Browsing Tag

review

dreaming of knitting

in the last week or two I’ve been asked if I gave up knitting or just moved on. just the opposite. I don’t blame anyone for thinking this, since this blog has been about quilting left and right for the last few months. the knitting just hasn’t happened because a) I’m experiencing some shoulder and wrist pain (waiting on a dr’s appt) and b) frankly, I haven’t been excited by any of the patterns I’ve seen in the magazines.
I have been daydreaming about knitting something out of ori ami knits once I can get my grubby hands on a copy (and my arm is feeling better). these are the patterns I have been looking for, a little bit edgy with interesting construction and unexpected details. I don’t need patterns for things I can simply get at the store, I rather spend my time making something unique. I might also be looking for an excuse to visit habu; all the patterns in the book feature their yarns, sometimes combining different fibers.
I was lucky enough to be asked to help edit some of the writing, so I got a sneak peek of all the patterns. vanessa did an amazing job with the photography. the landscape looks lush and magical. you can tell that olga, kirsten, and vanessa love habu yarns because the designs work perfectly with the yarn. none of them feel forced or gimmicky. the sizing is pretty generous, it ranges from 32-50″ on every pattern.
some of my favorite pieces are:

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stalled

pure knits tease
things have been quiet and stressful around here since this little package was dropped off at my door last week. I’ve had to go through and make corrections to every pattern. can we all cross our fingers so they make it into the book this time? the scary part is I don’t even understand how half the errors I found were introduced into the manuscript in the first place. at least the release date has been pushed back to next fall, so lark has given us enough time to check for everything.

with my nose in this book and working on some side knitting all my sweater knitting has been put on hold. of course this makes my fingers itch for more projects. to satisfy some of my cravings I ordered a copy of Boutique Knits, which totally made it worse.

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five minute review

as if we need someone else talking about those knit picks needles, but I was intrigued and decided to try them out. I figured if anything I would have some spare sock needles. I ordered two of their 32″ ‘classic circulars‘ in sizes #0 and #1 (2mm and 2.5mm) and so far have only used the 2.5.

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four days after I placed my order the package arrived and the swatching commenced. first thoughts, they do look exactly like addis though a lot sharper (the addi is the third needle in the pic), the cable feels plasticy, and where the hell is the needle size printed? would it have cost them that much to print the size, really?

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searching

there’s been a lot of looking through patterns, swatching, knitting, ripping, sketching, and reading but nothing seems to stick. I really have nothing to show you since I have no sweaters on the needles, the socks aren’t finished, and the shawl is stalled. you would think that I really don’t want to knit yet it’s the opposite. I think I’m overwhelmed by everything I want to knit or rather how much I want to knit. so I read instead.

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sure, a knitting book snuck in there, but mostly I started working through a pile of books I picked up last fall and slacked on. since I last posted I must’ve finished three and I finally started Son of a Witch. the other book that regained my attention is thai food by david thompson. this is the type of book that makes me weak in the knees. sure, it sucks you in with the gorgeous food photography within, but it’s the first 200 or so pages that win me over. not most cooking books will take that many pages to go over the history of the food and the culture, the different techniques used, and what the particular ingredients that make the food unique are. actually most cooking books are 200 pages or less with a ton of glossy pictures and recipes you may or may not have seen somewhere else. the 400 pages of recipes that follow are droolworthy, well written, and always opened to interpretation.

don’t worry, this isn’t becoming a food blog but I did want to give you a hint into what I’ve been looking for in a knitting book and have yet to find. if a cooking book can be considered a scholarly work, why can’t a knitting book? I’m not looking for a book high in theory, full of ‘art patterns’ that scream “I’m deeper than you!” but at the same time I’m tired of the general knitting book formula. most books, not all, start off with why the author wrote the book, then some words on a few techniques (swatching, blocking, increasing, decreasing, etc) that never go very deep, and then patterns that range from sweaters, hats, blankets, and fillers (i.e. egg cozies, chair covers, door screens, and so on). there are a few exception to this formula (thank you Knitting Nature!), but for the most part there aren’t too many surprises in the knitting publishing world.
so with all that baggage, what do I think about melissa leapman’s upcoming book, cables untangled? first off, a few things: I received this book (an uncorrected proof) for free at tnna, I even got it signed by the author, I love cables, I was sorely disappointed in inspired cable knits, both books share the same publisher, no one besides a few blog readers asked me to write on this book (this is not an advertorial), and I created a flickr set showing the projects from the book so you can judge for youself. phew!

I’m always excited when I hear about a cable book coming out and immediately start to think about cute sweaters and cardigans with well placed cables and maybe even some chunky cashmere hats to match. the best part is when cables are all the rage on the runway. you can have fun knitting and be fashionable to boot! my excitement was tempered after looking through leapman’s book. there are eight tops (including two for men and one for kids), two scarves, one hat, one poncho, one skirt, one bag and eight home accessories (mostly afghans, but also some pillows, and a rug). umm, where’s my mcqueen coat or balenciaga sweater? ok so the designs aren’t my style, but I can’t’ say they aren’t extremely well thought out to the fine detail or that leapman isn’t a master of cables (she designed many of the cables herself). I can’t help but stare at all the afghans and imagine how great the textures feel, I just, most likely, won’t knit them. I love how the cables fall into the ribbing in most of the sweaters or how the cable seems to follow the raglan line, but the shaping or styling of the rest of the sweater isn’t for me. something about them makes them feel heavy, that’s the only way I can really explain it. the book’s strength lies in the cable stitch dictionary, with over 120 cables to look through and the basics chapter that is great for any cabling beginner. BUT I’m not a beginner, I understand how to cross and twist cables. I did enjoy how she explains how to cable without a cable needle and wished she went deeper in other areas. there’s only two pages on ‘designing with cables’ that I wish was expanded on, it could have turned this pattern book into a reference book.

I’m glad the version I have is printed as a black and white book, it let’s me not fall for the colors, photographs, and art direction. rather, I feel like I’m seeing what is truly there. these are just my opinions of course, check out the pictures and then the book this fall to make up your own mind.