Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Not too much to share for Crafting On and Yarn Along this week.  Still too hot for knitting. I did pull my ‘purse knitting’ out and got the heels turned on Grandma’s socks.  Yesterday even my hands were sweating, so no knitting at all.

I don’t know why I had such a hard time getting a not blurry picture of the socks.  Maybe it’s the pattern of the yarn?  Oh well, this is the best one of the bunch.

One thing with all this heat, it makes for good reading weather.  The latest book on my Kindle is A Fifty-Year Silence.  It was really good.  It’s about a woman’s search to find out what happened to her grandparents.  They survived the war just to break up and never speak for the next fifty years.  I really suggest this one the next time Kindle has it on sale.

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I have a secret project to share this week for Yarn Along.  I can show you but I can’t tell you why I knit them.

Man, it’s so hard to take a picture of your own hand.  The pattern is here.  It was a quick and easy knit but the designer had me changing needle sizes every few rows.  It was very annoying.  The yarn is leftover blue from my Clock Socks.  I really hope it wears well, but I think it’s too acrylic and will pill with use -we’ll see.

At school we are supposed to be reading Pilgrim’s Progress, The
.  Wow, not sure how they expect youngish children to get into that book.  I put it down after the first couple attempts.  So to fill in the gap we are reading the Little House series.  We’re almost done Little House in the Big Woods.  Remember the review of From the Mouth of Ma: A Search for Caroline Quiner Ingalls?  The author considered Ma so cold and unfeeling.  I realized today that she had based her impression on Ma on all the later books -you know when they were trying really hard not to starve to death??  The Ma back in Wisconsin, when they had a good home and family and friends and safety was loving and kind and much more like a modern mother.  It’s obvious in “Little House in the Big Woods” that Laura adores her mother and doesn’t have an ambiguous relationship with her (as implied by the “From the Mouth of Ma” author).  Maybe Ma became ‘cold’ because she had all the cares of the world on her shoulders trying to keep everyone alive?  Maybe she could have stayed ‘fun Ma’ if Pa hadn’t dragged the family away from a fairly good life to chase hopeless dream after dream out in the unsettled, wild lands of early America?

It just really struck me today how Ma changed through the books.  The Ma in the “Big Woods” book is more like the mother on the Waltons -firm and determined to raise good people, but very loving.  If Ma becomes ‘cold’ (says a woman living in the 20th century with no chance of her children starving/freezing to death/being killed by animals or Indians) later it’s because she is living for decades in survival mode.  If Pa hadn’t dragged the family around pillar to post chasing a dream he never managed to catch, I think Ma would have had the luxury of being as soft and loving as a modern mother.

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I was lucky to have a couple of balls left over from my February Lady Sweater.  I whipped up a quick February Baby Sweater -the sweater that started it all.   This is my favourite go-to baby sweater, especially if I know the baby is to be a girl.  It’s knit from the top down and practically seamless.  I made Ella a couple of these and they fit so nicely and are super quick.  This sweater is in the Knitter’s Almanac.

You may think this is crazy, but this sweater is getting put away for Ella’s babies.  I have a couple of baby surprise jackets finished to put away too.

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You may have noticed that I love, love, love Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns.   So much so that I even bought another copy of The Knitter’s Almanac the last time we were in Toronto.  It’s the commemorative edition and has great new pictures.  It’s also in hard cover and likely to last longer than my original paperback one.  I can’t encourage you enough to pick up this book if you love to knit.  There’s a pattern for just about everything, and Elizabeth is so encouraging.  She wants you to be a fearless knitter and learn that you don’t have to be tied to a pattern.

The best part of the new edition is the February Baby Sweater (best baby girl sweater ever) has been turned into a February Lady Sweater.   I couldn’t wait to get this started and the trip to Picton was a great start.  Well here it is!!!!  I was finished by the next Tuesday -yep, a sweater in one week.  It is such an easy knit.  I made one main change.  Instead of the row of eyelet increases, I continued the raglan increases until there were enough stitches.    It fits wonderfully.  Since it’s made from the top down that means the sleeves and body are the right length for me.

I used some old yarn that I’ve been hanging on to for a very long time.  It’s leftover from another sweater but I’ve been waiting for the right pattern.  The yarn came from Eatons and was their lovely Lady Fair.  Yes I know it’s acrylic but it’s beautiful.  And sometimes you need an easy to care for sweater that won’t make you itchy.  It’s ‘sayelle’ sized wool.  The gauge sizing is my only complaint with this sweater pattern.  In her chapter about aran sweaters,  Elizabeth Zimmerman complains about the habit of sweater designers/companies saying ‘certain number of stitches over pattern‘.  This is such a hard way to measure gauge.  It is easier to match gauge given over stocking stitch.  Well, the pattern gauge is given over the lace pattern.  I used a 4 1/2mm circular (as suggested by my yarn).   I used about 10 50g balls.  I don’t know for sure because a couple of the balls were part-balls left from the other sweater.

