Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review - Custom Socks - and a Giveaway


Please sign up for my Newsletter for timely news and updates - see top right corner ==>

Interweave/F+W; $27.99

By permission Interweave/F&W
Kate Atherley is serious about socks.  She has written a book, Custom Socks, with a near encyclopedic amount of detail on everything you need to know about hand knitted socks.
The sizing chart is great – there is lots of detail. I was happy to see that she included socks for children. I recently knit a pair of socks for my granddaughter, and not realizing how fast she was growing, knitted the socks about an inch too short.
I also like that she even included whether to measure bunions in the total measurement of the circumference of the foot. That attention to detail is what sets this book apart.

Kate takes the measurements and the good fit of socks very seriously. By telling us how to measure our feet, what to measure, and what amount of ease to allow for, she really helps us get on the right path to well fitting socks.
The most valuable and perhaps unique Section of the book is adjustments for non average feet. I don't think this material has been covered in such detail before.
The patterns in the book are beautiful. The patterns alone would make the book worthwhile, but the added attention to detail, and the directions on how to get the best fit, take this book to the next level. In my opinion, any serious sock knitter would appreciate this book.
Here are some of my favorite designs. The Wellington Road socks feature beautiful cables that twine up the sock in a graceful way.
Wellington Road

Each sock has both a top down and toe up version. This is really helpful and again, something I don't think I have seen before. 

The Harcourt  is lovely with an easy lace pattern to give it distinction. 


A beautiful colorwork sock is the Lindisfarne . The stranded color work produces a striking graphic pattern that both men and women would be happy to wear. 


The Carpita is another colorwork sock that has a really pretty design on it. 

 For each design, Kate has paid attention to how the pattern flows from the top to the bottom and how it is treated at the heel and gusset. Nothing is left to chance.

For example, the Wellesley Sock has graceful cables flowing down from the top to the bottom. 
Kate includes a basic sock for those who like to use self-striping yarns, and don't need to put a lot of work into a complicated sock pattern to get interesting socks. 

The author has done a great job of compiling and amassing all the knowledge that is needed to produce great socks that your family and friends (those lucky enough to receive them), will enjoy for years.

Once again, Interweave is sponsoring a giveaway of this book. Please comment on this blog post saying why you would like to win this book, and also sign up for my newsletter (top right corner of the blog) to to be entered into the drawing. Please include an email address or Ravelry ID so I can contact you if you win. I'll choose the winner on September 16, 2015 and announce it here on the blog.
Good luck!
Next time, I'll continue my series on choosing and using Color. Did you miss Part 1?  It's right here!

Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of this book.

New Design
I just published the Willowbrook Shawl.

This is a pretty side to side shawl especially designed for gradient sets. The pattern gives instructions for using several types of gradient sets, plus directions for various sizes of a single skein.

This pattern uses mostly garter stitch with a delicate lace edge for a nice relaxing knit. The simple stitch will really show off a unique variegated, semi-solid or handspun yarn.

And there's a coupon code - get 20% off right now with code 'SEPT20'.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Let's Talk about Color! Part 1.

Please sign up for my Newsletter for timely news and updates - see top right corner ==>
Color Wheel
Today I'm going to talk about choosing and using color. Let's start with the color wheel.

Just as a review: 
Complementary colors are two colors across from one another, like yellow and purple.
Analogous colors are two colors adjacent to each other - think blue and violet.
Triad - these would be three colors at the points of a triangle, superimposed on the color wheel. For example, yellow-red-blue would be a triad.
Split Complementary is created by choosing one color, then picking the two colors on either side of its complement, e.g. red is across from green, so pick chartreuse (yellow-green), and teal (blue-green).

So, that was a quick introduction to the color wheel.

Keep in mind also that if you take a wedge out of the circle you will have lighter or darker tones of that same color, You can have softer or duller versions of that color; you can have lighter,  brighter versions of that color. These can all be combined to give you many many choices.   
No wonder it seems overwhelming!  


Color Families

Now let's talk about color families. Warm colors are generally energetic and exciting. Cool colors are considered calm and soothing. Think about how you choose to paint the rooms in your house -- do you want to relax at home or do you want a bright lively environment?
Neutral colors - for me, these are my safe conservative colors. I often find them sophisticated and elegant, but they can also be thought of as boring. 
Bright colors are festive and exuberant (notice how nearly all national flags are comprised of bright colors?), but some people don't like them (sometimes referred to as “clown barf”).

Lighter colors (i.e. pastels) can be calming and happy – but some might find them insipid. Jewel tones (one of my favorite families) are rich and elegant, but can also be considered depressing and dark, if over-used. Subtle grayed-out forms of colors are pretty (think "dusty rose") but some folks find them dull.

The lighter brighter values are happy and cheerful -- but some people say they are for the young. And darker values can be dramatic but can also be considered too heavy.
So for every color grouping, there are some people who like it, and some who don’t. 
Color is very individual.
But the good news is: you only have to please one person – yourself (or the lucky gift recipient)!

Combining Colors

How do you choose and combine colors?  Think - is the color warm, cool or neutral? Is it a pure hue, sometimes thought of as a primary color? Is it a tint with white added? Is it a tone with black added or is it a shade where grey has been added?

