Tag Archives: book review

Jumbo Knitting Book Giveaway!

Today, I’m really excited to share a jumbo knitting book giveaway! It’s that time of year where many of us are stressed about holiday knitting or shopping, so what better time to take a moment to focus on a little something for yourself?

I’m giving away 6 great knitting books today. A winner for each book will be chosen at random, and you can enter the giveaway for as many or as few as you are interested in having.
I’ll ship any prizes free to those with a U.S. address, and international winners will need to pay the cost of shipping. To enter, share a comment below about your 2015 knitting plans by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, December 21, 2014. There are all kinds of extra entry points, too, so check the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post for details and terms and conditions.

This post contains affiliate links.

And the prizes are…

50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt

50 sunflowers

50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt: Patterns and Projects Packed with Lush and Vibrant Colors That You Will Love to Make by Kristin Nicholas is a collection of patterns for sunflower appliqués and motifs. The book begins with a 22 page Before You Begin chapter that includes an overview of supplies such as knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarns, and other notions; a review of basic knitting and crochet techniques and special stitches used in the book, with both written instructions and illustrations; tips and instructions for felting, stuffing, blocking, and embellishing with embroidery and beads; and an overview of color theory. A gallery of the projects in the book follows, and then the patterns are presented. There are 31 knit and 25 crochet patterns (yes, there are more than 50!), some of which are shown felted. The knitting patterns are written with U.S. pattern abbreviations, and the crochet patterns include both stitch symbols and pattern abbreviations. The Projects chapter includes instructions for transforming the designs into a variety of home decor and wearable projects.

Although the title suggests that only patterns for sunflowers are included, there are actually other types of flowers and leaves, and a variety of creatures you might find in a garden, such as bees, butterflies, lady bugs, and birds. This book is ideal for an advanced beginner or intermediate multi-crafter who loves to make portable projects.

A free review copy of 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt was provided by St. Martin’s Griffin. You can read my review disclosure here.

Expand Your Knitting Skills

60 Quick Luxury Knits

60 quick luxury knits

60 Quick Luxury Knits: Easy, Elegant Projects for Every Day in the Venezia Collection from Cascade Yarns® is another book in Sixth & Spring‘s 60 Quick Knits series. (You can read my review of 60 More Quick Knits: 20 Hats*20 Scarves*20 Mittens in Cascade 220® Sport here.) As the title suggests, this book features patterns designed with Cascade Yarns Venezia Sport and Cascade Yarns Venezia Worsted. About 2/3 of the patterns are in Venezia Sport, with the remaining patterns in Worsted. There is a variety of accessory designs for women, including 20 projects for neckwarmers (9 snoods/cowls/infinity scarves, 8 scarves, 2 collars, and 1 kerchief), 14 hats and headbands, 12 projects for the torso (including 8 wraps/shawls/shawlettes and 4 capes/capelets), 7 armwarmers/mitts/mittens, 2 bags, 2 belts, and individual patterns for legwarmers, socks, and a necklace. About 2/3 of the patterns are at the intermediate level, with 12 easy projects and 3 experienced level projects. All patterns are written with U.S. pattern abbreviations, and 16 also include charts (typically for color, lace, or cables).

The book is beautifully presented and definitely inspires you to start knitting! However, as with all pattern books, you’re more likely to enjoy it if you like the patterns included, so be sure to check out all of the projects in this book on its Ravelry source page here. My favorites are the Bow Clutch by Devin Cole, the Button Cable Beret by Kim Haesemeyer, the Buttoned Cable Cowl by Angela Tong, the Knotted I-Cord Belt by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, Solid and Stripe Infinity Scarf by Steven Hicks, and the Two-Color Cloche by Elena Malo. Hmmm, I guess it’s obvious that I like buttons and cables… If you’re an intermediate knitter who enjoys making women’s accessories, this may be the right book for you!

A free review copy of 60 Quick Luxury Knits was provided by Sixth & Spring Books. You can read my review disclosure here.

Arm Knitting

Arm Knitting

Arm Knitting: How to Make a 30-Minute Infinity Scarf and Other Great Projects by Mary Beth Temple is a fabulous introduction to the world of arm knitting. You can read my full review here and my interview with Mary Beth here.

Free review copies of Arm Knitting were provided by Design Originals. You can read my review disclosure here.

