Tag Archives: Pattern Books

Review: Coffeehouse Knits

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First, the facts:

Title: Coffeehouse Knits: Knitting Patterns and Essays with Robust Flavor

Editor: Kerry Bogert

Published by: Interweave Press, 2019

Pages: 143

Type: Knitting Patterns

Chapters:

No chapters, just patterns and four essays

KS: Coffeehouse Knits

The In-Depth Look:

This is an invigorating collection of knits clustered around a coffee theme–steamed milk, deep brews–and, more importantly, the idea of community that gathers in a coffee shop.

Knitting is one of those perfect crafts that works both on your own and with a group. (It’s best when that group is like-minded, though it’s not necessary. I’ve gotten through many boring family gatherings with my knitting to keep my hands busy.)

It’s just natural, then, that knitting and the world of coffee drinking go together, whether you’re grabbing that first cup before picking up the needles or gathering with your knitting friends to talk and swap patterns and tips.

How can you therefore not appreciate a collection with a coffee theme? The names are so evocative you can almost smell the sugar and caffeine in the air. Latte Swirl Sweater. Chai Latte Cowl. Breakfast Brioche Scarf. Extra Whip Socks.

I’m getting hungry just reading the table of contents.

The collection–with samples and photos that are usually largely coffee-colored–is as delicious as it sounds. Sweaters, cowls, shawls, socks … all the usual things you’d expect.

You can buy this at your local shop (if not an actual coffee shop), or here, at Amazon.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by . Thank you!

My Gush: The theme alone would make me love it!

Review: Stunning Stitches

Review: Stunning Stitches post image

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First, the facts:

Title: Stunning Stitches: 21 Shawls, Scarves, and Cowls You’ll Love to Knit

Author: Jen Lucas

Published by: Martingale, 2017

Pages: 96

Type: Shawls, scarves, and cowls

Chapters:

No chapters, just patterns

KS: Stunning Stitches

The In-Depth Look:

The author writes, “As a designer, I’m constantly inspired by the stitch patterns that fill the stitch dictionaries on my bookshelves. The patterns are so beautiful, interesting, and thought-provoking, I can spend hours poring over them, searching for just the right pattern for my design. The hardest (and perhaps saddest) part of designing is that many times I use a stitch pattern only once … It feels like it’s gone forever.”

I can relate to this.

There are so many great stitch patterns out there, there’s never going to be enough time to try them all, and so you pick and choose, use one, and then move on. No time to dawdle! So many stitches to try!

This is why I like the concept of this book. The designer forced herself to slow down. She picked seven different stitch patterns and then came up with three different designs for each of them.

All the patterns are meant to be worn around the neck as a shawl, scarf, or cowl, which makes this practical. You can always use more accessories, right?

The patterns sometimes use the stitch all-over, sometimes just as an accent, and sometimes a little of both. I like the fact that she had to push herself for these, finding new, inventive ways to re-use the same stitch.

It’s a good exercise for all of us, I think. Just because you’ve found one use for a beautiful stitch, why stop there? And if the author can help you push the edge by giving you three different patterns for each creative stitch? So much the better.

You can find this book at Amazon or at your local bookshop.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Martingale. Thank you!

My Gush: A nice exercise in pushing stitch boundaries.

#WeThePeopleListen

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I think we can all agree that the political climate has been … volatile … of late.

It seems like everybody is so entrenched in their own side of [every possible] argument, that we’re forgetting that, no matter the party, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income level, citizenship status … all of that … we are all Americans* for a reason.

We have more that pulls us together (like yarn and knitting patterns) than pulls us apart, so long as we don’t let the little differences drive big wedges. If you need to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor, does it really matter how they voted in the last election? When your kid’s school hosts a charity car wash, do you exclude cars with bumper stickers you don’t like? Or do you welcome them to get soaped up with everyone else? For the most part, all of us are just trying to live our lives and raise our families to be good and kind.

None of us needs the constant stream of hate that’s taken over the airwaves.

Independence Day is coming up fast, and it’s important to remember what that means–and what better way than to listen to the words of our founding fathers?

