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  • knitting1105 12:32 pm on September 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Japanese stitch dictionary, Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival   

    Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Revisited 

    Finally, after a 4 year hiatus, I was able to return with Dan to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival (why do people always want to get married on this weekend?!).  We drove up and back in one day, something that we are not going to repeat, it is so much more enjoyable to stay overnight and not have the nighttime driving.  It was a long day, but fun.

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    Sheep judging, interesting as always

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    There was a different sheep shearer than we had seen in the past.  Amazing how docile the sheep get when put on their backs.

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    And we got to see a new sheep breed being introduced to the US, Valais Blackness, a breed from Switzerland.  Look at that fleece!  Apparently it is a coarse wool, I wonder if it is like Churro sheep.  This was the hit of the fair for breeders.  They are so cute also.

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    We also watched the sheep dog trials, which is so fascinating.  I am not sure how they train the dogs so well.  My photos were not great of that event.

    And then, on to the market.  The first year that I went to this event in 2010, the market overwhelmed me.  I was a brand new spinner, taking my first class up there, and picking up my first wheel, the Ashford traditional.  That didn’t stop me from ogling over other wheels at the fair.  There were several vendors selling wheels, and so many with big bags of beautiful fleece and roving that you could buy in whatever quantity you chose.  By the next year, I had my eye on a Jensen wheel that was on display at the fair, and finally got it that winter,  I still love my Jensen.  The Traditional was sold right after I got the Jensen, and I still have my Ashford Joy for traveling, both great wheels.

    The market, while still occupying both of the large barns, was different.  There were the weaving and knitting and dyed fleece, but much less emphasis on spinning and I only saw one vendor with 2 big bags of roving.  That was a bit of a disappointment for me.

    Fiber Optic, my favorite dyer for roving was there, as they have been for the last several years.  I hesitate to admit how much of her roving I have in my stash waiting to be spun up, so I was not looking at that.  However, I have never knit with her sock yarn, and this seemed like a good time to purchase it, especially after my Clown Barf experience.  The owner, Kimber Baldwin, has a degree in Chemistry, and a great sense of color.  Plus, if you don’t like the outcome you can call her and return it!

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    Their yarn seems to be more popular now than the roving.  One day I will make it down to her shop, which looks amazing.  I purchased yarn for 3 pairs of socks.  the deep red/brown color is what Dan chose for himself.

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    I have already wound up the multi-color.

    My purchases also were for my Ravelry birthday twin, and then a new book for myself:

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    It is a lovely book, and I looked through it thoroughly.  Happily adding it to my stitch dictionary collection.

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    • salpal1 7:02 am on September 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, this post post makes me nostalgic! I went to this show for the first time last year – drove all the way out there (2.5 days each way) for a Ravelry meet up. We had a blast, and I got a Fiber Optic braid which spun up beautifully! I am glad you made it back and had fun, got some goodies!

      Like

  • knitting1105 10:15 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Great Northern Knits, Twin Peaks   

    My Prize 

    A  couple of years ago I entered a few items in the knitting contest at YarnCon, Chicago’s Indy Yarn fair that has been going on for several years now.  My Polar Bear Sweater was the winner of the best knitted sweater, and won the Best in Show also.

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    I was so excited, and received several nice prizes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    This sweater was knit during the 2008 Ravelympics.  I knit most of it while sitting at the beach at Lake Michigan, and then knit like a fiend when I got home to the neglect of everything else to finish during the summer Olympics – 2 weeks.  I was really proud of the results, and so happy to win something for my knitting efforts.

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    One of the prizes that I was to win, and receive later was the knitting book Great Northern Knits.

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    I must admit, I don’t even know what Twin Peaks is, but was happy to win a new book.  Then I mostly forgot about it.  I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when a package came in the mail, and I knew that I had not ordered anything.  So to my surprise, this book was inside.  They hadn’t forgot about me after all this time!

    There are some fun patterns in the book, and I will have to delve into it further at some point:

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    But, what caught my attention was this  sweater, knit at a very fine gauge.  Just my type of project.  This is on the to-do list.

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    Thanks Great Northern Knits!

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    • Deborah 9:20 am on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That sweater is fabulous. You deserve all the prizes!

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    • canaryknits 11:39 am on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thank YOU!! 🙂

      Like

    • Diane Hamilton 12:38 pm on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I will be anxious to see your finished project. I’m glad they remember to send the book after 2 years. Wonder what took so long.

      Like

    • salpal1 4:58 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice prize for an incredible sweater!

