Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Okay, my birthday was more than 6 weeks ago (and my mom's was last week and I haven't called her yet because it's been crazy here). I got NINE knitting books! Three from my parents, they ordered them and had them shipped directly to me from NABS. I got the box and thought "I'm pretty certain I haven't ordered ANYTHING from anywhere and what is NABS?" Once I opened it and saw the books and the card, I realized it was Needle Arts Book Shop(pe?). I was thrilled, because before Christmas I told my ma that books would be great this year, cause of the Cdn dollar, and I made out a big list, based on NABS website. I got NOTHING at Christmas :( But then just before my birthday the box came :) I'll write about those ones later.

Then, on my birthday, I opened the present from my MIL. It was "Knit Lit, Too". I've read the first one, but my library doesn't have the second one, so this was a nice gift :)

But, the day before my birthday, I got a 're-introductory' offer from Crafter's Choice Book Club. I had been a member, but somehow the address change when we moved never actually went through. I kept thinking that someday they'll find me and send me another great intro offer. Sure enough! And, because I don't buy many knitting books, and it's been so long, LOL, there were quite a few in the little catalogue that I wouldn't have minded getting....for $1 each. Now, usually with these offers they smoke you with shipping charges. Not this time. Take a look at this bounty:

I rarely pay full price for anything, and all 5 books came to $15.13. Total. That's right, under $20 for five knitting books, and they aren't all from the back dusty corner. Okay, sure, I have to buy I think, two more books in the next two years. But I think that's do-able :)
In looking just at these books, and thinking about others I have gotten from CCBC, I notice some small errors in the books. Is this how they sell them cheaper?

I'd love to do book reviews like Grumperina does, but having scanned a few things since getting the scanner, I know how long it takes! So, I'll just do a mini-version.

"Knitting Beyond the Edge" by Nicky Epstein. I have the first book of the series, and this is the third. The first one is a great introduction to life beyond ribbing and garter stitch, but I think alot of people were clueless as to how to use the edgings. This book is divided into more specific things "Necklines" "Collars and Cuffs" "Corners". Many of the designs are a little over-done for me, and often girly-girly. Perhaps it's because pale pink and purple were used a lot. And, alot of the cuffs and collars look like those fake collars you're supposed to put over a plain blouse to 'freshen' it up and update look like they were plunked onto a plain sweater with no thought of how to integrate it. And, if you just open the book to say, page 82, and start might be in trouble. It just says "Cast on 82 sts...." Well, doesn't that depend on the yarn, and the size of neckhole, and......yes. You have to go to the back of the book and see the section on 'standard' necklines for the book and how to modify it to fit your gauge/pattern/yarn.
So, I'd say, the book is great for inspiration, but if you need hand-holding while you knit, you're going to be in trouble. If you want to try something, I'd recommend doing the sleeve first to try the pattern, see how to modify it for your gauge, etc, before committing to a big neckline.

"One Skein Wonders" by Durant (sorry, the dog is asleep in front of the bookcase and I don't want to disturb him). I love this book....and it annoys me :) With each pattern, there is a line drawing of the item.....there is a photograph section in the middle of the book for all the patterns. But while the patterns are arranged by yarn weight/type, the photographs are quite random. So, it's easy to get sidetracked! And nothing is modelled on a person, which is both good and annoying. There are lots of hats, scarves, some socks, purses, etc, and a few really neat patterns, like a diagonal wrap front baby sweater. Also, because the patterns are submitted from yarn stores around the US, some of the yarns are rather obscure. But, for small projects, substituting isn't a big headache. There's a few things I want to make for certain. But I have a problem. I used to have a lot of odd balls. I've Freecycled a lot, and lately only buy yarn if I can get enough 'for something'. So, for example, there's a great scarf for Noro Kuryeon. But I have five balls. I don't want to take one away then find a project later on for 5 balls, LOL. Nor do I want to make matching-poo hat, scarf, and mitts. But I do still have enough I think to make some quick projects and use up stash. That's my goal for this year. Cough. Again. Cough.

"The Ultimate Sock Book" by Vogue Knitting. While I wouldn't call this the "Ultimate" sock book, it is quite comprehensive, with a great range of patterns. I wasn't expecting the literature section in the front on the history of sock knitting, and on designing. While I don't see me knitting many of the socks, there are some that I will :)

"The Elegant Knitter" by Gina Macris. First off, I noticed some errors in yardage needed. The patterns say something like 2 skeins, 108yds each. Then, a few lines down, the "total yardage" is given and it's some other number that seems randomly choosen. Two skeins of a 104 yd skein does not equal 334 yds. Even I can figure that out.
None the less, there are some nice patterns in this book! A neat felting technique, sort of like tie-dyeing, a short row scarf that's cute, some mitts, gloves, dog sweaters, etc. Not huge projects, but mostly nice. There's a couple where I shake my head, but perhaps I'm not elegant enough. There is a large techniques section, so even a beginner knitter can use the book.

100 Knitting Projects by...blame the dog. When I got this, I kept thinking that the sweaters on the front looked familiar, especially the model in the background. A LOT of the patterns are from Patons--from leaflets and booklets. A lot of the Patons models are used on the TV show "Cityline" because someone from Patons used to model on CityLine. Many of the other patterns are basics from Red Heart, Sirdar, LionBrand, and Twilley's. Now....I'm happy to have the Twilley's patterns after seeing them for years in the Ram Wools catalogues. However...there are no schematics and usually only one artsy photo, not always showing the whole item. But the biggest pet peeve of this book is how the yardage is given. Say, for a long red scarf in Patons Allure. They'll list "71 1/2 ounces of fun fur, scarf shown in Patons Allure, Ruby Red". Couldn't they even just say 20 1.75 ounce balls? Or give the yardage? I have no idea what 38 1/4 ounces looks like. Especially if you want to substitute--the weight of the yarn is meaningless, you need to know more about the length of the yarn. I can understand generic patterns that don't patronize a specific yarn, giving BOTH ounces and yardage, but the way this book does it is annoying. However, I know ALOT of crocheters substitute like this becuase they seem to work with very simliar acrylic yarns, and 43 ounces of Red Heart Worsted is going to be very similiar to 43 ounces of Patons Canadiana. But I'd just like to know how many balls as well so I don't have to convert first to grams, and then divide.....Oh...and then, back to Twilley's....I wanted to compare two patterns for tank tops using the same yarn. One pattern gave the requirement in ounces, one in grams!!! No schematics either. But, all in all, this is a good solid book with a wide range of patterns that would be great for a new knitter building up a library.

If you have any specific questions about the books, let me know!

1 comment:

smariek said...

Very good deal with those 5 books. And it is so cool that your family knows what to get you for gifts.