Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of LaceLace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all - I am a BIG fan of lace, and when I'm not knitting ribbing or garter stitch, I'm probably knitting lace. And being an avid yard saler who ends up with nothing but odd skeins in my stash, you know I'm all about the one skein projects! So yes, I freely admit, this book was published just for ME! (oh, you mean I'm not the only one?)

The sections are:

hats and caps
mittens, gloves and cuffs
socks (of course!)
knits for kids
it's a wrap - scarves, shawls, and the like
lacey accessories
items for the home
And of course, a variety of weights of yarn in each section and different construction methods.

Now, some people, when they think of lace, think of gossamer, see through, open, airy, and hard... most of the projects aren't that at all, but simply modern designs that happen to have a lot of holes in them, you know, holes you put in your project on purpose. Designs are charted, and though some have a large number of rows / rounds in them, alot of projects are easily memorizable. There's some matching sets in the book, too, which I always like.

There are some incredibly cute baby knits in here - the baby accessories are cute, but what really stands out are the adorable sweaters and cardigans for babies that makes me wish I had a baby to knit for right now. Hana and Haru are my favorites.

And I don't knit baby things! ever! (OK: I do crochet baby blankets)

There's even a cute American Girl Doll set.

I received a review copy from netgalley

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Knit a Kitten

Knit a Kitten, Purl a Puppy: Picture Knit Projects for Pet Loving FamiliesKnit a Kitten, Purl a Puppy: Picture Knit Projects for Pet Loving Families by Peggy Gaffney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a review copy of this book last fall, and it's been sitting on the side of my bed since then. I hadn't written a review, not because I didn't like the book, but because I DID like the book - I had intentions of making up a project from the book, and sharing that along with the review. Well, life gets in the way, and you procrastinate, and I finally accepted the fact that that is just not going to happen, so I better get my act in gear and write up the review!

This is the second book Peggy Gaffney has in her series of animal related patterns. The book is very straightforward - a bunch of animal charts, that you can use for sweaters, bags, skirts, vests, and hats. The items are all straightforward, so that the cute animal charts will shine.

The positive:
* it's dogs! it's cats! it's knitting! and it's intarsia!
* there's a great range of dogs, from from Golden Retrievers, to Siberian Husky puppies, to Bulldogs and German Shepherds - there's also a selection of bonus charts you can mix and match with any of the patterns in the book.
* there's a section on intarsia hints (including how to eliminate holes) and suggestions for making it easier
* there's a section on spinning dog hair

There's a few negatives I see with this book:
* some of the finished samples didn't look very well executed - I suspect a heavy blocking would have fixed this, but because of the nature of intarsia, it's very difficult to keep your gauge steady and consistent & neat looking. Some of the pictures are distorted and this distracts from how cute the dogs are!
* there's not a lot of cats - it's 75% dogs and 25% cats. I expected more kitties!
* There's a brief mention of how you can substitute any chart in any design - just center it. Well, that's great, but I''m not much of a math person & my head began to swim when I tried to figure it out. I'm sure it's easy, but I could've used a hint to get me started.
* the book is just a classic paperback - knitting books with large charts like this one, really need to be published in a spiral bound format so the book will lay flat

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