Scarves, Shrugs & Shawls:
22 Knitted Designs with Their Special Techniques
by Sarah Hatton
St. Martin's Griffin
February 26, 2013; 136 Pages
Scarves and wraps are the perfect canvases for experimenting with new stitches and practicing new techniques. From well-respected Rowan Yarn designer Sarah Hatton with Sharon Brant as the technical editor, Scarves, Shrugs & Shawls offers over twenty easy-to-make and fun-to-wear designs that explore a range of knitting techniques—from gorgeous textured and cabled stitches, to intricate openwork and lace patterns, to interesting and appealing shaping. A gallery of designs features the garments photographed in full color and includes a helpful and inspiring "How to Wear It" section, showcasing the myriad ways to wrap your shawl, twist your neck warmer, or tie your scarf. Making these popular accessories even more versatile so you can wear them over and over, and still keep them looking fresh! (from Amazon.com)
Welcome to a new review and an awesome giveaway. First, let me tell you about the book. As most of you know I'm a lover of books - that includes all kinds from fiction to dictionaries and everything in between. As a crocheter and more recently a knitter I love browsing through the pages of pattern books looking for projects and inspiration. Having checked out many titles from our library I fancy myself a bit of a connoisseur. So how does Scarves, Shrugs & Shawls measure up? On a scale of 1 - 10 I give it a solid 8.
The book is set up in sections. Right away I was drawn in by the full page photographic spreads featuring each item. So often in pattern books you get one little picture. Not here. After you've had a chance to view each piece from a variety of angles it's on to the patterns. Again there are more (different) pictures that really show you what you're making. Along with the line by line instructions charts have been included allowing you to use whichever format you prefer. Now I haven't made any of these items, so I can't speak to the accuracy or ease of following the patterns, but I did read through several and it appears that they are well laid out and complete.
As the publisher promises, there are a variety of different techniques featured in the patterns providing an opportunity to try new things. As a beginner I feel like several of the patterns are more advanced than I am, however the technique section at the back of the book seems to offer good insight on the skills needed by covering everything from how to avoid holes when doing two handed fair isle work, how to string beads using a needle and thread, to making a no-turn bobble. I'd say the projects are best suited for those with knowledge of the basic skills and some experience under their belt. A confident beginner should be able to handle many and might be inspired to give some of the more complicated designs a try. Intermediate and advanced knitters will be pleased with the options available. There really is something for everybody.
I'd say my favorite part is the "How to Wear It" section. What a brilliant idea! As a scarf and shawl enthusiast I'm always struggling to find new and interesting ways to wear them. While this section is showcasing the garments from the book they make it easy to see how it would work on any item of similar shape and dimension. In addition to the pictures they tell you what to do to achieve each look! For the fashionably challenged like me this is important!
The paperback book is nicely bound and lays open fairly easily. It's 9.7" x 9" size makes it big enough to see things clearly, but small enough to fit in your bag if you wanted to take a project on the go. I like the matte finish of the pages, too. Overall I think this is a well done book that any fan of shoulder and neck wear would be happy to have in their collection!
Now, for the fun part - the giveaway!!
I love giving things away! I'm so blessed and thankful to the people at St. Martin's who send me all kinds of books to review. It only seems right that I spread the joy and share them with you. I've been collecting little trinkets to put together a fun knitting prize package. In addition to the book, there are stork scissors!! These are a classic item and a huge favorite of my Facebook friends. This pair is 3.5" tall making them perfect for home or on the go in your travel bag. I have a 5" pair that I use every day - they cut beautifully! Next I found a pair of Rosewood knitting needles from Boyd. They're US size 6 and 14" long. They're quite lovely and while I've never tried them, I know that my Rosewood crochet hooks feel warm and natural and seem to get better every time I use them. Finally there is a set of handmade cobalt blue glass stitch markers. They're one of a kind and will help you keep your place in style! So there you have it! All the tools you need - just add your favorite yarn and you're on your way to knitting nirvana!!
Enter now for your chance to win!
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me. I hope that you'll take a moment and throw your name in the hat. I've tried to come up with lots of different ways to enter giving you plenty of options. This time I'm opening the drawing to everyone everywhere! If I can send you mail through the US Post Office than you're welcome to enter. If you're a crocheter and are feeling left out - don't! I've got something special planned for you coming up towards the end of the month! I promise you're going to love it!
