Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: New American Knits - classic sportswear patterns

Interweave has asked me to do another great review. You are going to love this one. 

It's all about applying traditional knitting skills and motifs to contemporary wearable pieces. It's textures and colorwork will create a modern wardrobe you will absolutely love.

Author: Amy Christoffers
Paperback: New American Knits
Publisher: Interweave
128 Pages
It sells for $24.99.

If I could sum up in one word, okay, maybe several, I would say, This book represents what knitters want to knit. Me included. It contains wearable pieces that are classic in style, yet simply sophisticated, with a modern flare . 

Amy has obviously taken her inspiration from what's hot right now and functional, and projects that have that nostalgic feel and perfect for the modern lifestyle. With everyday sweaters and useful knitted accessories, Amy has created patterns that knitters will LOVE to knit, as well as the finished products. 

Amy states: "I've named each of the pieces after an American artist that I find particularly inspiring. I hope you are intrigued enough to investigate them!"

Let's take a peek...

There are 20 patterns that include: sweaters, hats, shawls, cowls, mitts, tunic, pullovers, turtleneck, hoodie and more. 

This van der zee cloche is the perfect quick knit gift, a simple beanie for a man or a woman. Leave on/off the embellishment to suit your taste. 



This cowl is my favorite of all the pieces. Many of you know me well enough to know this information. This Tanner Cowl is the perfect introduction to knitted lace, eyelets and working in the round. I'm super excited to knit this up for my fall wardrobe. I even LOVE the color in the Manos Silk Blend yarn she chose. 



Okay, knitters, you know you love these as much as me. These Parrish Mitts are adorable. The colorwork creates a painted look, and the floral motif adds an image that adds dimension. Yummy!



You all know accessories are my things. But, I love this sweater. The Remington Cardigan has a feather motif with a V-neck, dart shaping, traditional decreases at the neck edge. It's incorporated into a lace motif adding a big  of embellishment. I'll be casting this one on really soon. Who's going to join me?

 

As you can (clearly) see, I'm in trouble, yet again. 

I totally recommend this book. I mean, I seriously do! It's full of great photography, well written patterns, a plethora of additional knowledge that will give you the confidence you need, if in fact, you need it. Amy has included abbreviations and techniques in the back for reference. 

Again, It's published by Interweave, the name of the book is New American Knits, and all the sorted details can be found HERE. Please click over and see for yourself how beautiful this book is. I wouldn't steer you wrong, I promise! You will find many reviews that will convince you it's a good value for the money. 

Also, check with your LYS, I'm sure they ALL have it. 

So, with much love knitters,

I bid you farewell for now. I ask you to review this book for yourself and report back. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts and maybe even see some finished work.

Knit On!

Deb

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TGV...what is that?

Funny you should ask...it's the coolest, most quick knit you've ever done. I'm having so much fun knitting this. In fact, my work projects have taken a back seat. It's knit top down and has two sections; garter and rib with only ONE pattern.

I'm using fingering weight yarn, Skeindalous, with a looooong color change. It's her Betty Sock. This was the perfect choice for this shawl. Though, a fingering weight self-striping would be awesome too.

Oh! I'll have to knit this again with self-striping yarn.

It's the perfect take-along project. Planes, trains and automobiles. Not to mention the dentist office while waiting to be a DD for a friend, knitting group so you can chat away, or just plain I-really-don't-want-to-focus-on-anything-today kind of project.



All around Super fun!

The pattern is called TGV (Tricot grande vitesse--High speed knitting). It's a pay-for pattern, but oh-so worth it! The designer is Susan Ashcroft. You might want to hang out a bit on her Ravelry page. She has some fun knits.

Glad I could enable you. But knitters, I MUST get back to work!

So, as I always say,
Knit On!

Deb

Monday, July 14, 2014

K the knits and P the purls...Reading Your Work

Has it ever confused you, when reading a pattern it states, K the knits, and P the purls? It did for me too, until...

I found an easy way to do this when you're unsure of how to read your work. What I mean by read your work is, by identifying what a knit stitch looks like, versus a purl stitch. In laymen terms, the knit stitches look like little v-neck sweaters or nice and smooth with no bump, the purl stitches look like little turtle-neck sweaters or bumps.