Penguin Random House Audio is joining with award-winning authors and like-minded partner organizations, including PEN America and the National Coalition Against Censorship, to stream audio recordings of both the U.S. Constitution, narrated by Boyd Gaines, and the Declaration of Independence, narrated by Frank Langella, under the banner “We the People Listen.”

“For many of us, it’s been years, if at all, since we’ve read the Constitution or the Declaration,” says Amanda D’Acierno, SVP and Publisher, Penguin Random House Audio. “Taking a little time this early summer to listen to these talented narrators bring the text alive is something we all need to do as we celebrate Independence Day this year.”

Listeners can stream the recording of both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence until July 31 at www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/wethepeoplelisten.

If you’ve forgotten:

About the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 as an act of rebellion, the Declaration of Independence powerfully expresses the political principles of an emerging nation. As justification for severing ties with England, the Declaration of Independence presented a list of grievances against the King and declared the colonies to be sovereign states.

About the U.S. Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.…

Ratified in 1788, the U.S. Constitution remains a shining example of patriotism and compromise. In outlining the power of the three branches of government and establishing the rights of all Americans, the Constitution united the thirteen independent states and set forth the official viewpoint of a newly unified nation. Its most significant and insightful feature is that it can always be amended.

*And for those of you who are not in the U.S. of A, these words are just as wise, no matter where you live.

Review: Urban Knit Collection

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First, the facts:

Title: Urban Knit Collection: 18 City-Inspired Knitting Patterns for the Modern Wardrobe

Author: Kyle Kunnecke

Published by: Interweave Press, 2016

Pages: 160

Type: Patterns

Chapters:

Introduction
1. Planning the Trip: Advice for the City Knitter
2. Sightseeing: Sweaters for the Journey
3. A Change in Seasons: Wraps & Scarves
4. Souvenir Shopping: Accessories

KS: Urban Knit

The In-Depth Look:

In his introduction, the author writes about his love for architecture and the “simple old-fashioned hard work that goes into the making of things.” He talks about wanting to provide projects that would last, and be timeless, saying, “The thing that excites me about architectural eras is that they don’t actually have a beginning or an end. Bits and pieces and details evolve over time. Some fade away; others become mascots of the age. It is by looking into the past that we are able to identify which elements define a particular period. Something we think of today as being modern becomes vintage with the passing of time.”

I like that outlook. We are so prone to bemoaning how disposable the world has become–we don’t fix things anymore, we just buy replacements–and yet, there are gifts in our past that should be treasured.

It’s the architecture, then, that inspired these patterns, and the idea of travel that shapes the structure of the book. It begins with various techniques (“planning the journey”) and then goes through chapters of sweaters, wraps, and accessories. Most of the patterns are for women, though a couple are for men or (the scarves, for example), for either.

Instead of using the conventional easy/medium/hard kind of categorization for each pattern, the author offers a list of skills one should have for each project, so the knitter can choose for themselves. Need to know how to knit on circular needles, do a cable, knit intarsia garter stitch? You’ll know right up front.

The schematics and charts are all clear and helpful, and the patterns offer a decent mix of stitch-textures and cables and colorwork–with a slight bias toward colorwork.

Really, a great collection of knits not only inspired by fabulous things built in the past, but ready to be worn while visiting and admiring them.

You can get your copy at your local shops or at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Urban-inspired and city ready.

Review: Rugged Knits

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First, the facts:

Title: Rugged Knits: 24 Practical Projects for Everyday Living

Author: Andrea Rangel

Published by: Interweave Press, 2016

Pages: 143

Type: Patters

Chapters:

No chapters, just a list of patterns

KS: Rugged Knits

The In-Depth Look:

As nice as it is to find a book filled with edgy, stylish, unique kinds of garments, there’s something very comforting about a book filled with patterns you can easily wear. Simple pullovers, classic yoked cardigans, basic hats … things it’s easy to pull on and go about your day.

If it’s not obvious, those are the kind of patterns you’ll find here.

The author writes that, “I want my knitwear to work with all my pursuits, so I’m drawn to knitting functionally for an active lifestyle–think hiking, cycling, and camping. But if you look over my portfolio, you’ll notice a whole lot of very pretty things, too. I knit lace in every weight and in many different shapes. I love bright, eye-catching colors and revel in fine details. While I strive for utility, I also want to infuse each piece with beauty and luxury.”

