Category Archives: Garments

Book Review: Cozy Knits

As the temperature continues to drop, knitters and crocheters usually begin projects to help stay warm. Hats, scarves, wraps, mittens – they are all great for this time of year! Well, this is the focus of the new Interweave book, Cozy Knits: 50 Fast & Easy Projects from Top Designers.

I don’t know if I would call every project in this book “easy,” but they are Cozy Knitscertainly lovely! More complicated patterns have stitch charts in addition to written instructions, which I am sure knitters will appreciate. The yarn selections are just scrumptious and the photography is the high quality you expect from Interweave.

Designers include Mary Beth Temple, Debbie O’Neill, and Tanis Gray, to name a few. I especially love the Textured Slouch-Hat by Fania Goberstein and the delicate look of the Lace Panel Shrug by Elena Malo. I am a huge mitten fan and the collection in the book is just great! I love the Fair Isle Headband, but not sure if I would use the pouch on the earflap, but I’m sure others would. I’m also not crazy about the I-cord at the top of the Beanie pattern, but I really like the beanie itself.

It has a very helpful glossary at the end of the book that includes a stitch guide, abbreviation list, and “helpful hints.” I always appreciate that little bit of information and read through it in just about every book I have. I always pick up some interesting little tidbit!

This is another high-quality book from Interweave that I am sure knitters will love!

And now, for the usual fun part, you can win this book! Again, the rules are simple:
1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick a winner!

I’ll pick the lucky winner on December 4th. Good luck!

Book Review: Knits of Tomorrow

I think this week’s book is my favorite so far! When I went to ComicCon in New York last week, this book was on my mind all day. If you have anyone in your life that regularly has their geek on, this is the book for you!

The book, might you ask? Knits of Tomorrow: Toys and Accessories for your Retro-Future Needs
is all about the “future that never was” to quote Interweave. As I flipped through the patterns in the book, it really reminded me of the Walt Disney World Tomorrowland of my youth. The People Mover was my favorite ride, by the way.

The book begins with a fun little introduction and provides all the necessary “basics” for the projects in the book, as well as guidance for general knitting. The end of the book also includes a conversion chart. There are also lots of great tips along the way. The type is large and easy to read. As usual, it does have my one pet peeve – a standard perfect-bound spine. I really feel that if more publishers would use a spiral-bound spine for their books, it would make a world of difference for all crafters!

I think my two favorite patterns in the book are the Atomic Laptop Cover and the Men’s Radio Mast Socks. Instead of using simple “easy” or “difficult” descriptions for ability level, points are used – just like in classic video games! Most patterns are in the 40-60 points, which I would consider appropriate for an intermediate knitter. There are, however, some easier as well as more difficult patterns in the book, so I would say if you are looking to step up your skills progressively with some really fun patterns, this book is definitely for you!

So as usual, here comes the fun part, you can win this book! Again, the rules are simple:
1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick a winner!

I’ll pick the lucky winner on October 24th. Good luck!

Book Review: Knitting Architecture

Knitting ArchitectureKnitting ArchitectureI have always felt that when you are creating garments, the finishing and assembly might be the most important step. It is often easy to identify homemade garments when they don’t seem to drape well. Finishing and assembly is often the most frustrating part of the process for fiber fanatics. This is where Knitting Architecture: 20 Patterns Exploring Form, Function, and Detail comes to the rescue.

This book not only provides patterns, but how stitches and style come together to create lovely garments. It draws an interesting correlation between creating a great garment and creating a great building. Along with each pattern, there is a “Get Inspired” sidebar and that is truly what it does. It is a good reminder to all of us that inspiration for our fiber arts is all around us – whether in a hand-made yarn or the design of a historic building.

I have to tell you that I had a really hard time picking a favorite pattern! I love the style of the Bird’s Nest Shrug. It certainly has a great pattern and of course the “Get Inspired” sidebar was all about the Beijing National Stadium, commonly referred to as the “Bird’s Nest.” It is definitely architectural amazement!

