by Heather Mastrangeli | Feb 7, 2017 | Book Review
Our top knitting book picks.
As a child I loved to read. When I’d wake up in the morning and immediately grab the latest Baby Sitters Club book that was sitting on my bookshelf and read in bed for hours. I’d often read the mornings away, deep in the fictional context of whatever drama was plaguing Claudia, Stacy, Kristy, Mallory and Dawn. As time went on, my literary tastes evolved into non-fictional business and strategy books with a random fiction title tossed into the mix based on a rave review from my husband. When I took up knitting, I realized there are multiple ways to read a pattern and I started to read patterns online while trying to visualize how the stitches formed the shaping of the piece. Eventually this lead to knitting books and my collection started to grow… and grow.. and grow…
Reading patterns has really helped my knitting skills to soar and helped me to be able to visualize the construction of a project or understand how to alter a pattern to achieve a desired effect. There are some really great books out there that I’ve learned tons from, and there are other books that require more advanced understanding of knitting construction to understand. While the competition was tough, we pulled together a list of the top 5 knitting books on our shelves that every knitter must have on their bookshelves. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as I do! Happy knitting!
Weekend Knitting whisks you away to an enchanting world of knitting. Falick not only shares a diverse pattern collection from various artists, but also includes whimsical ideas, baked goods recipes and a list of movies and books where knitting takes place! Each pattern is well written and some even help walk you through customization so you learn as you go. Savor every moment of reading this knitting book and trying out each pattern.
Ok, on this one the striking color combinations and rich texture on the front cover drew me in, but the contents led me to purchase. No-Sew Knits includes a rich array of patterns for diverse skill levels that are (as the name suggests) finish free! I love that once you’re done knitting one of these patterns, you don’t need to dedicate oodles of time to add finishing details. Just block and wear!
Both sweaters and accessories grace the pages of Metropolitan Knits which features intriguing patterns for the chic knitter. Projects include beautiful lace designs and chunky cables while most projects are made using a traditional construction method. If you love using your DPN’s then check out the Opera House Mitts which include a three dimensional diamond motif.
Amazingly easy book to navigate, Vogue Knitting: Very Easy Sweaters takes you through various stitch patterns and garment shapes to quickly find the perfect sweater to knit. The book is logically divided so you can find what you need quickly and all the patterns actually are fairly easy to knit from a construction standpoint. Check out our full review for more info.
I’ve seen lots of books proclaim they hold the perfect patterns to complete knit wear wardrobe, but non of them deliver like this book. Dressed in Knits features beautiful, wearable patterns that will stand the test of time. I especially love the creativity combining various yarn weights within a project and even the drop dead gorgeous lace panel featured on the Montreal Cardigan pattern.
by Heather Mastrangeli | Jan 25, 2017 | Adventures in Knitting, Book Review, Pattern Review
Looking through the library shelves of my local library, I was in search of a special knitting pattern to make for my nephew, a recent addition to our family. A yellow book jumped out to me, Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers by Vicki Howell. The book featured a cheerful little girl on the front and it seemed that most the patterns would work up quickly, as they were all in garter stitch! I added it to my pile of books to check out and headed home. After reading through the patterns offered in the book, I narrowed my choice down and decided that the Baby Cable Cardi would be perfect!
Sometimes I think knitters are so passionate about finding the perfect fiber for a project, they forget about who is using the end result. In this case, I was knitting something for my 7 month old nephew. His mom is a busy lady, as she’s chasing after three small humans under the age of 5. I wanted to choose a yarn that would be easy for her to care for and soft enough for the baby to cuddle up with and would keep him warm. I chose an acrylic yarn from my stash- Red Heart Supersaver Fleck in Buff. While not super luxurious, it would stand the abuse of a washing machine so my nephew could get many uses from the sweater, keep him warm and his mom didn’t need to treat the sweater differently from the other laundry she was already working on.
The pattern is condensed onto two pages of pattern instructions and an extra page of photography. This yarn was perfect for a durable baby sweater!
Once all the decisions were made, I got out my knitting needles and started the gague swatch. Not sure how it happened, but my little swatch was much taller than what the pattern called for, but the width was perfect. What to do… I decided to risk it and cast on for the sweater.
This particular pattern is worked top down. The ribbing along the collar it worked first then transitions to the body of the sweater. Stitch markers are placed and the shoulders, chest and back are shaped using yarn over increases in relation to markers. This adds an eyelet detail to the raglan shaping which has a nice touch in the beginning, however this detail is not carried through the entire sleeve shaping and ends abruptly. Next time I make this sweater, I will be using M1 increases instead of yarn overs. Given the weight of the yarn, the eyelit detail created using the yarn over method are large enough for small fingers to pop through when the baby is being dressed. This is also the same method used to create button holes on the ribbing during the finishing stage of the project. Once the project was complete, I had wished I used a different technique.