Until next time friends,
Be Blessed and Stitch & Read with Love!
Greetings friends! I'd like to thank all of you who lent a hand helping me select which project to work on by casting a vote. Are you ready for the funny part - it was a tie! The shawls won hands down, but without a clear high score I had to go ahead and just pick. I decided to go with the Little Wing Shawlette and make it in the Amazing yarn. I like the versatility of this shawlette because it has all the lacy drape of a shawl with the functionality of a scarf. Also, it's a worsted weight yarn worked with a generously sized hook (US K) which means it should go quickly. I've been doing a lot of work with little hooks lately and both my eyes and wrists need a break. It's worked from the long edge - which I typically avoid, because I like the flexibility that working from the tip give you. And I find those long starting chains a bit unmanageable. This one begins with a Foundation Single Crochet (Fsc) which is a little better. I did run into a bit of confusion on the second row. My symmetrical, orderly brain did not want to follow the instructions and work off center. But thanks to the Ravelry project page I was able to 1) review other people's notes 2) study the pictures and 3) contact the designer to make sure I'm doing the right thing! I forged ahead and completed the row as written. I feel confident that in a few more rows the balance that I crave will be restored and all will be right in the universe!
That's my Marlo Coat (I'm going to change the name to Marlo Cardigan, because to me that's just what it is!) in the picture too. It's a beautiful fabric that is (unfortunately) mind-numbingly simple to make. I've been working on it during breaks at work - and at the end of the day when I don't dare concentrate on anything tricky. I know it's going to be lovely - I just have to keep the mojo working and not let the simplicity of the rows deter me!
This week I'm reading a young adult novel called The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick. It's a bit sci-fi/fantasy for my usual taste, but it was highly recommended by a trusted patron as a must read for someone who loves books as much as I do. Even though it's a genre I normally shy away from I can safely say that I am enjoying it way more than the book I've reviewed for you today. Take a look...
Imperfect - yes; Bliss - not even close
Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill
July 3, 2012; 304 pages
The pretty pink cover, the Victorian inspired art-work and the proclamation of the novel inside being Jane Austin meets Reality TV are the reasons I selected this book. I can’t for the life of me figure out what forces kept me reading past the first few chapters.
Here’s the storyline: Elizabeth (aka: Bliss) is a recently divorced single mother who is “temporarily” living at home while perusing her PhD. She is one of 4 sisters. Her mother is obsessed with British royalty so much that the girls have all been given the first name “Princess” or “Queen” and she wants nothing more than to marry her daughters off to rich men who will improve their station (yes this is a contemporary novel).
Mother’s prayers are answered and Bliss’ nightmares come true when her sister Dianna is selected to be the star of the latest reality offering – The Virgin. Lives are turned upside down as the TV series takes over.
It could be funny. It could be a witty poke at the horror that is reality TV. It could be many things. To me, it was a mess. Bliss had potential, in fact all the characters had potential, but none of them were fully flushed out. And what I did get to know of them I didn’t care for. I don’t expect that I will love every character. But I do expect that at least the main players will be given enough life so that I understand the reasons for their behavior. There was a peek at the ‘back stories’ but that’s all. Had they been given more attention I might have embraced this dysfunctional family and their bizarre behavior. Instead I was annoyed with most of them and felt sorry for the rest.
So why then did I keep reading until the end? Hope, maybe? I kept thinking that it would get better. That it should get better. For me, that never happened. And in the interest of finding out how it ends, I did that sort of ‘skimming’ that I do when I’m not committed enough to read every word.
Too bad. It’s a good idea for a book. And even though I gave it ample opportunity to win me over, in the end I was left feeling a misled and disappointed. I say leave this one be and if you want something that’s “like” Jane Austin stick with the original!
Wednesday is a busy day with several great link parties. This week I'm joining in with these bloggers and the creative crafters who share their work. Click around and see what's happening. I guarantee you'll find something that makes you say wow!
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!
Greetings! I'm so glad you're here! The response to my granny square patterns has been awesome. I know that a few folks have given them a try (or will be) and I can't wait to see how they turn out. You know it's one thing to make the square but it's a whole different ball game when you try to turn what you did into a pattern for someone else to follow! It's hard work!