So here comes the fun part, you can win this book! As usual, the rules are simple:
1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick a winner!

I’ll pick the lucky winner on September 25th. Good luck!

Book Review: Vintage Design Workshop

This week’s book review is on Vintage Design Workshop: Knitting Techniques for Modern Style by Geraldine Warner and I will tell you this is a great book!

Personally, I have always loved a variety of different vintage styles. To me, there is nothing classier than the look and style of the 1940s. The classic lines, the dramatic makeup and the hats. Anyone who knows me knows that I love when a hat can be added to any outfit. As a child I rarely left the house without something on my head. When it comes to the style of the 40s, a hat was just about a requirement! Many of the designs in this book are reminiscent of that era.

The book is split in two sections. The first section talks about vintage patterns and how to update them for use today, such as finding yarn that will work for a specific pattern or how to make sizing adjustments. The second section helps the knitter take a current pattern and give it a vintage flair. The designs and suggestions in both sections are very well executed.

What I think I love most about this book is the wide variety of original photos and advertisements from a bygone era. The first two times I went through the book my attention kept being drawn into all the great original artwork!

The writing is great. It has the relaxed conversational tone I like while still providing specific instructions when needed. My only “negative” for this book, as with most books, is that it doesn’t have a spine that lays flat. However, I don’t think it really takes away from this book as you aren’t attempting to follow a specific pattern. I consider this to be more of a master class book, or just as the name implies, a workshop.

Overall, if you love vintage styles, I highly recommend this book!

Now just like the last review, I am going to give my copy away to a reader! All you need to do is make sure you “like” my Facebook page and “like” the Facebook post for this review. I will pick a person at random to win the book. And since there wasn’t a winner in the last book review drawing, I will be giving away my copy of Knit Your Socks on Straight as well, so make sure you enter!

Announcing Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World

Crochet One-Skein Wonders
I am very excited to announce the publishing of Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World! Why am I so excited about this book you might ask? First, I have two patterns in this book! Second, I LOVE one-skein projects. I mean, let’s be honest; how many of us have bought one skein of yarn just because we loved it but have no idea what we are going to do with it? I’m raising my hand on this one.

This book has a great variety of different patterns for all skill levels. There are patterns in here from people I greatly admire, including Myra Wood, Yvonne Cherry, and Ellen Gormley, to name a few. The editors behind this book are Judith Durant & Edie Eckman. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this project! I hope you will check it out.

Meeting Other Artisans

Today I participated in a unique craft and lecture event at Saint Clare’s in Denville. While the attendance was light – and on such a beautiful fall day, who wants to be inside – I did have a great time and was able to meet three incredibly talented artisans.

Next to me was Miriam Seiden. She had some of the most lovely jewelry I have seen in quite a while. Her work was of high quality, incredibly creative, and certainly unique. She used a lot of big stones and silver in her work she had available. Each piece made a statement.

Ameenah Designs designs capes, shawls, vests, coats, and hats. Each piece is made by her and has great style and quality. It is easy to see the care and creativity in her work.

My favorite, I think, was Peach Fuzz Fiber Art. She had great bags, fiber bowls, jackets, shawls, and other incredibly creative items. Her free form-style work had just the right touch of whimsy!

Overall, it was a fun day, even though we didn’t have many customers.

Upcoming Arts & Crafts Event!

On September 23rd, I will be a part of a unique event in Denville. The Image Forum. This event is sponsored by a physicians group and will be a lot of fun!

The Image Forum will be held 11 AM Sunday, September 23, 2012 in the Urban Auditorium inside Saint Clares Hospital on 25 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ. The event includes a light brunch, chamber music, several medical lectures, and an arts and crafts show. The best part is the entire event is FREE to the public! Simply register in advance (so they have an accurate head count) by calling 973-994-2484 or emailing Please tell them you are my guest.

The medical lectures include understanding thyroid cancer, today’s use of cosmeceuticals, what’s involved in permanent makeup. Additionally, there will be a presentation by the non-profit Center for Food Action and music will be provided by The West Essex Chamber Players. A variety of medical professionals will be on hand to answer questions about skin health, breast health, and plastic surgery.