I’m probably going to make myself another sweater out of some ‘real’ wool.  I’ll likely wait until the next time we’re in Bowmanville and see what new loveliness Tina has in store.  This sweater would be luxurious in a merino/alpaca blend.

Go make yourself one.  You won’t be disappointed!


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I thought I’d show you all my haul from the weekend  🙂  As usual, we got to Bowmanville in time to go to my favourite yarn shop, Soper Creek Yarn.  Tina always has a great selection of wool and most at very reasonable prices.  I always stock up when we are down south.

We’ll start at the top right.  That red (which is a nicer red in person) and the pattern behind it are for a nice little shrug for Ella.  The yarn is a wool blend.  Next come two different colours of Kroy for socks, the blue is likely for my MIL.  Next comes the beautiful yarn that ‘Colin’ got me for our anniversary.  It is alpaca/merino/silk/nylon and just gorgeous.  I’m going to make myself a sontag.  It’s like a shawl that buttons on, it’s from the civil war era.

The last two things didn’t come from Tina’s.   Do any of you know who the Yarn Harlot is?  She a knitting writer and has a blog too.  Well she’s mentioned going to a yarn store called Lettuce Knit.  We went there on Saturday, it’s in the Kensington Market area of Toronto.  It’s a very historic part of Toronto, filled with very interesting people.  Ella picked out the variegated pink merino.  I don’t know what I’ll make with it, it’s rather fine, but I will think of something.  I also bought the commemorative edition of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters’ Almanac.  It’s one of my favourite books.  They have redone the example pictures and they are in colour this time.  There is even a bonus pattern.  My favourite baby sweater pattern (February sweater) has been made into a ladies sweater.  I can’t wait to get started on that.

Lots of knitting fun ahead of me.

Speaking of anniversary presents….  I finally got Colin’s sweater finished.  I won’t tell you how long ago I started this sweater, but I finished it for our 7th anniversary (wool).  It fits Colin really well and looks great.  Now he just has to remember to wear it once in a while  -ha ha!

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Any one have any idea what these knitted items should be?  They are knitted in one piece, many on the bias.  It’s reversible and has button holes on both sides.

These are Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jackets.  After a couple quick folds the odd shapes above turn into the most adorable baby sweaters.  I’ve mentioned before my love of anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman.   This pattern is so easy and I can finish one sweater on the trip to Bowmanville -always a bonus.  What is really cool is that you change sweater size by changing the gauge of wool used.  These sweaters are newborn size and made 6 stitches to the inch.  The year old size is made with 5 stitches to the inch.  In fact, apparently,  you should be able to make an adult size sweater with 2.5 stitches to the inch.  I may try to make one for my Mom, she loves big, heavy sweaters.

If you knit for new babies and want an easy, quick sweater give the Baby Surprise Jacket a try.  It’s good even if you don’t know if the baby is a boy or girl yet.  The button holes get made on both sides, so you just sew the buttons onto the correct size while closing up the extra holes.  This also ensures the right placement of the buttons.

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I love to knit.  It’s my favourite way to pass time.  I have a hard time just sitting around doing ‘nothing’.  I like to keep my hands busy.  Right now I am obsessed with knitting socks.  They are so quick to finish and there are so many beautiful sock wools out there.

I’ve discovered a few great books that make sock knitting even more fun.   The first one is Knitting Circles Around Socks.   It is so much faster to knit both your socks at the same time.  It’s much better than having to start all over after finishing the first sock.  Also, if you have small feet like me, it makes making adjustments to both socks easy – no measuring or counting.

Well, now I’ve found what I think might be an even better way to make socks.  Two at a time from the toe up!!!   I got a new book Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks.  The author makes her socks with one long needle but I found that awkward.  So I switched her method to my 2 circular needle method like in the above book.  Toe up socks aren’t as difficult as you’d think they’d be.  I need to work on the casting on, but that’s just because it’s a new method.  Knitting this way will be a great way to use up leftover wool.  I can just keep knitting till I run out of wool, then the socks will either be ankle length or longer depending on when the wool runs out.  I have a really neat project in mind and toe-up will make it much easier.

Every Thursday I head over to a nearby town for Knit Night at the library.  The group calls itself the ‘knit wits’  🙂  It’s mostly a group of youngish Moms like me.  Though some of the girls don’t have kids yet and we have a few older ladies that come by from time to time.  We have a great time knitting and chatting about knitting and life.

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