Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Review: The Knitted Teddy Bear

The Knitted Teddy Bear: Make Your Own Heirloom Toys, with Dozens of Patterns for Unique ClothingThe Knitted Teddy Bear: Make Your Own Heirloom Toys, with Dozens of Patterns for Unique Clothing by Sandra Polley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was generously donated for review by Anova Books.

First Impression: Do you like to knit cute and fast toys? Well, this is the book for you. The bears are super cute and wear cute outfits! I also love the fact that the toys are small, so you can knit them up fast. Personally, I have little desire to knit a huge teddy bear, I would much prefer a cute and tiny bear that I can knit up in two days.

The Details: The Knitted Teddy Bear: Make Your Own Heirloom Toys, with Dozens of Patterns for Unique Clothing is filled with 18 bear patterns and lots of outfits for them to wear. My favorite is Catherine and her adorable lacy dress. She is super cute.

The patterns are very straightforward and list row by row what you are supposed to do. I much prefer this to books that state at the beginning "knit all odd rows," because I can keep track with a post-it note of where I am in the pattern. The book also goes into some explanation of some of the more complicated techniques that go along with knitting toys like attaching pieces together and making faces. Although Sandra Polley does an adequate job, I wish there were more diagrams.

I should also point out that gauge for the patterns is not listed. Although the author explains her reasoning, I generally prefer to have a gauge to get an idea of what I should be shooting for. If you are new to toys, keep in mind that your gauge should be tighter than usual, because you want the stuffing to stay inside the bear! Also, the yarn brands are not listed, but clues in the book suggest that Rowan yarns were used.

Final Impressions: The patterns looks super cute and straightforward. This book looks like a nice jumping off point for knitters new to knitting toys, because the patterns are fast. The book does not list yarn brands, so if you like your projects to look exactly like the pictures in the book, you have a bit of work to do.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday Update!

The students are back in town in my new little hometown, and they are ridiculous. Students are just walking into the street without looking both ways. I think it is safer for me to stay at home and knit.


I just knit up two Turn a Square hats. I have now knit 4 hats (I reversed the colors for the fourth hat) out of two skeins of KnitPicks' Chroma. I may even have enough yarn to squeeze out a fifth hat too.

I started knitting the scarf Amy Pond wears in
The Pandorica Opens (Doctor Who). I had bought three skeins of red yarn several years ago, when I had originally planned to make this scarf. Now that I have actually looked at the scarf patterns, I realized that I need to double the yarn and need more yarn. I know I am supposed to be on a yarn diet and be knitting the stash down, but it is okay to buy yarn to knit the yarn down, right? Because this scarf is knit with two strands of worsted held together throughout, it is knitting up super fast. The size 11 needles don't hurt either! I am hoping to have a scarf in about a week, so I don't have to look at the extra skeins of yarn.

Knitting Television

Like always, HGTV is making up most of my knitting television. You rarely have to look up to know what is happening. It is nice background noise. On a fun note, my local library has blu ray DVDs, so my husband and I have been renting the Star Wars movies. We watched episodes 4-6 and 1. Tonight we are watching episode 2 and tomorrow we are watching episode 3. Because we have seen them so many times, I can focus on my knitting.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Handknit Holidays

Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter SolsticeHandknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice by Melanie Falick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Open Road Integrated Media generously donated this book for review.

First Impressions: This book is so pretty! I want to live in each of the pictures in this book. Seriously, everything is so shiny, romantic, and holiday-like. I want to knit everything in this book.

The Details: This book has over 50 patterns! Patterns include ornaments, pillows, hats, scarves, mittens and gloves, socks, sweaters, shawls, and bags. It is important to note that although the book has several patterns for the home, children, and women, the patterns for men are lacking. There are no men-only patterns. Some of the clothing patterns are large enough for men, but this book is definitely more skewed towards women's patterns.

Although I love this book so much (I bought the hardcover edition years ago), I have reservations about the e-book. First, my galley copy was a bit "funny." Specifically, knitting charts were cut off. This may be a problem with the galley copy; however, if you purchase the book, check to make sure that you can see all the charts. Second, all of the yarns listed are those that were listed in the original printing. Some of these yarns may not be available anymore. This isn't a huge issue to me; however, because it is hard to keep the yarns in book up-to-date. Finally, the galley copy of the e-book that I received had errors in it that were corrected by the 3rd printing of the book. This is unacceptable. If you purchase this e-book, please look for errata online before knitting any of the patterns. In fact, I would rate the e-book version of this book as 2/5 stars.

Final Impressions: This is a beautiful book. The patterns are clever, fun, and amazing. This book also does a decent job of showcasing patterns for Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Winter Solstice. At the same, the e-book has some serious problems.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Update!

I have recently found myself in the wintery North again, and I have rediscovered my love of knitting. Sure, I enjoyed knitting cotton washcloths in Florida (who doesn't enjoy a good washcloth?); however, since I have been back in colder weather, the yarn has been calling to me full force. I am being commanded to knit wool hats and wool socks and wool mittens and wool...well you get the idea.

Since being here in Pennsylvania (I wasn't kidding when I said the wintery North), I have joined a little knitting group in town. I am excited about spending time with other knitters. Most of the knitters I knew in Florida, I had taught. I love spending time with new knitters; however, whenever I spent time knitting with them, I showing them how to do stuff. I like being able to knit during my knitting meet ups. I do like teaching others to knit too; I just don't like it to be the only thing I do during knitting time.


My ravelry page is a bit out of date, but I am hoping to get it updated with my projects in the next few weeks. I mainly have to take pictures of things. I also plan to have my entire knitting book and magazine collection in my ravelry library. It is a pain to do, but I think it will help when I am searching for patterns.

This brings me to the next part of the plan. I have five huge bins of yarn in my one-bedroom apartment. If I was living alone, this wouldn't be a big deal, but I have gotten married, since I last posted. My husband is totally okay with the stash, but I would like us to have a bit more room in the closet. I also don't feel like I can cram any more yarn in the closet, so I don't feel okay with buying more yarn when it won't have a cozy home.

Okay, back to the plan. My plan is to knit down one bin of yarn a year. I have two bins of sock yarn, one bin of worsted weight yarn, one bin of sport and dk yarn, and one bin of bulky and lace weight yarn. This isn't the best plan ever, but I am going to go with it for now, because I have momentum. I am working on the worsted weight stash right now. I have completed several washcloths (I have cotton yarn that needs to be washcloths) and a Turn a Square hat. I have big plans for more Turn a Square hats to deal with some of the self-stripping yarn that I have.

TV and Movies to Knit by

We get free expanded basic cable at our new apartment, so I have been watching a ton of HGTV and SyFy. It works out great, because they are next to each other. I just press the up or down button, and I am good to go. The HGTV shows are all the same, which I find strangely comforting. It is nice to see people find their "dream home." As far as knitting TV goes, HGTV is great, because I don't need to look up too much to know what is going on.

In regards to SyFy, there are a couple of shows that I am enjoying. First, I enjoy FaceOff. It is a reality competition show about people who do costume makeup. The makeup designs are pretty awesome, plus the people seem relatively nice and the show doesn't focus on drama outside of the competition. Second, Heroes of Cosplay is pretty fun. This show focuses on people who do cosplay semi-professionally/professionally. The folks are a bit catty at times, and there is a bit of snobbery towards the casual cosplayer. Finally, I am obsessed with the Thursday night movie. Sharknado was pretty amazing a few weeks ago, and Ghost Shark was pretty decent too. These movies are supposed to be a bit gory, but their budgets are so bad that nothing on them grosses me out. They are just campy and ridiculous.