Pattern: Polly from Rowan Kids
Yarn: Cotton…of some description!
Colourway: White and hot pink
Purchased at: Black Sheep Wools
Total cost: Who knows?
Hello my lovelies!
Whilst I’m very much behind with my book reviews….(I have a stack to share with you…all of them wonderful)…I’ve been holding out with reviewing this one until the publication date (it’s the 10th November, just so you know) got a little nearer for fear of you never speaking to me again for tormenting you with gorgeousness that you can’t get your hot little hands on.
I think I’ve waited long enough!
If you’ve followed this blog for any time you’ll know that I love a good cable knit. In fact, in about 40 years of knitting, I think I’ve only found one cable pattern that I don’t like. And it isn’t in Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Designs by Hitomi Shida.
Happily in English, the book entices you to “discover the beautiful world of Japanese Knitting” with “260 Exquisite Patterns”. I’ve seen many books on various topics that lure you in which such promises, but fall short once you’re inside the covers.
This book is not one of them.
It is, quite simply, breathtakingly wonderful.
Obviously, the first thing you want to do is look at the glorious photos of the stitch patterns. These are just beautiful. They are knitted in yarns that give crisp, clear stitch definition and colours that showcase the pattern rather than obscure it, or, as some older books do, sear your retinas!
As you happily flick through the pages, you’ll notice that the book is actually separated into sections:
So whether you want to knit a scarf, a sweater, some mitts or a yoke on a cardigan, the groundwork has been done for you.
The front of the book has a comprehensive “How to Knit It” and “Guide to the Symbols” section, which clearly explains all the technical knowhow you need to knit the patterns. And the introduction to Japanese knitting patterns makes sure you understand how to read the charts.
The charts themselves are beautifully clear. I would enlarge them for actual knitting purposes, but that is absolutely personal preference and rubbish eyesight, not a detraction from the book at all.
Because, I’ll be honest, I cannot say anything negative about this collection of stitch patterns. There are even four lovely designs for you to make.
Those mitts have my name on them. I have some red yarn in the stash that’s been waiting for the perfect pattern, and this is it!
Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Designs by Hitomi Shida is, quite simply, exquisite, and I would recommend it to any knitter who loves cables.
The lovely Ann over at@TuttlePublishing supplied me with a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own and in no way influenced by @TuttlePublishing.
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, and I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you! I only recommend goods or services that I am happy to use myself.
I have something lovely to share with you today.
No….not Miss Button, gorgeous as she is.
The hot pink loveliness!
Ma has made not one, but two of these lovely cardigans for Button this summer. As well as the pink one featured here, there’s a white one too! They’re such a super basic as they go with everything. Sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves…yep…they’ll work.
It’s a great little cardigan for cooler spring weather, or the end of summer days when you just want to take the chill off of shoulders. Or, even, layered over long sleeves on cooler days.
Can we talk about the little “pleated” frill along the bottom hem? Too adorable, no?
The yarns, being cotton, are machine wash and dry-able. Perfect for a young lady who loves getting up to mischief and mayhem.
The white one recently had blackcurrant juice spilled down it. A quick wash with a spot of bleach…et, voila…good as new.
I cannot recommend this pattern enough. It’s a quick knit that results in a cardigan that gets worn again and again. It’s pretty without being twee, but grown up enough to make the heart of a 9 year old girl happy.
For some time now Pa Stitches-in-Law has been eyeing up the socks I’ve been knitting for The Husband and dropping some not very subtle hints about having cold feet.
Knowing that he wanted a pair for himself, and that he’s the same sock size as hubby, it was a complete no-brainer to make him a pair for Father’s Day this year.
Last weekend he and Button finally took some pictures of said socks for me to share with you. So without further ado….
The yarn is lovely but it’s impossible to stripe match so I won’t be using it again.
For this pair I unwound the whole remaining ball and still couldn’t make it work.
Unmatched socks drive me unreasonably crazy but I’ll be sad not to knit this again as the socks are lovely and wear really well. If unmatched stripes don’t bother you then I heartily recommend the yarn.
Thankfully Pa isn’t remotely bothered and absolutely loves his new socks. He’s now angling for a second pair. How many weeks until Christmas???????
Pattern: Regia 4 ply sock
Pattern cost: Free
Purchased at: Black Sheep Wools
Yarn cost: Sssssh….it’s a secret!
If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll have seen that I’ve been sewing pink gingham curtains for Miss Button’s bedroom.
I have to tell you that I was snow blind with pink gingham!
All of these are interlined, French blackout, with buckram and hand pleated headings. That’s 4 layers to be locked together before you even think about adding the buckram and pleats. It’s slow work but the end result is worth the effort. I never fail to be delighted when a hand stitched curtain is hung. Despite the grumbling and cursing the construction inevitably produces
I’ve also sewn a blind for Boy’s London themed bedroom. It’s also French blackout, which is even more effective in a blind than a curtain!