When you come to the a stitch that appears to have a v-neck sweater on or smooth, you knit it, a turtle-neck sweater on or a bump, you purl it.

If that is still a bit confusing, here's my way:

You are instructed to K the knits and P the purls on the WS rows.

Example:
Row 1 (RS) Knit
Row 2 and all WS rows: K the knit sts and P the purl sts
Row 3: *k3, p2, k5, p7, [k1, p1] twice, p1; repeat from * across
Row 5: k
Row 6: same as 2

Repeat this 6 row pattern xxxx times

Okay, here's my trick...
Row 1: knit across the sts
Row 2 (WS): purl across the sts
Row 3: *k3, p2, k5, p7, [k1, p1] twice, p1; repeat from * across
Row 4 (WS): K1, [k1, p1] twice, k7, p5, k2, p3
Row 5: knit
Row 6 (WS): purl

Now, what did I just do?

I knit Row 1 as instructed
I changed the knit stitch in row 1 to a purl stitch in Row 2
I did Row 3 as written
I changed the knit stitch (in row 3) to a purl stitch in Row 4, but started at the end of the row, as that's what I ended with on Row 3. Basically reading the previous row backwards and changing every knit stitch to a purl stitch. (refer to row 4 above)
I did Row 5 as written
I changed the knit stitch in row 5 to a purl stitch in Row 6 



Clear as mud?

The whole idea of knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches, usually on the WS rows, is to reverse your work, creating a finished looking design on the WS as well.

This whole concept is easy once you do it. If you would have had a k3 border on each end, you continue in the border pattern, then do the reverse stitch for the WS rows, or whatever row they ask you to do it on.

I've provided 2 ways for you to hopefully better understand the reading of your work.



So, as I always say,
Knit On!
Deb


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review: New Vintage Lace - Knits Inspired By The Past

Interweave has asked me to do another great review. You are going to love this one. 
Do you love knitting lace? Have you ever wanted to but felt like it was too challenging? You will find this book to be enlightening as well as informative.

Author: Andrea Jurgrau
Paperback: New Vintage Lace
Publisher: Interweave
144 Pages
It sells for $24.99.

A great value for the money. 18 fully-charted projects for hats, scarves, wraps, and small and large shawls, all inspired by the ever-so traditional lace doily patterns. She shows you how she creates patterns, adjusting motifs, then reworking them into original works of wearable art.

Beautiful cover design too.

So I took some time to dig deep into the delicious book, page by page. I wanted to make sure that each and every nugget she put in here was something I could convey back to you...

Here we go...

For starters, I love the Photography. As a photographer myself, I appreciate well edited images that showcase detail. The lighting is perfect. They captured all that!

Andrea begins with an introduction of "What's Old is New". She talks about her Grandmother Rose. A delightful, well written introduction. 

New Vintage Lace has 5 chapters:
~Materials
~Techniques-where Andrea gives you all the "tools" you need to have a successful project (or two). It includes, binding off, blocking, charts, decrease, increase, joining yarn, picking up stitches, beading, and much more.
~The Fine Art of Swatching-I know what you're thinking, Swatching? YES! She gets down to the knitty gritty and also include swatching with YOUR yarn choice. 
~Projects
~Doily Dissection-This is where she walks you through the process she uses, for you to design your own shawl. This is the one section, I love. 



This project is YOUR introduction to lace knitting. You begin with a doily and build from there. It's brilliantly written with a tip for working in the round. 



This has to be one of my favorites. Yes, I love the color. But, the design is very elegant. Doily inspired in the late 1600's, which the pamphlet is now out of print. There are beads in the design that add that additional WOW factor. 




Another of my favorites, okay, they all are, but this one stands out. THIS beautiful blanket is part of a trio of patterns. The doily, triangle, and blanket demonstrates how you can gof rom a triangle shawl to a blanket. She includes the doily as the third pattern so you can practice the technique. Very versatile in my opinion. This is also the featured shawl on the cover.

As you can (clearly) see, I'm in trouble, yet again. No, not by anybody but me. Yes, I have things that need to get done, work related, but there's always time for some project making that doesn't involve work. And my newly found love for lace knitting has opened up a world of new things to knit. 

So, I totally recommend this book. I mean, I seriously do! It's full of great photography, well written patterns, a plethora of additional knowledge that will give you the confidence you need, if in fact, you need it.