 

Chroma 2014 Collection

Chroma 2014 Collection

I have two print copies of the Chroma 2014 Collection, a pattern booklet including six (really eight) knitting patterns using Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. My Symmetrical Scallops Scarf (below) is one of the included designs, so I don’t think I can give it a fair review :).

Photos (c) Knit Picks.

Photos (c) Knit Picks.

You can see all the patterns in this collection here on Ravelry. There are two blanket patterns, two neckwear patterns, two mitten patterns, and individual hat and shawl patterns.

Free giveaway copies of the Chroma 2014 Collection were provided by Knit Picks.

 

Knitted Mitts & Mittens

Knitted Mitts & Mittens coverKnitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers by Amy Gunderson is a collection of patterns for the hands. You can see all 25 patterns here on the Ravelry source page. I actually shared an interview with Amy here as part of the blog tour for the book in April, but due to some technical problems on my blog at the time, I couldn’t host the giveaway.

The little projects are a fun way to try out different techniques on a smaller scale. My favorite designs are the Gradient Flip Top Mittens, It’s a Fish Eat Fish World Mittens, and It’s a Plaid Plaid World.

A free giveaway copy of Knitted Mitts & Mittens was provided by Stackpole Books.

 

So, are you feeling inspired to knit? Let me know what your 2015 knitting plans are in the comments. Do you have a specific project you plan to make, a new technique you want to learn, or will you be waiting for inspiration to strike?

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2014 Crocheter’s Gift Guide: Books and Subscriptions

It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about gifts for others – and for ourselves – so I’m sharing a series of gift guides for crocheters. In this series, I’ve shared 10 yarn clubs and community supported agriculture projects that are accepting new members/shareholders for 201511 handmade crochet stitch markers sets, and 10 unique crochet hooks (and crochet hook handles). Today, I’m sharing a roundup of great crochet books and subscriptions for crocheters.

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve divided up this gift guide into three sections: new book releases for 2014, evergreen books, and subscriptions for crocheters. All prices are in US dollars.

2014 New Book Releases

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog100 Colorful Ripple Stitches to Crochet: 50 Original Stitches & 50 Fabulous Colorways for Blankets and Throws by Leonie Morgan: Leonie has created a great follow up to 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet (reviewed here). As in her first book, Leonie shares colorful stitch patterns that will inspire you to crochet some amazing home decor projects. The book includes both stitch patterns and chevron/ripple motif patterns. Each pattern is written in US crochet abbreviations and stitch symbols. This book would be a great gift for any crocheter who love to make blankets and/or who wants to explore chevrons, ripples, and waves. (Retail price: $21.99 paperback.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogReversible Color Crochet: A New Technique by Laurinda Reddig: This book explores a method of crochet colorwork by sharing tutorials and a series of 28 blocks, arranged in order of difficultly, with 10 resulting afghan patterns. Laurinda’s method is similar to tapestry crochet but uses half double and double crochet stitches. She provides clear instructions for carrying colors in different situations to create reversible blocks. This would be a great gift for crocheters who like to try new techniques, explore colorwork, and/or make blankets and motif projects. (Retail price: $24.99. Also available as an ebook.)

 

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogThe Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs by Kathryn White: This is one of my favorite crochet books of 2014, and I even nominated it for a Flamie Crochet Award. You can read my full review here on the Crochet Guild of America blog. It would make a great gift for anyone who has been wanting to try Irish crochet but is intimidated by it, crocheters who like working with lace, and/or crocheters looking for portable projects. (Retail price: $14.95. Also available as an ebook.)

 

 

 

 

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

The Crochet Workshop by James Walters: This book is a reprint of the classic book from 1979. I shared my excitement about the original here as part of my 2013 Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week series. Although I haven’t yet seen the reprint, I’m very happy with my Dover reissue of Knitting Counterpanes, so I have no doubt this book will be awesome. This would make a great gift for the true “crochet nerd,” artists who want to explore crochet as a medium, and/or budding crochet designers. (Retail price: $24.95. Also available as an ebook.)

 

 

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

Amamani Puzzle Balls by Dedri Uys: Although I haven’t yet had the chance to check out this booklet, it has been causing quite a buzz and the patterns look great. (You can see them all on the Ravelry source page here.) Dedri has created 6 amigurumi patterns that create fun versions of Amish puzzle balls. This booklet looks like a fun gift for crocheters who want to try out new construction techniques, crocheters who love amigurumi, and/or crocheters who like to make gifts for children. (Retail price: $10.99. Also available as an ebook.)