      Like

  • knitting1105 1:12 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beth Brown-Reinsel, Gansey, Knitting Ganseys   

    Knitting Ganseys 

    If you read my last post, you know that Gansey sweaters originated in Guernsey, and the name was modified.  Years ago, I took the Gansey sweater class from Beth Brown-Reinsel.  We made a small sampler Gansey, that I still have.

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    This was at Stitches Midwest in 2002.  At the time I purchased her wonderful book, and she signed it for me.  It was a great class, and I have always wanted to make an adult sized Gansey, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

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    Photos from the original book:

    The book has great History, instructions on how to make the sampler Gansey, and some Gansey sweaters that you can follow the pattern for.  In the intervening years, I have taken at least one more class from Beth on twined knitting.  She is a great teacher. So, when I saw that an updated version of this book was coming out, I was all for it.  This is not the first time that I have purchased a newer version of a book that I already own.  I was not disappointed.

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    This book is hardcover, the first was a paperback.  This is full color versus B&W.  The photography is beautiful, stunning scenery, and gorgeous knits.  I read this like a novel, something that seems to be more and more common with knitting books.  The history that I have garnered from knitting books is amazing.  This has reignited my interest in making a Gansey sweater.  Of course, I found out that there is still a factory on Guernsey Island that makes sweaters after I got back!  I would highly recommend this book.

    I am still keeping my original copy.  Plus it has a note and signature from Beth!

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    • tonymarkp 7:07 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I have the Knitting Ganseys book but never took the class. I made the adult sized sampler gansey for myself waaaay back when the book came out. I’ve knit a lot of ganseys since then. I hope you make some. The sweaters in that book are timeless, and even encourage you to try out steeking with a cardigan. If you can find the yarn, Wendy makes a sport-weight gansey yarn that is totally perfect for the patterns in that book. I have some in the stash waiting to be turned into an Alice Starmore gansey. 🙂 Alice Starmore also published a few gansey patterns knit in the round. It’s been so much fun to read about your trip to Guernsey and your plans to knit a gansey. It’s actually my favorite type of sweater construction!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:34 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You are inspiring me to start one, just as soon as I finish up a few other things.

        Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 9:38 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Japanese Knitting 

    Sometime in the past 3 months, I purchased this book, and had it sitting around. So, when I saw Japanese knitting being offered at Vogue Knitting Live  this year, I was interested in taking the class. It wasn’t until I had signed up, that I realized that the woman who translated this book was the instructor.  This is a gorgeous book, with beautiful patterns in it.

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    A1A87ZJ5PQLJapanese knitting is easy to learn and follow, as unlike any other country, they have standardized the knitting symbols, so once you know what they mean you are good to go with any book.  Clear & Simple Knitting Symbols is a great book which will teach you the knitting symbols, find it here.

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    My Saturday morning class was “Tips and Tricks from Japanese Knitting”.    The class moved at a quick pace, and I never lacked for a task to knit.  There was a bit of background, but not as much as I would have liked.  The instructor had lived in Japan, and I felt that there could have been more cultural information shared.  Nevertheless, I knit some swatches, and learned some new techniques.

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    This little swatch above shows 2 versions of tubular cast on (one I liked, the other I have little use for), button holes in the ribbing (this was a good trick and could come in handy), 3 sizes of bobbles (the little ones are hardly worth doing), and in the center of the swatch are two versions of 3 needle bind-off that lay flatter than the traditional way that we are used to.

    Next we learned a decorative 3-needle bind off that reminded me of the Estonian braids.

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    This class, while not the most engaging teacher, was worth the time and effort for techniques that she had gleaned from Japanese pattern books.

    In the afternoon, the class was making the fingerless mitts that are featured in the book.

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    First off, the instructor asked that people bring 200 grams of DK weight yarn.  Okay with that, but the yardage was too much.  Then she asked for needle sizes 6 and 8 dpns.  I opted to bring along more, the smallest I had being size 3.  There was really little new material taught in this class, I could have easily just read the book.   It was mainly knitting on our own, with a lot of quiet time (uncomfortable and boring).  I would have appreciated that knitting time having some background on knitting in Japan and a slideshow of shops, knitted items, etc.  Several people left early, as they had not brought along the correct needle sizes (they followed the class instructions), and their mitts were way too big.  I continued to knit mine, all the time feeling that they too were too big.

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    Finally, I too left early, there was really nothing to get from the class, and I knew at that point that I was going to rip them out and start over.