And speaking of hard work as you can see I've been filling my days with pansies and classic squares. Well, the pansies are hiding! There's a little project coming together, but I'm not quite ready to tell/show you what it is! Soon enough it will make it's debut in the next installment of the GSP.
The other night I did pick up Juliana (that's her in white). I didn't realize it, but I only have a row and a half of sc and then 2 rows of edging to finish her up! She really is lovely and will make quite a statement. I had planned on doing beads on the last row, but I think I'll just go ahead and put the tassels on that the pattern calls for and get to wearing her! Eleanor (in those great fall colors) has been my carry along project. The progress is slow and steady. I know that she will be smashing when she's finished and I imagine we'll have plenty of good times this winter!
Just for kicks I thought I'd give you a glimpse into the space where my magic happens!! This crazy messy area is my workspace. It is directly in front of my big comfy chair. It looks a little out of hand, but there is something so satisfying about having all my stuff around me. I do my computer work at the dining room table (that's covered with books, and paper and colored pencils and camera equipment!), and I take pictures on our closed in porch (it's 2 walls of windows so the light is terrific!). John calls these three spaces my "stations". The truth is, I've pretty much taken over the house. And I have no intention of giving it back! Really, I'm super lucky to have a supportive husband who doesn't mind eating his dinner surrounded by my projects! But he draws the line at having his picture taken while he's doing it!
A Magical Review for my Ravenous Readers
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
All Souls Trilogy - Book 2
July 10, 2012
Viking Adult, 592 pages
In A Discovery of Witches we are introduced to Diana, a reluctant (untrained) witch and Oxford scholar and Matthew a geneticist vampire. Together they are searching for a sacred manuscript called Ashmole 782 that is said to hold the secrets of the creation for all creatures - and just may be the only way to save them from extinction.
In Shadow of Night they have traveled back in time to 1590 and Elizabethan England. Here they believe they can search for the manuscript in relative safety and find a teacher who can help Diana master her powers.
These books are so different from what I normally read, but I am completely enchanted with them! A friend convinced me to read the first one and I was captivated. There is a blend of history and fact that makes the entire story seem plausible. I also really like Diana. She is a smart, strong woman who manages to face the unanswered questions surrounding her past with just the right blend of grace and trepidation. Matthew is complex and mysterious - as any vampire who has lived several hundred years would be, yet he manages to be compassionate and understanding especially where Diana is concerned.
In this book the author has done a great job (again) of blending real characters (William Shakespeare and Walter Raleigh plus Queen Elizabeth!) into the every day lives of the couple. It was interesting, the way that life was depicted. And I enjoyed watch Diana grow into a confident witch and "modern" woman. The story and the search for Ashomle 782 did detour a bit, and occasionally I found myself wondering how a certain event fit into the big picture. Happily though in the final third of the book there's lots of action and I found most of my questions answered. Of course, not all of them - or there would be no need for book 3!
It's funny, but the older that I get the more varied my tastes have become, and I'm quite pleased to have discovered this series! I don't think that I'll actively be seeking witches and vampires on a regular basis, but I certainly won't be so quick to dismiss them. So far this has proved to be an entertaining and engaging series. There's history and action, a love story, family secrets, time travel, mysterious powers and the quest to save the world. Really what else could you ask for??
After that serious dose of otherworldly goodness I started Janet Evanovich's Wicked Business. I had forgotten that this series has it's own take on special powers and magic. But they're hardly in the same category. Anyway, I'm already more than half way through which means its a quick read. I'll tell you more about it after I finish.
In the meantime, I'll be linking up with these wonderful blogs. Each one offers something unique and I love exploring the sites and taking in the talent. Have a look, I'm sure you'll find something that tickles your fancy!
Thanks so much for stopping in and spending a bit of your day with me.
It's been great having you here.
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Brilliant sunshine and a gentle breeze held the promise of a lovely day.
We had errands to run and an appointment to keep. I knew there would be plenty of time spent waiting, so I decided to bring Sweet Eleanor along and make the most of the free crochet time! While we were out we took advantage of the beautiful weather and a little of the local art and history.
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me. One of the best parts about blogging is linking up with other crafters and sharing our progress, projects, successes and even failures. This week I found a new place to hang out - with Tara at the Trendy Treehouse. While you're out and about please stop by her place or any of these other terrific blogs to see creativity in action!
