Knitted Dolls Book Review

knitted-dollsI just picked up a copy of Knitted Dolls: Handmade Toys With Designer Wardrobes.  This beautiful book is the creation of Arne & Carlos, two Scandinavian designers who first hit the scene with their book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit.  That’s another book on my wish list.  It will probably be one of my next purchases.

When I opened the package I was immediately impressed by this book.  It is absolutely stunning.  The pictures throughout the book are incredible.  So bright and cheery, it makes you want to go out and knit a new doll right away.  At least that’s how I felt.  Unfortunately I don’t have the right supplies on hand, so my project will have to wait.  I’ll be sure to post a follow-up once I get one of these adorable dolls completed.

The other thing I like about this book is it’s heft.  As a hardcover with 200 pages, this book is chalk-full of great information.  These projects are designed to be knit as separates.  Choose which doll you’d like to make and then select an outfit.  The outfits for these dolls truly are designer quality.  Nothing boring here, just fun and original ideas that you’ll love to make.  And if you let your daughter play with them, she’ll surely enjoy playing dress-up with these dolls.

Get a Perfect Ribbing With the Italian Cast-On

The Italian cast-on is a wonderful method that gives you a beautiful edge.  With its alternating knit-purl pattern, this cast on method is ideal for ribbing.  You’ll end-up with a cast-on row that blends seamlessly with your band of ribbing.  This cast on knitting also has plenty of stretch and give.

 

I admit that when I tried this method for the first time it took me a little bit of practice to get the rythym.  But once you “get it”, it really is an easy method.  Watch the video a couple of times (the beginning at least) so that you can see the rhythym of this cast on.  I think that once you see it and get the rhythym in your head, you’ll be able to do pick it up yourself pretty quickly.

 

In addition to using the Italian cast-on for ribbing, this cast on method is also great for Brioche knitting.

Visit knitfreedom.com to watch the entire video course and get more great tips to help you learn how to knit brioche.

Eyelet Brioche Scarf

anouschka-scarfThis pretty scarf has an eyelet pattern that is combined with brioche stitching.  It’s nice to see a pattern that works the brioche stitch with other complimentary design features.  It adds a much lighter touch to the scarf and gives it an airy feel.

I love that this scarf can be worn as a traditional long scarf.  Or, cinch it and wear it as a cowl.

Anouschka Scarf Pattern

 

Sunday Snapshot: My Week of Brioche

brioche-scarfThis week I worked almost exclusively on my new brioche project.  I did get one of my goals completed from last week’s WIP weekly update.  I completed the back of the blue sweater I’m working on, so now I can move on to finishing the front and working on the lace pattern.  But that will have to wait until I finish my new brioche project though, because I am brioche obsessed!

I had an “Ah-ha” week when it came to working on my new brioche scarf.  First, when I figured out how to do the Italian cast-on and then again when I figured out how brioche works.

Brioche takes a little while to figure out, but once you “get it”, it’s a fun stitch/technique.  And once you have the Ah-ha moment where you figure out how brioche works, brioche is straight forward.

I’m taking an online class with Nancy Marchant and I am so glad that I decided to do this.  Brioche is very unique and if I had started to work the pattern without learning the rules of brioche, I’m sure that I would have messed up.  It’s not that brioche is hard, it just takes some practice.  Brioche is a process of working with yarn-overs and slip stitches to create the pattern and a cushiony fabric that looks good on both sides.

The challenge with brioche is understanding how the yarn-overs are paired with a knit stitch.  These 2 strands are always worked together to create a brioche-knit stitch.  In the sample that I created I was able to figure this out pretty quickly, but the pattern for the brioche scarf includes increases and decreases.  This was like throwing the proverbial wrench in the knitting when I started the scarf.  One wrong move on the increase and it was back to the beginning.  So my first night of working on the scarf ended with me starting over 3 times.  At 1am I forced myself to go to bed, knowing that persistence doesn’t always work with knitting.

My 2nd day of working on the scarf pattern was the “ah-ha” moment that I needed.  I finally figured out the increases and decreases and got into the rhythm of brioche.  Once you get this form of knitting down, it really is a lot of fun.  I love the design and shape of this pattern.

I can’t wait to finish this scarf and to move onto the 2 color brioche scarf that is the next project in this class.  You can see Nancy’s finished scarf here!

Have a great week of knitting!

Free Pattern Knit Baby Blanket

soft-as-cloud-baby-afghanThis So Soft Baby Afghan is a beautiful, reversible afghan that wraps a baby in cuddly warmth. Use this free knitting pattern to knit this baby blanket for a baby shower gift, or to welcome a new baby to the family.

