Posted in Uncategorized

Book Review #2: The Knitter’s Life List

I feel the need to preface this review with a brief insight into my personality. I’m very goal oriented. I like checking off to do lists, completing challenges, getting all of the achievements in video games (at least until I’ve realized I wasted 30 hours on one achievement and stop), and gaining certificates in whatever arena I can. So when I saw this book had checklists, I immediately fell in love with it.

Pros:

While you get a lot basics in knitting as a skill from the Start-up Library: Knitting course, I’d say this book is an introduction to knitting culture. It covers fiber types, along with brief visuals on how it’s made. You get an idea of the who’s who, knitting giants and all the stars in the knitting community. It covers looking at local yarn shops and fiber festivals and brief glimpses of knitting as a world wide culture, not just your local knitting group. The book looks at knitting for charity and the different sub-sections of knitting, like brioche and fair isle knitting. And for each section, there’s a type of bucket list of things to explore, people to meet, skills to learn, and experiences to have. What I like most about the book is how welcoming it is. The tone is like an enthusiastic club member welcoming you to your first meeting. The writer wants you to feel at home and wants to provide you with a crash course on the knitting world. It’s truly something I would highly recommend.

Cons:

There are a few technical sections in the book and people unfamiliar with the book’s true goal may take it as an all-inclusive skill builder. It’s not. This is 100% about the culture of knitting, not the skill of knitting. Also, those who are compulsive completionists may balk at the sheer number of entries on the list. Try to think of it as a jumping off point meant for inspiration, not a comprehensive list that you MUST complete.

Verdict:

I personally would highly recommend buying it if you are a new or intermediate knitter. Veterans may also find useful tidbits in here, but I think a library rental would be best first. For everyone else though, I think it’s a must-have.

Does this sound like a book you want? Click on the picture below to buy it!

Posted in Uncategorized

Super Quick Post

So, I’m really starting to get into those really cheap sites like Wish. I’ve noticed that Wish has a variety of craft items available and I think I’m going to buy some and do a review. However, the yarn gets really expensive if I want to buy enough to actually make anything significant. It’s really hard to tell what the fiber content is of the yarn. Overall, I think I’m looking at two separate purchases.

Anyone have sites like Wish or discount yarn sites to share? This summer I’m going to go to some local yarn shops and give reviews, but I would like some sites too, to give a nice variety of views.

If no one has any sites, I guess that’s another post to add to the list of future posts.

Posted in Uncategorized

Free Knitting Patterns

Below are 30 websites which provide free knitting patterns. Enjoy!


  1. Drops Design
  2. Red Heart
  3. Knitting Help Website
  4. Yarnspirations
  5. WEBS
  6. Love Knitting
  7. Knit Picks
  8. All Free Knitting
  9. Noble Knits
  10. Purl Soho
  11. Yarn Plaza
  12. Ravelry
  13. Lion Brand
  14. Plymouth Yarn
  15. Interweave
  16. Vogue Knitting
  17. Mama In A Stitch
  18. Laughing Hens
  19. Biscotte YarnsBiscotte Yarns
  20. Knitting Pattern Central
  21. Craftsy
  22. Free Patterns
  23. Wool and the Gang
  24. Fave Crafts
  25. Deramores
  26. Numei
  27. In the Loop
  28. Australian Yarn Company
  29. Knitting Board
  30. Let’s Knit
Posted in Uncategorized, yarn

My Current Knitting Horde

I’m in a Master’s of Library and Information Science program right now and just started a course on collection development. The instructor asked everyone to post a picture of their collection, so I shared my yarn collection. After I did that, I thought, why not share it with all of you.

To be fair, I didn’t buy all of this. My mom was interested in a variety of yarn crafts all while I was growing up and even now as an adult, I still see her crochet from time to time. However, she buys a lot of her yarn on a whim (the But-it’s-on-sale! syndrome) and then never uses it. So, once I started knitting she just let me have it. Granted, I have gone on a few shopping sprees at Michaels, so I did buy about half of my current collection.