There will be LOTS of artisans, crafters, and unique shopping opportunities, including home decor, unique accessories, custom made table cloths, couture clothing, jewelry, scarves, shawls, hats, Lia Sophia jewelry, Longaberger baskets, and more!

I am very excited to be a part of this event! I hope you will consider joining in on the fun!

Cleaning out the Stash: Giveaway Number One!

OK, we are are familiar with the term SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy) when it comes to our yarn and fiber. Chances are you are also a bibliophile as well, as we all love to collect books on our favorite fiber art subjects!

Well, I am going to (gasp) clean out some of my book stash. Yes, I know, it’s tough. But I feel much better knowing that I am going to make sure my loyal readership gets in on the fun!

Different publishers send me their books for my review here on The Fiber Forum. I am now going to pass these amazing books on to you!

The first book is Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland. For the post on the Fiber Forum about this book, I was lucky enough to have the author, Donna Druchunas, provide a guest post all about the book and her knitting inspiration!

OK, so here are the rules. Leave a comment here about what you would do with the book and that will get you one entry. If you “like” my Facebook page, you’ll get a second entry! Follow me on Twitter and you’ll get a third entry! If you take part in these other entry opportunities, make sure you note that in your comment here on the blog. On Friday, August 26th, Every entry will get a number and I’ll use to pick a winner!

About a week after, I’ll put another book up for the winning!

Good luck!

The Great Sock Project: Turning the Heel…and the Corner

First, I want to apologize for my lack of activity the last few weeks. I have been experiencing ongoing Internet connection issues recently. As a result, I haven’t been able to post my latest activity on my Great Sock Project. The long of the short of it? I have turned the heel…and a corner.

crochet sockNow, I will say I can’t remember a project so challenging for me. I have been learning new stitching (some fun, some not so much), watching my sock skills improve, and frogging more than I care to admit. As I reminder, I am doing what is considered the “basic” pattern in Crocheted Socks: 16 Fun-To-Stitch Patterns. I will say after I completed the heel turn and the gusset, it is starting to click. I am ready to move on to the foot and toe shaping and hope to have that complete this upcoming week.

What I have noticed in this pattern is that there are some issues with the stitches and directions in the book. For example, I needed some help with the lssc, because I had a hard time making sense of the diagram in the book. I could find a “split single crochet” and I could find a “long single crochet,” but I couldn’t find a “long split single crochet.” So, I watched some videos of the two different stitches on YouTube and then merged them together. For what it is worth, I am not a fan of doing the split single crochet, but it does have a nice look.

Next up…foot and toe. Stay tuned!

The Great Crochet Sock Project…Continued

So, I have been working on my first pair of crocheted socks and I would say so far, it has been, well, OK.

Crochet Sock CuffThe “Easy Does It” pattern in the book Crocheted Socks: 16 Fun-To-Stitch Patterns calls for a double crochet foundation. I have only used this method one or two times and I had great notes on how to do it, but of course, I couldn’t find them. I didn’t find the directions in the book very user friendly, so I headed to the ‘net and my Twitter buddies and one of my Twitter followers (thanks Rebecca!) pointed me to a great set of directions on Crochet Me. After a little bit of practice, I was on my way.
Now, in order to not loose interest, I planned ahead and purchased two skeins of yarn so I could do each step simultaneously. This way I don’t complete one sock and then not want to start over again. Well, so much for best laid plans. I purchased two skeins of Red Heart Heart & Sole Yarn in razzle dazzle when I actually wanted to skeins of Red Heart Heart & Sole Yarn-Green Envy. Unfortunately, one of the skeins was mis-marked, I didn’t realize the color names were wrong. So I had to go ahead with one sock while I get another skein in the correct color. Normally, I would be furious, however, since this is a variegated yarn and will not be connected to each other, I’m not that upset.
So far, I think the project has gone well, other than those two small issues. Next, I will be moving on the probably the toughest parts – the heel and the gusset. Stay tuned…