Book Review and Giveaway Winners

We have two winners to announce today.  From our “Welcome Back” giveaway of a Spud and Chloe at the Farm kit of yarn to make Brown Cow and Mice, Mary is our lucky receipient.  Mary said, “I just finished Summerflies, and my friend just finished the Feather and Fan shawl from A Gathering of Lace, so I’m thinking seriously of starting that. Of course, I have my obligatory two or three pair of socks placed at strategic places–in my purse, in the den, in the bedroom–some toe-up, some cuff down, but always two at a time. And I’m spinning luscious shetland from my Fancy Fibers CSA share for a fall sweater–sure to be lots of fun. For sure my summer will be full of knitting and spinning–indoors, of course!!   ”

The winner of our signed copy of Melissa Morgan-Oakes’ “Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting” is Janice who said, “I would like to win a copy of the book because I actually enjoy seaming. I do have lots of circular needles but use them for flat knitting. I am skeptical of circular knitting for sweaters as I rely on the seaming to hold everything together. I am seeing more and more patterns using circular needles and want to understand how circular knitting can result in a sweater that fits properly. I would also like to challenge my assumptions and try something different.  ”

I received a copy of “TYV Circular Knitting” back at the end of May, so I’ve had plenty of time to peruse it (even read it cover to cover).

I have a few other books from Wiley Publishing in their “Teach Yourself Visually” series and one reason is the abundance of technique photographs.   The size of the photos is just right, not taking up too much space on the page, not so small you can’t see what is happening.  Melissa’s written directions that accompany the pictures are well-worded and easy to follow.

The book covers all methods of knitting in the round, from double pointed needles to using the “magic loop” method with one circular needle.  Some of the more advanced techniques include colorwork in the round and creating jogless stripes.

Melissa also goes over some of the most important basic information that knitters often ignore: gauge.  I wish we could run a campaign to get knitters to really understand gauge and how it affects their knitting.  The pages on gauge and swatching apply not only to knitting in the round, but to any knit project.

Gauge is extra-important to this book, because the pattern section has “master” patterns in which you determine which set of directions to follow based on your gauge and desired size.  “Master” patterns are a great addition to any knitter’s library, especially if you are trying to choose yarn from your stash. Need a hat? Have only bulky yarn? Turn to page 133 and choose the size to knit.

The patterns are grouped into levels of increasing skill, which is pretty handy, if you are building your skills.  There is nothing to stop you from jumping around from the different sections, of course.  Melissa has helpfully included references to other parts of the book if you have forgotten or skipped a section that is necessary to complete the project.

Finally, there is a stitch gallery.  It is my humble opinion that you can never have too many stitch dictionaries or stitch galleries as book features.  Who knows when you might see a stitch pattern that calls your name? (Actually, I recognize Lace Pattern 3 as one that I used for a cowl this spring.  Clearly, Melissa has great taste in stitch patterns.)

The stitches here are charted in the round, so you can become familiar with working charts in the round before attempting to convert a chart knitted flat to a chart knitted circularly.

In short, “TYV Circular Knitting”  is a great reference book for any knitter. Melissa has done an admirable job in creating a well-organized book from such a large topic as knitting in the round.

If you weren’t lucky enough to win a free copy during Melissa’s blog tour, we have them in the store.  Give us a call or stop by.

Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd

A lot of knitters tell us they like to knit socks in the summer down here in Texas as an easily portable project and not a lot of wool sitting on your lap.  Just as the heat is most fierce, we have Ann Budd’s book Sock Knitting Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers chock full of new sock patterns and a variety of knitting techniques.

Contributors include Ewe favorites Cookie A., Anne Hanson and our most popular two-socks-at-a-time gal, Melissa Morgan-Oakes (who also has a new book out – stop by on Monday for more information).

Almondine by Anne Hanson (Looks like a great openwork lace stitch pattern)

Terpander by Melissa Morgan-Oakes (don’t those front cables look fun?)

Some features I particularly like in the book:

-Each pattern has a box listing the different techniques used in the pattern

-Clara Parkes ( of chimes in with Yarn Notes

- An overview of different styles of creating parts of the sock, such as a few different heel types, toes, and cuff treatments.

- Both top-down and toe-up construction techniques

- A handy DVD in the back

If you are looking for some great new sock patterns or just looking to get started knitting socks, this book is sure to have what you need.The photography highlights key aspects of each sock and the pattern instructions are laid out in an easy-to-read format.

Don’t forget to enter the Spud and Chloe at the Farm kit giveaway on our previous post!  Comments close Saturday evening.