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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.   


Discounts

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.
(I'll be reviewing it soon !)


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.
Good luck!

* I'm extending the deadline to Sept 30 to allow more time for entries! *

Don't forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter at the top right corner of this blog. Thanks!

49 comments:

  1. I really like your colorwork designs! The Tippi sweater and the My Fair Baby blanket are super, but I think the Belmont Park Hoodie is going straight into my queue for my daughter. :D

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  2. Hi! I love the Lydia Crescent Lace Shawl, and I'd prob make it for Mom. I haven't made anything out of Smooshy (yet), but a friend raves about it.

    I have the Thornhill mittens pattern, and I'm planning on making a set for me! :D

    Cheers!
    Kismatt @ Ravelry

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  3. I really like Greenwich Vest. It would be perfect for my mom cause she loves that kind of shape, and cables give just enough details to give that "pop" effect.

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  4. I would knit the Elise dress because my daughter's name is Elise and she would look gorgeous in it. My username is LeilaCarolineDes on Rav.

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  5. I love Lola's Top. It caught my eye initially because of the name (I have a niece named Lola) but as I looked at it more, I love the pattern as well! Added it to my queue to hopefully knit for myself. :-)
    JavaPurl on Ravelry

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  6. Well, "Lydia" is definitely on my "to-knit" list after seeing it in person on you at Camp KIP! But I have to say, I am really eyeing the "Greenwich Vest" pattern. I like the classic styling with the cable details and how it has waist shaping. Also, as I have just spent the last few weeks in sleeve-knitting purgatory, the idea of making a sweater with no sleeves is quite appealing at the moment! :-D

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  7. I love the Daisy Buchanan hat. It's so cute and would look great with a cute jacket and scarf pattern. I'd knit it for myself because I'm selfish like that ;)

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  8. I love the Daisy Buchanan hat. The combination of the band around it with the lacy pattern at the top makes the perfect combination of classic with elegance. It's just beautiful!

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  9. I am waiting to knit your Greenwich Vest for myself. I love the off-set ribbing at the waist because that detail should give the illusion that I have a waist that is smaller than my bust.

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  10. I would knit the Lola top AND the Terrigal Trio because the inserts are interchangeable if I knit them in the same or complementary colors.

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  11. Your Daisy Buchanan hat is my favorite and I want to knit it for myself!

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  12. I would love to knit the Riviera Nights Stole for my own selfish self. It would be perfect for our chilly Minnesota evenings!

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  13. I would to knit your Belmont Park cardigan for my grandson, he is our first grandchild and getting spoiled with lots of knitted items, and love the colourwork in this design :)))

    Rav name Kaz

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  14. I love so many of your designs! I think the next one I will knit will probably be the Nancy Pearl mitts - maybe for me or maybe for a friend for her birthday. I also love the Daisy Buchanan hat and the Carol Landis top :-)

    Tracie (alittleposy)

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  15. Your designs are beautiful! I love Lola's top, it looks like it would be flattering on any body type!

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  16. I love your Lydia Crescent Lace Shawl! I love crescent shaped shawls and this one is very pretty! I would probably make it for my sister for her birthday!

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  17. I really love the Greenwich Vest because it can compliment any outfit and figure.

    sherryglover1 on RAV

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  18. I love your leighton hat. It looks like a fun knit and looks great. I would probably knit it for myself, or maybe as a christmas gift for one of my sisters. iribeiro on rav

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  19. Bundle up, for myself. I've been looking for a great shawl collar sweater! KittenWhiplash on rav.

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  20. I love your Jelly Bean Jumper. I really like the textured top with the stockinette/colorwork skirt. I'd knit it for my almost 2 year old daughter, because she LOVES to wear dresses. I'm vernalequinox on Ravelry.

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  21. Cozy Cover: Mount Royal. We don't use a hot water bottle very often but every time we do I think I should knit a cover for it but never remember in between uses. I also like the Canadian-inspired name.

    Carol aka Knitsnpurls on Ravelry

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  22. The book of shawls is nice and one day I will learn chart only designs... in lace those type intimidate me.
    In your patterns I fav'd Terrigal trio of tops and love it! Very versatile and definitely my style. I love the various ways of wear.
    Great giveaway- thx for the chance!
    Luv2CUSmile @ ravelry

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  23. I think your Elise Dress is quite cute. Not sure who I'd knit it for because I don't have any little girls.
    - Vonraveller on Ravelry

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  24. I would make the Leighton hat because I love knitting hats and we have a town named Leighton near by. sparky136 on Ravelry

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  25. I love the 50 Shades of Teal shawl. Since moving to Texas, I've been knitting shawls like a fiend. Lacy shawls are my main form of southern knitwear these days :) Beautiful! (knitterphd on Ravelry)

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  26. I love the Daisy Buchanan Hat. I love hats of all kinds and this one is so cute!

