Showing posts with label Knitting Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knitting Books. Show all posts

Saturday, 23 May 2015

A Tribute to Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi

In an earlier post on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac, I outlined why I believe that Zimmermann's no-frills paperback should be considered a very special publication indeed, despite its somewhat bland appearance and apparent lack of project photography. 

First up, a few words on the low-cost nature of the paperback edition: The Almanac features instructions to over 15 patterns (including 4 sweaters) on approximately 150 pages, making this a densely packed publication. With the exception of the book cover, the project photography is in black and white throughout, thus lacking the visual appeal and photographic detail of contemporary knitwear publications. 

In short, the project photography (though decent and undertaken with great care) is by modern standards outdated. As a result, those of us, who derive inspiration from ogling an appealing finished object before casting on, will undoubtedly be disappointed.  To really get in the mood for knitting a Zimmermann pattern from the Almanac, it might be best to start off by trawling the web for pictures of finished Zimmermann projects and adaptations of her original designs. At this point, her true genius will be revealed. The Pi Shawl pattern provides a perfect case in point.  

Zimmermann's Pi Shawl design and instructions have inspired countless knitters to produce a multitude of design variations based upon Zimmermann's original design. The Pi Shawls featured below are merely a small selection of the many outstanding projects on show across the  web. 

Special thanks go to MadKnits, Terhi, Aisling Doonan and Glenna C aka crazyknittinglady  for allowing me to showcase their most amazing, finished Pis here on the blog. Thank you so much! 

For even more Pi inspiration, please visit my Pi Shawl board on Pinterest.

Terhi's Pi, Yarn: Wetterhoff Sivilla and Fiberphile Merino 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

From one opinionated knitter to another: Revisiting Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac

Almost three years ago, I had Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac on loan from my local library. Had I written my review of the book at the time, it would probably have sounded very different from my assessment today. Frau Zimmermann - at least as far her Almanac is concerned - is certainly not aiming her designs at beginner knitters; and I would have described myself as one at the time. Consequently, when I first laid hands on Zimmermann's Almanac, I didn't find it too appealing. The patterns appeared somewhat tired and outdated; and her occasional digressions into anecdotes, though intriguing, distracted from the instructions. When it was time to return my borrowed copy to the library, I did so without attempting to retain any of the instructions for future projects. It seemed as if the Almanac had nothing on offer for me. 

Elizabeth Zimmermann

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Garter Stitch Brain Cleanser ...or Can you Block Acrylic Yarn?

Baktus Scarf

Update: Project notes for a modified brain cleanser baktus are now available here.

Strikkelise's Baktus pattern  has been on my "to -knit-list" for quite a while, but I had never quite gotten into the right state of mind for a project knitted entirely in garter stitch until now. Knitting in garter stitch throughout can be quite a repetitive endeavour, which I highly recommend as a brain - cleansing activity. To incorporate a little more of a challenge, I decided to knit my Baktus in two colours and I wanted to use the most inexpensive yarn I could find in my cupboard (...and still achieve a presentable look).

The yarn for this project was a charity shop find. I was unable to ascertain the manufacturer and only have a vague idea on the composition. A label on the inside of the heather - coloured cone tells me that the yarn contains 30% wool, with the remainder being acrylic. I assume that the same applies to the grey cone, but I could be wrong. I also assume that  Yeoman's are the manufacturers of the yarn. (Yeoman's produce machine knitting yarn, which is sold on cones.) But I could be wrong on this, too.

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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