Lots of resources and my first swatch!
A Crocheter's Tale of Learning to Knit
(Or, When a Hooker Turns to the Needle[s])
(I'm sorry about the bad sub-title, but I just couldn't resist - I blame reality TV!)
I always wanted to knit. But, I decided to learn how to crochet instead because it seemed easier to learn how to maneuver one hook instead of two needles. I think I was right, because I took to it like a fish to water and I haven't looked back. That is until now.
So what happened? What is the catalyst that drove me to set aside my trusty hook and pick up pair of knitting needles? A book of course. What else would it be?!
Look at all those beautiful patterns!
Although the book contains enough information to get a beginner like me started, I checked out a hand full of knitting titles from the library. The more information the better as far as I'm concerned! I paged through each of them, studying the illustrations, mulling over the vocabulary and generally getting a feel for the craft.
Lots of it was familiar - the way the patterns are written, how garments are constructed. Increasing, decreasing, tension, blocking and seeming are all basically the same. But reading only gives you so much. Eventually you have to throw caution to the wind and give it a try.
I was ready to cast on. In crochet you make a starting chain as the base for your project and in knitting you cast stitches on to a needle. In crochet there is the standard starting chain and only one common variation - the foundation single crochet (when you work the starting chain and the first row of single crochet at the same time). In knitting there are several different ways to cast on. Probably more than I even known about yet. So far I've learned about: the thumb method or single cast on (my husband say's it's a knot called a half-hitch), the long-tail cast on or double cast on, and the knit on cast on. I also saw something that mentions a crocheted cast on, and starting with pearl stitch instead of a knit stitch! It's confusing to a beginner because all of the books have different names for what seems to be the same thing. What I gathered is you can use whichever method you prefer unless the pattern directs otherwise. For the sake of simplicity I went with the single cast on thumb method to start. I had a hard time with my tension, and my stitches were really tight. One of the books recommended casting onto two needles at the same time and them sliding one out. I found this helped a great deal.
Once I get the basics, this will be my first project.
Another challenge was figuring out the difference between the English and Continental styles. I think that this means if you hold the yarn in your right hand or left hand. As a crocheter I am most comfortable with the yarn in my left hand, which I guess means that I use the Continental style. I wonder what it's called when you hold yarn in both hands for colorwork?
And so I set to knitting. It felt really awkward and the needles seemed to have a mind of their own flailing this way and that. In time I found a tentative rhythm and before long my first swatch was born! I didn't know it at the time, but I was knitting every row which I now recognize as the garter stitch. A little help from the knitting guru at the library set me straight on purling and soon I was able to tell the difference between the two. More practice led to a stockinette swatch and my first attempt at binding off.
I had a bit of trouble sliding the stitches over each other and my tension was inconsistent, but I got it done.
I only have a limited amount of patience for swatching - I like to make things! Beth from the library kitting group was working on a pair of wrist warmers that seemed to be a perfect first project. But that's a story for another day!
It's been three weeks since I picked up the needles and I'm absolutely enamored. Everyday I learn something new and my work goes a little quicker and looks a little better. I have so much to tell you about already! I've been taking pictures and writing notes so that I remember all those first time experiences. I won't be long before I'm comfortable enough with the basics to start moving into the world of color and Fair Isle. I'm so thankful to St. Martin's for sending me this terrific book that motivated me to finally learn to knit. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to Fair Isle I recommend that add this one to your collection. It just went on sale at the beginning of the month and you can buy it here, or through your favorite book seller. Sorry I won't be giving this one away - I'm keeping it as the first knitting book in my library where I'm sure it will get plenty of use!
Speaking of giveaways, the raffle for 75 Floral Blocks to Knit will be ending at midnight on Saturday. If you haven't entered yet go ahead and click over while you still can. It's a great book filled with lovely patterns that you can use to make all kinds of different projects.
And so my journey into the land of knitting has begun. It's a whole new world isn't it? I can't wait to see what happens next!