Posted in Uncategorized

Craftsy Class Review: Start-up Library: Knitting

Today we will be looking at the Craftsy class Start-up Library: Knitting hosted by Susan B. Anderson. I recently bought Craftsy Unlimited for a year and I’m really enjoying the classes, so I thought it would be nice for those looking to buy classes from Craftsy to have a review to read, to determine if it’s something they want to put their money toward. I was originally saving this once I had been approved as a Craftsy affiliate, but they denied my application. I think maybe this blog is too young for it to qualify so I might try again later. However, I still wanted to provide this review because the information is still fresh in my mind.All right, let’s get into the review.

Pros
This is a truly a solid foundation class. It covers yarn types, needle types, continental style, English style, increasing, decreasing and a lot more. You’re not going to find anything fancy in this class, the increasing and decreasing methods are the most basic you can get but are stitches that you will use quite a bit. Anderson also provides cast on and bind off methods, however, she only provides one for each. Something I really liked about the class is that Anderson walks you through three different projects and basically guides you through the process of making fingerless mitts, an infinity scarf, and a hat. And in this walkthrough, she showcases how to finish a garment, how to get a gauge in your knitting, and how to read a pattern. While you can get pretty much all of these basic skills on youtube for free, Anderson’s approach is really soft and supportive. While teaching you how to perform a certain task she’ll throw in some information on common mistakes and vocabulary (I learned what tinking and frogging is from her videos.) She also covers common mistakes, stressing not to panic and provides easy ways around the situation, which is separate from the fixing mistakes video. Overall, while the class is basic, it’s a very nice foundation in knitting and Susan B. Anderson makes it fun and relaxing to watch. You can get a feel for her personality in the preview video.

Craftsy Start-up library2

Cons
The class is $70…SEVENTY-MOTHERF–KING-DOLLARS?! Don’t get me wrong, the class is really nice and fun to watch and it gives great information, but $70 worth? It only covers one cast on, one bind off, one decreasing method and one increasing method. Plus, some other knitting basics. The thing is though if you have already bought a book on knitting before, or you’ve taken a class on knitting, this class does not yield nearly enough information to justify its price. This is for the beginner of all beginners. You would need to be so new to knitting that you don’t even have a pair of knitting needles yet, to justify this price. And even then, is it still worth the $70 when you could buy books, DVDs, or take classes for less money? If this were a more advanced class, I would probably say yes, but the information in this class can be found all over youtube (although probably not nearly as well done, but that’s beside the point). The price point is easily the biggest and most limiting con of this class.

Verdict
If you are brand new to knitting and have a Craftsy coupon, I would highly suggest getting this class. It’s informative and provides a warm welcome to newcomers. If you are between the beginner and easy project stage, and you can get this class on one of Craftsy’s $20 for all classes days, I would still say get this class. If you are an intermediate or advanced knitter, this is easily too basic for you. However, I don’t think anyone, unless you are in the middle of nowhere, without bookstores, or yarn shops, should pay $70 for this class. If you are the person in the middle of nowhere, it may be worth the price.

Posted in General

How to Get Knitting Patterns for Free

Honestly, I think the single most underused resource for knitters is the library. Do you ever find that one pattern on Ravelry and realize that it’s in a book you don’t want to buy? Fear no more. Follow these steps and you can get that pattern for free.

Step #1: Find a Scanner:

I would highly recommend buying one for yourself, but not everyone has that option. See if someone close to you has one. If not, check out your local library, most have a scanner that you can borrow to upload files to your own USB drive. It should be free to use but maybe a little tricky to understand. The librarian should be able to help you.

Note: You can also use a copier. Libraries have these too and you typically get a certain number of free pages per day. I prefer scanning because then I have a more reliable copy and I’m not solely dependant on a paper pattern.

