Book Review: Modern Minimal, 20 Bold and Graphic Quilts

I don’t buy new craft books very often any more. Ever since Pinterest has come along and taken hold, I get my fix of “new and inspiring” from there. If I am looking for a knitting pattern, I go to Ravelry.
Recently though, I broke down and bought Modern Minimal 20 bold & Graphic Quilts. It is a stunning book. Of course the pictures are beautiful, but they are also real in a way that some books have strayed away from lately.
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This book is chalk full of bold, graphic patterns. They are simple, but they feel fresh and modern.

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The common thread that runs through is that there is no pattern (fabric) used. All the quilts shown are done in solids.

One of the other features of the book that is AMAZING is that she offers two suggestions on quilting patterns for each quilt. (Literally where the sewn quilting lines will appear.) This has such a dramatic effect on the quilts. One is done with rectangles that mirror some of the color blocks on the front and it looks very art deco. But when the pattern is changed to a bold mirror triangle line, the whole quilt reads differently. It is fascinating to see.

Have you bought any craft books lately? Or have on-line sources taken their place?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at jcraftyenough AT gmail DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2014 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

The Art of Clean Up

There is a book out called The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy.
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Ursus Wehrli has taken everyday scenes, and broken them down into their elements, and lined them up. I feel like the title should have been “Breaking It Down” Or “What Things are Made Of.”
It is so straight forward, that some of the pages made me giggle.

Here is a video of how the shoot for the park pictures went. That looks like it would be as fun as participating in an excellent flash mob. How fun!

 

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2013 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Crafty Goodies I was Gifted

I must have been a very good girl over the last year because I was given some very nice presents this Christmas. Of course, a lot of them were craft themed.
Crafty Goodness I was Gifted Crafty Goodness I was Gifted
The big one was this Tom Bihn Swift knitting bag. This bag was designed in conjuction with Knitty readers to be just what knitters want in a bag. It is study, has see-thru pockets inside and o-rings to clip in yarn stuff sack (which also have clear bottoms so you can see the yarn.

Of course there were also lots of books.
Crafty Goodness I was Gifted Crafty Goodness I was Gifted
I really want to dive into the first one make myself a beaded cardigan. I love embroidering so the addition of beads will be fun. The second one is really interesting, I always love learning new sewing techniques.
Crafty Goodness I was Gifted Crafty Goodness I was Gifted
I struggled quite a bit with free-motion quilting on my first quilt. I hope this book will teach me some tricks to try it again. And this last one should help me with that New Year’s resolution to take my crochet beyond the granny square.
Crafty Goodness I was Gifted
Finally, I received a pair of crochet hooks from Polka Dot Cottage (apparently Santa reads this blog). Aren’t they lovely!

What sort of crafty goodness did you receive this holiday season?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2013 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Our Favorite Knitting Books for Beginners

As you can tell by this site, Susi and I love to do all sorts of crafts, but I think the first love for both of us (and the one that brought us together) is knitting. Susi comes from a line of expert knitters and used to own a knitting store. I ran a large knitting group. One question both of us were always asked was, “What is your favorite knitting book?”

Books for Learning to Knit or Beginners

KatStitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook– Ok, look past the name that has been used too much (and litigated over) this is the book I always send new knitters to. It is well written and the illustrations are easy to follow. To me the sign of a good book is that I go back to it time and again for a refresher. This is one of those books. Plus, it has fun projects to try as you are learning. Ok, most people aren’t going to make a knit bikini, but the hats and sweaters are much better than most learn to knit books.

Susi – Lots of people came into the store, and asked for a learn-to-knit book. There are a few that we kept in stock at all times. The learning books are divided into two categories: one that is just reference for technique, and ones that combine some learning and techniques with some patterns.
For the reference books, you need to find one that seems like it resonates with you. Do you like the way it’s laid out? Do the drawings or illustrations look clear to you?
The most popular was The Knitter’s Companion
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This book has super clear illustrations, and very simple language. It defines terms and stitches. And it’s nice to have this book in hard copy. Sure, you can look any of this up on the web, but most of the time, the whole reason you are knitting is to unplug for a minute. This book is spiral bound, and the spiral is on the top. It can lay flat OR it can stand like a tent on the table so you can refer to it while you knit.

