Knitter’s Magazine Spring 2011 Review

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Knitter’s Magazine doesn’t list a season on their magazines, instead they go by edition number.  This review is for the current edition of K102.  To me this is more of a Summer edition, but the website for the magazine refers to this as a Spring edition.  While this edition does have a large selection of cardigans, there are some lighter-weight sweaters as well.  It really is a good mix of Spring to Summer fashions.

As I’ve mentioned in prior reviews of Knitter’s Magazine, this knitting magazine is one of my favorites.  I appreciate that the magazine provides quality over quantity.  I don’t need 30 knitting patterns or designs in each edition, I just need a few good patterns that I can add to my knitting library.  For me, this Spring/Summer edition is no exception.  My favorite design is the Nautical Notes sweater that provides a mix of cables and lace.

cable knitting

Knitter’s Magazine: Nautical Notes Sweater

Designed by Ann McCauley, this cable knit sweater has a beautiful neckline.  It has a sweeping boat-neck with cables that follow the neckline and blend into the sleeves.  It provides a beautiful effect, with the vertical cables on the body leading up to the horizontal cables along the neck.  The open and airy feel that the lace-work adds to the sweater prevents the cables from making the sweater too heavy.  Sometimes a cable knit sweater can have a heavy and bulky feeling.  That can be fine for a winter sweater, but for a Summer sweater a lighter feel is ideal for the warmer weather.

Another pattern that I love from Knitter’s Magazine Spring 2011 edition is the Basket Weave Blue cardigan sweater designed by Melissa Leapman.  With a ruffled hemline, this cardigan is a perfect mix of comfort and femininity.  I see this as a three season sweater.  It will take you from Spring right through the cool days of Autumn.  A versatile sweater like this one is a great project to put on your must-knit list.

This knitting magazine provides a great mix of patterns.  If you’ve been looking to give entrelac a try, there is an empire-style cardigan pattern that has an entrelac yoke.  With the entrelac pattern only along the yoke and shoulders, this sweater is much more appealing to me than sweaters that feature an all-over entralac design.  My only complaint about this design by Gwen Bortner is that it has three-quarter sleeves.  I’m not a big fan of three-quarter sleeves and in this design I think that the sweater would be better served with a full-length sleeve.  So if I decide to knit this sweater, I’ll be sure to pick-up a little extra yarn to give me the flexibility of knitting a full sleeve.

Knitter’s Magazine Spring 2011 edition has a lot of additional patterns.  I have only highlighted a few of the designs that caught my eye and that I will be adding to my knitting library.  Who knows when I’ll get all these projects completed, but it’s great to have so many great options when I go to choose my next knitting project.

More from MyKnittingNook:

[intlink id=”7″ type=”post”]Vogue Knitting Book Review[/intlink]

[intlink id=”1″ type=”post”]Knitting on The Edge Book Review[/intlink]

[intlink id=”73″ type=”post”]Debbie Bliss Knitting Patterns Simply Soft[/intlink]

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Bolero Jacket: Debbie Bliss Knitting Patterns Simply Soft

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I recently finished a bolero shrug that I’ve been working on for a while.  It wasn’t a difficult project, but just took me a while to finish because it was one of many ongoing projects.  I’m pleased to finally have it completed.

Closeup View of Bolero Jacket
Front View of Bolero Jacket
Back View of Bolero Jacket

The bolero jacket pattern is from the Simply Soft Pattern Book by Debbie Bliss.  Although the book is designed to be used with the corresponding Simply Soft yarn, I chose to use Mano del Uruguay yarn instead.  I fell in love with the deep red and burgundy colors in the yarn that I chose.  I felt that since the pattern for the jacket was essentially just stockinette stitch, I needed a yarn that provided some depth and character to it.  A solid color yarn would have been too boring.

I enjoyed knitting this jacket/sweater.  The pattern uses short rows to create a full collar that really adds so much to the design.  Additional detail includes a longer rib on the sleeves, which you could choose to roll-up if desired.  I enjoyed the pattern for the jacket, but the yarn was not my favorite.  Although Mano del Uruguay produces a beautiful yarn, my problem is with the consistency of the yarn.  There is great variance in the thickness of the yarn.  At times the yarn became so thin that it was like knitting with sport-weight yarn.  Other times the wool was so thick it felt like a chunky yarn.  The thicker sections I could tolerate, but the thinner sections really bothered me.  I feel that it weakens that section of the jacket and made the stitches not look as crisp.

Debbie Bliss Knitting Patterns Simply Soft

Debbie Bliss Knitting Patterns Simply Soft

There are several patterns in the Debbie Bliss Simply Soft book that I would try.  There is a Patterned Yoke Jacket for a baby that looks nice and there are several sweater and shrug patterns that I find appealing.  At this point I’ve started another project, but once I get it is completed I may start on another Debbie Bliss design.  I find her patterns easy to follow and her designs are always appealing.  Next time I may even choose one of her yarns to go with the pattern.  You simply can’t lose with her soft, cashmere yarn.