Value refers to how light or dark is the color. If you took a picture and converted it to a black and white photo, would it be darker or lighter than the others?
For example, if you're choosing colors to use together from the group below, note how the red and blue look like they might provide a good contrast, but when you see the black-and-white version, you see they don’t contrast at all!

So it would be best to include yellow or white in the mix. 
Some people say when you're looking at combining colors, always include one color you hate. This is actually a good rule for me because I tend to play it safe with my colors.

Recently I was just playing around with color in a class I took. I paired deep forest green, and light yellow. And then I added bright fuchsia pink. I would normally never put those colors together, but they really worked. Look at how the colors pop!

Next time I’ll talk more about color combinations: whether you're choosing yarn colors for a shawl, or putting an outfit together.

And, I’ll share with you my fave color combos that I’m currently in love with.

See you next time !

P.S. More News

Did you know that I have an Etsy shop?  It's called GoodStuffCrafts. I'm selling Project bags - both drawstring style and zippered type. Perfect for your knit, crochet or other crafty projects. The zipped ones make great notions bags or makeup cases.  Here are a few:
The first 5 orders will get a free purse sized tissue holder, lovingly sewn by me on my vintage Bernina, included with your shipment. Have a look!

New Design - Afraid of Cables Hat

Please sign up for my Newsletter for timely news and updates - see top right corner ==>

Today I have a new design up: and this time it's a free one!
It's called Afraid of Cables Hat.

It's dedicated to good friend of mine who is an accomplished knitter, and who once confessed to me that she was "afraid of cables". This hat is designed to be a gentle introduction :-)

Chunky yarn and garter stitch make it a quick project, ideal for gifts.

Remember it's free, so pick it up and use it for your holiday gift knitting!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Amazing Perpendicular Cowl

The Amazing Perpendicular Cowl
A 20% Off Coupon Code

Here is my new pattern, the Perpendicular Cowl

Photo by Anne Podlesak
This handsome cowl or scarf uses a “magical” stitch to create vertical stripes on one side, horizontal stripes on the other. Amaze your friends!
It’s perfect for team or school colors, and makes a great gift.
You can graft the ends together for a cowl, or knit it as a scarf.

**Until Aug 20, get 20% off with code AUG20**

Here are some quotes from my wonderful test knitters.
“Loved the pattern. Will definitely make more! Everyone who has seen it thinks it is fabulous.”
“it was a pleasure to knit and I’ve had so many compliments about it!”
“Love the pattern, having lots of fun knitting it! Amazing how it works!”

Off the Needles
I finished the hat I showed you last time. It uses 2 balls of Noro Silk Garden Sock, striping them together with a simple slip stitch.

Now it's off to be published in a magazine in 2016.

Color Selection
The cowl above used a pretty safe color combo - red and gray.
How do you choose colors? Do you have a few tried and true colors that you gravitate to? Do you admire unusual combinations and wonder why they go so well together?
Next time I'm going to discuss the art and science of color combinations and help you become just a little bolder in your choices.

* * *
Don't forget to check out my Ravelry Group for fun, test knits, KALs and prizes.

See you next time !

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Book Review and Giveaway, New Patterns!


I recently released 4 patterns on Ravelry that were previously available only via I Love Knitting magazine.

They include a sweet summer top - the Bowtie Top, with a scoop neck and delicate lace edging; the Hidden Pocket Pillow Cover; the argyle accented English Countryside Pillow; and the snazzy water bottle cover (just $1.00), great for helping to stay hydrated in the warm weather many of us are experiencing.

Take 20% off any of these, until August 14, with code 4NEW20.

* * *

Today I'm going to review the book Warm Days, Cool Nights, by Corrina Ferguson. 

Interweave/F+W; $24.99

This book is perfect for me, living in California as I do.
Most of my days do not call for warm sweaters. Yet I do love to wear knitwear when I can. This book has plenty of ideas for warm weather in it.
I really liked Denfordthe first sweater in the book.  

 It has a gorgeous cable pattern that looks like Argyle and I just fell in love with its easy shape and its comfortable look. It can be made as a short sleeve cardigan too. 
Another really appealing one is LochlanThis is a hoodie and would work in the mild California winters. 
I liked Darl, a simple cable cardigan with some open work; it would be a great layering piece for any season. 
The Fayola shawl was one of my favorites, so light and ethereal and feminine, yet very attractive and easy to wear at the same time.

Coralue is a really pretty short sleeved Raglan top with a graceful cable detail at the yoke -- a great item for spring.
The piece on the cover of the book, the Leora Tank is another really nice piece, but I would shorten it; it looks too long to me. 

The book was full of pretty and attractive pieces and I would really be happy to wear almost any of them.   
That being said, there were one or two that I did not care for at all. Let’s just say that they don't live up to the high standards of the book. 
There is an allover lace dress called AlliemayIt's described as a lace tunic but in the picture it looks like it goes way past the knees. 

It’s so loose and shapeless; it just isn't something that would be flattering on me, but maybe it'll be perfect for someone else.

What do you think?

Overall, I do recommend this book.
Once again, Interweave is sponsoring a giveaway of this book. Please comment on this blog post saying why you would like to win this book, and also sign up for my newsletter (top right corner of the blog) to to be entered into the drawing. Please include an email address or Ravelry ID so I can contact you if you win. I'll choose the winner on August 11, 2015 and announce it here on the blog.
Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of this book.