Books For Winter: Crochet Books

A short post this time as I am not really a crocheter, though I still do own a few reference guides for those odd times I feel inclined! The basic technique is so simple really and requires so few tools and yet stunning effects can be achieved, like the beautiful super-fine scarves designed by Sophie Digard. See: https://www.dncinternational.com.au/sophie-digard and https://www.lilypond.net.au/collections/frontpage.

I have bought a tiny crochet hook and crochet cotton to try and make something like her amazing creations, but have yet to master the basics, so this first book is very useful for a beginner like me!BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-19 09.20.45Crochet: 20 Simple and Stylish Designs To Wear by Jane Davis 2001

As with all good craft books, it starts with the basics:

Tools and Supplies: From the simple hook in a variety of sizes, stitch markers and tapestry needles to an enormous variety of wonderful yarns of different types, sizes and textures;BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.04.14Crochet Terminology and Abbreviations; Gauge; Crochet Hook Size; and US and European equivalents. It can all be a bit confusing to the beginner, as terminology varies between the US and Europe. This is an American book, the basic stitches listed below being the American forms, so I have put their European equivalents in brackets.

Basic Stitches: Holding the yarn and hook; Making a slip knot and chain; Slip stitch (Single Crochet); Single Crochet (Double Crochet); Half Double Crochet (Half Treble Crochet); Double Crochet (Treble Crochet); Half Triple Crochet; and Triple Crochet (Double Treble);

Basic Techniques:  Crocheting in rows of stitches; Chain space; Joining into a ring or at the end of a round; Changing colours; and Variations and Advanced Stitches. I made a knitting/ crochet roll for all her hooks and needles for my daughter, who is a crocheter!BlogCrochetBooks2017-09-07 13.26.49The remainder of the book is devoted to projects, so the techniques can be learnt and mastered, from evening bags, granny squares and edgings to scarves, mittens and hats and larger vests and tank tops.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.01In the back is a Stitch and Pattern Symbol Library, showing the picture symbols, which often accompany written instructions. While I am sure they are probably very straight-forward and easy, I have yet to master these!BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.30

The Harmony Guides:

Volume Six: 300 Crochet Stitches 1986/ 1998

Volume Seven:  220 More Crochet Stitches 1992/ 1998

While I do not own any of their knitting guides (Volumes One to Five), I do possess the last two volumes, which are both devoted to crochet. Published by Collins & Brown in London, they use the European terminology and abbreviations: Chain stitch (ch); Slip stitch (sl st); Double Crochet (dc); Half Treble (htr); Treble (tr); and Double Treble (dtr).

Volume Six covers all the basic stitches, as well as lace patterns; motifs; filet; clusters; shells; textured stitches; spikes, stars and relief stitches; puff stitches; knobbles and bobbles; loops; openwork and lace patterns; filet crochet; motifs, edgings and trimmings and an introduction to Tunisian crochet, while Volume Seven includes all-over patterns; more edgings and trimmings and motifs; and Irish style and Tunisian crochet.

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In both books, the Introduction covers:

Basic Stitches;

Making Crochet Fabric: Working in rows; Joining in new yarns; Fastening off; Changing colour; Working in rounds; and Joining motifs;

Stitch variations: Groups or shells; Clusters; Spikes and stars; Raised (Relief) stitches; Bobbles; Popcorns; Puff stitches; Picots; Lace loops; Corded crochet; and Crossed stitches and Linked stitches;

Techniques: Placement of stitches; Working into chain spaces; Working around the stem of a stitch; Working between stitches; ; Right side and wrong side rows; Starting chains and pattern repeats; Working in colour; Tension/ Gauge; Shaping; Joining seams;  and Pressing and Finishing;

Following Crochet Patterns: Terminology and abbreviations; Working from a diagram; Filet crochet from charts; and Colour work with charts.

All the stitches are well described and supported by stitch diagrams and colour photographs.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.49

99 Granny Squares To Crochet Published by Leisure Arts 1998

Granny squares are fun and a great way to practice your crochet skills, as well as having a wide application from vests to bay rugs and throws.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.30 While published by an American company, the stitch guide refers to treble rather than triple crochet, further confusing the beginner. My best advice is to use the terminology specified by the particular crochet book! But fortunately for me, all instructions are written with no fancy stitch diagrams! There are colour photos of all the motifs on the middle pages and the front and  back covers.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.37

200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments and Trims: Fresh Looks For Roses, Daisies, Sunflowers and More by Claire Crompton 2011

Being a keen gardener and floral arranger, it was inevitable that I should be attracted to this book!! And it is certainly a lovely addition to the crochet library!