 

 

 

Evergreen Crochet Books

There are several books that I keep on my crochet gift list, even though they are not brand new. Each would make a great gift (although perhaps not for the crocheter with a large book collection!).

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

The Fine Art of Crochet: Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists by Gwen Blakley Kinsler is a unique addition to the library of any crocheter or artist. You can find my review here and my interview with Gwen here. (Retail price: $34.99. Also available as an ebook.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogTunisian Crochet Stitch Guide by Kim Guzman is a great resource for any crocheter who is looking to expand their Tunisian crochet skills. I reviewed it here on the CGOA blog, and you can check out my interview with Kim here. (Retail price: $9.99. Also available as an ebook.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People by Allison Hoffman is a cool take on amigurumi. This book is ideal for someone who has some experience crocheting amigurumi but wants to learn how to customize their projects. (Retail price: $17.95.)

Craftsy

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogThe Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, 2nd Edition by Margaret Hubert is my go-to recommendation for a great all around crochet reference book for newbies and more advanced crocheters alike. You can read my review of the first edition here and my interview with Margaret here. (Retail price: $24.99. Also available as an ebook.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet by Kathryn Vercillo is a great book about the health benefits of crochet. This would be a great gift for anyone in a helping profession or crocheters who like to read non-fiction. I reviewed it here on the CGOA blog, and you can check out my interviews with Kathryn here, here, and here. (Retail price: $17.95. Also available as an ebook.)

 Subscriptions for Crocheters

Subscriptions are the gifts that keep on giving all year round! These are ideal for crocheters who like to explore new patterns all the time, and for crocheters who like to access patterns on the go.

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

  • I Like Crochet is a digital crochet magazine available for iPad or desktop/laptop. Issues are released every 2 months (6 issues a year) and include 30 projects and 7 tutorials in each issue. I’ve had patterns and articles published in every issue to date, so I’ve had the chance to see the great quality of this magazine through my contributor “copy.” Subscriptions range from $19.97/year for iPad only through $34.97/year for iPad and desktop access (including printing).
  • Mainly Crochet is an online pattern subscription service. For just $24/year, you can access all of the patterns in their collection, which currently number over 200. New patterns are added periodically throughout the year.

I hope you enjoy this gift guide! Many of these items are on sale through Cyber Monday (December 1, 2014), so you may want to check them out soon!

NaBloPoMo
I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

Book Review: Arm Knitting by Mary Beth Temple

Arm Knitting

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I’ll admit that I was a bit leery of the arm knitting craze when it first started. One of my students, who suffers from a medical condition that includes hand and wrist pain, found arm knitting and was able to continue knitting even when she was having a flare up, so I considered giving it another chance.

And then, Mary Beth Temple came out with Arm Knitting: How to Make a 30-Minute Infinity Scarf and Other Great Projects, and all my fears were laid to rest. This is an incredible little booklet. It opens with a 15 page Getting Started section that includes written instructions and large, clear progress photos. This section explains how to cast on; form the plain, twisted, and knotted stitches; bind off; seam; weave in ends; change colors with vertical or horizontal stripes or color blocking; increase; decrease; align patterned yarns (a great tip for any project)!; and finish projects with details like necklines, fringe, and pom-poms. The combination of the written instructions, tips, and photos make all the steps really clear.

The booklet then moves on into 15 patterns (most of which can be seen on the booklet’s Ravelry source page here). While the booklet includes the plain, chunky cowls and scarves you’d expect from arm knitting, there are unexpected arm knitting projects, like a wrap, shaped shawl, cape, and capelet, and projects featuring interesting color changes.

The patterns are written very clearly, with no abbreviations, and are perfect for beginners. At the same time, they allow for customization by more advanced arm knitters and include tips for variations. Each project also has multiple large photographs – including pictures both on and off models.

Pattern difficulty is rated on a scale of one to three. The booklet includes 6 level one, 6 level two, and 3 level 3 patterns. The final page of the book includes a pattern index with a list of pages where the pattern and its images appear as well as the type and quantity of yarn used and the number of stitches to cast on. I should also mention that the opening table of contents has thumbnails of each pattern, so they are easy to find.

By the way, you can also find a whole companion series of instructional videos on the Arm-Knitting website.

I’m giving this book 5 stars for being so clear and easy to follow, and for providing such great instructions. I was honestly surprised by the capabilities of arm knitting, but I guess I should have known what to expect from Mary Beth! (You can read my interview with her here.)