After you're done visiting, why not check out your community and see what bits of history or art you can find. I bet it's there if you look closely. And don't forget to take your project along! I know they enjoy a day out just as much as we do.
So glad to share this time with you! Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
A Different Kind of Devotional
Greetings Friends! Granny square fever continues to burn! Each week I find myself amazed and surprised by the variety of patterns and color combinations waiting to be discovered. And speaking of discoveries... We just got this nifty book at the library, and after a quick glance I knew I needed a closer look. In The Crafter's Devotional Barbara R. Call has done a great job of compiling a diverse collection of crafty inspiration in a variety of mediums. Each day of the week has a category and there are lots of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. I'm particularly taken with the journaling prompts and button art. Ask for it at your library and give it a browse - I bet you'll find something that tickles your fancy!
Beads for Juliana
Here is the lovely Juliana. Finally we've had a break in the weather, and with the cooler temperatures I've been able to pick her up again. Last night I finished the final row of the mesh section - hooray! I'm really pleased with the amount of fullness and body that is developing. There are a hand full of SC rows and then the edging. I'm hoping to use beads for the first time to add a bit of sparkl . I've narrowed it down to the aqua, clear, white or opalescent. What do you think? I'd also love any advice about bead work, since I have no idea what I'm doing!
This week I started reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. This is book two in the All Souls Trilogy. It's crazy, but I've been waiting with great anticipation for this to come out. Last year a friend recommended A Discovery of Witches, a book I had been avoiding because as a rule I'm not into vampires or witches. But she usually doesn't steer me wrong and can be quite persuasive. I'm so glad that I listened! I was completely drawn into this story and found myself reading into the wee hours just to find out what happens next. Fingers crossed that book two is worth the wait!
And Finally, an Indecisive Book Review!
FYI - Eleanor is much bigger now!
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
April 5, 2005; 335 pages
I don’t usually do this, but today I’m going to rely on the inside book cover to tell you what this book is about…
"…Now in her luminous new novel, Kidd has woven a transcendent tale… Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.
When Jessie is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable act of violence, she is living a conventional life with her husband Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but once there, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas a monk who is soon to take his final vows.
Few novels explore the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Where does the yearning for a soul-mate come from? How does a woman find the place of self-belonging in herself."
So here’s the thing. There are parts of this book that are beautifully written. There are luminous moments as the cover promises, but the relationship between the main characters just doesn’t make sense to me. Jessie and Brother Thomas, two mature adults see each other one dark night in the woods and it’s love at first sight – what? They spend a few months sneaking off for hanky panky in the sand and without hesitation declare their undying love for each other. But when Jessie’s mom goes off the deep end it becomes clear that Brother Thomas isn’t going to be the one to help her deal with the problems.
There are some great characters on the island, and a dog that is a celebrity in his own right. It’s clear that Jessie is struggling in her relationships with Hugh, her mother, and her daughter as well as with the death of her father when she was a child. She is sad and confused and has a lot of “issues” to work out.
As I’m writing this I’m thinking, okay I guess I get it. But that’s not what I thought while I was reading. Then I thought, they’re not in love, they’re in lust – you don’t really expect me to believe they’re going to live happily ever after do you? Maybe Kidd wanted me to react that way. Maybe she was trying to show how confused, distraught people behave in erratic, unreasonable ways?
I suppose this is one of the reasons that I love books. They make me think. And there’s something to be said for a book that elicits this kind of a response from me! Do I recommend this one, honestly I’m not sure! I’d say if a book about relationships, family, trauma and figuring out who you are and where you’re going is you’re thing than give it a try. And please, let me know what you think. If none of that stuff interests you than it’d be best to steer clear.
So my friends, that does it for me today. As usual, I'll be linking up with these terrific bloggers. It's always a treat to meander about the web, meeting new folks, and seeing what everyone is up to. I hope you'll join me!
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Crocheting with a Group Offers Inspiration and Guidance
Have you ever participated in an "a-long"? My Sweet Eleanor is part of a Crochet-a-Long (CAL), and I'm having such a great time. There's a group called Crochet Shoulder Wrappers over on Ravelry, and they are just the nicest bunch of people. They do amazing work, offer a tremendous amount of encouragement, and are so willing to help you succeed. Every month there are 3 new projects to choose from plus threads to share patterns, to show off your work, just for designers - all kinds of things. This is where I found my Juliana wrap. She was the CAL for June. I'm getting close to finishing, and may even have done it if a new month hadn't started. Because of course I had to take a look, and that's where I found Sweet Eleanor.