It starts by describing the wonderful variety of natural, blended and synthetic fibres available these days, as well as examining colour palettes and different yarn textures and weights, before discussing tools and equipment, including a crochet hook conversion chart; and gauge and swatches for fabrics, trims and motifs.

Basic stitches are illustrated and described, using US terminology, though again here, they use the term treble rather than triple, followed by more complex stitches including shells and fans; clusters; puff stitches; popcorns; and picots.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.41There are sections on:

Following written crochet patterns (including abbreviations and US/UK equivalents) and crochet charts with symbols for fabrics, trims, and motifs and flowers;

Being creative with colour : Inspirations; Changing colours; and Working in stripes;

Making Crochet Fabrics: Foundation chain; Working into loops or chain stitches; and Working in rows;

Making Crochet Motifs: Inspirations; Motif centres; Shapes of motifs and flowers; Joining motifs; and Sewing or crocheting seams.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.50

The book is then divided into four major parts: Flowers, Trims, Fabrics and Motifs, each introduced  with inspirational ideas for their use and containing a large variety of patterns, each accompanied by colour photographs, keys and stitch diagrams. For example, flowers can be made into bunting like in the photo below, which is based on the pattern for Six-Petalled Flowers, as well as necklaces, corsages and decorative pieces to embellish bags or hats, while trims can be used to edge scarves, blouses and skirt hems.BlogCrochetBooks2017-07-16 12.24.22 Crochet fabrics can be assembled into cushion panels, scarves and lavender sachets and motifs can be used for Christmas decorations; jewellery, decorative collars and embellishments for clothes and bags. In the back is a list of contemporary suppliers, complete with websites.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.42

My final book completes both my knitting and crochet book posts, as it addresses both art forms.

Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting and Crochet by Prudence Mapstone 2002/ 2004

Once all the basic techniques and principles are mastered and understood, experimentation is possible and the rules can be broken in the interests of promoting creativity! Any stitch or technique from either art form can be incorporated in the one work and the work grows organically, governed only by the moment or the availability of materials in your yarn stash, resulting in a truly unique and creative piece.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 12.25.20

It is such a great way of using up all those odd balls of wool or spur-of-the-moment single purchases, because you were seduced by the colours or texture and couldn’t resist! Ply, gauge and dye lots are totally irrelevant with freeform artwork and fine lightweight yarns can be doubled, tripled or combined with another thread.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 09.19.25

It is also a lovely way to explore colour combinations. Prudence provides detailed notes on colour and yarn choice and fabrication, as well as helpful hints for success,  instructions for aftercare and an appendix of abbreviations, yarn equivalents (for Australia, UK and USA), knitting needle and crochet hook size conversions (Imperial or Old UK/ Metric and USA).BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 13.47.23She includes some patterns for elements that can be joined together, as well as lots of inspirational colour photographs of garments and goods made with her freeform techniques from hair bands, hats and bikinis to vests and jackets and  footstools, cushions and bags. While you wouldn’t necessarily wear all of her garments, there are some colour combinations that are quite lovely and it certainly does show you the vast potential of the medium! Be adventurous and take risks and above all, have fun!!!!

Next week, we are off to Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for our annual Winter pilgrimage for the Four Ws: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Weather!!!

Books For Winter: Knitting Part Two

Continuing on from last week’s post, I am now featuring books written by knitting designers and containing some fabulous patterns.

Passion for Colour: Designer Knitting With Natural Dyes by Sarah Burnett 1990

While I could have included this book in my post on Natural Dyeing Books, I decided to reserve it for this post, as it has some great patterns, one of which is a Fair Isle pattern for a child’s cardigan, which I started for my toddler daughter, but unfortunately never completed! However, I had so much fun with colour combinations during its pursuit! It is a delightful book, even though a little dated now, and was one of the first to really showcase designs against their sources of inspiration.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.17The first section titled: Cooking With Colour describes the natural dyeing process: Equipment, mordanting, natural dyestuffs, dyeing methods and how to produce a range of colours from reds, pinks and wines to navy, greys, ochres and walnuts, yellows, greens and indigo blues of varying shades and hues.