As we slide into the holiday season, this book becomes even more timely. Each of the projects could be finished really quickly for a last minute holiday gift. The booklet would also make a great gift for a young crafter in your life, or someone who has expressed interest in arm knitting.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Arm Knitting: How to Make a 30-Minute Infinity Scarf and Other Great Projects was provided by Design Originals. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
NaBloPoMo
I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

Crochet Book Reviews on the CGOA Blog

As my longtime readers know, I’m a volunteer book reviewer for the Crochet Guild of America. I recently had four crochet book reviews published on the CGOA blog. I’m sharing the links today, in case you are on the hunt for new books to add to your crochet collection!

This post contains affiliate links.

Crochet Stitch Dictionary

Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 Essential Stitches with Step-by-Step Photos by Sarah Hazell (link to book review)

Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs

The Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs by Kathryn White (link to book review)

Open Weave Fashions

Open Weave Fashions by Tammy Hildebrand (link to book review)

Beautiful Baby Boutique II

Beautiful Baby Boutique II by Rebecca Leigh (link to book review)

And, in other news, I decided to challenge myself to participate in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily this month.

NaBloPoMoI’ve done a few blog challenges in the past, including Blogtoberfest in 2011 and 2012, and a self-imposed challenge to blog daily during National Crochet Month in 2013, but I’ve never participated in NaBloPoMo before.

I’m looking forward to see what I share. I decided to be more spontaneous than planned about this challenge.

Are you participating in NaBloPoMo (as a blogger or a reader)? Let me know in the comments!

Blog Tour: Crochet for Baby All Year book review

This post contains affiliate links.

Today, I’m pleased to be a part of Tammy Hildebrand’s blog tour for her latest book, Crochet for Baby All Year: Easy-to-Make Outfits for Every Month. (I interviewed Tammy back in January about her other book,Crochet Wraps Every Which Way, which I also reviewed on the CGOA Now! blog here). I’m sharing a book review along with a giveaway. Read on for details!

Crochet-for-Baby-All-Year

Crochet for Baby All Year is a collection of 39 crochet patterns for baby/infant wearables with accessories. In the introduction,Tammy shares that she was inspired to crochet great baby items after learning she was going to become a first-time grandmother in 2012. Although her grandbaby was a girl, Tammy aims for an equal opportunity book by sharing theme patterns for boys and girls organized around the calendar.

The book is arranged in chapters by month. Each chapter opens with a large (nearly full page) photograph of an adorable infant boy or girl (or, frequently, both) wearing that month’s outfits with accessories. Each month’s patterns are either unisex or include variations for both boys and girls. Tammy describes the holiday or seasonal activity that inspired the outfit, and then the chapter continues with the patterns. Each pattern includes more photographs of the projects on the cute little models, the skill level, special stitches, and schematics when appropriate. Garments are generally available in 3-5 sizes from newborn through 18 months. Most of the patterns are considered easy, with one intermediate and one experienced pattern included in the book. The patterns are written with US crochet terminology.

The project breakdown is as follows:

  • Hats and bonnets: 14
  • Cardigans/sweater/jersey: 5
  • Dresses: 4
  • Booties and sandals: 3
  • Sleeveless tops: 3
  • Headbands: 2
  • Christening gowns: 2
  • Bikini/swim trunks: 2
  • Rompers: 2
  • Pants: 1
  • Bow tie: 1
  • Costume: 1

The book ends with a heartfelt acknowledgements page, information about the yarns used in the book, a glossary of pattern abbreviations, and thumbnails of each project for a quick visual reference.

Like all pattern books, your enjoyment will be increased by the number of projects you actually want to make! (My personal favorites are the Stanley or Stella the Stegasaurus Costume; the Fall Festival Cardigan, Hat, and Booties set; and the Varsity Cheerleader Girl Dress and Headband.) You can see pictures of each project in Stackpole’s lookbook here.

There are no tutorials or stitch illustrations included, so this book is geared towards an advanced beginner or intermediate crocheter who has their basic skills down and is comfortable with reading US pattern abbreviations.

I would recommend Crochet for Baby All Year to an advanced beginner crocheter who enjoys making projects for babies and infants and prefers reading pattern abbreviations. A more advanced crocheter might wish for more complex patterns, and a crocheter who prefers international stitch symbols won’t find them in this book.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

And now for the giveaway!