Category Archives: Book Reviews

Down a New Path

Lately, I’ve been knitting socks to add to my stash. I’m usually bored with the many sock patterns out there so I’ve been mostly knitting on the different architectures from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters book. I ADORE this book and have been using it like crazy. When I received it, I immediately had it spiral bound because I knew it was a keeper. I’ve finished 3 pairs and have 3 in WIP-mode. To me, Cat Bordhi is the Elizabeth Zimmerman of sock knitting! She unvented how we normally knit our socks and has presented us with many different methods to do our toes and heels and gussets in this book. I hear this is the first of a series maybe for Cat. WOO HOO! I can’t wait for the next ones.

The first pair I finished were part of her two practice socks. I knit both of the practice ones and made one into a pair to be gifted.

The next pair are my Very Tall Tibetan Socks.

Very Tall Tibetan Socks (1)

I doubled Trekking Pro Natura for this pair. It makes for some warm socks, I tell you that! They’re comfortable for the most part, except for the purl bumps on the inside of your foot as with any handknit socks when you first wear them. The fit is INCREDIBLE on any of Cat’s designs in this book.

Very Tall Tibetan Socks (3)

Tall Tibetan Socks

Yarn: Trekking Pro Natura (doubled, colorway #1603)
Total Cost: $17.50 per skein (altho, 1 skein was a gift; I used most of both skeins)
Needles: Size US 5
Mods: I knit a similar pattern for the leg as the one in the book but not the exact one. I also kept knitting until I ran out of yarn, as opposed to the anklets shown in the book.

Another pair that I finished are the Spiraling Master Coriolis socks. These have stitches that run up the foot and spiral all the way around the leg design. A very easy knit. The fit is OK as long as I don’t pull the socks all the way up as the spiral make the sock a bit tight on the leg in places. So I wear my socks scrunched down.

Spiraling Coriolis Socks (3)

Spiraling Coriolis Socks (2)

 

Spiraling Master Coriolis

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (Pinstripe colorway)
Total Cost: about $16
Needles: Size US 1.5
Mods: None really, except add a few extra sts to the leg to make it wider.

I’ve been so into my New Pathways socks and inspired by my coworker, Knitting Leftie (who puts her Knit Notes book to full use) I decided to make labels for my Knit Notes pad from The Loopy Ewe instead of carrying the whole New Pathways book around everywhere. Yes, I’m anal, OCD, whatever you wanna call it. Shut up.

If anyone has the book and would like copies of my label set-up drop me an email.

Knit Notes for Socks

New Pathways labels

New Pathways Labels

Book Reviews: The Harmony Guides

I’ve been at home for the past three days. I’m quite ready to go back to work. In fact, I’ve been ready to go back since Day 1. Why? Well, Luciano had eye surgery on Tuesday to remove pterygiums he has in each eye. They started with the right eye. The other eye will be some time after this first one heals. The surgeon sent a car to pick him up on Tuesday and bring him back.

I got to stay home with G-Luc most of the day. Just us two. Alone. This means I had all the fun of chasing him around, cleaning up after him, changing diapers, preventing him from hurting himself after having climbed on the top bunk bed unbeknownst to me. I mean, I do this in the evenings…with the help of Daddy and G-Luc’s 3 siblings. God Bless all of them for having the patience to chase after this rugrat. And look at that saintly face:

G-Luc 19 mos

I’m happy to say that I survived that half day and that my belief in working full-time has been properly re-cemented into my brain. I adore adore adore my children but God help us all if I had to stay home. all. day. every. day. with the kids. This housewife shit ain’t for me. Carting kids back and forth from school at set times. Figuring out what to feed them for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND SNACKS every day! This is why I spoil my husband ROTTEN for being a stay at home dad. Shit, the dude deserves a Medal of Honor. So when he asked for that new Sharp Blu Ray DVD, he got it ASAP – to go with the 46″ Sharp Aquos TV he got for Christmas!

Recently, I’ve been on a book-buying kick. I’ve made several hefty additions to my library including Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton and Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti.

Among these, I’ve purchased the Harmony Guides. First I bought the new ones that came out not so long ago. After reading several differing opinions on Ravelry regarding which are better, I decided to see for myself, so I ordered the older versions. I’m missing Volume 2 from my collection as it’s still on backorder with Amazon. I chose not to purchase Volumes 6 & 7 as these are both crochet stitch dictionaries.

Harmony Guides (1)

Harmony Guides (2)

I’ll start with the old set. First off, Volume 1 of these is all about knitting techniques and tips. How to’s, etc. It covers everything from understanding a pattern to finishing a garment and caring for it. It has no stitches (unless you count basic cables but that’s really a how-to on cabling). So, I don’t really count this book as a stitch dictionary.

Volumes 3, 4 and 5 all begin with pages showing you basic techniques, abbreviations, symbols, chart reading, and an index of the patterns. Volume 3 is the one with the most pages covering these subjects.

Volume 3 includes “patterns for texture and colour, cable patterns and panels, lace panels,” as stated on the cover. It has a nice variety of rib patterns, many pages of all-over lace patterns and several pages of lace edgings. If you can only purchase one of the books and want the widest variety, I would say Volume 3 is for you.

Volume 4 includes “slip stitch mosaics, cross stitch patterns and panels, cable panels.” Some of the stitch patterns in this book are charted, although a few that ARE charted are mostly knit and purl so it makes for a lousy chart full of |’s and –‘s (the symbols for knit and purl in the book).

Volume 5 is your Aran stitches and patterns. It includes “diamonds, cables, twists, honeycombs, textures, panels, backgrounds.” Every single pattern is charted. Again, these are difficult for me to read as I’m used to blank spaces signifying a knit stitch as opposed to a symbol so the charts look crowded. But they are still useful, particularly if you know how to cable without a needle. One of the features of this particular volume that is so loved by many is the fact that the cable designs are sorted by row repeats. Makes it handy when you need to find a particular pattern to fit within a certain number of rows.

The layout in all the volumes is…..space-saving for lack of a better word!

Harmony Guides (3)

I like all of these volumes well enough and I will definitely keep them in my library since they’re going out of print anyway.

But my favorites are definitely the newer models!

 

Harmony Guides (4)

I’ve flagged MANY pages in all three of the updated volumes. These include: Lace & Eyelets, Knit & Purl, and Cables & Arans. Each volume is CHOCK FULL of stitches. I know many people have said that these new volumes provide way less stitches: 750 total compared to the 1,360 if you own all of the KNITTING volumes of the older versions (I’m not counting the crochet volumes here). I haven’t sat down to compare one by one what volumes are missing what stitches, but, quite honestly, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

 

 

 

Each new volume has pages covering basic stitches, abbreviations and symbols, and an index. Maybe not as much detail as their predecessors but enough to get you to understand the volume you’re looking at. In fact, the detail is a lot LESS than the older volumes. I didn’t miss any of that either because I have books that are dedicated to those types of things so personally, I don’t need this inside my stitch dictionaries.

 

Harmony Guides

The layout of the patterns (one per page) sealed the deal for making these my favorites. And the SUPER CLEAR larger pictures that accompany each pattern are great. They show every stitch in full color detail (I want the camera that took those pictures).

 

 

So far I have about 3 knit patterns which I’m designing that include stitches from the new versions of the Harmony Guides. While I still use and thumb through my Barbara Walker Treasuries (I have all except Volume 4), the new Harmonies are a refreshing, full-color, modern take on stitch dictionaries.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Alex's 12th BirthdayAlex and meETA:  Sorry!  I had turned comments off by mistake!!

Twelve years ago today, a star was born! Yep, my eldest son’s bday is today. Can ya’ll just imagine how he’s gonna work that to his advantage in the very near future with all the lovely ladies? We did a little tiny party for him on Saturday because he hadn’t had one in forever – he was happy. I’m proud of my son, love him to pieces. He brought me his report card on Monday and brought his GPA UP BY THREE POINTS!! WOO HOO! Go Alex! I love you son, even if you DO lose hats every week!

My PreciousMy Precious - InsideAnd YESSSS I got My Precious!! Meet her. Here she sits on top of her sister Chloe. Isn’t she a beauty? Apparently, none of these bags are the same. They all look different – different shades of brown leather. I ended up getting the SAME EXACT ONE that I fell in love with in the store window. I am BEYOND happy. Thanks to all of you for helping to convince me to get her. She’s lovely.

New BooksWhat’s inside, you ask? Why, it’s two new books hot off the presses! Interweave’s Lace Style and Favorite Socks. Knit Picks has them both in stock already! YAAAY for Knit Picks! Both are BEAUTIFUL books with great patterns. I really like the Lace Style because it doesn’t only have shawls – it has sweaters, socks, and even a bracelet! I also got one of EZ’s DVDs – A Knitting Glossary – which has been on my wishlist. Also, Astrid had a great sale on Profi needles – free priority shipping when you bought two. These needles are really good. I like them a lot.

A few weeks ago I finished the Storm Water Scarf for a very good friend of mine, Laurie. She received it and says she loves it. :D I’m sure she does. She truly is someone that appreciates a good hand knit item made with love. I don’t mind knitting for her AT ALL!

Storm Water Scarf (2)Storm Water ScarfStorm Water Scarf (3)

Specs

Pattern: Storm Water Scarf
Source: Little Knits
Yarn: Handmaiden Seasilk (1 skein) & Rowan Kidsilk Haze (1.5 skeins)
Cost: $32 (seasilk); $13.85 each (kidsilk)
Started: December 27, 2006
Finished: ~January 22, 2007

Here’s a link worth bookmarking. gethuman 500 database It’s a database that tells you how to get an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING on the phone instead of those automated voices! UGH! Hate those!

Later this week I hope to be finished with the Fuego Socks and I already have a pattern made up for you guys! There will be a contest attached to this pattern so stay tuned!

Bonus points to anyone that can guess what this is:

What the hell