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  27. that would be your Cavendish Cuffs/Wrist Warmers. My daughter loves bracelets so I try and find as many different options these would show off the button collection we have.

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  28. I love the Cosy Cover: Mount Royal. I am all about hot water bottles and I am always looking for new ideas to dress them up!

    Craftink on ravelry

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  29. My favorite design is the Daisy Buchanan hat. I love the way you captured the style of that era. If you're going to have to wear a hat why not an elegant one like that!

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  30. Hard to choose but one of my favorite designs is Garden Party Cardi. You have some beautiful patterns. (asimplehomestd on Rav)

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  31. I really have a hard time choosing between the Leighton Hat pattern and the Vintage Paris Jacket pattern! :) I like them both a lot. Guess I have to go with the jacket because I really like wearing - and knitting! - cardigans.
    Thank you for offering the chance of winning the magazine :) It looks awesome. Fingers crossed!
    I'm Berrycah on Ravelry. :)

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  32. I love the Carole Landis sweater. It's the perfect summer top and I would make it for myself if I could get rid of the muffin top that it would be sure to cling to. :) (Lindssica on Ravelry)

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  33. Love your Bundle Up sweater. It is just perfect for,the upcoming winter nights. I think I would knit it for myself.

    sherryglover1 on RAV

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  34. Hey neighbor! I'm so glad you're in the same Sn'B group as me. That way I get to see all your beautiful patterns/projects in person.

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  35. I love the Daisy Buchanan hat! I'd probably need to tailor the size to fit my head (my head is super tiny- I usually need kids hats or XXS adult hats!)- which is why knitting is the best thing for making hats for me!

    I'm TwistedBranches on Ravelry

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  36. I like quite a few of your patterns, but if I have to pick just one, I'd say the Daisy Buchanan Hat. It's classy and chic, which means that I could gift it to a variety of ladies in my life. Also, thank you for the chance of winning the HP magazine. *fingers crossed*
    lynn893/ravelry

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  37. The 50 Shades of Teal shawl really caught my eye. I love the color and I also think a good friend of mine might be getting one of these for her birthday. Lovely designs.

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  38. the Riviera Nights Stole, because I love minimalist designs.

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  39. My favorite is Lola's Top. I love the versatility. Would make a good travel garment---several looks in one sweater.

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  40. I like the 50 Shades Shawl. The design is beautiful. I would knit it for my mother because she deserves all the great things in life that can keep her warm this Fall. Thank you Brenda.
    My Ravelry name is TMYinHNL

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  41. I love Bundle Up... I grew up in a colder climate and miss wearing the big comfy knits!!!

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  42. I like the Lydia Crescent shawl and would knit it in the same beautiful colour. As I am selfish it would be for me.

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  43. My favorite is Leighton Hat. I like it because it has the perfect amount of slouch. Thanks!

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  44. Hi Brenda. Picking one of my favorites of your designs is quite difficult. I love the Quiote Scarf. That was probably the first pattern of yours I became familiar with. I have the copy of Interweave Knits so I can make it someday. The other one is a bit more personal. My best friend is named Lydia so I have been eyeing the Lydia Shawl to make for her since you released it.

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  45. You have so many wonderful designs, Brenda, that it's hard to pick just one. I really love the Grandmaster Cardigan; it has such a unique construction.

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  46. I like the Carol Landis top. It is sexy and elegant two characteristics I aspire to. Perhaps this top will help. The apple shawl was a close second because it looked so fabulous on you -- that winesap red is lovely. Also, little girl clothes for my darling Chloe. I hope this entry doesn't repeat three times. I had some confusion about how to create it. Duh from me.

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  47. I really like the Jelly Bean hot water cover. I plan to make one for me, and one for each of my 2 daughters. I've got some cascade 220 super wash that's been waiting for a job to do! I like the cheery jelly beans and want to be sure my girls are warm and cozy when they are away from me at school!

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  48. I like the Daisy Buchanan Hat for its airiness and style. This would be great for walking outdoors, in our windy Vancouver Island weather. My handspun would work nicely on this pattern, and the textured cables and bobbles add an unusual touch to this piece.

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