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Knitter’s Almanac Book Review

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A few months ago I decided that it was high time that I pick-up an Elizabeth Zimmermann book. Zimmermann, the Julia Child of the knitting world, was a pioneer decades ago in how she approached knitting.  Her books have stood the test of time and even today can provide guidance and inspiration to knitters. The Knitter’s Almanac provides projects for each month of the year.

Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann

The Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann is a book that I would classify as an oldy, but a goody.  Written in 1974 and updated in 1981, the book has an old fashioned style.  Unlike today’s knitting books, it lacks the beautiful color photos that we are so used to seeing these days.  The book provides a black and white photo for each project and the pattern charts are hand-written by Elizabeth.  As I was reading the book, I felt like I was in Elizabeth’s living room watching her knit and work.  She is inviting, engaging and cuts to the chase.

While the patterns are not ones that I would probably find myself knitting, I still enjoyed the Knitter’s Almanac and think that it is a welcome addition to my knitting book library.  With every pattern Elizabeth provides tips and recommendations on how to adjust the pattern to suit your needs.  I think that this is Elizabeth’s most significant contribution to the knitting world; her ability to teach us how to feel comfortable enough to change knitting patterns and designs without being scared.

The knitting patterns in the book include a little bit of everything; whether you fancy Aran Knitting, socks, baby clothes, shawls or Fair Isle knitting.  And if the pattern isn’t quite modern enough for you, I think that it can still be used as the foundation for designing your own sweater.

At only $7.99 I feel like the Knitter’s Almanac is a bargain and a great book to have on hand as a resource.

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Knitting Magazines: A Look at the Summer Editions

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It may not feel like summer, but it’s almost that time of year and the summer editions of knitting magazines are hitting the newsstands.  Here is a look at four of the knitting magazines.

 

Vogue Knitting

Vogue Knitting Magazine

Vogue Knitting Magazine- Summer 2011 Cover

What I like about Vogue Knitting is that they always have creative patterns and informative articles in their magazine.  While some of the patterns may not be my style, I enjoy looking at the designer looks that they achieve.  I can always take-away pieces of information from each pattern to incorporate into one of my own projects.

The Spring/Summer edition includes a good article about blending yarns.  For summer projects where blended yarns are more prevalent, this article is right on the money.

Some of my favorite knitting patterns in this knitting magazine include a gorgeous lace poncho and two different lace tunic vests.

 

Knitting Today

Knitting Today Magazine

Knitting Today Magazine- Summer 2011 Cover

Knitting Today is a new knitting magazine and is still in it’s first year of publication.  For that I’ll cut them some slack.  But, I have to say that I was disappointed with their summer publication.  I think that they fell into the trap that so many magazines do. They used cliche boating and beach motifs for almost everything in the magazine.  I think that a seasoned knitting magazine like Vogue Knitting understands that by focusing on a theme or motif can alienate readers.  As someone who doesn’t want a sailboat on my knitting project, this meant that there were very few projects that were appealing to me in this edition.

Highlights of the Knitting Today summer edition include a beautiful Chevron Lace Afghan, Anchor Tote, Checkered Jumper for toddlers and a Barnyard Playmat.

Another note about this knitting magazine, they tend to focus on smaller projects.  For some this may be a pro and others maybe find it a negative feature.

 

Knit ‘n Style

Knit 'n Style Magazine

Knit n Style Magazine-Summer 2011 Cover

The tagline for this knitting magazine is “Real Fashion for Real Knitters”.  I think that this magazine does a great job of sticking to their motto and producing good patterns that anyone can use.  Their Summer edition includes an article by published knitting author Margaret Radcliffe.  In this article she tackles the question of when and where slipping the edge stitch is appropriate.  With clear, precise instructions and great photos to accompany it, this article is a great resource.

My favorite patterns in this edition of Knit ‘n Style are the Tunic for All Seasons and the Fibonacci Jacket.  There are several other patterns that caught my attention, like the Waves on the Shore pullover, but most of them have one or two design issues that prevent me from adding them to my “future projects library”.  Others may find these patterns perfect just the way they are.

 

Interweave Knits

Interweave Knits Magazine

Interweave Knits Magazine-Summer 2011 Cover

What I love about Interweave Knits is that there is always a great mix of educational articles and patterns.  While some may find their articles too involved, I enjoy reading a knitting magazine that isn’t all pictures.  Instead, it actually gives me something to read and articles that help me learn.

There are three articles in the Summer edition that I really liked.  The first is about Silk Yarns.  There are so many types of silk yarn and many blended yarns that include some silk.  This article helps you understand where silk originates and how to test for a yarn’s silk content.  The second article that I enjoyed was learning how to create pictorial lace motifs.  There is a pattern in the magazine that uses yarn overs to create an elephant design.  This article shows how the placement of the yo, k2tog and ssk stitches can make a distinctive difference in the design.  With charts and pictures to accompany the article, this article can be kept as a resource and reference for future projects and designs.

