Friday, 9 April 2010

Project: Hat - Louisa Harding's "Brimming With Style"

A few days ago I posted a book review on Louisa Harding's "Hats, Gloves, Scarves". The above hat is one of the projects featured in the book. I like the chunky stitches and the pattern is relatively uncomplicated. The hat is ideal for all those women who like wearing their hair up when wearing a hat, as it gives you more space than a beany hat. Having said that, the pattern requires you to pick up 72 stitches on the shorter edge of the brim before shaping the crown. I didn't quite manage to do this correctly and the symmetry of my crown suffers accordingly.

I am a perfectionist knitter and end up unhappy with a project unless it is entirely flawless. Most of the time I deliberately end up knitting a project twice. First time round I choose cheap yarns and familiarise myself with the pattern before I move on to dearer yarns.

The pattern specified Rowan Chunky Print. I was unable to source Rowan Chunky Print (Harding's recommended yarn) and therefore tried to knit the first version with Robin Chunky - another reason why my hat is a tad out of shape. Robin is a cheap 100% acrylic yarn, and my preferred choice when knitting a new project for the first time. You can see where you go wrong and improve during the second session without the risk of wasting loads of precious yarn.

For attempt number two I am planning to substitute Rowan Chunky Print with Rowan Cocoon, but as yet I am undecided...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Easter Knitting - Egg Cozy

Browsing through Ravelry, I found a knitting pattern for a Chicken Egg Cozy.

As I had a little spare time and some scrap yarn, I decided to have a try. It turned out to be a rather quick and pain - free project, which is suitable for the beginner knitter.

I used 6mm knitting needles, Robin (acrylic) for the chicken body and Rowan Cocoon in Quarry Tile for the comb. The end result will provide enough space to accommodate two medium - sized chocolate eggs. Once Easter is over, it 
 can be used as an eggwarmer for boiled eggs - the dual use egg cozy as it were!!!

The knitting pattern is available free on the following blog:

Compared to my chicken the original looks a little different as I used different yarn, different needles and my chicken sports different accessories, but I still think she is rather fetching.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Review: How to Knit by Hamlyn

How to Knit How to Knit by Hamlyn

Picked this up from my local library as I wanted a step by step guide to refresh my knitting skills. I was already familiar with the basics of knitting, but needed a little clarification here and there. This was a fantastic guide and it is suitable for the knitting novice as well as those alreday familiar with the basics.

In the introductory part, you will find a section on essential tools and basic techniques, including yarn, needles and needle sizes. This is followed by a number of chapters covering various topics from knitting in the round to cables as well as finishing techniques. There is even a section on sock - knitting and how to turn the dreaded heel. I didn't attempt to knit a sock, but found the instructions rather clear and less confusing than in many other books of this kind.

In the second half of the book you will find a number of projects suitable for knitters of all levels. Again, everything is clearly explained and the diagrams are superb. There is only one point of criticism: A large proportion of the projects featured are baby - knits and if you do not have a baby in your immediate orbit, you might want to look elsewhere for a suitable project.

In its last section the book features a stitch gallery, which is definitely the highlight of the book. Every possible type of stitch is covered and accompanied by the picture of a swatch.

All in all a well - designed introduction to knitting for the advanced knitter and the absolute beginner, well worth a look!

Review: Louisa Harding's Hats, Gloves and Scarves

Hats Gloves Scarves: Easy Designer Knits for Family and Friends Hats Gloves Scarves: Easy Designer Knits for Family and Friends by Louisa Harding

Does exactly what it says on the cover - knitting patterns for hats, gloves and scarves. Most of the patterns are easy to follow and can be adapted to suit the beginner and intermediate knitter. At the time of its publication, Louisa Harding was still designing for Rowan Yarns and - surprise, surprise (!) - most of the yarns used for the patterns are Rowan.
I love Rowan yarns but as we all know, they are rather pricey. Some of the yarns featured have been discontinued and you will have to go on a hunt for substitutes. Even though Harding advises against this, I have successfully substituted some of the yarns and really don't think it makes such a big difference. As mentioned above, some of the patterns in the book are suitable for beginner knitters or can be adapted to suit the beginner's needs, but I would sincerely advise all beginners to have another reference book at hand when attempting a project.
Even though basic knitting and finishing skills are introduced at the onset, the explanations and illustrations are not very detailed and some of the techniques used in the patterns lack clarifications. That said, the patterns are clearly written - as you would expect from a professional designer.
The designs itself are BEAUTIFUL and varied - some chunky and playful, others are elegant and delicate: Something for everyone and every occasion!
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