Again, It's published by Interweave, the name of the book is New Vintage Lace, and all the sorted details can be found HERE. Please click over and see for yourself how beautiful this book is. I wouldn't steer you wrong, I promise! You will find many reviews that will convince you it's a good value for the money. 

Also, check with your LYS, I'm sure they ALL have it. 

So, with much love knitters,

I bid you farewell for now. I ask you to review this book for yourself and report back. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts and maybe even see some finished work.

Knit On!
Deb



Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun and Crazy Summer Socks

Summer is upon us. You wouldn't guess it based on the weather we are having. I think our highs have topped in the mid 80's. I'm not complaining, because this is our fire season; the one part of the year we all cringe when it appears.

I've been working on socks. Crazy Summer Socks. (psst...there are more fun socks coming soon.)



I'm in love with them. Colorful, easy to memorize, you make them as long or short as you like, and colorful. Oh, I said that, I know, but really, they are. I think the colors are what make this sock. You can see the basketweave effect in the leg. The cuff is a twisted rib. So perfectly matched with this design.


The yarn is from Mountain Colors, Crazyfoot, Summertime colorway. So, you can clearly see how I came up with the name. :-)

I have them listed in my Etsy shop, and Ravelry Shop,

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and did, knitting them.

So, as I always say,
Knit On!
Deb

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blogcast - Episode 2

If you're a first time viewer, I want to say Thank You for checking me out. If you're a returning viewer, I want to say Thank You for coming back.

Welcome
Virtual {HUG} from the Dishcloth Diva. Because, without (you), my readers, I wouldn't be spending time writing this, showing you that, and chatting it up about whatever. 

For those that don't know me, I'm Deb Buckingham, otherwise known as the Dishcloth Diva. I spend most days knitting and enjoying the process. I'm a yarn-a-holic, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and knitting in coffee shops and cafes. 



You can find me on Ravelry
I have a (mostly) Pattern Store on Etsy
I love to Tweet fun stuff
I enjoy sharing fun pics on Instagram
My boards are overflowing on Pinterest


Life is Good

Everyday is a gift in my opinion. It's the part of life that I look forward to after each "sleep". It's another day to start over, if in fact your to-do list didn't get touched because of lifes many adventures. A day to sit and ponder my next project, or just sit, knit, and sip on some coffee. 

I feel that I haven't finished much, and my WIP's continue to grow. But, for the most part, I've finished (some) stuff.


Life happens, right? I mean you get started on another project, only to be distracted by the fact it's time to feed the husband. Don't get me wrong, he's as flexible as they get, but it's the "wife" part of me, sometimes, that feels I NEED to cook for him. I set down my needles, and head to the kitchen where I discover the only thing available to make is mac 'n cheese. So, what goes with that? Nothing...off to the store I go, I go, off to the store, I go!

I was able to go on a field trip with my granddaughter. That was loads of fun. 50 some 1st graders all pile out of a bus as I meet them at the Nature Center for our tour. We all sit Indian style on the floor in front of a puppet show. The kids really enjoyed it, and well...so did grandma. Then we were all arranged into groups and asked to follow the leader. There were 2 teachers and lots of parent volunteers. Good! It sure could be a challenge to keep an eye on that many. That was the highlight of my week!


WIP's
Like I said, I feel like I have many more of these than I do Finished Object (FO's). The one thing I really enjoy knitting on are socks. I'm working on the Jeck socks. It's a free pattern on Ravelry. So easy to memorize. So much fun in self-striping yarn. I'm using a colorway called, The Meadow II by Fresh from the Cauldron. I picked it up at Stitches Midwest last summer. The perfect yarn for this pattern. Also, did you notice the matching fingernails. No, not planned.


FO's 
I finished my husband's socks. Yay! Long time coming. He's been begging me everytime he sees me cast on (yet another) pair of socks. For me. The stripes matched up perfectly. I didn't even try. Impressive, huh? The yarn I used was Diversity by Plymouth Yarns. The colorway is a red/grey/black/white combination. He picked it out, so I knew he'd love it. I have yarn in a pink/grey colorway that will be mine when I have time to cast on.