This group is my first experience with an "a-long", and I'm glad I decided to join. I find the pattern tips, modifications and explanations are excellent resources. I imagine if I had started this on my own I would have become frustrated and thrown in the towel. Instead I'm making swift progress. I also like comradery and fun we have cheering each other on. Whether you take part or just visit there's a lot of good stuff happening!
And what would Wednesday be without a little book chat? Yesterday I started The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. She also wrote The Secret life of Bees which I haven't read, but I did adore the movie. This book seems to have hooked me right from the start. Her words evoke images and feelings that give me moments of pause yet keep me turning the pages. I look forward to exploring all it has to offer.
A Mini Review for the Ravenous Readers
Full Blast by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes
St. Martin’s Press Paperbacks
April 10, 2004; 344pages
I’m tossing this one in for Janet Evanovich fans. It’s an earlier work (Stephanie Plum was only up to “To the Nines” when this came out.) that’s part of a series she wrote with Charlotte Hughes. The residents of Beaumont, South Carolina are a diverse and wacky bunch, just the kind of folks you expect from Evanovich. There’s a dog named Fleas, a car named Muffin, a hunky millionaire, a cute, spunky newspaper owner with a coffee and sugar habit, a lingerie shop run by a librarian (haha!), aphrodisiac brownies, a psychic who writes an advice column, a beauty queen, and a former professional wrestler who happens to be the mayor - just to name a few. With a population like this there’s never a dull moment, especially when someone starts offing women who seem to be connected to ads placed in the papers personals section.
Many years ago I read another book in this series so when I came across this one I figured, why not? It’s what I expected. Lots of quick banter, eye rolling and exasperated sighs. Some hanky-panky, a little arguing, and people rallying together to help each other. It’s not her best, but since it had been a while it felt fresh enough that I was able to enjoy it. I’d say don’t go out of your way to find it, but if you happen upon it give it a try. Who knows? It just might tickle your funny bone!
Well friends, that's all for me today. It's be terrific having you here. I'll be linking up with my crafty pals who always have lots to share. I love clicking around and soaking in all the creative goodness - you never know what you'll find.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
I'm participating in my first CAL!
CAL - I've thought about joining on several occasions but I never seem to be in the right place at the right time. Today that all changed! While strolling along on the blog-avard I happened upon the folks at Lion Brand who were telling me all about the latest CAL set to begin next week. Huh. Imagine that. I'm just about finished with my Chevron Lace Cardigan and although I don't "need" another project I thought, why not? It looks like a great little shrug and I bet its fun to crochet with a whole bunch of other people. I read through the pattern (looks easy), the initial post and the comments. Everyone was so positive and enthusiastic. What could be better?? How about if they have a Ravelry group? Well of course they do! So I went right ahead and joined in there too! I figure with all this support I'm bound to keep on track! Plus, if I run into any trouble I'm sure there will be plenty of folks willing to help me out. (Crochet and knitting people are just so nice!) Now that I've gone ahead and made this commitment to myself I better get moving, and finish up that sweater! I'm not sure what I'm going to do for yarn. I know that I won't use the glittery yarn the shrug is named for. I'm not much of a glittery kinda gal! I do have quite a bit of Baby Sport in plain old white which actually might be nice. I have several white pullovers and they all get lots of wear. I'm sure a sweet wee shrug in white will as well. Don't you think?
On another note, I made lots changes to the blog over the past few days. I'm working hard to create an environment that feels friendly, casual and comfortable. I want to be easy to read, and fun without getting carried away. I changed my logo design (thanks to Picasa) making the whole thing a bit softer . I mean it's Crochet Nirvana for goodness sake - that shouldn't be cold and harsh! I've decided to go with the grayish background (instead of white), again for the warmth. I'd probably choose a different color if I could, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet! Happily after much trail and error with the CSS code I was able to change the font in the menu bar, increase the width of the whole page and adjust the size of the header!! I'm quite proud of that part since I have zero experience with code of any kind! Overall I'm pleased with the way we're looking today. Now if I can just stop futzing with it and get down to some crochet I'll be all set!
Until next time Happy Weekend!
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
I'm Robin and this is
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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!