Customize Your Crochet

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Maybe it is time to break out of your comfort zone. Do you take a pattern and use the recommended type of yarn, even the exact color the designer chose when you crochet? Sara Delaney has the perfect book for you to “Design Your Own Crochet Projects”. No worries! She walks you through every step with her unique design course.

You can dive in for advanced crocheters or for beginners…start with 18 sample patterns to build up your skills. There are templates to create one-of-a-kind gloves, Crocheted socks, hats, cowls… The book starts with a chapter on yarns and swatching (journaling the pattern). Learn to measure the lucky person who will receive the finished project for an exact fit. A fill-in formula helps you to figure out yarn requirements.

Then explore the stitch dictionary of 31 crochet stitches with written instructions. All this is compiled inside a hardcover spiral book that lies flat for ease. There are step by step photographs of how to work stitch abbreviations and definitions. The book is clearly laid out to increase your skills. So, start with a scarf and choose your stitch, scarf size (standard measurements are given), continue to follow the formula to design the scarf. Work your way up to socks and slippers.

Design your own crochet projects painlessly. You can consider yourself a designer after the first project. Let me know what you designed. See you in the magazines.

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Knit 1 + Purl 1 = Seed Stitch

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When learning to knit, the knit stitch is the stitch you master first. That stitch by itself can keep you busy for years. If you have the desire to go further with knitting, next step is learning to purl. Some knitters stop there and create beautiful items for their home and family. The seed stitch is a 2 row combination of *knit 1 purl 1* repeated across the row, then reversed for the second row.

If you have the desire to take your knitting to the next level, the book “Seed Stitch beyond knit 1, purl 1”, with its texture and creative possibilities is a good place to start. Rosemary Drysdale will take you there with 30 projects and a 60 swatch stitch dictionary. There are projects for men/women/little ones and home decor. The swatch dictionary incorporates color work, lace (yo, increase and decrease), slip stitches and cables.

Patterns are easy to follow using charts and written out for those who prefer that method. The photographs are clear and detailed. Designer graph paper (one seed, one moss) and information is included to create your own designs. There are step by step photographs on color work and a section on the anatomy of the seed stitch. The cover is a combo between soft and hard covered (wish all books wore a jacket like this).

I like the ZigZag poncho for myself, as well as the linen Tote bags. The Scarf quartet will make a handsome gift to keep my guys warm this winter. Baby cardis make a quick gift for the next shower. Take a look inside this book and see for yourself the diverse patterns and pick your own favorites. This book is perfect for a beginner and will spark interest in an experienced knitter.

So, pick up your needles and start knitting. Get inspired to create your own designs with Rosemary’s tips and hints.

Norway: Winter Comes Early

Here in the North East we have already turned our clocks back and dusk arrives by 4:15 pm. Weaving and knitting with a bit of spinning, fill many afternoons. The latter is no secret to my family. Knowing this; they are always ready to fill up my photo gallery with fiber moments they encounter in their daily life.

My son was just in Norway. Evening comes around 3:30 pm to Oslo, with the sun not rising till 8:45 am. He sent me photographs (above) and a video from the Folk Art Museum. Look at the colorful bands/tape , beautiful weaving and Norwegian costumes. See the pair of mittens in the glass case. They are hand knit and spun. Nina Granlund Saether says, “In Norwegian folk tradition, mittens remind us that we are about to enter the colder season.”

Why not put mittens on your knitting needles! “Mittens from around Norway” with over 40 traditional knitting patterns was inspired by Norwegian Folk-Art collections and is written by Nina Granlund Saether. It is an interesting book of history, culture and pattern techniques of Norwegian mittens. There are patterns for men/women/children/babies.

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Each pattern has a bit of history researched by Nina and where in Norway it originated. The patterns are clearly charted. If reading a chart creates knitting difficulties, make an enlarged copy of the chart and color in each row completed. To simplify it further, knit the motif on the front side only or instead of repeated flowers or snowflakes; put in as many as your comfort zone allows.

The book has beautifully clear and detailed photographs. A pair of mittens from the book or the book itself, would make a lovely gift. As the colder weather approaches, we all could use a knew pair of hand warmers.

If anyone knows why traditional Norwegian mittens were so pointed at the tip…I am curious and would love you to leave a comment.

Granny is no square

For those crocheters who don’t give granny squares a glance, try taking a look at “Granny Squares”. “Granny Squares” the latest book in this genre has over 25 creative ways to crochet the classic pattern and is written by Stephanie Gohr, Melanie Sturm and Barbara Wilder. It is worth a look.

There are many more than a dozen different square designs to crochet. That alone is worth turning the pages. Primrose, Netting and Cornflower squares are my favorites. Color choice and yarn fiber help to make these patterns fit into contemporary home decor and fashion. Granny squares are a great yarn stash buster. No matter what granny square pattern you choose, they all start from the center. For more about this book…

Vogue’s Crochet 2012 special collector’s issue

The last Vogue magazine dedicated to crochet was back in 1994. Seventy percent of today’s knitters, crochet. Crochet designs have come a long way. You can see them everywhere from the runway to the classroom.

There are jewelry designs you can crochet with thread. Baubles, bangles and beads can be incorporated into your crochet to accent your garments with flair. And crochet designs do have flair, just look at the cover. From the articles to the patterns, this magazine will have you taking out your crochet hook.
Read on

Felt painting

Moy Mackay creates beautiful works of art using fleece, fiber and threads in her book “Art in Felt & Stitch”. It is filled with colorful felt paintings of still-life, animals and landscapes inspired by her home in the Scottish Borders. See how she uses various felt techniques to achieve her paintings.

Felt is one of the earliest fabrics and is older than weaving, spinning and knitting. The book itself is a work of art with the fiber colors jumping off the page in the numerous photographs. Four step by step projects are included with instructional pictures that are clear, detailed and inspiring and numerous. Also included are many examples of her finished pieces.

Read on

 

Knit Your Own Cat

Thirty-three percent of households in the United States own at least one cat. Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne have made it possible for you to own a cat without the care and maintenance. “Knit Your Own Cat” is their latest book after “Knit Your Own Dog”.

Knitters and cat lovers alike will enjoy the easy to follow patterns for 16 frisky felines. Whether you prefer a street cat or a pedigree like a Turkish Van, you can have one, both or all 16. You can knit them with step-by-step instructions. The cats cover all knitting skill levels.

For more info on knitting a cat or dog.