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Monday, July 29, 2019

New! Book Review - The Art of Circular Yokes - Get Ready for Fall



** WE HAVE A WINNER! YOGANAN IS THE WINNER OF THE BOOK. **

Time for a new book review! Read on for details of a Giveaway.

“As we practice our craft with yarn and needles, we work on canvases of stitches to create knitted masterpieces. One of the most iconic canvases is the circular yoke. Designers, with their boundless ingenuity, give us garments with painterly colorwork, illustrative lace, beautifully chiseled cables, and so much more.”
Copyright FW Media

The Art of Circular Yokes by Kerry Bogert is the perfect book if you enjoy this style of sweater. I've been seeing a lot of this sweater design lately, and I think it looks great. Whether the yokes consist of simple or complex color work, cable designs, or textured stitches, they have a great way of accenting the face, providing some interesting knitting at the beginning, and also providing lots of plain knitting as you proceed down the body -- for those times when something simple is just what you need, e.g. TV knitting or travel knitting.
As with many Interweave books, this one has great production values, beautiful photography, clean layout, and gorgeous patterns. 
Here are some of the topics covered in the beginning of the book:
  •          The Importance of gauge,
  •          How to swatch in the round,
  •          The definition of ease and how to use it,
  •          How to take measurements to ensure a good fit.
  •          Some math requirements to calculate your required number of stitches,
  •          How to manage the motifs among the shaping stitches.
From this solid foundation, we move on to the patterns.
Diamond, is elegant and feminine and features geometric color work. 
Strike uses slipped stitches for a striking pattern, and features three quarter length sleeves, and gentle waist shaping. 

Altheda uses Icelandic wool and has an unusual garter stitch edging. 
Emerge, combines cable and lace.   

Morris  has a dramatic cable panel.   
Really, I liked all the patterns in this book.  I thought they were very wearable and would be enjoyable to make. I think Twill might be my favorite with its interesting stitch pattern and soft colors.   
If you're itching to start on a new sweater for fall or winter, I think you'll find great inspiration in this book. Scroll through the patterns here.

Photos courtesy of Interweave/F + W Media.

 Giveaway!

Thanks to Penguin Random House (formerly Interweave Press), I'm able to offer a giveaway of a copy of this book to one lucky person who comments on the blog, naming a favorite pattern, technique, or a favorite aspect of the book. Post a comment on this blog entry, and sign up for my newsletter, and you will be entered into a giveaway to win your own copy of this book.  Be sure to give a Ravelry ID, or an email address -- or even your Instagram handle will do -- so that if you win, I have a way to contact you! Don't forget!  

I will select a name on Wednesday Aug. 14 2019. 

Note: I received a copy of this book for review from Interweave Press/FW Media.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Book Review - Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches


I received a lovely book to review, the Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches. It looks great, but I'm not a crocheter. So I asked my friend Ellen - who is wonderful crocheter, and knitter - to do it for me. Genius, right? 
By the way, she has a great blog that you should check out.

Here is her review:

“The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches” by Tracey Todhunter
Interweave, 2019

I’ve been crocheting most of my life. I knit too, but prefer crochet. While crocheting, you can really SEE your stitches, you only use one hook not two needles, so mistakes are easier to correct. Also, crocheting is faster than knitting. One row of double crochet stitches equals about 5 rows of stockinette knitting. I’m impatient and like to see my project take shape quickly. Crocheting a project offers almost instant gratification.



Once I mastered the single and double crochet stitches, I was on my way. However, soon after learning the basics of crochet I started to crave slightly more difficult challenges as well as wanting to have a larger variety of crochet patterns and designs to choose from. I started buying crochet stitch dictionaries.  
The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches” by Tracey Todhunter is packed with plenty of new techniques to master. This in an amazing source of inspiration. Paging through this book is like exploring a whole new world of possibilities! This collection includes both written instructions and a chart for each pattern. I love being able to see the chart and how the pattern comes together at a glance.





Every pattern includes a clear photo with yarn as well as the chart and written instructions.  The patterns are broken into sections to make them easy to find and there’s even a visual table of contents at the beginning of the book. 


There aren’t any projects in the book, but suggestions are given as to what each stitch would be suitable for. There are recommendations of yarn weights, colors or yarn types that would work for the different stitch patterns. 

There are sections on Tunisian crochet and also edge stitches. Crochet basics are at the end of the book with a section on symbols and abbreviations.



I am an extremely visual person and I need pictures. “200 Crochet Stitches” gives me a general idea of how the stitch looks once worked. There are so many wonderful stitch patterns included in this book. I already have sticky notes on about 50 of the ones I want to try.

Ellen Bloom
L.A. Is My Beat
I’m “ellblo” on Ravelry







Thanks Ellen, for the great review. Enjoy experimenting with the new stitches!