I didn’t actually dye my wool for the cardigan, but bought some very fine four-ply Rowan yarns in a range of colours from Mostly Mohair in Richmond, Tasmania. I couldn’t decide between the brights and the pastels (a perennial problem for me, as well as probably being a major frustration for the patient, long-suffering saleswoman!), so I bought both colour ranges, including a wide variety of blues: navy, deep turquoise, royal blue, jacaranda blue, soft blue and aqua blue, as well as olive and full green; rust red and deep red; gold and bright yellow; and cream. Here is a photo of the back of the cardigan.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.32 I loved experimenting with colour combinations in practice swatches like this one in the photo below, before making a final decision on the next row of the cardigan. I probably should undo it all and reuse the wool for another project, unless a grandchild comes along first!!!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-18 07.42.40In this book, there are also some very feminine patterns with blowsy full sleeves, frilled edgings and peplums, and bold patterns and brilliant colour. I particularly loved the Paisley Jacket and the Fritillary Jacket, both of which I could still easily wear and knit (though perhaps not so easily!). I also loved the pattern of the Rambling Rose Cardigan, though would probably try to combine its rose pattern with the longer style of the Paisley or Fritillary Jackets. The Sunflower Jacket is also very attractive with its bright happy colours and bold design.

The glossary at the back includes notes on needle size, knitting in the round, tension, using charts, Fair Isle technique, blocking, different grafting methods, ribbing, pleats and making those beautiful Dorset Crosswheel Buttons used in the patterns.BlogKnittingBooks3018-02-07 15.25.30

Sarah continues to knit and design ad her more current work can be seen at: http://www.naturaldyecompany.com.

Kristin Nicholas: Kristin Knits: 27 Inspired Designs For Playing With Colour 2007

A good book for all those knitters, who are seduced by all those lovely colourful yarns in the wool shop, but don’t necessarily feel super-confident about improvising with colour! It’s a lovely bright colourful book with some terrific projects from easy garter stitch scarves with pompoms and tasselled mitre-cornered stockinette scarves, embroidered with flowers, to bold bright Navajo-inspired afghans, a variety of colourful striped hats, socks and boot toppers, gloves and mittens, and jumpers and cardigans.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 09.00.22She has a great sense of colour and makes your fingers start itching to begin one of her projects! Also included are notes on colour and design; experimenting with swatches; Fair Isle techniques; steeking; mitred corners; tension and gauge; duplicate stitches; decorating with embroidery; making bobbles, tassels and pompoms; stitching seams; sewing in zippers; and blocking and finishing garments. I am so tempted to stop writing and go and make her Autumn Leaves Socks instead!!! You can learn more about her on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwghwh9_4dM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TI9SRIVJNg.

.Kaffe Fassett (1937-):

Glorious Knitting: Over 30 Exclusive Patterns 1985

Family Album: Knitting For Children and Adults 1989

Kaffe’s Classics: 25 Glorious Knitting Designs 1993

If you love colour and pattern, you will definitely have come across Kaffe Fassett’s name in your knitting journey! He shot to fame with his first book Glorious Knitting in 1985 and proceeded to write further books on knitting like Family Album and Kaffe’s Classics, all of which I own, as well as delving into the equally colourful worlds of needlepoint, patchwork and quilting, painting and ceramics, and even mosaics.

This man is so enthusiastic , energetic and inspiring and a wonderful ambassador for colour and craft! He has designed knitwear, tapestries, quilts and fabrics, costumes and stage sets, and was the first living textile artist to have a one-man show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1988, the exhibition so popular that it went on to tour nine countries: Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States of America and Iceland.

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He has written more than 40 books and has hosted a number of craft-related television and radio programs for the BBC and Channel Four, including his own show Glorious Colour. He has also featured in a a large number of videos, which can be seen on his website at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/publications/videos/.

It is also well worth reading his biography Dreaming in Colour: An Autobiography 2012. See: http://www.kaffefassett.com/2831-2/, a brief précis of which can also be found at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/about/.