This book also stays with you. You will use this book even after you have “learned to knit”. It is a real reference book.
The kind of beginner that would want this book is someone who actually has some yarn and needles at home. And maybe even a pattern. But they are still feeling shaky, and they want something to reference.

The one thing this book is not, is inspirational. For that, you will need a book with some patterns. “WHY do you want to learn to knit?” (the most common answer way “I am going to have a baby”. The second most popular answer was “my grandmother did it, and I want to learn too”. )

The most popular book that combines instruction AND patterns was/is Stitch-n-Bitch. It is hip and modern, and there are projects in there for all ages, sizes, and genders. For me personally, I would not feel comfortable giving a 7 year old a book that said “bitch” on the cover. Yep, I am that conservative. If that is a conversation the parents want to have with their kid, more power to them! But to me, that is like giving a toddler a tambourine and a Kazoo for their birthday. Insensitive to the parents. For the 20’s – 50’s, it is a great book.

The other book that I would steer people to is an unlikely choice: Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. This book is divided up into projects biased on the amount of time they will take. So, by default, the shorter projects are easier. This book is beautifully photographed. And has WONDERFUL projects in it. Joelle owns a store in Manhattan called Purl Soho. Back in the day, she worked for Martha Stewart and her book reflects that sense of crisp refinement.

Here is the real truth in the “learn to knit” genre. A lot of people actually have learned to knit before. They tried it in the 5th grade. Or their Mom taught them long ago. But it didn’t stick. So when you are looking for a “learn to knit” book, you want to get something that is going to get you past the hurdles that you hit before. Something that inspires you. Something that speaks to you, and your learning style. Buy good yarn. It will motivate you through the rough patches. Pick a realistic project (a hat, a scarf). Get help. Finish the project. These are the most helpful things I can say. The books will help keep you going.

Have fun, and happy knitting.

 

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2012 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Book Review : Knit Knit


I have not bought a knitting book in a while, but I bought this one.

It was published in 2007, by our friends at Stewart Tabori and Chang, it’s not “new”.

It is a compilation of some of the hottest names in knitting – from the avant-garde, to the inventive, to the marketable. Here we are in 2012 and those names and ideas are still white hot. There are designers who are still amazing, Erika Knight. There are artists playing with gauge, Wenlan Chia and Althea Merback. And some young people who have been really successful really early. I like reading about everyone of them. It’s an interesting and inspiring book. It challenges me to think about knitting in very different ways.

Have you ever knit anything so small? Would that be fun to try? (that picture is not in the book. It is a picture of  Bug knits’ Althea Merback knitting on some zillion 0’s)

Have you ever knit anything so BIG? (This picture is not in the book, it is a detail of Twinkle’s Wenlan’s big yarn worked in a lace pattern.) Would that be fun? Those are the kinds of questions that the book offers for me.

The book is laid out in profiles. There is a biography of each of the knitters/arists, including when they learned to knit, where they live, a little bit about their job and their knitting life. There are lots of patterns in this book, but most of them are unconventional. Knit boxing gloves are featured and a 50’s inspired knit bathing suit named Esther. It’s not really a book that you buy for the patterns. But, if one captured your attention, you certainly could!

This kind of stretching the boundaries of the craft that is so exciting to me.

Note: I purchased this book and was not compensated in any way for the review.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.