    The color of the yarn is very pretty, and I like the motifs.  I will rip these back, and knit with a size 2 or 2 1/2.  I think that I will scrutinize class descriptions more carefully in the future.

    Good information from the class was that there are a few more Japanese books being translated this year.  I have some pattern books, but they are all in Japanese.

    To come in 2018:

    And, if you really like Japanese knit designers, here is a list that was shared to look up on Ravelry.  The Japanese have such a talent for putting detail and thought into everything that they do form knitting to quilting to cuisine to architecture.  I am always inspired.

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    • salpal1 10:11 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry the classes weren’t the best that they could be, but it does seem you learned a lot that is useful and that will help you going forward.

      the Japanese patterns I have looked at but never bought always seem to be very nicely detailed garments. Maybe I need the books you mention, 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deborah Hamilton 10:35 am on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that the Japanese are talented designers. Maybe if you use sock weight yarn, you would be happier with your mitts. The stitches are beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • polwygle 1:30 pm on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I just received a copy of the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible the other day, and my friend is encouraging me to cast on for the mittens. Thank you for your suggestion to check for appropriate needle size! I am sorry your experience with the translator/instructor wasn’t more fruitful, but how exciting that new translations are coming out this year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp 7:48 pm on March 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      This is my next excursion into knitting I haven’t tried yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 11:29 am on June 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I really recommend getting the red knitting book. And if you ever see Donna Druchunas teaching a class on how to read Japanese Patterns, take it!

        Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 3:42 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Vogue Knitting is Back! 

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    After a hiatus of 3 years, Vogue Knitting decided to return to Chicago, at least for this year.  I had taken some really great classes there in the past, and finally decided about a week ago to take the plunge and try a couple of the classes.  It is much smaller than it had been in previous years, was put together on a short notice.  Nonetheless, we were happy to have this event back in town.  It was at the Chicago Hilton on Michigan Avenue, so not as convenient as the Palmer House for transit.

    This event occurred at a particularly busy time of year for me; school is busy, taking classes, One Earth Film Festival, and preparing for a trip over Spring Break.  Nonetheless I finally broke down about a week ago and opted to take 2 classes on Saturday (more about that tomorrow).

    Friends Barb and Pam from Stitch ’n Bitch went with me for the morning, they just had morning classes, and we went shopping together at lunchtime.  I was very restrained.  The first thing that I purchased was discounted books from Vogue Knitting.

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    The tuck knitting is a new technique to me, and I thought it was worth a try.

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    And, with a little Granddaughter to knit for, of course I had to get the Doll clothes patterns.  I have 2 of her earlier books, and had knit things for my niece from them.  I love the fantasy aspect of these, and strong girls.

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    A knitting coloring book on sale also seemed like a great option. Good thing to put my Prismacolors to use with.

    For the rest of the market, I was not overwhelmed.  We circled around once, and I purchased this neat cloth box holder.  I think that I would like more of these.  I envision this sitting on my organized counter in my knitting room.  Hopefully the organized thing will happen soon!

    The first pass around, all 3 of us were impressed with a fair trade booth that had fair trade yarn, Merino grown from their own sheep and natural dyes from the area were used.  The yarn is made in Rwanda, and is a women’s collective that helps those who suffered under the genocide, and pays a living wage.  On display was a cool double knit cowl that so impressed us, that we all bought the kit with the pattern, yarn, and a fun bag.  The yarn is all organic, and so incredibly soft to the touch.  This will make a beautiful cowl.

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    And, as I was checking out, a person was looking at this beautiful lambskin leather bag.  When they opted to not get it, I snagged it up.  This will become my good purse when I want to take along my knitting.  It is so soft.

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    The interior has hand stamped fabric.  Made in Ethiopia.

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    I am hoping that Vogue decides to make this an annual event in Chicago again.  It gives opportunity to take classes that would otherwise not be easily available.  Plus another knitting time to hang out with friends.

    YarnCon is next month!

     
    • Gracey 3:46 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      You seemed to have gotten some good things. I went to Vogue NY this January. I hadn’t been in a couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 3:51 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I did, and felt good about myself and being restrained. Helped that there were not a lot of booths!

      Like

      • Gracey 3:52 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah our Stitches United coming up at the end of the month doesn’t have a ton of booths, but there are some good ones.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Pam 7:24 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t wait until Easter basket season to give Joey his romper/sunsuit. He loved it and so did his parents. You never know what you will find at a knitting market.