But back to his books, though I must admit that I have not actually knitted any of his patterns, which are probably a bit too complex for me- in fact, I am probably more likely to stitch one of his needlepoint designs, as embroidery is more my forté!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.21

Glorious Colour features patterns for garments based on Stripes, Steps and Zigzags, Diamonds, Stars, Squares and Patches, Circles and Flowers, while Family Album features: Squares and Plaids; Circles and Dots; Stripes and Boxes; Brushes and Combs; Stars and Mosaics; Flowers and Bows; Cables and Flags; Turks and Harlequins; and Diamonds and Patches.

Kaffe’s Classics revisits 25 of his classic originals, inspired by Japanese art, Chinese landscape paintings, Islamic tile work, Turkish kilims and Spanish architecture and originally published in Rowan Collections, rather than his own books. They are beautiful garments, though very much a product of the 1980s and 1990s.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.29

Kaffe has designed knitwear (see: http://www.kaffefassett.com/gallery/knitwear/) for Rowan Yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/) for more than 30 years to showcase their beautiful yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/yarns). They produce seasonal pattern collections, as well as a large number of publications and patterns.

Jo Sharp :

Knitting Emporium 2000

Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.

Australian Jo Sharp also produces beautiful luxury yarns in wool, silk, cashmere and cotton in an extensive range of natural shades. See: https://www.knit.net.au/.

She has also published some wonderful patterns and pattern collections and books, two of which I own: Knitting Emporium 2000 and Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.50

I love her sense of colour! Knitting Emporium has some lovely patterns, especially Solstice, Tashkent and Millefiori. I made my husband his one and only jumper (knitted by me! He does own more jumpers!!!) using her pattern Antipodean, though the shoulders probably should have been adjusted slightly for him.  I also used her hat pattern for Balthazar as a basis for the hats below, though using a mixture of yarns I owned.BlogKnittingBooks30%DSCN1488BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1508BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.39.30 Even though they are not Jo Sharp yarns and I incorporated stripes as well, I think the hat still reflects the exotic essence and colour of this pattern.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.02.39

Knitting Heartland  is equally inspiring with some beautifully coloured designs for children, which I will definitely try when I become a grandma!!!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1499 I did use the pattern Phoebe’s Bag when making crochet flowers for my hat and scarf ends (photos above and below).BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.38.38Zoë Mellor

Another well-known and successful knitwear designer, who has written a number of books, including:

Head To Toe Knits: 25 Colourful Accessories For Your Home and Children 1998

Animal Knits: 26 Fun Handknits For Children and Toddlers 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.26.06

Again, wonderful bright colours and a great sense of fun! I loved making her Wee Willy Winky Hat  in Head to Toe Knits and could easily knit some of her other patterns, especially the Cat Hats with their striped ears, the colourful bags and cushions and the Reindeer Scarf and Hat.32271755_10156215149454933_8570604297115402240_nI adapted her pattern for the Harlequin Hat, enlarging her basic pattern and knitting stripes instead of harlequins.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.24.46Animal Knits is also great fun with some very appealing patterns like the Animal Bootees, based on rabbits and bears; the cute Farmyard Cushion; the sweet Ladybird Hat and all the delightful jumpers, jackets and toys. I could easily knit all the patterns in this book!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.30Louisa Harding : Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories To Knit 2007

Another favourite book, to which the last statement also applies. This is a delightful book, especially for gifts and smaller items.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.22 I have knitted quite a few of the patterns, including: the Embellished Mittens; Victoria Fingerless Mittens (three times!); and Cecily Beanie (below in order) !

Very soft and feminine, her designs often use cashmere wool and more of her patterns can be found on her website at: https://www.yarntelier.com. Below is a photo of my daughter in her Alice Beret and Victoria Fingerless Mittens, both from the book.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-23 13.13.01

Cat Bordhi: A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting 2005/ 2007

I love trying knitting patterns, which look like they are difficult and couldn’t possibly work, and yet if you trust the process, do work out and end up being really quite easy, once you get the hang of them! Cat Bordhi’s Infinity Moebius Cowls are a case in point!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.57 It’s all in the cast-on technique, but once that is mastered, it is just a matter of circular kitting to the end. Fortunately, there are some excellent YouTube clips to support this book at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4.

BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.40Having made this cowl three times, my most successful was with a soft mohair wool with a fair amount of give, so it stretches easily as I twist it twice around my neck and it feels so comfortable and soft!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1493 The cowl can also be worn with one twist round the neck and one over the head if it is particularly cold!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1494The basic technique can also be used to make needle cosies; magical baskets; sling bags, including a Jester Tentacle Bag and Hat, Moebius Bowls and Cluster Bowls, and Feline Bliss Beds and Kitty Nests, all patterns given in the book!

