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Monday, May 31, 2010


If you read my DS interview with Nancy Marchant, the author of Knitting Brioche, you know that I am a huge fan of brioche family of stitches. Although I use these stitches since I was about 10 years old, I always was looking for a reference book that covers decreases, increases, and more advanced techniques in these simple to knit yet complicated when you want to shape your working piece stitches.
When Nancy's book came out, I was thrilled. The subtitle of this book is The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch. It really sums it up. There are 5 chapters in this book: Working Brioche Stitch Using One Color, Working Brioche Stitch Using More than One Color, Brioche Stitchionary, The Design Elements of Brioche Knitting, and Projects.
The names of these chapters are self-explanatory. You will find that this book can be used on many different levels. You can be introduced to brioche and learn how to knit these stitches from it. In case you are familiar with this family of stitches, you will learn more technique-wise and see brioche in work when you are making some of the wonderful designs offered by the author.
My favorite part of this book is incredible photo illustrations. Everything looks so doable and not intimidating. First 172 pages of the book are devoted to techniques and suggestions, learning the chart symbols, trying different stitches, working with a single color, or mixing a few colors in your work. I also appreciated a little history note. I love to know the origin of the craft. Here is something that I appreciated since I own some Delft Blauw. This hat is one of 25 designs in the book and is called Delft's Blauw. There are many interesting and very inspiring designs that show brioche in its best. This is definitely a keeper for me. It has found its place on my shelf among the classics in knitting. Thank you, Nancy for this gift to any knitter.

Techknitter's Tulip buttonhole in Interweave Knits

Knitting Daily, a free daily online magazine, came today with a great video. In it Eunny Jang explains the new way to make a very nice looking and very functional buttonhole.

A Techknitter did it again! I love her website and illustrations. Very clever and clear.
I just finished one project with buttonholes and I had exactly 8 sts for my button band, so Eunny's example would have been great for me. I did it differently, as I knew it and it looks very nice, but I always want to learn more. So, enjoy the lesson from Eunny and the Techknitter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From Carpets to Jourabs

There is a very interesting article in the Crochet Insider written by Larisa Vilenksy. It tells us about a certain areas in Middle Asia where people were and even are now in some villages wearing very thick and incredibly gorgeous socks. They are worn instead of boots and are very warm. In these areas one of the main craft industries is a carpet making. The patterns and yarns used for carpets find their way to "jourabs" making. There are many different small countries in that part of the world and people are taking pride in their socks that are called differently according to the language of that particular region. Larisa gives us a wonderful overview of this craft and makes us want to research this topic even more.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What is an American? U-Tube Video by Josh Blum

My niece's son, Josh Blum, a senior from Jamestown High School just won first prize in the High Street Video Essay contest! I am very proud of him and in awe.

La Bella Tunica makes rounds

Cascade Yarns talks about my design on their blog. I am very happy with this design and hope to see some projects made by people. It is always exciting because every knitter chooses her/ his own color and sometimes yarn to make the sweater, so they all come out differently. On I can see 170 projects of my Sweet Honey Beret and it is wonderful.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Coming soon

I feel like I am a TV announcer today. I just wanted to tell my readers that I have a few book reviews coming, some very exciting interviews with designers on DS, and... some book giveaways. Meanwhile I am finishing my semester at work. Only finals are left at this point. It is always a very difficult time emotionally for me. After teaching so many people over 16 weeks you get to know some of them well, they got to know me and my teaching style, the class atmosphere is just where it should be to learn and we have to say goodbye. On top of this there are some students who come to my office and, if you watch the scene that is going on, you would think that you are watching a good comedy. Here is an example:
A student comes in. He is a tall and very quite guy who did not talk to me about his grade all semester long (and he should have). Now he (we will call him M)says:"I wanted to talk to you, so I prepared something that I am going to read". He begins reading his phrases one-by-one looking at me in between.
I: "Sure, have a seat".

M (reading):"I know that I am not a very good student."
"I always came to class."
"I realize that I probably not going to pass this time"
"If I fail, do you mind if I take this class with you again?"
"I just wanted to see if there is any chance that I will get a "C" this time."

I: "Well, M, let me show you your grades on the computer. You have an "F" for homework for the semester, an "F" for all 12 quizzes, an "F" for 3 tests... I can't really see the way to give you a "C" for this class. I cannot even give you a "D". Sorry, but it is too late to talk about the grade now."
M(very surprised): "So, there is no chance for me to pass the class?"

At this point I am expecting him to ask: "What about "B" or "A"?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Experiment

Up to this point I always designed on my needles. This is the first time that I am actually not talking but doing differently. Since I had 5 designs all due this months it was not conceivable for me to do it in any other way. Notes as I work on the project will not do the trick. I had to organize myself and started an Excel sheet for each of my projects. Instead of doing my usual format, I wrote all the logical steps with the count of sts and rows at the point. Just like I am writing the pattern. Did I mention that I LOVE EXCEL!! ? It is such a powerful program! I am grading for about 7 sizes if it is a garment. To tell you the truth I did not find this way harder (remember that I am not seeing what I have on my needles at the moment I write) even quite contrary: it made me at ease. I can change my design elements as I go to fit all the applicable sizes. From now on this is the only way I am going to design. In Russian we say:"Век живи, век учись." In English one of the ways you can say this proverb is :"You can learn as long as you live."
Here is a little teaser for you. Can't show the projects now, sorry.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New pattern: Nostalgia

When I say that this pattern is new I smile. The reason is that I made this top a year ago and had to wait to talk about it until it is published. It is officially published by Claudia Hand Painted yarns and at this point you can get it through the yarn shops that sell this yarn. Soon the pattern will be available online as well. The yarn I used is called Cotton Ball. It is a wonderful yarn to work with and very nice and cool for the summer. I made sure it will be cool by placing lacy pattern in front and in the back :) It is not a beginner project since the lace is used, but it is not a difficult one either. This tank is knitted from the bottom up in the round, so there are no seams at all. Wide straps are done separately and attached to the body with some gathering that makes the top even more gentle and feminine.
You can see another picture of this top in the ad for Claudia Hand Painted Yarns
in the Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2010. I do not have that photo, but here is the ad. You can see it much better in the magazine itself, of course.