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 8:48 pm on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, knitting ever surprises! I am glad that they liked it, it was too cute.

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 11:47 am on January 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Norwegian mittens, Selbuvotter   

    Selbuvotter 

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    The second of my 3 book reviews, it will be a fairly short written piece.  This is a very comprehensive book on the art of Selbuvotter mittens, over 300 pages of history, charts, graphs and photographs. The only unfortunate part is that it is written in Norwegian, with no English translation, so the history component is lost on me.  However, the charts for knitting speak a Universal Language, and I will just let some of the photos speak for themselves.

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    The book is a bit hard to come by, I purchased mine at Schoolhouse Press.   This link has some great examples of pages from the book also.

    I love the fact that the traditional mittens are all in B&W.  The book shows inspiration from snowflakes to horns to flowers and how they were interpreted.  It would be nice if the book were printed in English one day, I think that the audience would increase greatly.  The beauty of knitting though is, a chart is universal.

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    Again, printed in Norway, with a ribbon bookmark attached.  Definitely a great library resource.

     
    • Heidi Klick 11:07 am on March 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Impressive mittens. I think I will add this to my library as well. I can probably locate a Norwegian that can translate. Thanks for posting the review

      Like

  • knitting1105 3:08 pm on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Lithuanian knitting   

    Lithuanian Knitting 

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    Prior to Christmas, I ordered 3 very special books for myself from Schoolhouse Press.  After watching the videos of Meg Swanson describing many of the new books that they had in the shop, I was really smitten with 3 of them.  And, I had a 20% off coupon to boot!  I will review each book separately.

    The first book, Lithuanian Knitting, Continuing Traditions, was a 7 year journey for Donna Druchunas, whose family originally came from Lithuania. A few years back, I had the pleasure of taking classes from Donna, and this inspired me to also purchase the book.  The Baltic region history and knitting history have intrigued  me since taking a class with Nancy Bush on Estonian Knitting.  The other author is June Hall, she is from England and focuses on rare sheep breeds.  This is one of the few heady knitting books that I sat and read cover to cover.  I enjoyed the history, the Baltic countries have been occupied so much of their time, and only recently got their independence from the USSR, and the interest in their heritage has been growing since.  One fact that has haunted me since reading this was that prior to WWII, 1/2 of the Lithuanian population was Jewish – 90% of them were slaughtered during WWII, a higher percentage than any other country in the world.  That gives me great pause in this tumultuous time.

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    The book contains lots of great photos, and maps.  It takes you through the history of Lithuania and the fiber arts, the heritage sheep breeds, and then the various areas of the country and  knitting traditions.  Not knowing the language, nor the country, it was sometimes hard for me to follow and get a handle on distances.  I loved the ribbon bookmark, and the fact that the book is printed in Lithuania.  81y-nx60hplAlso contained within the book are 25 individual patterns from different regions for gloves, mittens, socks, wrist warmers.  A couple of them have piqued my interest.

     

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    Making mittens and/or socks with this fringe is on my list:

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    And the graphics are really fun, each chapter has a ball of yarn on the left hand lower corner with the page number, it then follows across to a garment that continues to be “knit up” during the course of that chapter.  It is much like a flip-book of a garment under construction in the corners.

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    If I had any criticisms, it would be that the flow of writing is not smooth.  I could definitely tell the difference between Donna and June’s writing styles, I must say that I preferred Donna’s voice, June’s felt folksy at times  I think that the editor should have done a better job of coalescing the 2 together.  That said, a great book to have in your personal library!

     
    • Donna Druchunas 4:08 pm on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, thanks! This is fun. Yes, we decided to keep our voices separate and we even kept June’s parts in “English” spelling and grammar versus American. Sorry it was jarring to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Heidi Klick 11:05 am on March 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      This book looks quite interesting. I am definitely adding it to my wish list. I am fairly new to color work, but always game for a new challenge. 😊

      Like

  • knitting1105 7:58 pm on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    People Knitting 

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    People have been sending vintage photos of knitting to me on FB, so I was curious where they all came from all of a sudden, and I found this book.  Of course I bought it!  One does not even need to ask.

    The author, Barbara Levine, has been collecting Vintage knitting photos for over 25 years, even though she herself is not a knitter, and many of the photos come from her personal collection. She calls herself a knitting watcher, and her mother was a knitter, though she does not have a single photo of her mother knitting.

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    The photos range from the past 100+ years once photography was more popular. They show both genders, and all ages.

