November 8, 2007

Christmas Knitting

Filed under:Books,News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:51

There. I said it. I’m knitting for Christmas. I don’t really enjoy knitting for deadlines but I always seem to end up doing it!

The numbers for this took quite a bit of puzzling out yesterday, mostly because I forgot that there needed to be sleeves (Freudian or what… at least it’s one way of getting out of knitting sleeves!) and take into account that cabled patterns need a good few more stitches. But I finally got it started and the collar above is turning out, well, like a collar!

I’m using some discontinued Tivoli Superwash on 5mm needles. Although it is going to be a zip-up cardigan, I’m knitting it entirely in the round – first comes the button band (vertical rib), then the saxon braid, then the ribbing for the collar all the way around to the other button band, and then three stitches knit plain for the steek. I’m planing on cutting the middle stitch all the way up and then picking up the remaining stitch on either side and using an Idiot-cord cast off. I think it’ll be nice. The collar’s nearly finished so I’ll be switching to plain ole stockinette soon for the body and (sigh) sleeves.

I ordered a few books from The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide… resistance is futile!) at the weekend and the first one arrived today.

Poems of Colour by Wendy Keele

It’s all about the Bohus tradition in Sweden and gives a really good history of the little cottage industry that brought fame to Swedish knitting, as well as a number of very attractive looking patterns. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this tonight.

Thanks to one and all for your congratulations and compliments yesterday!


May 29, 2007

Charmed Knits Review

Filed under:Books,Crafty Sites,News!,Reviews — Aileen @ 09:27

Charmed Knits is written by our very own Alison Hansel, author of the Blue Blog. Tagged as Projects for fans of Harry Potter, this book does not disappoint! I ordered it, sight unseen, partially to support Alison and partially out of curiosity. I expected it to be full of kids knits and not much else. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The thirty projects cover a very broad spectrum. The first chapter, Weasley Knits, includes Alison’s signature design the Weasley Sweater, a lovely bag called Mrs. Weasley’s Bag of Stitch Witchery, a pretty dodgy looking housecoat, a pattern for Errol (the Weasley’s owl) and a clock blanket. Personally, I love the Stitch Witchery bag.

Then comes Diagon Alley which covers your basic wizard wear. Here you’ll find patterns for a wizard cap, robe, an Invisibility Shawl, wand cozies (!), and Quidditch sweaters and socks.

If only every teenager could have an Invisibility Shawl…
but then we wouldn’t be able to see them sulk

I must confess a love for the Quidditch socks.

My favourite chapter in the book is House Colours. There are patterns for house scarves, hats, mittens, socks, sweaters (the grey V-neck with house-colour stripes featured in the films), as well as Alison’s Hip Scarf and the little Bookscarves that first emerged over on the Livejournal Harry Potter knitting communities.

Guess what I’m making next!

The penultimate chapter, The Magic of Giving is a little weak. Put forth as gift ideas, they come across as the left-overs that didn’t fit into the other chapters. There’s another knitting bag, some Christmas ornaments, two baby ‘elf’ hats, a scarf, and my favourite…

Dobby Socks!
L – R: Harry’s sock, Dobby’s own sock, Broomsticks sock and Snitch sock

Home at Hogwarts finishes the book off well. This chapter includes some of the projects Harry, Ron and Hermione wore in the films – Harry’s red cable sweater, Hermione’s bobble hat and mittens, Ron’s animal cracker hat and Ron’s Raglan. I was hoping that Ginnie’s cardigan from the Goblet of Fire movie would be included but it wasn’t.

The patterns are clear and well written with larger-than-normal text. Pattern difficulty is rated from First Year (easy), OWL level (moderate) to NEWT (difficult). What I like most about the book is the versatility of the patterns. Sizes for most garments are given from a small child’s right up to an adult’s XXL. If you’re not a big fan of Harry Potter, but you have children, grandchildren, cousins or nieces and nephews that are, then you’ll never be stuck for something to knit for them. There are quite a few costume patterns throughout the book which could be knit up for childrens’ Hallowe’en costumes, for dressing up games, or for the more dedicated adult fan!

If Harry Potter knitting is your thing, join the Knit-a-long for the book. There is a free pattern for house-colour hats available from the book on the KAL site.

Also worthy of inclusion here are some other Harry Potter related patterns that I found on other blogs last week. If you’re more of a Slytherin knitter, these might appeal to you! I really love this Dark Mark Illusion Scarf. You don’t see many illusion scarf patterns around – the only other one I can think of is from the first Stitch’n’Bitch book. This is excellent! If you’re more of a bag knitter, have a look here for a Dark Mark Bag.

Happy knitting!