I kind of love that she specifically says that she really does envision wearing her sweaters while doing farm chores.

Not everybody has an active, outdoor lifestyle, of course, but there’s a lot to be said about a garment that’s meant to be worn.

Click here to get your copy from Amazon, or check out your local shops!
Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Simple and functional

Review: Modern Baby Knits

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First, the facts:

Title: 3 Skeins of Less: Modern Baby Knits: 23 Knitted Baby Garments, Blankets, Toys, and More!

Author: Tanis Gray

Published by: Interweave Press, 2016

Pages: 128

Type: Baby knits

Chapters:

No chapters, just a list of patterns

KS: Modern Baby Knits

The In-Depth Look:

Tanis Gray doesn’t disappoint. She always puts together creative and fun collections that make you look at knitting in a different way, and this one is no exception.

Oh, it seems simple enough. Modern Baby Knits is a collection of things for babies (and toddlers). Twenty-three of them, things to wear, cuddle, or play with. All helpfully using three skeins or less of yarn, making them all fairly quick and easy to knit together.

What’s not to love?

The nice thing, though, is that the projects are all stylish–not always a word you think of when describing things for soft, cuddly, little people. They’re simple and functional as suits the age group, but they have unique colors or asymmetrical shapes. Things to keep it interesting for Mom, while practical for the kids who will be wearing them.

Tanis says in the introduction that she “is a firm believer that babies and children should live their lives in comfortable handknits. The label ‘handmade’ regarding knits for children is often confused with ‘fussy’ and ‘finicky’ and implies tiny gauge and a pastel palette, when that doesn’t have to be the case. This book is designed with both the knitter and the wearer in mind, chock-full of designs that are easy to knit and have fuss-free finishes, bright colors, easy-care fibers, and modern silhouettes that little ones want to wear.”

Which, you know, is pretty much what I just said. It’s so nice when the designer and I are on the same page … and in this case, it’s a cheerful, adorable page indeed.

You can check out this book at Amazon.com or look for it in your local shop!

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Stylish and cute.

Other posts for this author:

Review: Complete Photo Guide to Knitting

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First, the facts:

Title: Creative Kids: Complete Photo Guide to Knitting

Author: Mary Scott Huff

Published by: Creative Publishing, 2015

Pages: 143

Type: How-To for Kids

Chapters:

Knitting Mechanics
Yarn and Knitted Fabric
Special Techniques

KS: Creative Kids Complete Photo Guide to Knitting

The In-Depth Look:

Moms know how much creativity their kids have–imaginations going wild, boundless curiosity about the world around them. It’s the perfect time to introduce them to new experiences and teach them new skills.

Like, say, knitting!

The only problem with this is that most knitting books are written for adults. Even the ones with cute patterns or fun little projects obviously assume that it will be an adult picking up the needles to create the toys or pint-sized sweaters the kids will love.

So, how is a mom supposed to introduce this fun craft to her kids?

Well, Mary Scott Huff’s new book, “Creative Kids Complete Photo Guide to Knitting” is a good place to start.

The book is a basic how-to book about knitting–everything from casting on to picking the right kind of fiber, reading schematics, knitting cables … almost everything you need to know. This is followed by a bunch of cute, fun projects to knit: washcloths, cowls, sweaters, toys, accessories, all ranging from quick and simple to keep your kid involved and more complex, to keep them challenged.

Coming from Creative Kids, this is full of great photos, good illustrations, and lots of happy, smiling faces. Including mine. My only regret is not having any kids to pass it on to!

You can get your copy of this lovely book here, at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Creative Publishing. Thank you!

My Gush: Informative and fun

Other posts for this author:

Review: Warm Days, Cool Knits

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First, the facts:

Title: Warm Days, Cool Knits

Author: Corrina Ferguson

Published by: Interweave Press, 2015

Pages: 143

Type: Patterns

Chapters:

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

KS: Warm Days Cool Knits

The In-Depth Look:

The author writes: “If, like me, you live in the South, or other places where snow is a novelty, and the air conditioning runs most of the year [knitting] is a bit trickier. When you tell people you’re a knitter they look at you funny. The local yarn shops are few and far between. There are only a handful of days of sweater weather each year, and those sweaters are usually worn as coats. But even in the South we love to knit. And we want to knit pretty wearable things, not just accessories and household decorations. That’s why I created this collection of patterns to showcase the knitted seasons of the South, with projects that are fitting for any climate.”