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    This book would make a great little gift or stocking stuffer for any knitter.  It will be kept out in the Living Room for perusing at my house.

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    I found this photo to be especially funny, as I have a hair appointment tomorrow, and I am known for always knitting while sitting in the chair!

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    It was really enjoyable looking through this book, but it also made me sad.  I have been knitting since I was 7.  I do not know of a single photo of me knitting.  Too late to get that back.  Have someone take pictures of you while you do your craft.

     

     

     
    • Diane Hamilton 11:06 pm on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That looks like a fun book! I am sorry there is no known picture of you knitting but we all have a picture of you knitting in our memories, like the trip to Mesa Verde and Traver asking you what you were knitting and he thought it was good colors for a little boy. Even though there isn’t a physical picture it is one I will always treasure and I picture us all in the SUV and you sitting up in the front seat while Traver was asking you questions about your knitting. Memories I will always hold close to my heart. Sometimes those are the best pictures!

      Like

      • knitting1105 12:14 pm on November 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Diane. Memories are good, but hard to pass on. Amazing that I never thought of the fact that there was not a photo of me knitting until now. I have always been camera shy, but knitting is the thing that would have made me happy to have a photo taken. Maybe I will do a photo session soon.

        Like

  • knitting1105 6:10 pm on February 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Cast On, Bind Off 

    On a recent quest to learn a new cast off technique, I became interested in finding out more.  These 2 books, both with the same title came up, so I ordered them from the library to see if they were worth the investment for my own library.

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    One has 54 techniques and the other 211?! I am a bit confused about how one has so many more, although when a particular bind off has multiple names, Sease counts each of the different names as a technique—cheating a bit I think, when I count them I get 144 different techniques, some a slight variation.  Impressive nonetheless.

    Both books are spiral bound, the one by Leslie Ann Bestor is a more diminutive size (6″ x 7″), which would increase the portability.  I could see keeping this one in my knitting bag.  The book by Cap Sease is larger (9″ x 11″).  Both have good directions, Sease uses drawings to show the steps, and given the larger size of the book, the drawings are more readable, each one is followed by a photo of the finished technique.  Bestor uses actual photos to show the steps in each technique, sometimes those photos are hard to follow, especially when she uses a dark yarn.

    When I compare my favorite tubular cast-ons and cast off, both have the setup sort of correct, but miss using a larger size needle at the beginning (see my notes here).  The tubular bind off for the 1x 1 rib is exactly what I would do, but the 2 x 2 rib is missing a step which I will discuss in an upcoming post.

    I have not done a step by step comparison of each technique, but in my overview I do think that Sease has more techniques in the book, in spite of calling out the names multiple times.  Her directions are easier to read.  The Bestor book would be a handy reference to have in my knitting bag though.  I would recommend either of the books, as if is sometimes hard to find the best technique when you need it immediately.

    That said, I just ordered both, Bestor for $10, and Sease for $19!

     

     
    • Diane Hamilton 10:29 pm on February 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      As I was reading your blog, I was thinking that you should order both and then I saw your last sentence! I am sure you will use them both frequently

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 1:46 pm on August 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Tudor Roses Comparison 

    About 18 months ago I wrote a review of the new Tudor Roses vs the original Tudor Roses, both by Alice Starmore.  In that review, I commented that I was happy to have both versions, for the color changes, and new shaping of the newest version (2013),

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    and the patterns for men in the original version (1998).

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    A question was recently posed on that blog entry by Christina, of whether I would say that only the new version was needed.  This prompted me to do a comparison of patterns, and to note which ones were in each book, and any changes.

    Looking through and comparing these books has piqued my interest in knitting up one of the patterns, and I must say that it will  probably be from the newer book, as the shaping is more contemporary there, and more to my liking.  There are a couple of sweaters that appear in both books that really appeal to me also.  I enjoy seeing the ones that were reknit being done in a new colorway.  My comparison of the 2 books follows, a simple chart:

    TUDOR ROSES COMPARISON

    So my answer to Christina who posed the question, would be that I am happy that I own both books.  If your desire is to have a complete knitting library, and you love color work and more complicated patterns, then Yes to owning both books.  And starting at $20 for the older version on Amazon, I do think that it is worth the investment.

    As a side note, thanks in large part to Ravelry, many knitting books that are out of print have become very pricey, although that changes as books are reissued.  I have a wonderful library that I have amassed over the years, and keep telling my family that if something happens to me, my knitting books are worth more than my Architecture books!  And that statement says a lot, as that is also a wonderful collection.

     
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