Monday, June 25, 2012

BEA 2012

There were significantly less printed catalogs this year at Book Expo America, however, the whole show was much more upbeat than I've seen in quite a few years. Digital strategies were abundant and it seemed that despite the impending DoJ lawsuit against key publishers on handling ebook pricing, I dare say, I sensed hope.

The print books on the horizon for knitters were fewer in number than past years, but it seems as though the quality of them might have gone up a bit.

RANDOM HOUSE - Potter Craft

Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him That You'll Want to Wear
$21.99 | December 2012 | Hardcover and Ebook
Bruce Weinstein with photos by Jared Flood

On the catalog page for this book is a hounds-tooth sweater that I've fall in love with. So, the title, at least, is accurate! The description even says that the patterns in the book explain how to modify the sweaters for a more feminine shape. Honestly, the book is probably worth getting for those tips alone!


Comfort Knitting & Crochet: Babies & Toddlers
$19.95 | October 2012 | Paperback
Norah Gaughan & The Berroco Design Team

I don't need to tell you I have a long-term knit crush on Norah Gaughan. I might need to tell you that I've reached that point in life where just as many of my friends are getting married as are having children right now. This has lead me to need to knit more baby stuff than ever before. I can already count 2-3 babies in my life that don't have hand-knits from me (the same!). All the patterns in this book, as you can imagine are knitted with Berroco's yarns. I find their yarns both affordable and of decent quality. There are pastel patterns in here to be sure, but there are also some bright colors, which is much more my baby knitting speed. Already I can see a bib with an octagonal shape that I'm just going to need to knit, and a blanket with half circles that looks to be a blast! With 50 patterns in the book, there's bound to be something for every baby.

Knitting From the Center Out
$27.50 | November 2012 | Hardcover
Daniel Yuhas

While I've never heard of this designer, his bio says that he's been published in Interweave, Knitty, Knitcircus and a few books. All of the patterns in this book are knit, as the title suggests, from the center out. That, however, doesn't mean all the patterns are shawls. There are some, to be sure, but there are also socks, pullovers, hoodies, hats and blankets. The hoodie on the catalog page is imminently knitable, with stunning seams. Of all the books I've seen, this is the one I'm most excited about. Too bad I'll have to wait until November to pick it up!

ABRAMS - V & A Publishing

Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft
$60.00 | October 2012 | Hardcover
Sandy Black

When KnitKnit: Profiles + Projects from Knitting's New Wave came out several years ago, I was interested in it, but it seemed to chronicle more knitters qua artists than knitters qua crafters. I'm somewhat interested in knitting as an art, but I can relate more to knitting as a craft. Knitting explores more of the craft and industry side of knitting through spectacular photographs. From its beginning as a hand-craft, to its progression as a computer controlled process and including everything from everyday wear to haute couture, this book documents it all. The $60 price point makes this one a book I probably won't buy for myself, but I would for a friend as a gift. To close friends and family reading this: hint hint!

$55.00 | October 2012 | Hardcover
Sonia Ashmore

Some of us might think of Muslin as that cheap fabric we use as a test for how a garment might turn out. In-fact, "muslin" is used as a noun not only for that fabric, but also for the test garment made out of that fabric. The fabric, however, has even been used to clothe royalty. I'm super fascinated about the role this fabric has had in developing contemporary fashion and can't wait for its release!

Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming In Color
$40.00 | September 2012 | Hardcover
Kaffe Fassett

While I'm not interested in knitting many of his knitting patterns, I completely appreciate Kaffe Fassett for his adoration and use of color. This autobiography seems a little different than most other autobiographies I've seen in that it includes vivid photographs and unprecedented color. I am incredibly fascinated in Kaffe Fasset's life and what drove him to use so much color.


November Knits
$24.95 | October 2012 | Paperback
Kate Gagnon Osborne & Courtney Kelley

Interweave's catalog doesn't have as many images of the patterns in each book. The cover pattern is mostly all there is to go by. This book is divided into 3 parts: Farm Hands (described as "rustic, casual and durable garments"), Ivy League (described as "smart knitwear with bold colors and classic styling"), and Southern Comfort (described as "bringing warmth and comfort to slightly dressier garments"). Knowing Interweave, the 20 patterns in this book will be classically elegant. I'll have to see more about this book in order to determine if I really want to buy it, but it sounds like it would resonate quite well with my New England roots.