Well, I don’t live in the South, but I can affirm that it is hot outside, and the last thing I want to do right now is bundle up in anything, much less a cozy, bulky sweater … but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to knit. That makes this the perfect time of year for this book. (You know, for those of us who live where it does actually get cold and snowy.)

The book is sorted into seasons, but don’t be fooled–the “Winter” knits are not the kind you wear to bundle up to shovel snow. They are the sort of thing you put on when the temperature dips into the 60s and it’s suddenly chilly at night. But that’s okay–they’re also good for wearing around your centrally-heated house when you just need an extra layer.

The styles are mostly light sweaters, wraps, and tank tops, ranging from extremely light- to medium-weight. There are several things in here I’d be happy to knit and have in my wardrobe, which I always consider a plus for a pattern book. Nothing bulky, nothing heavy, just light and breezy. Perfect for the South. Perfect for the summer.

This book can be found at your local shops or at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Pretty Cool.

Review: Seamless Knits for Posh Pups

Review: Seamless Knits for Posh Pups post image

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First, the facts:

Title: Seamless Knits for Posh Pups

Author: Sharon Sebrow

Published by: Martingale, 2015

Pages: 64

Type: Patterns for pets

Chapters:

No chapters, just patterns

My creation

The In-Depth Look:

My dog has very firm opinions about the idea of wearing sweaters. A firm “no,” in fact. He’s of the opinion that they should be saved for only the coldest of days, or for serious romps in foot-deep snow. (We won’t discuss how, since he’s turning 14 this week, he doesn’t romp much these days.) But if he were a dog to wear sweaters, he might appreciate the patterns in this book.

Certainly I would, because knitting a seamless dog sweater is certainly easier (and faster) than knitting one in pieces that need to be seamed together.

And, even though the title says these are for “posh” pups, these are not frou-frou kinds of sweaters. (Well, not all of them.) They cover a range from cute to practical–though I question the Tiffany “dress” for potentially causing trouble in the (ahem) ladies room. (Anyone who’s ever had to go to the bathroom in a gown can appreciate the difficulty here.)

Ultimately, though, this is a nice collection of sweet garments to keep your dog warm when it’s cold outside.

How could they possibly complain about anything that will keep you outside playing longer?

Right, Chappy?

You can check out this book at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Martingale. Thank you!

My Gush:

Review: Faux Taxidermy Knits

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First, the facts:

Title: Faux Taxidermy Knits: 15 Wild Animal Knitting Patterns

Author: Louise Walker

Published by: Interweave Press, 2015

Pages: 127

Type: Patterns, mostly accessories (wearable and home furnishings)

Chapters:

1. Wearables
2. Habitat
3. Techniques

KS: Faux Taxidermy Knits

The In-Depth Look:

It must be hard, being a taxidermist in 2015. As a rule, people just aren’t as interested in decorating themselves or their houses in animal pelts, no matter how beautiful or finely treated. Fur just isn’t what it used to be, what with all this political correctness about animal rights floating around.

So what are you to do if you love the look of a fur wrap, or long to hang a moose head on your wall?

Well, if you’re a knitter … you make one yourself. Problem solved! A perfectly, politically correct solution with nothing harmed outside a sheep’s momentary dignity during its haircut.

There are things in this collection that I think are adorable. The Hedgehog slippers, for example or the Raccoon Hat. The Owl tea cozy is one that I wouldn’t mind having, either, and the Tiger Skin Rug looks quite comfy. I do question the dead pheasants, though, which seem in questionable taste, and thought the knitted Rabbit’s Foot just odd.

The fact remains, though, that the patterns are clever and creative and (mostly) full of a whimsical sense of fun. (Again, the dead pheasants totally threw me.)

You can get your copy at your local shop or by clicking here for Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: Creative.