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October 25, 2009

Book Review: The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes

Book Review: The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes


[A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review].

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I have long loved yarn in all its various forms, but a recent step into spinning has got me thinking more deeply about the raw material that turns into that object of desire. To learn to spin is to learn about fiber, and this book is a wonderful reference about that most wonderful fiber: wool.

The first two chapters introduce the main character and describe its transformation in yarn; however, as a new spinner, I'm most excited by Chapter Three. The third chapter provides profiles of the fiber from 37 different sheep breeds along with essential stats like fineness, staple length, and crimp, and color pictures of washed, unspun locks. What a great resource! As someone who has recently been buying fiber more often than yarn, this is information I really appreciate. Adding to overall usefulness quotient, there's a chapter devoted to wool blends, articles on washing wool and moth control, and really too much more to list.

And, if all that information weren't enough, there is a chapter of patterns for hats, socks, shawls, and more. There are some good, basic patterns as well as some stand-outs for me, like the Lillia Hyrna Shawl and the Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole [designed by new Portlandite and Twisted employee, Sivia Harding].

I believe I will refer to this book often as my love of knitting morphs into an obsession with spinning.

02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 01, 2009

i yam what i yam


and that's all that I yam.

06:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (15)

September 13, 2009

sedum roseum


One of the many things I could have blogged about this summer, but didn't: my little sedum planter on the back deck. 

For many much more beautiful pictures of many much more beautiful flowers (and socks) you should go visit Gail. I know I will always find something beautiful there.

11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 09, 2009


quarter for scale.


This is right after I chased it out of the house. IT WAS IN THE HOUSE!!!

09:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

July 27, 2009

putting a toe in the water

cannon beach 2006


testing out the new computer. testing out the new blogging interface.

06:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

June 06, 2009

are they all gone?

is it safe to come back? do you think they've all gone away?

10:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

May 30, 2009

the knitting song

<a href="">The Knitting Song by Sophie Madeleine</a>

07:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

April 08, 2009

Book Review: Mother-Daugther Knits by Sally Melville

Mother-Daughter Knits: 30 Designs to Flatter and Fit by Sally Melville

Mother-Daughter Knits

[A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review].

Purchase this book from (or not)

Hey! A book review that actually has something to do with knitting!

This book is a joint project of Sally Melville and her daughter, Caddy Melville Ledbetter.  The title captures the two themes of the book.  First, it is written with both older (mother) and younger (daughter) knitters in mind.  However, I think focus on the mother-daughter aspect overshadows the other theme, which for me is one of the better features of this book--a detailed discussion of the fit and style of knitted garments. Chapter One, Knit to Flatter & Fit, provides a nice basic introduction to the principles of sweater styling and addresses the mystery of the ages: Why do we knit sweaters we never wear? This topic has probably been covered in other knitting books, maybe in other books that I own, but I haven't read all the knitting books that I own any more than I have knit all the yarn that I own.  [Any recommendations for other books that go into these topics in more detail?]

Thirty patterns are presented with the design duty is more or less equally shared between Sally and Caddy. The patterns come in a range of difficulty with most in the middle range and a handful each of beginner and experienced designs. There are pattens for small accessories like headbands, cuffs, and spats/legwarmers (!), as well as for some more substantial garments like sweaters, a coat, and even a couple of skirts. Not all the designs are hits for me (spats?), but there are some definite 'yeses' in the bunch including a shirt-style cardigan and a shaped hoodie.

Keeping with the inter-generational theme, there is a mixture of younger and more mature models (including Sally and Caddy), which was nice to see. However, all these models (with the exception of Sally and Caddy) still represented only one body type. It would have been helpful, in a book addressing fit, to see at least a couple of the garments reworked for a few different body shapes in order to illustrate the principles discussed in Chapter One.

At the back of the book there is a section of techniques and abbreviations that could have benefited from a couple figures. There are also charts for CYCA yarn weights, standard size, and needle (US and mm) to hook size comparison--all nice to have in one place. 

I like this book for the range of pattern difficulty and variety of designs; knitters of varying skill and experience could all find something to like here. What I like even more is the attention to the topic of fit and the friendly and accessible discussion about making changes to knitting patterns so that we will wear the sweaters we have created.  More, more!

06:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

March 13, 2009

I will be happy when...

I will be happy, when?

05:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

March 12, 2009

round one: an unfinished dew breaker

An Unfinished Season

An Unfinished Season: A Novel by Ward Just

When I first read the title, I thought the season unfinished would refer to some sport or other; my bet was on basketball. Bad guess. Let's call it an unfinished novel instead. Once again, true to form for the modern novel, a strong start peters out into a weak, pointless finish. Why can't authors bring their A game to the end or just quit while they are ahead.

The Dew Breaker

The Dew Breaker By Edwidge Danticat

Points of interest: Edwidge Danticat is female and was born in Haiti. This book is actually a collection of stories about, or told by, a group of semi-related characters including a former Hatian torturer--the dew breaker of the title. I would have preferred if one or two of the stories had been more fleshed out and some of the more tangential stories left for greater exploration elsewhere.

Neither of these books was particularly good or bad.  Neither would be likely to make it out of the next round anyway, so I'll flip a coin.

Winner: An Unfished Season

05:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)