Life has also been full of house plans, garden clearance and fencing, revision, final exams, doctors appointments and diagnoses, walking 10k steps a day to fundraise for Cancer Research, and just the general minutiae of daily life!
Whilst all of these are good things, by the end of the day the most I’ve been able to manage is box-setting Madam Secretary (soooo good!) and a little knitting or tapestry.
The sock on the needles at the moment is my usual, and much loved, Regia pattern, however, I recently ventured a little off sock piste and tried a new pattern. I’m so glad I did. Although I have to confess that I was forced to do so as a result of picking up some luminous yarn that was on sale in John Lewis only to find it was 3 ply.
It was a serendipitous purchase, as it pushed me out of my comfort zone, if only by a smidge. Whilst there isn’t a massive amount of choice in 3 ply sock patterns, having found His Simple Socks by Elizabeth Seidle I didn’t feel like I was missing out. This is super pattern that is well written and easy to follow. The stitch pattern is simple enough for mindless tv knitting, but a little more engaging than plain stocking stitch.
The heel is reinforced which is a nice touch and pleasant to knit.
And I love how the toe, instep and heel look crisp against the patterned section.
Obviously we veered away from the sober, gentlemanly colour scheme of the original with this bold chartreuse. That’s how we roll in these parts.
I didn’t swatch. Which I should have done, as they came out a little on the snug side. Thankfully not too snug! But next time I’ll go up a needle size just to make them a little more relaxed.
Whilst I missed Woolfest, it’s not too long to wait until Yarndale, especially with the summer holidays looming large. When I’m there I think I’ll keep my eyes peeled for some lovely 3 ply yarns to make these again.
Pattern: His Simple Socks
Pattern cost: $3.50
Yarn: Bergère de France Goomy 50
Colourway: Imprim Jaun
Purchased at: John Lewis
Yarn cost: About £6
I know…I know. It’s glorious weather out there and here I am, still babbling on about winter woolies. But this was another yarnie gift from a friend. Thankfully this was only from the Christmas just gone!
There’s not much to say about the Gaptastic Cowl, other than it is a super simple knit, and a very wearable thing. It’s been knitted 18390 times, according to Ravelry. That many people can’t be wrong.
Before the delicious sunshine arrived, this was heavily in rotation to keep me toasty on the school run. I’d been planning to make it for forever and never got around to it. I wish I hadn’t waited so long!
The yarn is lush! It’s Debbie Bliss Winter Garden, which is sadly discontinued. It’s a shame because it’s just the perfect yarn for this cowl. Soft and cosy and lightweight. The colour is a misty grey blue with delicious flecks of turquoise, chartreuse and white.
Basically, it’s the perfect combination of pattern and yarn. And I love it!
With the temperatures today hitting the late 20’s, it is, of course, the perfect time to post a review of knitted hats and mitts. 😯
This yarn and pattern was a gift to me from my friend Christian at Christmas 2015, and they’ve been finished, so Ravelry tells me, since February 2017. So this post is long overdue. I hope you’ll humour me!
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before what a huge fan I am of Kate Davies, and I was keen to knit one of her patterns and try her Buachaille yarn too. So this was the best kind of gift from a friend who knows you well. I’m blessed with several of those.
Starting with the yarn, I have to say this is just about the nicest yarn I’ve ever knit with. It’s crisp and firm, with excellent stitch definition, and deep colour saturation. Hubby was bored senseless of me gushing every time I picked up this project, but the yarn is simply joyous to knit with.
It’s not cheap, but it’s an artisan yarn and, I think, well worth the money. I suspect this is going to be one of those yarns that lasts through much wear and tear, making it, in reality, much better value for money than less expensive, or squishier yarns, that frustratingly give up the ghost much sooner.
Having had a few of those experiences recently, I’m vowing that whilst the cheaper yarns are fine for the kids, who grow out of clothes rather than wear them out, for us grown ups I’ll be investing as much in the yarn as I do in the actually knitting of the garment.
The pattern is equally lovely.
Expertly written. Easy to read. Delightful to knit. Everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
I’m not an expert knitted of stranded colourwork, but Kate helped me produce a result that would fool anyone into thinking I was.
Oh those little goats! They are stupidly easy to knit and each one gives you a happy feeling as you knit the last row of its horn.
Miss Button is gazing wistfully at the hat. She does look adorable in it, so I may succumb to her entreaties.
But the gauntlets are mine. I’ll fight anyone to defend their glorious goatiness.
And as they’re stranded they are super cosy and warm.
I know it’s far too warm to be thinking of winter knits at the moment, but I’ll be smug when normal northern weather resumes and I’m already prepared.
Can I suggest you add these to your knit list for this Autumn? I promise you won’t regret it!
My life feels dominated by socks and hospital visits at the moment. This pair is just off the needles and I have two other pairs on the go. Our little man is on the mend, but his wound is still about 5 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. It’s a slow heal. So three times a week we are at the hospital changing dressings. There is invariably a long wait. That’s ok. We’re glad we don’t need the nurses urgently any more, and are more than happy to wait whilst they prioritise those that do.