The cable detail runs along the button band and button hole bands and is on a garter stitch
This cable detail reads more like a texture and less like a cable. If you look closely, you can see one of my mistakes in this shot!
background. The cable running along the front panels of the cardigan seemed to be a fun detail, but felt more like a nice texture. I probably wouldn’t change how the cable is handled when creating the next one, but next time I’ll be sure to have the same number of stitches between the cable detail and the button/button hole bands! (Whoops!!) How I didn’t realize that mistake until the sweater was half way done is beyond me!
One thing that drove me crazy with this pattern was how future rows were handled. The pattern specifies the beginning of and tells you to continue for 8 rows more. This was confusing. I literally had to write out the cable pattern and how many stitches there would be after the row was complete and noted where the increases fell to ensure I was following the pattern correctly. It also drives me banannas when a pattern states to work a sleeve (or other piece that needs to be exactly symmetrical to something else) to a given dimension. Assuming your gauge is accurate, this theoretically shouldn’t be an issue, however I like certainty. So I counted how many works I worked the sleeves to ensure they were exactly the same. This is literally just a pet peeve of mine personally, Vicki didn’t do anything wrong.
The pattern overall was a bit fiddly. There was a huge mental component to counting rows, checking repeats and trying to decipher the pattern every time a new section began. I’d recommend this pattern for more seasoned knitters, if you’re a beginner, steer clear of this pattern and try some of the others in the book.
Regardless of the difficulties, my sister in law opened the box and thought that the sweater was purchased. Maybe it was the squirmmy seven month old in her lap, maybe it was all the excitement from the day, but I consider that a success!
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for Modern Babies & Toddlers check out Amazon or your local library!
by Heather Mastrangeli | Apr 12, 2016 | Book Review
I don’t know about you, but I’m often knitting in front of the TV and looking for patterns that give a great sense of accomplishment and require little concentration. Relaxing knitting as opposed to challenging knitting if you will. When I saw this tile from Vogue, I was elated. Easy sweaters? That translates to perfect TV knitting with great style! Did Vogue Knitting Very Easy Sweaters measure up and meet expectations? Let’s find out!
As the cover states, there are 50 patterns that claim to be timeless and stylish. After reading the book, I totally agree. The book is divided into several categories:
- Light & Easy
- Dramatic Shapes
- Stripes & Colorwork
- Helpful Information
There are nine patterns in the stockinette section and 8 of them are sweaters. Each is a classic design that would be a timeless edition to anyone’s wardrobe. Many of the patterns in the stockinette section include various design details in other stitch patterns. The Buttoned Cardi features seed-stitch detailing, but the majority of the body is stockinette. As the name implies the Garter Yoke Cardi has an elegant garter stitch yoke, button band and edges to prevent rolling. The Drape Front Sweater is perfect for layering. It has an easy construction and perfect for knitting on the go.
There are several patterns that blend complementing yarns together to form a beautiful end result. The Ruffled Cardi calls for both a mohair/silk blend and a ruffled ribbon yarn to add drama to the cardigan. Another pattern, Cowl Neck Pullover blends a metallic mohair body in fine weight yarn and light worsted cuffs in an angora blend.
The one pattern in the stockinette section that isn’t a sweater is actually a set of rubbed wrist warmers!
Lights & Easy
This section includes more patterns that feature more embellishments and charts. The Cropped Tank Top has a simple chart that creates a simple text and the Pleated Top includes beaded embellishments to elegance. I’m not sure why the Gathered Cardi is in the Light & Easy category, but the sleeves fall just above the elbow, so perhaps that’s why?
These are mostly oversized shapeless garments with few exceptions. Patterns such as the Collared Cardi are knit holding several strands together or call for a bulky yarn. While the garments are blocky, they could be customized easily and most are timeless.
I love the various cables that are featured in the cable garnet section. They range from simple to elegant, to visually complex and innovative. The Cabled Dolman features horizontal cables on a reverse stockinet stitch background. The only thing to be cautious about is that all the cables are charted. If you don’t know how to read a cable chart, be sure to learn before tackling one of these patterns!
Stripes & Colorwork
Colorwork can be intimidating for a beginner knitter. Vogue does it’s best to make it easy. There are a couple patterns that require chart reading skills (Reindeer Capelet and Heart Yoke Pullover), but the charts are printed large and are easy to read. The patterns in the Stripes & Colorwork section are beginner friendly and require few advanced techniques. Patterns follow an easy format and like the rest of the book, make yarn substitutions easy!
Each pattern has a short description in the beginning, beautiful photography and a comprehensive guide for sizing, finished measurements, materials, gauge and notes. The patterns themselves are written in an easy to understand method and clear. Vogue makes it easy to choose a yarn substitute by giving the yarn weight and fiber content for their suggested yarns. The vogue editing team did a great job of reducing ambiguity in their pattern writing. Diagrams are given with appropriate measurements and I appreciate the depth of information given for the suggested yarn.
Vogue Knitting Easy Sweaters is a must buy for knitters of all skill levels looking for amazing, timeless sweater designs to knit and wear!
Looking to see more information about each pattern featured in the book? Check out the books Ravelry page which incorporates links to each pattern.