Step #2

Go to WorldCat and see if a library near you has the book. If they don’t, DON’T PANIC! Libraries have interlibrary loan systems, which means they will borrow it from another library for you, (it could even be several states away!) you then check it out from your local library. You can return it to your local library too, they’ll take care of everything else.

books-library-students-12064.jpg

Step #3

Using the scanner or copier you found in step one, copy the pattern you want. It’s not illegal, you are completely able to do this without getting into any trouble so long as you don’t sell the pattern, claim it as your own, or post it online. Three simple rules and you can copy or scan as many patterns as you want.

adult-art-blue-312591.jpg

Bonus Information:

Most libraries have a limit of 100 books. To save you some time, you can check out a couple dozen, bookmark what you want and copy or scan them all in one day.

Super Bonus Information:

Most libraries have ebooks that you can check out! There’s often some on knitting or other crafts you may be interested in. The library’s website will let you know about any programs you need to download. At that point, you can screenshot the patterns you want and you’re good to go!

Posted in Sites

Craft Site Review: Ravelry

Today, we’ll be taking a look at Ravelry. Ravelry, as you may or may not know, is a social media platform for knitters, crocheters, and spinners to share patterns, projects, and yarn stashes. There are a TON of features to Ravelry, so let’s unpack the good and bad of the website.

Ravelry

Pros:
There are a TON of patterns, hundreds of thousands for you to peruse and many of them are absolutely free. Along with the patterns is information of the yarn used, and a difficulty gauge on the left side of the screen. Those that used radically different yarns often post pictures of their finished product and you can see how different textures and yarn weights produce differences within the finished product. You can save as many of these patterns as you want for later and filter through them based on yardage, fiber type, yarn weight, and more. It’s also a fantastic way to keep track of your yarn stash as you can input every yarn you have, and how much in the site and search for it later depending on what you’re looking for. You can keep track of projects and share your progress with others. Overall, a very nice website when it comes to the personal side of things.

Ravelry2

Cons
The social side leaves a bit to be desired. There are a ton of groups, but most of them aren’t very active, you can also become friends with others, but I haven’t really found anything worthwhile by friending someone. I think this may be, at least partly, due to my own personality. I’m not usually the type to strike up a conversation with people. I feel like I’m being invasive if I dm them, even on a public site. I really prefer to get to know people in a group setting before I speak with them one on one. This is why I join the groups, but it doesn’t seem to be working for me. Depending on the type of social person you are, you may have more luck. If you are outgoing, I’m sure you’ll make lots of friends. For those of us who tend to lurk before engaging, the site doesn’t have much to offer in the way of social interaction.

Ravelry has something for everyone and I hope you’ll check it out. I’m not the type to approach others, but if you are an outgoing person, feel free to message me on Ravelry and share your projects!

Posted in Fiber, Uncategorized

Spotlight Fiber: Merino Wool

Merino wool first appeared in North Africa before the sheep eventually settled in Spain in the 12th century. From that point, Spanish breeders worked at breeding the best sheep for wool. During this time and up until the 17th century, Merino sheep were exclusive to Spain. This is because Spain had cornered the market on wool textiles with the wool made from Merino sheep and as such, refused to allow export of these animals. The hold was so important for Spain that any attempt to export the sheep was punishable by death, although the actual statistics on this front I’m unsure of.

The Napoleonic Wars brought an end to this textile monopoly, and the Merino wool trade branched out to the US, Germany, and Australia. Although how it reached each of these new countries varies. From the sources I found, there was note that Spain became aware of the growing peril from the upheaval caused by the wars, and sought a deal with the US. Another story, speaks of tradesman taking subpar sheep for food to Australia, the tradesman then either sold the sheep or started up a business of their own, I’m unsure which, as my research didn’t yield a precise answer.

So how is all this processed? Rather than make you read a few paragraphs on that, I thought a nice video would be better, here are a few interesting videos I found.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.simplymerino.com/The-History-of-Merino-Wool_b_7.html

https://www.merino.com/wool/the-fibre/the-history-of-merino-wool/

https://www.littleflockofhorrors.com/blog/a-short-history-of-merino-wool

https://unboundmerino.com/blogs/unbound-merino/the-history-of-merino-wool

http://www.orvis.com/s/the-benefits-and-history-of-merino-wool/14132