Finish-Free Knits
$24.95 | December 2012 | Paperback
Kristen TenDyke

Whose got two thumbs and hates seaming? THIS GIRL. Accordingly, I'm quite excited about this title. While I know quite a bit about altering patterns from knitting flat to knitting in the round, there are quite a few things about not finishing garments I don't know. While I might not be sure about the patterns, I'll probably pick this book up for the instruction alone.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Knitting On the Go: MacGyvering It

No matter what kind of trip, or what your destination, if you're knitting, you'll need more than just yarn and knitting needles. It's really easy to forget scissors, tape measurers and cable needles at home. It's even easier, sometimes, to drop a stitch marker. But don't stress! Dig in deep, pull out that mullet wig from your carry on bag and embrace your inner MacGyver.

Problem: You dropped that stitch marker under your seat and can't squirm enough to pick it up.
Solution: There are a number of items that can be used to mark where you are in a pattern or the beginning of a row. Twistie ties from some airplane snacks can be twisted at the ends to form a ring that can be used as a marker. A rubber band and another piece of yarn can also work. If you get into a really tight spot, try the tab rom a soda can. It's not ideal, since parts of the tab can be sharp and cut the yarn, but it'll work in a pinch.

Problem: I totally left that tape measurer at home and my pattern says to knit until piece measures 16" from cast on edge!
Solution: Pull out my card! No, really, standard business cards are 2 inches wide and 3.5 inches long. Crease the business card in half to find the center and then just keep flipping the card over itself to measure your piece. If you're knitting the instep of a sock and aren't sure if it's time to start the heel or toe, you should know that the length of your foot is the same as the distance between your elbow and your wrist.

Problem: I forgot a pair of scissors!
Solution: Try a pair of nail clippers, or ask for a can of soda and carefully try to use the mouth of the can to cut the yarn.

Problem: My cable needle is stuck in my checked luggage!
Solution: Unless you're doing a super complicated cable, I can cable without a cable needle! For a cable that crosses to the left (a front cable), insert your right needle through the back loops of the stitches you need to knit first. Then, slide all the stitches off the needle carefully, and place the stitches that will cross to the left or front onto the left needle. Slide the stitches from your right needle back to the left needle and knit according to the pattern. For a right crossing cable (a back cable), instead of sliding the right needle through the back loops of the stitches you need to knit first, slide the right needle through the front loop of the stitches you need to knit first and follow the same directions. A video for this technique can be found here.

Problem: I knit too far and my stitch holders are in my carry on in the overhead bin.
Solution: This is the perfect time to ask the hot dude next to you for some floss. If you find that too embarrassing, however, you can always use a bit of yarn. Ideally, you'd use a contrasting yarn, but if you're stuck in a window seat without any other yarn, sometimes you've just got to make do.

Problem: I forgot this was an intarsia pattern and now I need bobbins!
Solution: Well, you don't really need bobbins. Sometimes bobbins make things easier, but you can use the whole ball of yarn and just move them around each other. You could also use a twistie tie to wrap small hits of yarn around, or you could make mini 15 yard balls.

Problem: My traveling companion freaked out and threw out my darning needles when she saw them thinking they aren't allowed on our mode of transportation but I have to seam this sweater and weave in the end!
Solution: It took me a while to figure this one out. I think the only solution I could come up with was to use a twistie tie Fold it in half and twist the bottom part around itself leaving a hole at the halved side for an eye.

Problem: I need to use the rest room but I'm afraid my stitches will fall off the tips of the needles.
Solution: You can either use a rubber band or hair elastic to keep the stitches off the tips or, you can stick your needle through a piece of in-eaten gum (you should really only do this with an un-sticky kind of gum - Orbit would work ok, but Trident Layers might not be preffered)

Problem: My dog got anxious in the back seat and ate my row counter.
Solution: Count the "v" shapes on top of each orther to figure out what row you're on. There at some pretty great smartphone and iPad apps out there that hopefully will be less likely to munched by your pooch. You can use Any note taking app, even an email or text message to keep track of your rows once you've figured out where you are in the pattern. Also, while I've almost completely scorned pen and paper, that dynamic duo can also help you in this instance

When possible, it's probably less stressful to prepare for these kinds of situations in advance. I have a Knit Kit a friend gave me as a gift. I found a spot in my purse to keep it and always carry it with me. It's got a yarn cutter, a crochet hook, a counter, stitch markers, a tape measures and a set of scissors that are TSA compliant. I call it a Swiss army knit for knitters.

I've got a few trips coming up in the next couple of months, and writing thesse posts has actually been rather helpful for my own planning. I hope they've been helpful to you as well.

Safe travels wherever the summer might take you and knit well!