© 2005 – 2012 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Book Review: Swedish Handknits

I’m a sucker for Scandinavian knitwear, so when I saw that Swedish Handknits by Sue Flanders and Janine Kobel had come out I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

This is a book that takes its inspiration from the past, all the patterns in it were inspired by the collections and environs at the American Swedish Institute here in Minneapolis. It is a perfect match as the ASI really spotlights Swedish textiles, both historical and modern. Currently, they have an exhibit that features the projects from Swedish Handknits along with the items in the museum that inspired them.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
Here is a sampling of some of my favorites from my visit earlier this month.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
Twined-knit stockings are really beautiful in their simplicity. Twined-knitting is not something I’ve been able to master, but the book offers such good step-by-step photos and instructions that I’m willing to try it again. These will likely be Matt and my stockings for next year.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
Tomtem wrist warmers based on a weaving using a traditional pattern from Jamtland. I’m a big tomte fan and would love to knit these up as full mittens for Christmas time.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
Deer mittens based on a pair of deer gloved knit in 1920.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
A summer daisy sweater based on the Swedish National Costume (show on the Queen Silvia in the picture above).

Even if you can’t get the museum to see the pieces in person, this book is really a delight for any knitter of Swedish descent (or those that just appreciate Swedish style). There are projects for most levels of knitters (though a large percentage of the patterns do include colorwork). They range from easy Sami-inspired hats to beautiful complex colorwork gloves.  From basic striped legwarmers to lace work shawls.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
Techniques are clearly illustrated and explained especially special ones. Charts for the colorwork patterns are all large and full color, making them easy to follow.
Swedish Handknits Exhibit
On top of that, the book is full of short essays people and techniques as well as a few traditional recipes. All of which make it fun to sit down and read beyond the knitting patterns.

***Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Swedish Handknits to review but was not told what to write or compensated in any other way.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2012 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Book Review: Ann Budd Knitters Handy Book Of Top Down Sweaters

I have a new book in my knitting library. Ann Budd: The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges.

That is a BIG name for this book.
But it is the naming convention that Ann Budd has used for all her books. So why mess with perfection.

Once again Ann Budd has hit it out of the park. This book is amazing and beautiful. But most notably, it is practical, solid and oh so helpful. I can find a sweater that I like, find yarn that I like and the two will go together with limitless possibilities.

There are several sections of sweaters, seamless yoke, raglan, set-in sleeve and saddle shoulder. All of the patterns are easily adjusted for a series of sizes AND gauges.

The book itself is physically set up like the other Ann Budd books too. It has a spiral binding inside of a hard back cover that flops open flat, and the spine will not need to “break” open to view the page you are working on.

And, in fact, I have chosen a pattern from this book to do for my 8 Weeks To A Sweater series. I am going to make the Alpine Tweed, by guest designer Jered Flood. (pictured top right corner above.) (The sweater is pictured. Clearly, that is not Jered himself. )

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you are tired of not having sweaters fit or not getting the choice of gauge that you want, this book needs to become part of your library. It is a timeless reference book.

Fine Print: I have been given a copy of this book by Interweave Press to review. They have not influenced my review or compensated me in any way.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2012 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish

Book Review: Custom Knits 2 By Wendy Bernard

Let’s welcome the kids back to school, and usher in the ‘cooler weather’ with the return of knitting!! Yeah!

And just in time, while you check your stash and get your project queue sorted in your head, we are having a book giveaway!

Custom Knits 2 by Wendy Bernard
It can be frustrating to knit a sweater only to have it look wrong on you because it’s too boxy or the waist hits you in an odd place. Custom Knits 2 teaches you about custom waist shaping, bust shaping and other changes from a pattern. With these tools you can make the sweater custom fit for you. The book even helps you estimate how much yarn you will need for these customizations.

This book blends some very technical advice with some lovely patterns. That is a very subtle balance and the book has some real meat in both areas. It is a great addition for any library.
This blue sweater is so versatile. (I think you might even be able to wear it out with more than just your underpants. Wink.)

*THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED*

If you would like to win a copy of this book leave a comment on this post (make sure to use an email address where we can contact you). You can get and extra entry by liking us on Facebook and leaving a second comment letting us know you did. We will chose and announce a winner next Monday, September 17th.  This contest us open to US readers only.

***Disclaimer: STC Craft/Melaine Falick Books gave us a copy of Custom Knits 2 to review and giveaway. We were not instructed what to write or compensated in any other way.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://justcraftyenough.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact us at justcraftyenough AT yahoo DOT COM. All patterns, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2005 – 2012 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish