A Lesson and a Review

One of the things I want to add to the blog this year is reviews – whether it be books, yarns, or tools we’re all using new products all the time and it’s nice to read reviews to help us decide what is worth our precious dollars.

I’m going to start this month with Susan B. Anderson’s new book – Kids Knitting Workshop.  I ordered this book for two reasons.  First, I love everything Susan and readily admit to having a total knitting crush on her.  I was lucky enough to meet her a couple of years ago at a book signing/knitting afternoon.  She was just as delightful as you might imagine.  It was her Itty Bitty Hats book that really inspired me to start knitting and selling hats for babies and kids.  I’ll stop gushing now lest I cross the creepy stalker line!

Second, was for a more practical reason.  One of the things I would like to develop and put into motion this year is a knitting class for kids.  When I saw Susan was publishing a book on the subject I knew it would be the best way to figure out how to teach kids to knit.  I’ve done a lot of crafts with a lot of kids but have always shied away from teaching them to knit.  This is mostly because I wasn’t even sure where to begin and this book provides a blueprint.

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As with all her books, the photography is outstanding!  There are a number of really interesting projects and you can check them out on Ravelry (which by the way is a great feature on Ravelry – if you are thinking about buying a book but have not been able to flip through it you can almost always find all the patterns in the book by looking it up on Ravelry and that can help with the buying decision!).  My favorites are the Snowman and the Stripy Tube Scarf.  But all are fun and would make for interesting first projects.

I started reading at the beginning and found it most interesting that she recommends teaching kids the continental method to knit.  I can’t even figure that out so I was surprised to see this is how she teaches kids.  I learned to throw and have never figured out continental. Over the years I’ve made some half-hearted attempts to learn continental but have always given up in frustration.  I know it’s faster and also seems to be easier on the arm and shoulder without all that throwing so it has remained on my list of things to learn.

I was talking about this two weeks ago at knit night.  L., who works at the store, told me that if I just did it for a month I would get the hang of it.  I’m working on the Derecho by Laura Aylor at knit night right now.  I’m determined to finish it whether or not it kills me.  I’ve also banned myself from taking anything else with me until this is done!  It’s another Kauni yarn project I started and always end up regretting halfway through the balls of Kauni. The Derecho is all garter stitch and will never, ever end! (I realize it’s not the pattern’s fault or the yarn’s fault they’re both lovely but it’s time for it to be over!) But, all that garter stitch also makes it the perfect project to learn continental.  On Thursday I brought my book and my Derecho and went to it.  Sadly, no one took pictures of the faces I made in the early rows, it was not pretty.

Now, I can hear some of you saying “Wait!!!  You can’t change knitting styles halfway through a project!!!!!”  I know, I know, this may throw off my gauge but this is a garter stitch shawl so a few tighter or looser rows is not really going to make that much of a difference in the long run and to be quite honest I don’t think you can tell where I started the continental technique.  By the end of the night I was kind of getting the hang of it and I think L. is right, give it a month and then figure out how to purl!

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I’ve not yet taught a child to knit but I did teach myself to knit continental which is something every other tutorial I’ve seen/watched has failed to do so I’m going to give this book five knitting needles*!

*The scale is, of course, 1-5 knitting needles with 5 needles being the highest!

 

Knit the Sky

Trying something new this week – a book review!  I’ve been wanting to delve into this area but have not bought any books lately but now I have one!  I’m sure many have heard about the Knit the Sky scarf but did you know the woman behind it now has a book out???  I first heard about the sky scarf a couple of years ago.  A couple of my knitting friends had ordered the kit from Leafcutter Designs and the yarn that comes in the kit is just delightful.  I did not order a kit at the time but filed it away in my head.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself a bit here.  The Sky Scarf is a knitting idea by Lea Redmond.  You can check out all the sky scarves on Ravelry.  It’s a free “pattern” but it’s more of a recipe of what to knit.  Basically, you can accumulate sky colored yarns and knit back and forth each day in the colors that most represent the sky that day.  You do this for a year and then you have a scarf!

I love the idea of incorporating life into knitting in such a free-form manner.  I signed up for Lea’s newsletter and that’s where I first heard about her book.  I sent the link to my mom as a suggestion for an upcoming birthday present.  But, after a tough week, she gave me my book early!!!

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First, the book is so visually pleasing that I could not put it down.  It just makes me smile.  The illustrations throughout the book are beautiful.  There are 31 projects in the book.  I call them projects because they are not all patterns but more abstract knitting recipes that play with knitting and interacting in the world.  There are definitely some patterns and some instructions in the back of the book on stitches, etc.  But the focus is really on playing with your knitting.  She even gives you some ideas of how to create your own abstract knitting project.  The book sells for $15.90 on Amazon for the hardcover and $8.69 for a Kindle version but this is a book that you absolutely must have the paper version.  The hardcover version will really allow for a greater appreciation for all the artwork in the book.  For me, this is a must buy.  I thought I would like it but I really love it.  I’m not sure what I’ll get started on – I might save it for the new year and figure out a good project for 2016 so stay tuned!  But, go out and buy the book!!!!