Thanks for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
75 Floral Blocks to Knit, by Lesley Stanfield
St. Martin's Griffin
January 22, 2013; 128 Pages
So you might be wondering why a crocheter like me is reviewing a book on knitting. Well, my friends at St. Martin's have a terrific line of craft books, including 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet which is also by Lesley Stanfield, 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet by Betty Barden, 100 Snowflakes to Crochet by Caitlin Sainio, and 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet by Leonie Morgan (due out in March 2013). And they have been kind enough to share some of them with me (and that means I get to share them with you!).
Now you might be wondering if I have enough knitting knowledge to be able to provide you with an accurate review. The answer is of course I do! Don't let the fact that I have only recently joined the legions of bi-craftual yarn enthusiast color your confidence in me. The truth is that while my knitting experience is limited, my experience with books, these books in particular is not.
Like all patterns in the series they (seem to be) easy to follow and are accompanied by an excellent photo. Charts are included where appropriate, and the skill level is noted on each one. And finally the Projects. Since the book focuses on the squares, there are only a few and they really serve to give you ideas of what you can do with your work. They are creative and urge you to look beyond the standard blanket.
Is there anything that I don't like about the book? To be honest not really. The only thing that I noticed is there are fewer beginner patterns than intermediate and advanced. I counted 19 out of the 75 are for beginners and 10 of them are in the Pictorial Design category which seems a bit out of balance. As a beginner myself it feels like the book is geared for a more experienced knitter. However, the only way to advance is to try new things and practice until it's not hard anymore!
So my friends there you have it. A crocheter's review of a lovely little book of knitting. Lesley Stanfield is clearly a talented fiber artist as this book and her others show. Whether knitting or crocheting she brings beautiful, original designs to life offering a tremendous variety of patterns.
Enter below for your chance to add this terrific book to your library!
A few things about the giveaway. First, please know that the books that St. Martin's sends me are newly published or advance copies that they have asked me to review. The opinions that I express are my honest views about the books and are not influenced in anyway by the publisher. Second, this is my first giveaway using the Rafflecopter entry form. Please let me know if you find it difficult. The raffles are for you and I want them to be friendly and easy to enter. Next, I'm sure it says it somewhere, but this giveaway ends on Sunday, February 24, 2013 at midnight. I'll announce the winner within 48 hours. And finally, this giveaway is open to everyone everywhere. If I can mail it to you through the USPS please feel free to enter!
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me!
I hope that you enjoyed the review and will take a few moments and enter to win your own copy.
Not a knitter? I bet you know someone who would love to add this to their collection!
Until next time friends!
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Quick, Easy and Awesome Bookmarks!
Isn't this country snowman just adorable? I knew when I saw this bookmark at the library that it was the perfect candidate for a little paper crochet. Back in December I tried out the Sharp Hook (here's the post), and I knew that it would be just right for this project. One of the advantages of the SH is that most of the time you don't have to pre-poke your holes. While this can be convenient, I was having difficulty getting the holes in the right spot. In order to come up with the same number of evenly spaced holes I had to use a ruler. I tried to poke the holes as I went, but that didn't work very well. I ended up marking them 1/4 inch apart first and then doing the poking. It was a little painful for the finger on the "other" side until I remembered my leather thimble! With appropriate protection I was able to move along quickly!
The bookmark is made of card stock and only printed on one side. I glued two together because I thought it would look better being double sided. Even with the two, I'm sure you would be able to make the holes using any small steel hook. Just get them started first, and definitely use (finger) protection!!
This is the first time that I combined paper and crochet. It really is an easy project, and I'm sure there are more bookmarks in my future. The hardest part is marking where the holes go, and that's more tedious than anything. I can see using this technique to embellish handmade cards, or holiday ornaments. To add a border to a wall calendar. Or, even use it on photographs to create a unique frame. Like anything in crochet, the possibilities are only limited by the imagination!
Where will your imagination take you? I'd love to hear your ideas for combining paper and lace!
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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Stitch & Read with Love!