Good things come to those that wait… and in this case, you’ve got issue five to enjoy as of today, subscribers! Check your inboxes for the download code.
This review appears in issue 5 of Knit Edge magazine. Designing Vashti provided the yarn for review and for this giveaway.
Vashti Braha and Doris Chan, the dream team behind Designing Vashti, have created a dream yarn: Lotus. If you read Vashti’s newsletter and blog, you know she puts a lot of thought into how a yarn works with a particular stitch and in a particular project. Lotus is a machine-washable, z-twisted sport weight blend of cotton and rayon, currently available in 14 colors (neutrals, strong pastels, and deep jewel tones). The rayon strands lend a shiny gleam to the matte cotton, for a rich color effect best seen in person.
When I saw the photos and read Vashti’s explanation of how the yarn had been designed, my fingers were already twitching with eagerness to start crocheting with it immediately. Vashti sent me three balls of yarn so there would be enough to do a giveaway with, and when I opened the box, I’ll admit that I briefly considered keeping two balls and giving away only one. You’ll be happy to know that I managed to keep my hands off the giveaway yarn, and you can enter for a chance to win right here! Leave a comment on this post, saying what you think you would make with this yarn, and a winner will be chosen with a random number generator on March 31, 2014. This is open to international readers too! [NOTE: Giveaway is now closed - thank you to all who entered!]
The one concern I had while looking at it was that the plies looked loose enough to be splitty while crocheting, and I kept that in mind when I selected hooks to swatch with (aluminum Boye, aluminum Bates, and wood/bamboo hooks in the recommended hook sizes F/3.75mm and G/4.5mm). The verdict? This just may be the yarn you didn’t know you were looking for, especially if you make garments. It’s a pleasure to crochet with, sliding smoothly over your hands and hook, and is wonderful for making next-to-the-skin soft projects. It has just enough body to hold lace stitches clearly while being soft enough to drape beautifully. For crocheted scarves, shawls, tunics, and skirts, this is a winner. Aluminum hooks worked just fine for my swatching, but the yarn is on the slippery side, so you may prefer the grip of a wood or bamboo hook, as long as the inside of the hook is very smoothly sanded (I had a minor problem with a handmade wooden hook that caught and snagged a bit, fixed by sanding it with a nail file). Although Lotus is a yarn designed by a crocheter for crocheters, you can of course knit and weave with this too. On US 6 birch needles, Lotus moved smoothly and produced a stockinette fabric with nice stitch definition.
You can buy Lotus online on the Designing Vashti website, and they are offering a color sample pack (all 14 colors, 45” of each) and a color sample kit (includes a pattern set to make small jewelry charms) in addition to pre-wound balls of Lotus Yarn and patterns that work well with it.
A shorter version of this review was published in issue #4 of Knit Edge – here on the blog, MK Carroll tells you a little more about why In the Loop is on her bookshelf.
In the Loop: Knitting Now
Jessica Hemmings (ed.)
Black Dog Publishing
While I browsed the shelves at Powell’s Books, a copy of In the Loop nearly fell off the shelf into my hands. Less than a minute later, it was in my “to buy” stack – this was a book I didn’t know I was looking for.
An eclectic collection of diverse perspectives including academics, artists, and historians, In the Loop is fun to just flip through as well as to sit down and read deeply. There’s an essay on contemporary knit lit by Jo Turney, photo essays including Jeanette Sendler’s Finding Your Way Home and Deirdre Nelson’s Quiet Activism (both of which have modern takes on traditional Shetland knitting), and Annie Shaw’s Looking Backwards to Knit Forwards, a response to the history of ganseys via machine knitting, and much more. Accessible and approachable, you don’t need to be an academic to be able to enjoy In the Loop. Although the book is organized so that you can do a start-to-finish read coherently, what I enjoyed was flipping back and forth through the book, looking at the different projects, and then reading the text as it caught my fancy. This will stay on my bookshelf for a while, as I think it holds up well to being revisited.
The review copy of this book was purchased at retail price by the reviewer. Cooperative Press gets a small percentage of each sale made through the Powell’s affiliate link above.
(Cooperative Press Assistant Editor MK Carroll here – we’ll be sharing more book reviews from the Knit Edge “What We’re Reading” column, and we’re kicking it off today with a review of Crochet at Play!)