Thankfully, a sock is a very portable project. We grab drinks from the coffee concession on our way in and check into the ward fully prepped for however long it takes.
Whilst my wee man was poorly in hospital I had a sock with me at all times. It’s tricky to concentrate on knitting with a sick small person in a hospital bed, as the interruptions are constant. But slowly, slowly, between obs, and while he slept, my hands turned one round of stitches, followed by another. And slowly, slowly, the sock grew. And each stitch was a moment of calm that took him closer to wellness.
A sock is also a great conversation starter. I met nurses who knitted but had never dared try a sock, nurses whose grandmothers had knit socks and who thought the art had died out. A student nurse who had only used a knitting frame and was intrigued to see how it was done “properly”. Small peeps whose fascination was wide eyed and intent. And worried mums were distracted for a few moments and transported to a place of calm and cosiness.
This is the pair of socks that I knitted by our boy’s bedside. That commanded attention and brought our little community behind the curtains together.
Who’d have thought a pair of simple socks could do so much?
Pattern: Regia 4 ply sock
Pattern cost: Free
Yarn: Stylecraft Head over Heels
Purchased at: & Sew What, Chorley
Yarn cost: About £7?
I do love a good cardigan for Button, and this certainly fits the bill!
It’s a super little pattern that is easy to knit, but you have that lovely lacy button ‘band’ at the front that gives it a certain lift.
The yarn is starting to pill slightly due to wear. I really must get the pill shaver on it soon. But I’d rather that than the garment languish in the drawer unworn!
This yarn is the perfect match for a pair of cotton trousers and print top that we bought from Next last summer. I’m really hoping she doesn’t outgrow them too quickly as they’re so cute. I think we’ll get away with the trousers looking adorably cropped, and the top will still be modest enough for her to get this spring out of the ensemble.
This ‘gathering’ is a simple technique but gives the overall garment a bit of shape and some interest to an otherwise plain back.
The 3/4 sleeves are perfect for spring and give a nice proportion.
I have no hesitation in recommending this pattern. It’s well written and easy to follow, an enjoyable knit that doesn’t need you to concentrate too hard, but the lace front detail takes the edge off the plain stocking stitch.
In fact, I like it so much I made a second version for Button’s school friend, who admired it when it was worn on a playdate!
Pattern cost: $6.60
Yarn: Cascade 220
Colourway: Smoke Blue and Dusty Rose
Purchased at: Loop London (No longer stocked by Loop)
Yarn cost: £5.99 per ball from Wool Warehouse
I finally get to share with you a finished project that isn’t a pair of socks. Hurrah!
Last Wednesday the sun shone brightly upon budding trees and jolly daffodils, and the wee small boy and I took George to the groomers, then popped into a local cafe for a rather splendid hot chocolate.
It was such a lovely day. Especially as he’d terrified us all the previous week by being rushed into hospital and needing an emergency appendectomy. The spring weather was the perfect opportunity to wrap him in his new Iggy sweater and grab a few shots. We’re ignoring that the shorts aren’t the best match….they were just the comfiest on the wound area.
I wish that was the end of his medical adventures, but on Saturday afternoon he developed a nasty post-op infection and was back on the ward for another surgery on Monday. He’s home with us now, snoring his head off as I type, but we have daily hospital visits at the moment to change the packing and dressings on the wound, as they had to leave it open to avoid further infection.
It’s been, quite frankly, bloody awful. I wouldn’t wish the past few weeks on my worst enemy, let alone a small boy. Thankfully, today he seems to have turned a corner. We are hopeful that the worst is over.
So pictures of a smiling boy in the sunshine in his special request jumper are a nice reminder that this too shall pass.
He had a very clear picture in his head of what he wanted. Having browsed my patterns to find a shape he liked, we drew out some stripes to get the idea out of his head an onto the needles.
The original pattern is Iggy, by Sarah Hatton. Apart from the stripes, the only change I’ve made to the pattern is to knit it in stocking stitch, rather than reverse stocking stitch.
It’s a quick and easy knit and the details of yarn can be found on my Ravelry page.
Needless to say, I have socks back on the needles again!
For the last couple of weeks life has been even more chaotic than usual. Which is the only reason I can think of that I thought it would be a reasonable and sensible thing to put my Boxy sweater on a 400 spin in the washing machine before laying it out to dry.
I heard that sharp intake of breath!
It was an insane thing to do and this is how it looks today. It is wearable…I wore it out and about today to check out the fit and nobody pointed and laughed! But it just feels a bit off. So I think the best option will be to cut the bottom off, lose a couple of inches, pick up the stitches and reknit the hem rib.
The only upside is that it’s possibly less likely to droop going forwards.That’s not a good enough upside in my book.
Take it from me…DO NOT put your hand-wash only hand-knits in the washing machine.