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

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.




    • 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

    Vogue Knitting is Back! 


    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.


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


    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.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    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.



    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.


    The interior has hand stamped fabric.  Made in Ethiopia.


    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!


      • 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   



    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.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    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.


    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


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

    Lithuanian Knitting 


    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.


    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.



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



    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.


    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. 😊


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

    People Knitting 


    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.


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



    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.


    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!


    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!


      • 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.


  • 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.



    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),


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


    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:


    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.

  • knitting1105 10:08 am on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Knitting books,   

    Closeout Sale 

    A local yarn shop, Knot Just Knits will be closing their doors in a couple of weeks.  there is nothing I really need, so did not go the first week, when things were 30% off.  I did stop by this week, and at 40% off, got the following items:

    A book by Lucinda Guy, I have 3 of her other books and really love the whimsical nature of some of the kids projects.



    This cute dress intrigued me:



    As did these moose mittens:



    A Piecework magazine is always in order.  This seems to be the only magazine that I am purchasing as of late.  I need to add my magazine collection to the Ravelry database, and then perhaps I would use them more.



    I also purchased this pack of sock yarn, I am thinking that it will make some lovely Fair Isle mittens.



    Lace yarn to be used to make a shawl for the Go Red auction next winter.  I think that I will make the Gretta Garbo Shawl by Nancy Bush again for this .  This yarn is a bit finer, so might need to do additional repeats.  It is Findley by Juniper Moon Farm; 50% merino, 50% silk, color Serendipity.  Very soft, and I really liked another wool by Juniper Moon that I knit last Fall.



    And lastly, there was some dishcloth yarn, that at 40% off seemed to be a good deal.  Might go back at 50% next week and see if any is left.



    Oh, and Eucalan…



    • elaine 3:16 pm on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Good finds! Sorry to hear of a shop closing though :-/


    • Diane 5:27 pm on June 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love my Greta Garbo shawl you made me…the pink will be beautiful. Looks like you found some much needed items afterall!


    • Erin 11:07 am on June 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This comment is a little off-topic but on the subject of books… I’m trying to organize a tour of knitting blogs for my novella about magical knitting (Blood Stitches, Kensington, May 2015). I couldn’t find an email address for you, so if you’re interested please send me an email: mail@erinfanning.com. In the meantime, you can find for more information about my writing at: erinfanning.com. Thanks for the consideration!


  • knitting1105 11:00 am on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    The Manly Art of Knitting 


    The title of this book intrigued me.  It had been out of print for years, so when it was reissued, I wanted a copy.  A cover that has a cowboy sitting on a horse and knitting is just too good to pass up.

    It is a very short book, 64 pages end to end, and not a lot of reading.  The instructions for beginners are amazingly simple and basic, this would definitely be a book that I would recommend to a brand new knitter.  The illustrations are simple and direct, and not a lot of extra stuff that would confuse the new knitter. And I love the full page photos of what your knit stitch, purl, ribbing, etc should look like.  I have read other reviews that pan this book, but I think that they are missing some of the great things.  Is it a book that you would go back to as a reference, probably not, but a non-threatening book for a novice.  This is going with me tonight to knitting for other reviews.



    The second half gets into actually knitting something that any cowboy would love, a bed for your dog, saddle blanket, hat, hammock…


    Especially love this as it reminds me of my beautiful Appaloosa POA, Sissy.  We had such great times riding together.


    The books ends with a “Problems” section to help you solve those early issues that befuddle new knitters.  I think that the book well worth a read.  Most would probably just want to check it out from the library though.

    A review from ginkopress.com.

    A cult classic, The Manly Art of Knitting was originally published in 1972, but has been out of print for decades. Fougner initially published this book in the hope that it would encourage men to take up knitting and that veterans of the craft would embrace this quirky manual. In this amusing yet practical guide to knitting, Dave Fougner provides step-by-step instructions for beginners and those taking up the needles again. The book contains helpful illustrations and wonderful black and white photographs. You can t help but smile at the shots of calloused hands lovingly knitting blankets for dogs and horses. Chapters include basics, pattern stitches (garter, stockinette, purl, rib, moss, rise, and basket weave), projects, and problems. Fougner proclaims that only a man would knit a hammock with shovel handles for needles and manila rope for yarn. Whether or not this is true, Fougner will show you how it s done.

    • Erin 3:20 pm on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      What a find! I love the cover and helpful tips, like knitting something for an uncritical friend… your dog. Priceless!

      Liked by 1 person

    • AndreSue 11:40 pm on March 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Great book review! I’ve seen the cover a few times online but didn’t know it was a real book! 🙂


    • Christine 9:55 pm on March 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the nice review. I was the original publisher. I am glad it is in print again.


  • knitting1105 4:38 pm on February 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bauerliches Stricken, Knitting book review, Knitting pattern book   

    The Barbara of Bavaria 

    bs123For Christmas, one of the wonderful gifts that I received from my husband was this trio of books.  He purchased them from Schoolhouse Press which imports them.  Having many many books with knitting designs, and wanting to explore more of my own designing, I have been adding to my collection of pattern books and these were on my wish list.

    The title Bauerliches Stricken roughly translates as Farm Country Knitting or Cottage Knitting.  As best as I can tell, they were originally published in 1983, and had been out of print for quite awhile, this reprinted and expanded set is from 2011.  The author, Lisl Fanderl, has been referred to as the Barbara Walker of Bavaria for her cataloguing and publishing these volumes of traditional knitting patterns and designs.


    Following is the description from the Schoolhouse Press site:

    Bauerliches Stricken 1/2/3

    The elusive trio of splendid pattern books by Lisl Fanderl, Bäuerliches Stricken 1, 2 and 3, has just been enhanced and reprinted. Frau Fanderl has been referred to as the Barbara Walker of Bavaria, and, indeed the three books are a treasure trove of patterns collected from Bavarian, Austrian and Swiss museums. Each motif is accompanied by a photographs and a chart.

    The new printing has been expanded to include color photographs of jackets, vests, socks, etc. References and folkloristic notes have been added as well to create an essential guidebook and a valuable source of inspiration. In German.

    Bäuerliches Stricken 1: Traditional patterns from the alpine region

    Bäuerliches Stricken 2: Stockings, jackets and vests made from traditional patterns from museums and privately owned

    Bäuerliches Stricken 3: Patterns from townspeople of Bolzano, Innsbruck, Vienna, Laufen, Salzach, Noerdlingen, Eichstaett, as well as from the monestaries of Niederalteich and Frauenchiemsee

    Can’t Read a word of it!


    But then, that is the beauty of knitting, it is a universal language.  Once you decode the symbols used in the charts, it is all easy from there. And as a bonus this set from Schoolhouse Press comes with a chart symbol translation, so much of the work is done for you.


    Beautiful drawings and historical photos are scattered throughout the books.  That alone is worth the trek through the volumes.



    Book # 2 has lots of beautiful patterns for socks, and increases for the calf for knee highs included in large addendum sheets conveniently located in a plastic pocket at the back of the book.


    The new covers differ greatly from the original volumes.  And apparently, have some added features.  While the price is steep, it makes for a really great knitter’s gift.  And there were some used copies available online also for a better price, also used copies of the original sets, although more expensive than the reprints.

    49_-1021968976_shelvedbauer2_shelved 61ogclxprnl._sl500__small_best_fit

    Now added to my Knitting Library shelf and added to my Ravelry library.  Thanks Honey!

    • Erin 7:06 pm on February 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      What a wonderful, thoughtful gift! The old photographs look fascinating.


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