Kat Goldin has been busy. In addition to maintaining her blog (www.slugsontherefrigerator.com), she launched an online magazine, The Crochet Project, with Joanne Scrace earlier this year, ran Crochet Camp over the summer, and will launch Knit Camp 2014 early next year. Her new book, Crochet at Play, recently hit bookshelves, and it’s packed with fun projects for kids that you can hook up in a weekend.
If you are already familiar with Kat’s design work, you’ll recognize her sweet, playful, and practical designs immediately. The garments and accessories are both whimsical and wearable, like the Mermaid Tail for newborns and the Wolf cabled cardigan. My personal favorite pattern is the Beastie Feet slippers, which I plan to crochet for my niece. She would like to have a polar bear for the winter holidays, please, but I’m pretty sure we’d all prefer she pretends to be a baby polar bear instead!
Patterns are divided into 4 chapters: Head and Shoulders (includes hats, a crown, and a baby shawl), Fingers, Knees, and Toes (slippers, mittens, leg warmers, mermaid tail, and tutu skirt), Whole Self (cardigans, vests, tunic, and dress), and The Play Room (rug, pillow, blankets, and a hobby horse). The book includes a section on Getting Started (tips on yarns to use, yarn substitution, supplies you’ll need, and information about sizing), as well as Techniques and Basic Stitches, great for refreshing your memory if you are new to crochet or haven’t used a crochet pattern for a while.
The pattern instructions in this version use US/Canada crochet terminology (Crochet at Play has also been published in the UK by Kyle Books). If you are looking for pattern errata, you’ll want to keep the differences in US and UK terminology in mind and be sure you are looking at errata for the version of the book you have. Skill levels are given for each pattern, rated ‘beginner’ or ‘intermediate.’ All patterns have written instructions; there are no charts. Finished measurements are given; there are no schematics. Each pattern is accompanied by beautiful color photos of the finished pieces.
Ravelry: Crochet at Play
CROCHET AT PLAY: Fun Hats, Scarves, Clothes, and Toys for Kids to Enjoy
by Kat Goldin
Running Press – Paperback – 144 pages
The US publisher, Running Press, is sponsoring a giveaway! For your chance to win a print copy of Crochet at Play, comment here to tell us which project from this book you would crochet first, or what you like to crochet for kids in general (we just need to be able to separate out the comment spam robots). Giveaway opens Friday, 22 November 2013, 9:00 AM EST, and closes next Tuesday, 25 November 2013 at midnight EST. A random number generator will be used to select the winner, who will be contacted by MK Carroll. This giveaway is United States only (international readers, keep an eye out – when Knit Edge issue #5 launches, we’ll have something just for you!).
(the giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified – MK)
If you aren’t a subscriber, buy a single copy using this link:
Or you can purchase on Ravelry!
And of course our usual delightful assortment of excellent columns and articles, such as
…the knitting prime minister of Australia
…developing cashmere production in Afghanistan
…finding fair-trade artisan yarn in Peru
…a preview of Doomsday Knits
…designing with Celtic cables
…and avoiding “clown barf” with the bargello knitting technique
It’s 97 pages of autumn knitting goodness!
Happy first anniversary, Knit Edge, and thank you all for supporting us!
Here’s a preview of Ruth Garcia-Alcantud’s gorgeous Automne sweater. Knit in Cephalopod Yarns Beastie (colorway Troll), it’s a quick knit and something you can wear every day this fall and winter. Pair it with a gorgeous shawl pin, as seen here, or wear it open. And, as the commenters on our Facebook page and elsewhere have noted, it’s got POCKETS. Everyone loves a good pocket… The issue will be out in September but if you haven’t yet subscribed, use code AUG2013 for a discount on one year.
There’s 2 missing images from Theressa Silver’s article about knitting tight for structure in Knit Edge 3. Here are images of the blue vase referenced for you!
Just today I was speaking with our sock columnist Kate Atherley, who was wondering what you all think of her sock column. You know…this one?
So let’s hear from you: what do you think of Wisehilda on Socks? What are you wondering about in the world of socks? Are there other types of columns you might want to see. Let us know, we’d love to hear what you’re thinking.
And if you REALLY want to dive in on the socks with Kate directly, we’re doing a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Kate, Anna Dalvi and Shannon Okey next January. See this post for details at the CP website.