There is also a fabulous article highlighting the wonderful knitting designer Kathy Zimmerman.  Kathy is the queen of knitting patterns and designs that include beautiful cables.  In the article, Kathy offers several “tricks of the trade” for readers.  She offers some great tips that even an advanced knitter will appreciate.

There aren’t as many patterns in the Summer edition that I plan on keeping for my pattern library, but that’s OK.  I’m saving all of the articles instead, so the Interweave Knits summer knitting magazine is still a must read for me.

With beach and boating season upon us, I think we all enjoy having a good magazine to have in our bag.  I hope you enjoy these knitting magazines and their Summer editions.  If you’re looking for inexpensive annual subscriptions, remember to check Amazon and EBATES, where you can find huge discounts.

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Knitting Books: Top 10 Best Sellers

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Here is a list of the current top selling Knitting Books on Amazon.  These are the top selling books through May 2011.

 

60 Quick Baby Knits: Blankets, Booties, Sweaters & More in Cascade 220 Superwash (Sixth & Spring)

 

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding

Knit Your Own Dog: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches

 

 

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More

 

Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually

 

75 Birds, Butterflies & Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet

Around the Corner Crochet Borders: 150 Colorful, Creative Edging Designs with Charts and Instructions for Turning the Corner Perfectly Every Time

 

The Ladies’ Work-Book Containing Instructions In Knitting, Crochet, Point-Lace, etc.

 

Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks!

 

Spud and Chloe at the Farm (Knit & Read Book)

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Vogue Knitting Book Review

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Whether you are a beginner or advanced knitter, Vogue Knitting is one book that you should include in your knitting library.  This book provides a wealth of information, including a history of knitting, basic techniques, a dictionary on knitting stitches and patterns for knitting.

What I like about this book is that it not only provides straight-forward instructions and explanations, but it also provides beautiful color photographs that help bring the instructions to life.  As an example, the book does a nice job of outlining how to correct errors in your knitting.  If you’ve ever faced a dropped-stitch and were unsure how to pick-up the stitch without having to rip out all of your work, then Vogue Knitting would have been just what you needed.  Their step-by-step instructions show how to pick-up the stitch either with your knitting needle or with a crochet hook.  It also addresses picking-up a knit stitch verses a purl stitch.

If you are a relatively new knitter and have been working primarily on knitting hats and scarves, then this book could help you take the plunge into more complicated patterns and techniques.  You’ll be able to learn more about short-rows, color knitting and how to design your own knitting patterns.

Blocking, Assembling and Finishing can be one of the most important steps in your knitting.  This chapter will help provide all of the tips needed to ensure that your project has the finished look of a pro.   Knitting a sweater is half the battle; the detail is in the care that one puts into assembling the pieces to get a finished project that fits properly, has smooth stitches and flawless seams.  Vogue Knitting will show you how to join different stitches so that you always end-up with a virtually hidden seam.

Whether you need some help learning how to knit or just like to have valuable knitting reference books at your disposal, Vogue Knitting is one book that is worthy of its reputation.  I guarantee that this book will be one that you turn to time and time again.

Knitting On The Edge Book Review

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I purchased Knitting On The Edge a few years ago, but hadn’t picked it up in a while.  I sat down a few weeks ago to run through the book to see if I could get some ideas for some knitting patterns for scarves.  As I looked at all of the beautiful patterns captured in this book, I was reminded why I had purchased it in the first place.

Knitting On The Edge by Nicky Epstein

This book is a beautiful reference for designs that can be used for a multitude of projects.  For scarf knitting patterns, designing a new sweater or knitted hat patterns, this book is sure to be a great resource for you time and time again.

Nicky Epstein has written two Knitting On The Edge books.  The first version is the ribs, ruffles, lace, fringes, flora, points & picot.  Her second book covers unique ribs, cords, appliques, colors and nouveau.  I own the hardcover of the ribs, ruffles and fringes book.  The book has 168 color pages of beautiful designs that would add the perfect finish to any project.  The book is laid-out by the type of design, so you can quickly jump to the section that fits your needs.  Each instruction includes a symbol to let you know whether the design is to be knit from the bottom up, top down or whether it is to be knit separately and then attached to your garment.  If you’re looking for scarf knitting patterns that have designs that look good from both sides, you can search the designs in the book for those that are considered reversible.

On top of providing you with dozens of designs, the book also includes 7 patterns.  From a Vintage Lace Pullover to a Layered Ruffle Bag, the patterns will give you an opportunity to put Nicky Epstein’s designs to work.  This book is the perfect addition to any knitter’s collection.  And with the addition of a paperback version of this book now available, the book is more affordable than ever.

If you’re a beginner knitter, the designs outlined in Knitting On The Edge are a perfect way to expand your knitting skills.  Simply pick-up some needles, grab some spare yarn and start knitting.  You can challenge yourself with learning a new cable pattern or how to do ruffles.  And for the experienced knitter, how about using the book to try designing your own projects?  The opportunities are endless with such a beautiful and informative book.