Curly scarves are also a pattern, which looks like it couldn’t possibly work, but does and is really very simple. See: https://knitting-crochet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knit-spiral-ruffle-scarf-0133365/.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.04 My next challenge is this teapot cosy, knitted by my friend Heather. I love the colour combination of hot pink and orange, but I have chosen more natural greens. It involved learning and mastering a new casting-on method for me, working out how tight to pull the carried thread to achieve the correct density of folds and then making absolutely sure that the thread was always carried to the back side of the work! I’m currently on my fourth attempt!!! While I cannot find the original source of my pattern, it can also be found at: https://www.the-knitting-wool-store.com/grannies-tea-cosy-pattern.html.BlogKnittingBooks2518-03-21 12.31.25

Another challenge I would like to try one day is body knitting with arms rather than needles! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FapvTEjbR9M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF6vj_JnWy8.

Finally, some knitted toy books…!!!

Kath Dalmeny’s World of Knitted Toys 1998 features animals from all over the world: the Jungle; the Australian Outback; Down on the Farm; The Deep Blue Sea; Forest Friends; On Safari; and the Snowy Regions. Patterns can be knitted in two sizes- ‘clutch’ for a child’s hand and ‘cuddle’, big enough to be hugged.

Patterns can also be adapted to produce other animals. For example, the polar bear pattern can be adapted to create a panda, while a sea lion can be made using the walrus pattern. There are even patterns for humans, complete with an entire wardrobe and accessories. I made a pig for my daughter and would like to try some of her other patterns. The koalas and kangaroos and joeys are so cute and I would love to make the turtle and penguins!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.03.16

Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh 2009  is another very inspiring book. The term was originally coined from the Japanese words ‘ami’, meaning ‘knitted or crocheted’ and ‘nuigurumi’ meaning ‘stuffed doll’, and while big in the crochet world, it was adopted more slowly by the knitting community, with very few patterns on knitted amigurumi. This book goes a long way in addressing this shortfall with lots of fun small creations like vegetables and fruit; hermit crabs , octopus,sea stars, jellyfish and black-devil anglerfish; snails, praying mantis, ants and spiders; and weird and wonderful cryptids-krakens, jackalopes and the famous Loch Ness monster, Nessie! They are certainly very cute and appealing, even though some of them look fairly challenging!!!BlogKnittingBooks4018-04-17 11.03.09Hopefully, some of these books might have inspired you to start knitting for the season or maybe you are a crochet fiend, in which case my next post will feature my favourite crochet books! In the meantime, Happy Knitting!!!32501206_10156215149564933_5986553767691026432_n

Books for Winter: Knitting Part One

Now that it’s Winter, it’s an ideal time to get out those needles and wool, cosy up in front of the fire and start knitting! While I am definitely no expert in the art form, hence I suspect my large number of books on the subject, I have still managed to make quite a few scarves and hats over the years, which I will feature throughout this post, including the odd challenging and stimulating technique! I actually did do a brief course in knitting at TAFE years ago, some of whose samples are also featured in this post!

Here are some of the knitting books in my craft library, which I have found particularly useful! Because this post is quite long, I have divided it into two posts: General Knitting Books (Beginners and Advanced) this week and Designers and Patterns (including toys) next week.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.47.42General Knitting Books

Beginner Knitters

How To Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete With Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitch Libraries and Projects For Your Home and Family by Debbie Bliss 1999

An excellent book for the beginner, the Introduction covers yarns and equipment and instructions for working from a pattern and knitting a tension swatch, to holding the yarn and needles, making a slip knot, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing, the basic stitches and the first of a number of simple projects throughout the book to familiarise the reader with the techniques.32476691_10156215149529933_7249506115308748800_nChapter Two covers single and double rib, picking up stitches, making a stitch and cast-off buttonhole, as well as a simple stitch pattern library.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.34.37While Aran knitting, with its intricate cables, twists and bobbles creating amazing textures, is the subject of Chapter Three, personally I was more drawn to the colour workshop in Chapter Four with its emphasis on Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques. Joining in yarn, securing ends, weaving and stranding, working from a chart and working in the round with circular needles or a set of four needles is also covered.BlogKnittingBooks2518-05-13 13.38.47Chapter Five focuses on lace knitting, with instructions on yarn overs, additional decreases and making lace edging, as well as a lace stitch library of pretty lace patterns. While I will probably never do the complicated -looking entrelac knitting, it is still good to know that I can learn how-to in Chapter Six! I am more likely to use Chapter Seven, which discusses all the decorative details like embroidery, Swiss darning, loop knitting and fringing, the use of sequins and beads, making pompoms and cords, and finishing a garment with a decorative hem.

