Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Review: Free-Spirit Shawls

Today's Tip:
When you’re near the end of your yarn, and nervous whether you’ll have enough for your bind-off row, this is what to do.
  1. Grab the end of the yarn, and measure out a length about 4 times the width of your piece to be bound off. So if it’s 40 inches, measure 160 inches. Place a slip knot there (i.e. 160 inches from the end).
  2. Go ahead and knit. When you reach the slip knot, you know you have just enough for the bind-off row.  
  3. If you’re near the end of the row, you can finish it; if you’re near the beginning, you would tink (un-knit) back to the start of the row. 
  4. If you’re using one of the super-stretchy bind-offs, allow more yarn, maybe 5 or 6 times the width. 

Book Review 

Today I am reviewing "Free Spirit Shawls: 20 Eclectic Knits for Every Day”  by Lisa Shroyer (with designs by many different designers). ($24.95 paperback book, $19.95 e-book); Interweave/F+W Media.  
This is a great book for the knitter who loves shawls – and I’m one of them. Shawls are very appealing as knitting projects nowadays: they are great for showcasing beautiful yarns, can often be made with just one or two skeins, and there are no worries about sizing and fit.

There are both simple and more intricate patterns here. There are some hip, young designers featured that add new twists to traditional designs. Many of the names will be familiar to dedicated knitters: Romi Hill, Kate Gagnon Osbourne, Carol Feller.

What I really love, is the discussion of the different shapes and construction methods, e.g. triangle, crescent, side-to-side shallow triangles, semi-circles.

Plenty of techniques are covered too. The book includes lace, cables, short rows, fringe, slip stitches, blocking, and various cast-ons and bind-offs. Different yarn weights are catered to as well.

The book is nicely styled, and helpfully shows lots of ways to wear shawls – something that was a bit of a mystery to me a couple of years ago.  I knew how to knit shawls but had no idea how to wear them!

After the techniques sections, the rest of the book consists of patterns divided into categories of Color, Lace Shawls, Simple Shawls and Textured Shawls.
Some of my favorite designs in the book were:

Lindsay is on the cover, and uses 2 colors, and is trimmed with a pretty edging.

Helsinki gets it charm from bold stripes (no lace!).

Salter Path, is a pretty semicircle shape in 2 colors.   

Framework - a lovely variation on the traditional lace triangle.

Spathe is another triangle, this time worked in DK weight for a warm cozy feel. 

Euclid is a simple yet effective style, using just stockinette stitch and garter stitch.  

In summary, I really enjoyed this book. The book layout is clear and attractive, with great photos. The different techniques and approaches are truly inspiring and there are plenty of appealing patterns to knit.

It should be noted that lace patterns in the book are charted only, not written out. If you have a problem working with charts, and I know many people do, this may be an issue.

I was sent this book by Interweave Knits to review.   


Wait, there's more! I'm offering a 25% discount on all my Ravelry patterns till Sept 15, with the coupon code summer25. Don't miss out! Check them out here.


Contest – Win a copy of the new Unofficial Harry Potter Knits Magazine! 

From Interweave Knits, the creators of the popular special issue Jane Austen Knits, comes a brand new literary inspired magazine that will take you into a magical world of knitting. Enter a world filled with transformative knits, empowering mythology, and classic garments in this collection of 30+ knitting patterns inspired by the beloved characters, stories, and worlds of J.K. Rowling’s popular novels. $14.99 from Interweave Knits.
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To win your own copy, post a comment on this blog describing your favorite one of my designs, why you like it, or who you would knit it for and why.   My designs can be found here, on Ravelry (my Ravelry name is Goodstuff).
On Sept 15, I will randomly select 4 entries to win one of 4 magazines. I'll also send you your favorite one of my designs, sold  here.
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