Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Knitmas!

I thought this was appropriate for the present weather!! Have a lovely Christmas and build lots of happy snowmen!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Debbie Bliss The Knitter's Year

Debbie Bliss has always been an inspiration to me as a designer, she is a lovely woman and is very driven and hardworking. When I saw the title of her new book, The Knitter's Year, I thought it was such a fabulous idea and was so annoyed that I didn't think of it first!
The book is divided into four sections, one for each season, and there are 52 patterns - one for every week of the year. I am obviously a little bit sad, as I get so excited just thinking about how perfect this layout and concept is for a craft book. However, I must say, Debbie must have nearly killed herself by working on a knitting book with 52 patterns. My latest has around 30 and I almost had a breakdown writing it!
Like the Erika Knight book I talked about yesterday, the styling of the book is just as fabulous as the concept. The country cottage style setting, whitewashed wood and washed out colours are so pretty and of course make a good setting for every season and weather.
The projects are simple enough to actually able to give knitting a project a week for year a stab (maybe one year I will try it...!) but look interesting enough to keep you knitting. Another thing I like about the book are the practicality of its size and paper stock, it feels substantial yet ultimately usable.
The projects are, on the whole, relevant to the season they are in, which is great. I am partial to the plant pot covers in spring, the peg bag in summer, the pin cushion in autumn and the hottie in winter. I also love the opener pages, with their silhouetted illustrations of leaves and flowers in pretty colours.
My only niggle is that there are far too many decorations in winter. The chapters, or seasons, contain thirteen patterns each, and you would think that these would be split quite evenly between the three months they encompass. However, winter has dedicated nearly half of its patterns to Christmassy themed items, or colours that scream holidays. I would rather have more of the hotties and woolly warmers than Christmas nik-naks, even though I love this time of year. Aside from this and the flags, which seem a bit strange and out of context to me, the patterns are very in keeping with Debbie's great taste and style and are all simple yet beautiful classic pieces.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Erika Knight Simple Knitting

Erika Knight has championed the cause of crochet this year by appearing on Kirstie's Homemade Home to show Kirstie the basics of the craft. In her book, Simple Knitting, she teaches novices the craft of knitting in a simple yet elegant style.
The book tries something new in its approach, treating the instructions and patterns within as if they are from Knight's own sketchbook, with pretty, pencil-drawn line diagrams and illustrations and casual graph paper grounds, strewn with pins. Despite the unusual layout, the illustrations are clear and easy to read.
The simple style continues in the colour palette, which keeps to neutrals and muted shades for a classic overall look. I like this coherent, sophisticated way of styling, which seems almost 'coffee table' book rather than craft book, which I love. I always try to aim for that styling in my books as I think it is important to enjoy reading and looking at a craft book as you spend so much time poring over the patterns when knitting! My only criticism is due to the fact that I love colour so much, I find the limited shades a little repetitive when you flick through. However, the very easy, beginner projects are very practical and the final products will all be fabulously classic and wearable if you make them in Erika's colours but will look just as good if you ditch the neutrals and grab a ball of bright pink to use!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

new pattern

Sorry for the lapse in posting but I have been very busy Christmas shopping, writing books and working on the magazine. I am very pleased with this month's issue, which has a beautiful cardigan by Sarah Francis on the cover. I have a very simple rug pattern inside, which is perfect for beginners and can easily be made into a throw or blanket instead of a rug - just use a cosy, fluffy wool yarn instead.