For more experienced knitters, there is a Design Workshop in Chapter Eight, which discusses design  principles and how to design a simple sweater, making sweater calculations, patterns and motifs, edgings and designing for children.

The final chapter appropriately focuses on finishing the garment: Making up and joining pieces, seams, picking up dropped stitches, unravelling, finishing fabrics by blocking and pressing and caring for knitwear.

Standard knitting abbreviations and yarn weights are included in the appendix, along with a list of stockists.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.27

The Encyclopedia of Knitting: Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitches and Inspirational Designs by Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths 2000

Another excellent book covering the basics, it is divided into three parts:

The Essentials: Materials, basic skills, and essential and additional know-how, including four different cast-on methods, knit and purl, garter and stockinette stitches, seven cast-off methods, picking up dropped stitches, shaping a garment with increases and decreases, picking up stitches, reading patterns and charts, understanding gauge, making up, hems and facings, fastenings, grafting, turning rows and bias and chevron knitting.

The Stitch Collection advances from basic knit and purl and ribs through cables, twists, bobbles and leaves and lace to stranded colour knitting, intarsia and special effects like cross-stitch and embroidery, incorporating beads and sequins, loops, slipstitch colour knitting, motif entrelac, tucks and pleats and circular knitting. The chunky cowl below was knitted in seed stitch on circular needles to a free pattern called Marian by Jane Richmond. See: http://www.janerichmond.com/products/marian-cowl.

BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1507BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.49Design and Inspiration covers the fundamentals of the design process: Measuring and number crunching, planning repeats, motifs and patterns, combining colour and cables, circular yokes and designing a cardigan, as well as a gallery of vintage patterns from the 1920s to the 1960s, multicultural influences, contemporary designers, colour and texture and knitting for kids and for fun.

In the back is a key to chart symbols, needle sizes and abbreviations and a glossary and index.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 10.58.18Knitting: Over 20 Exciting Projects For you To Make For Home and Family  Published by  Treasure Press 1986

This simple old book was my introduction to knitting back in my early married days and I am including it, because it was the source of my very first completed project and introduced me to the art of Fair Isle Knitting.

There is a brief history of knitting at the start, followed by information on different types of yarns and needles, needle sizes, basic skills and shaping, advanced techniques like cables, bobbles, buttonholes and colour work, reading patterns, tension and abbreviations and stitch symbols.

Stitch patterns include ribs, Aran patterns, colourwork, lace, slipstitch colourwork and lacy edgings.

There is also a small section on finishing off, laundry symbols, aftercare, design and decorative finishes.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.01.37

The rest of the book is devoted to patterns for a variety of sweaters and dresses, baby layouts, cushion covers and bedspreads and a beautiful Fair Isle trio of socks, gloves and hat, the latter which I knitted for my two girls- the book’s bright version for Caro in the photo below and a softer version in pastel blue, pink and green mohair for Jen.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.27.30

And lastly, for the kids…!

Fun With Wool Published by the Australian Wool Corporation 1981

An oldie, but a goodie, from which my children learnt to knit. It starts with Finger Knitting and  French Knitting with a homemade nancy, though we used the old wooden cotton reels with four nails in the top, as well as plying, plaiting and twisting cords and making wool collages.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 07.42.53Basic Knitting is next with easy  illustrated instructions for casting on and off, knit and purl stitches, stocking stitch and rib, increasing and decreasing, joining seams; reading a pattern, tension, pompoms and tassels and embroidery stitches.