The baby blanket is perfect for beginner knitters and is a great project to knit this winter.  Knit-up a baby blanket and get the added benefit of keeping yourself warm as you knit :)  It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy knitting afghans in the winter.  The completed portion of the afghan sits in my lap and keeps me warm.

Use a washable yarn so that the blanket is easy to keep clean.  That way mum can throw the baby blanket in the laundry and not have to worry about it shrinking on her.

I hope you enjoy knitting this soft baby afghan.

 

Learning Brioche Knitting

brioche-knitting-class

If you read my weekly summary yesterday, you may be surprised to hear that I started a new project today.  Yes, I do have many WIP projects that I need to complete, but I had an opportunity to take an online knitting class and I jumped at the chance.  First, because it’s about Brioche knitting and second, because I wanted to be able to share my experience with everyone.  I know that many people wonder about online classes, so I figured that I would give you a first-hand report on the benefits of taking an online knitting class.

So why Brioche Knitting?  Well, I’ve read about brioche knitting before, but I’ve never tried it.  I consider myself an advanced knitter, but this is one form of knitting that I haven’t tried yet.  So I figured that this was the perfect type of project to tackle through an online video class.  That way I’d have the visual reference to help explain the new stitches and techniques.

Knitting has standard abbreviations and knitting terms, but brioche has a language all it’s own.  Do you know what a burp, or a bark is?  Nope, I didn’t know before the class either.  Read along with me as I update you on the progress of this project and I’ll share what I learn.

More tomorrow, with hopefully some samples to show you.

 

Sunday Summary- A Look at My WIP Knitting

I had a great week of knitting and actually knit a little bit almost every day.  I made some good progress on my Works in Progress (WIP), but I still have quite a list of open projects at the moment.  I used to limit myself to only having 1 or 2 active projects, but lately I’ve had more than that.  Here’s a look at all of my current knitting projects.

Project #1:  Afghan

afghan

I’ve had this afghan on the needles for a long time.  Years actually.  It’s one of those projects that I only like to work on during the colder months, so right there that reduces the time that I spend on this project.

It’s also a project that I don’t pick-up if I only have a short period of time to knit.  And with all of the colors involved, it’s not a project that I can tote around with me.

My last excuse for not working much on this project is that I need new needles for it.  I’m knitting this on 10.5 circular needles and at one point I put this project on a stitch holder and used the knitting needles for another project.  Now I can’t find the needles, so I need to get a new pair.  My LYS didn’t have what I wanted, so I need to order it online.

So my action items for this project this week is to buy new needles so that I can get working on it.

Project #2:  Twist-front Sweater

blue-sweater

This is the project that I worked on the most this week.  I know it’s hard to tell right now, but this is going to be a sleeveless v-neck with a twist-front lacey front.

I decided to knit this sweater in the round so that I would have less finish work at the end.  I’m almost done with the back and this week I’ll be moving on to the detailing on the front of the sweater (the fun part).

Here’s the one concern that I have with this project, I’m worried that I’m going to run out of yarn.  A knitter’s worst nightmare.

Goals for this week:

  • Finish-up the back of the sweater
  • Get started on the front
  • Investigate options for a complementary yarn to use in case I run out.

I have more on the agenda for the week, but I’ll share that with you tomorrow!

Cabled Wrap Knitting Pattern

I love this reading wrap.  Curl up on the couch with a good book and this wrap to keep you warm.  At 20″ x 60″, this wrap is larger than a scarf, smaller than an afghan and more functional than a shawl.  As a person who is constantly cold, this knitting pattern is right up my alley.  You of course could adjust the pattern to fit any yarn you want, but the standard gauge for the pattern is for Aran weight yarn.

I think that this pattern would look great in a pretty heathered wool yarn.  I like the burgundy color in this photo, which of course is no surprise to anyone who knows me.  I like red!

This wrap pattern is available in hard copy, or for immediate download.  That means that if you grab the downloaded version, you could be knitting away in no time.  Or, order some yarn to go with it and use the $5 off $15 coupon to make it an extra affordable project.

reader-wrap-pattern

How to Join Side Seam on Sweater

When the knitting is complete and it comes time to sew your sweater together, there are several different finishing techniques that can help give you a professional look.  For joining the side seams of a sweater, the mattress stitch is an easy way to get a strong, invisible seam.
The mattress stitch is good anytime you want to join two stockinette pieces together.  So while this stitch is one that you’ll use time and time again when knitting a sweater, you’ll also use it plenty of times with other projects.
Here’s a quick tutorial knitting video on how to do seaming with the mattress stitch.

In this knitting video from www.KnittingHelp.com , Amy shows you how to create a beautiful invisible seam using mattress stitch. This knitting how-to video uses a contrasting color yarn so it’s easy to follow along.