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - Gradient Style

  We have a winner, It's #16, Gloria, if_i_sit_i_knit on Instagram. Thanks for playing!

 

I'm happy to review the book Gradient Style, by Interweave.
Knitwear designs that feature gradient color schemes are all the rage, and it's no wonder. The way the yarns gradually change shades and colors creates a mesmerizing effect, and the possibilities for incorporating gradients into knits are endless. Gradient Style presents what you need to know to use gradients effectively.,
I've been knitting a lot with gradients lately, so this was especially fascinating to me. See Port Hope shawl, Willowbrook shawl, and Celesta shawl.

First, the book is beautifully photographed, and is a pleasure to peruse. 
It deals with gradient yarns and designs that use them. 
It encompasses ombre, fades or gradients, and includes ideas for using pre-packaged gradients, or making up your own unique color combinations. 
Knitting with many colors can be exciting. 

The book begins with a discussion of the color wheel. It describes analogous colors, e.g. light to dark tones of the same color group; complementary colors such as purple fading to yellow; or random colors can be put together using your own taste. 
You can blend them, stripe them, work double-stranded, or use them in color work. 

Here are some of the patterns that I enjoyed. The Ombre Eyelet Stole is really pretty, fading the colors from one end to the other. 

The Spring Colors tee  uses striking colors - yellow, lime green, dark green, and navy - to create an eye-catching item. 


The Snow Melt cowl  is a very pretty lacy piece that looks like a shawl. It is done in shades of icy blue for a great effect. 


 

The Color Block mittens are simple, but they use colors effectively. 




The Lacy Striped shawl lets you mix and match your own color combos in this asymmetrical triangular shawl. 

The Flame shawl is stunning, using a dramatic purple to yellow blend, and has a nice scalloped edging. 


One of my favorites was the Shape-Shifter scarf - it uses intarsia technique to create an undulating line that separates the two gradient color tones. Very very nice! 



I thought this book did a great job of covering the many ways that you can use gradient yarns and shared some really pretty patterns to illustrate the different techniques. Here are all the patterns.

I would recommend this book. That Shape-Shifter scarf is calling my name!
  

Giveaway!

Thanks to Interweave Press, I'm able to offer a giveaway of a copy of this book to one lucky person who comments on the blog, naming a favorite pattern, technique, or a favorite aspect of the book.


Post a comment on this blog entry, and sign up for my newsletter, and you will be entered into a giveaway to win your own copy of this book.


Be sure to give a Ravelry ID, or an email address -- or even your Instagram handle will do -- so that if you win, I have a way to contact you! Don't forget





I will select a name in 1 week's time, on Jan. 28, 2019. 

Photos courtesy of Interweave/F + W Media.

P.S. I received a complimentary copy of the book for review.

 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Holiday Sale! 50% off all patterns

Happy holidays!

I am having a holiday special, 50% off any of my patterns, from now till Dec. 31. **Code is HOLIDAY50OFF**. (That's Holiday-50-off.)

Here are a few samples of what's available:




Choose a new release, or an old favorite.
Enjoy some relaxing knitting this season.

https://www.ravelry.com/designers/brenda-castiel

Friday, November 16, 2018

New Pattern: Coupon Code


New: Port Hope Shawl
 

Who loves Gradient yarns? I do!
The
Port Hope shawl - designed with gradients in mind - is a graceful shallow triangle consisting of garter stripes with occasional strips of easy mesh lace. You may use 2 solid colors of fingering weight yarn, or use 2 gradient sets and get gradient stripes (as shown). A gradient striped with a solid would also work great.
This shallow triangle design is knit from tip to tip. It increases in width, and then decreases after you reach the widest part of the triangle. The garter stripes form a graceful V shape and there are strips of simple eyelet lace to punctuate the design.
A very relaxing knit, the garter stitch is perfect for TV knitting or social knitting. It's easy but not boring!

Coupon Code
You can get 25% off with code 'PortHopeShawl' (until November 23).
There's more -- 20% of each purchase will go to Breast Cancer Research.

Even if you're not quite ready to buy, I'd love it if you could "favorite" it or queue it on Ravelry - it helps its visibility :-)




Etsy Shop Sale!

I will have a big sale in my Etsy shop Goodstuffcrafts  the week of Thanksgiving, Nov. 19-25. Curl up with a hot cocoa or cup of tea and do some holiday shopping!

Bags are sturdy, fully lined, and have optional clear vinyl windows.
Also, I added Free Shipping (US only I'm afraid) to many of my Etsy shop items. Take a look:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/goodstuffcrafts
For International, Etsy calculates the actual shipping cost, so you will pay only the actual cost.

Thanks for looking!