There are many suggestions for knitted projects from jewellery, finger puppets and toys to pencil cases,tennis racquet covers, patchwork throws, scarves, hats and mittens, and simple jumpers made out of squares and rectangles.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.22.43

There are also chapters on basic crochet; simple weaving using cardboard looms or picture frames, forked branches and even cross of two sticks to make a God’s Eye; and basic spinning using a pencil or spindle. Here are two photos of my children knitting scarves- 14 year old Caroline knitting a bright colourful scarf for the Armidale Winter (above) and our 20 year old university student Jenny, who made us all long red scarves in the even colder Canberra Winter.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.46 She also commemorated her knitting forays in this cute illustration and even her own song- ‘The Long Red Scarf’!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.52More Advanced Knitters

The Handknitter’s Design Book: A Practical Guide To Creating Beautiful Knitwear by Alison Ellen 1992

While probably a bit advanced for me, this book is perfect for knitters, who want to create their own designs! It starts by examining the precedents of knitting- its history and traditional techniques; different kinds of yarn: wool, alpaca/angora and cashmere, cotton and linen, silk, synthetics and more unusual material like string and ribbon, rags and waste packaging; the properties of stretch and drape; choosing needles, tension and basic knitting techniques with all the possible variations including casting on and off; picking up stitches and colour knitting. The swatches below feature in order: Simple Cable Ribs (Cable to the left; Cable to the right); Horseshoe Cable; and Plaited Cable.

Texture, colour and patterns (horizontal/vertical and diagonal stripes; grids and checks; dots and repeat motifs; geometric; motifs; pictorial/floral and abstract/ random) are examined in great detail in Chapters Four to Six, while Chapter Seven focuses on shapes and details: block patterns; calculations and measurements; adjustments for different body shapes; shape variations-chevrons; waisted shapes, peplums and frills; skirts; sleeves and cuffs; armholes; necks; collars; openings; buttonholes and loops; pockets; and joins and seams. Below is a photo of a beautiful Broken Cable Pullover, which I bought thirty years ago and which still attracts admiring comments every Winter!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1491The Stitch Library is an excellent reference guide to over 50 different types of knitting stitches and is followed by a few projects, which can be used as a starting point for your own individual designs, with basic patterns for triangular and diagonal shawls; simple jumpers, cardigans and hats; and cushions.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.35

Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore 1988

While designing my own garment from scratch is probably beyond my capabilities, I do love colour and am much more prepared to take up the challenge of Fair Isle knitting, with which I have had a lifelong love affair! In fact, we even spent a weekend staying at a bird observatory lodge on the Fair Isle, when we visited the United Kingdom in 1994. While we were there, I bought a beautiful warm polo neck jumper from some local knitters, featured in the photo below.BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1498BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1497Alice Starmore is a foremost authority on Fair Isle knitting and I own two of her books, one of which I have already featured in my post on Design Books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/.

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While Charts for Colour Knitting has a distinctly multicultural feel with traditional and adapted patterns from all over the world, her Book of Fair Isle Knitting is specific to this beautiful little isolated island, with the first chapter giving a brief overview of the island’s history, as well as the origins and development of its unique style of stranded knitting.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.28.33

In Chapter Two, she discusses Pattern: the different types; reading pattern charts and creating patterns with a pattern library for Peerie, Border, Large, Allover, Norwegian Stars and Seeding patterns. Chapter Three focuses on Colour: its effect on and use in design with a gallery of different colour combinations for inspiration, while Chapter Four really gets down to the nitty-gritty with an emphasis on Technique: Circular knitting; Tension/ gauge; Casting-on; English and Continental knitting methods; Weaving in strands and corrugated ribbing; Increases and decreases; Steeks (the Scottish word for bridging openings like cardigan fronts or armholes when circular knitting); Joining knitting; Trimmings (buttonholes, pompoms, fringes and cords) and the care of Shetland wool garments.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.29.24

The Wardrobe of Patterns contains patterns for ganseys, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, vests and accessories (tammy, gloves and mittens), so the readers can gain confidence before embarking on the final section titled: Creating Your Own Designs, definitely a section for the more advanced knitter than myself!!!

It discusses measurements, drawing a plan, gauge, calculating stitches and rows, fitting patterns into widths/ lengths, centreing patterns, and  progressing from design to working instructions.

There are notes on designing tammies and caps; a gansey with a gusset (love the phrase!); gansey variations; cardigans; and variations in the shape and style of necklines, sleeves and lengths.

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An excellent reference guide for anyone interested in developing their knowledge and skill in Fair Isle Knitting!

Next week, we will feature books on knitting designers and their patterns.