 

Diva Enables 
The one thing I'm always good at is enabling you with yarn, patterns, needles... I've discovered a fun yarn, purchased at Joanns, and loved by me. It's called Sincerely by Pure Essence. 
I'd call it a heavy worsted. I'm designing a baby blanket using one of my dishcloth patterns, revised (pic below). My mad math skills played well here. But, this yarn is soft, it's sturdy, it doesn't squeak like some Acrylic yarns I've used. I'd rate this yarn a 10/10. Seriously! 

Dishcloth Diva recommends it! (5 stars)
*********************************************************** 


Another cool project I've been working on is my new Crochet Dishcloth pattern designs. It's one of many to come. I do love a good crochet dishcloth. They are thick and full of absorbency. I crocheted this with Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn (light blue), and Bernat Handi Cotton yarn (grey). Both I love equally! What is it about crochet that keeps me coming back? It's only one hook, unlike with knitting, you use 2 sticks, It's addicting, It allows for much creativity. 

I named this one Omaha. You wonder why? Well, in having a fun conversation with my husband as he sat across from me in my loft, we decided that it would be fun to have a line of crochet dishcloth patterns that resemble different cities and what they are known for. Cute, huh?

 Here's what I wrote about Omaha...

"This dishcloth is the first in a series of patterns related to cities. Cities, you ask? There are so many, why not name them for their beautiful scenery, land marks, or what they are known for. This pattern reminded me of sprawling miles of corn fields in the rural areas."

What is it you love about Crochet? I'd love to "hear".





Also, my daughter (up and coming crochet designer) and I have been crocheting up these fun dishcloths. No, the pattern is not mine, but I sure do love the design. The pattern is called Just Right and Big Time. It's simply written, easy to memorize, and it's FREE. Go grab it for yourself.
Pic from Just Right and BigTime on Ravelry
Favorite Patterns I'm Stalking
I have this thing lately with wanting to make some super cute amigurumi animals. You know, those cuddly, soft stuffed toys that will sit on your desk, or perch on the bookshelf? 

I have two favorites:

Pic From Purl Soho Ravelry page


Hedgehogs!! Super cute. Look at their little faces. This seems to be knit in one piece. In reading over the pattern there is NO sewing or grafting. You are picking up stitches along the way. The pattern is FREE here Their Ravelry page has more cute pics and details about the pattern. If you're so inclined, they have even put together kits for the yarn on their website, whether you want the grey, blue or pink one. Or you may be like me and want all 3.  Yay Purl Soho!

The second pattern I'm stalking, OK, I bought it, is Girl Elephant in a frondy frock.


Pic From Little Cotton Rabbits Ravelry Page

Is she adorable or what! A little bit of fairaisle, seaming, and cute little details will make her sit oh so proudly on my desk. She's knit in a DK weight yarn, and is a purchased pattern. You won't be disappointed. When I downloaded the pattern, I was immediately impressed with Julie's overall attention to detail.

I'm excited about my creative world, the various stitch patterns available and the ways in which I can take one of my own designs and create a totally different project.

Teasers
Like my newest, soon to be released, baby blanket. Here's a peek... Details coming next month. One of my favorite dishcloth patterns, a few simple mad math skills, and some fantastic yarn [equals] success!
Like many of my favorite podcasters, I am participating in the monthly cross stitch pattern by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. It's called Once Upon a Time Sampler.


Pic From The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery on Facebook

I haven't been as good as I should (because I'm easily distracted) with completing each month as it's emailed to me. But, here's what I have so far. It's called Once Upon a Time. I hope to have more to show you next month. I better anyway, we are into April! April! I better get busy...


This has been a fun episode. One doesn't realized how much is going on until you attempt (I think I did pretty good) to remember all you've done. Maybe this is a lesson for the Diva--do episodes more often.

Giveaway


Let's do a giveaway. How this works is you leave a comment here on the blog with your favorite part of my episode 2 (this one). Was it the enabling? Stalking? Teasers? Whatever you enjoyed, please leave it in the comments below. I will draw one winner on the on the 20th and announce it in the next episode. It will either be yarn or pattern or both! 

One final thing...if you haven't already, please enter your email address (if you choose) in the subscribe to my mailing list box. It will be sent monthly, and always contain a coupon code.

So, until next time,

Knit On!
Deb