledge to do more (like how to make a foundation double crochet or magic loop)

My Thoughts: So we’re already familiar with the fact that I have a lot of yarn. More often than not, I’ll need 2 skeins of something and end up using a whole skein, plus like a literal fucking whisper of the other skein. I’m sure that’s how this yarn stash problem started. I was really happy to find One-Skein Wonders at my local, awesome book store. Finally, something to do with yarn other than leave it in the Jeffrey Campbell shoe box to metaphorically die.

What I immediately liked about this book is that it arranged all the projects by yarn weight, the options being from thread to chunky and everything in between. I pretty much jumped myself to worsted and went from there, bookmarking projects of interest with my little sticky tabs. A good sign is that I have around 10 that jumped out instantly as “good idea, I’ll do that” while doing this.  The projects themselves vary a ton, with scarves/cowls, hats, gloves, purses, jewellery, socks (!!!), baby clothes/accessories, home decor, amigurumi, and even a blanket. With such variety, I’m already thinking of gift-giving situations so I can make a bunch of this stuff. Each project has a couple of clear pictures to show it, material/hook/gauge specifics, step-by-step instructions, as well as any special stitches needed and diagrams.

I picked the Leyla Cowl to start off with since I recently bought a new 5mm hook and had a ball of beautiful yarn that fit the yardage. I almost bailed on this book – as in almost shut the book and threw it across my room – when I saw that it required me to A) do a foundation double crochet and B) join in the round. Let me tell you about these things: I spent almost an entire weekend trying to learn FDC and could not. I also attempted to join in the round without twisting at least 20 times that same day as well. Something was just not computing for me. HOWEVER, One-Skein Wonders has a really, REALLY helpful appendix with a glossary that finally made FDC not look like gibberish. Nailed it. Also nifty: there’s an abbreviation chart as well, since I had no idea what FDC stood for to being with… (for those of you still here, you’re probably wondering how I even use a crochet hook or knitting needles, yes? I wonder sometimes too.)

I’m currently on the last set of rows for the cowl, and found the row-by-row instructions easy to read and simple. I should also add I started this last night, so if they were really vague and complication I probably would still be at the “FDC 80” part. 🙂 The diagram of what each row should look like was really helpful as well, and I notice that diagrams are pervasive in the book, so super great for visual learners that need that additional information.

My one beef with the book is that the way aforementioned blanket pattern calls for 1000+ yards of yarn, so I find that stretching the “One-Skein” part of the title just a little bit.

Overall though, this is a really cute book with a bunch of awesome, easy to make patterns that just might help you unload that leaning tower of yarn you’ve amassed.


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~