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Filtering by Tag: book review

Book Review: Sherlock Knits by Joanna Johnson

Andrea Sanchez

I'm happy to share with you today a new book, Sherlock Knits by Joanna Johnson! You might know her from Phoebe Knits or Henry's Hat. This newest book of Joanna's is not a picture book, but a complete book of patterns inspired by Sherlock Holmes!

I want to start by saying I think the best thing about this book is that there is something for everyone. This 10 piece collection includes garments, accessories, and home items. I love that these pieces are inspired by Sherlock Holmes (I earned an English degree in my previous collegiate life so I have a strong and proud nerdy side) but yet they are still so attainable for a knitter who might not be as big a fan. 

Socks for Mary is probably my favorite piece from this collection and the one that I want to cast on for as soon as I can! These socks are knit from the cuff down and feature and relatively easy lace and texture pattern. They are available to knit in two sizes and have both written and charted instructions (that's just the best). I am super taken with the lace pattern and think these socks are just the right amount of lacy, understated glamour. 

Scotland Yard Vest is another favorite and has me seriously considering doing the math to size this to fit my kiddo! The herringbone colorwork thrills me. Can you imagine all the color combinations?! This vest comes in adult sizes 36" chest circumference to 48". While it is intended for men, I believe, I follow Joanna on Instagram and she has been knitting on for herself. She's modified it for a woman by adding some waist shaping and I have to say, it's looking pretty smart. 

Copper Beeches Cowl is one of the pieces that will appeal to all knitters. How beautiful is this cowl?? So simple and elegant. If you can only knit one accessory this season, let it be this. It's also knit in one of my favorite yarns, TECHNO from Blue Sky Alpacas. This yarn is a bulky weight but light as a feather. 

There are still more great patterns from this collection. You like shawls? Check out Speckled Band Shawl. It is just the sweetest shawl (shawlette?). Are you looking for a more classic men's sweater? What about a Sweater for John? I've come to really love some great garter stitch placement. 

Take a few minutes to check out these patterns on Ravelry and tell me which is your favorite! I'd love to hear what you'll be making first. 

Book Review: Grown by Kate Oates

Andrea Sanchez

I am so thrilled to be sharing a new book with you today! Grown by Kate Oates features a collection of modern and sophisticated grown-up versions of some of her most popular designs. 

I have been a fan of Kate's children's designs since I first saw the Gramps Cardigan. You may also remember that Kate was one of Knittin' Little's first contributing designers back with her Grove Pullover from the fall of last year. I loved the simple shape of that pullover, and especially loved the all-over texture and elbow/shoulder patches, so of course I'm totally drawn to Downtown Pullover

One thing about Kate's patterns, and this book is no exception, is the great amount of support and detail included. Kate includes elbow and shoulder patch templates for you to use (yay! No measuring!) as well as info on how to stitch them onto the finished garment, and how to install a zipper.

This is such a great men's sweater! If you knit for guys I'd definitely check this one out. 

But Grown is also full of just. so. many. GORGEOUS women's sweaters. Take the Grace Wrapper for example. I love how elegantly casual this piece is. When I am planning knitwear I know that whatever adult piece I make must be sophisticated enough for  me to wear to work (not that teaching kindergarten is super sophisticated, but you get what I mean). This is totally it. 

I can absolutely see myself layering this over spring dresses well into the fall. This wrap sweater would make a great piece to help transition your wardrobe. It's also knit with one of my favorite yarns, YOTH Big Sister. This stuff is just so dreamy to knit with.

And of course I'm dying over the cover sweater, Jesse's Girl.

When I say sophisticated, this is it. I am over the moon in love with how Kate grew up the Jesse Half-Zip. This sweater is stylish, classic, with still so many modern details (that scoop neck?! Side ribbing?!). To top it off, she used one of my favorite yarns (Anzula For Better or Worsted) for this sweater. That yarn is absolutely grown up, with an amazing luxury blend (Merino, cashmere, and nylon anyone?), and a beautiful hand-dyed sheen. You guys. I'm swooning over here just talking about it. 

Also to hit my must knit list is Sidewalk Sweater

This sweater, knit in another great hand-dyed yarn (Lorna's Laces Cloudgate) looks comfortable, but grown up enough that you can wear it out and still look pulled together. I love that it is paired with skinny jeans and booties because that is totally how I would wear it (and that's how I imagine I would look, although there would probably be dog fur stuck to my jeans and baby food smeared on me, but whatevs). 

There are still six more pieces in this book so please hop over to her Ravelry page and take a look at all of them. Come back here and leave me a comment telling me which is your favorite and you could win a copy of Grown! This contest runs through November 30th.

If you can't wait, head over to Tot Toppers and purchase your own copy. The ebook is available right NOW and the hard copy (which comes with the ebook version and some special goodies) is in preorder and will ship early in January. 

I'm going to give my LYS a visit this weekend for some yarn for the Jesse's Girl and maybe even join the KAL Kate is hosting in her group. There are prizes just for casting on and showing a photo! How easy is that? You know I love easy KALs! Will you be joining as well?

Book Review: Henry's Hat

Andrea Sanchez

Jessica Anderson likes to design fun and quirky knitting patterns that are easy to finish. She enjoys being home with her 5 children and her supportive husband, and coffee. Lots of coffee. To find out more about her work and many adventures- in knitting and homeschooling, you can find her at: www.allinadaysfun.blogspot.com, and on Ravelry as MonkeyButtBabies.

We are huge fans of Joanna Johnson’s story and knit books in my house. When we made our cross country move a few years ago, Phoebe Mouse was our companion who made the journey so much easier because she was so excited to visit all the new yarn shops we would encounter (after a teary goodbye to our local favorites) and the book, Phoebe’s Sweater kept us entertained during the long car ride while providing lots of learning opportunities. Freddie’s Blanket was a favorite storybook when my fourth was born, and the Envelope Blanket is one of my favorite knits of all times. I just adore the pictures of my youngest two wrapped in their blanket and my midwife insisted on using it for the youngest first swaddle once he was dry. One of these days I will knit a Freddie (especially since I have the little boy overalls ready to go for my littlest). Needless to say, we are huge Slate Falls Press fans in my house and were delighted to see the newest book, Henry’s Hat. Joanna graciously sent me a review copy in the mail.

    Henry’s Hat is written by husband and wife, Eric and Joanna Johnson. The story is so sweet and the illustrations are absolutely charming. Henry is an adorable little chipmunk who has a favorite hand-knit hat. In the process of helping his family gather their winter food, his hat goes missing. He looks all over, visiting his animal friends in hopes of finding his hat. At the end of the book, there are knitting patterns to make Henry’s Hat, Henry’s Letter Sweater, and a Henry Chipmunk stuffed toy (with the sweetest little matching sweater and pants that accommodate a chipmunk tail!). I was able to see the samples in person at TNNA this past January and they are even more adorable in person. 

    My youngest was not quite as interested in the story as he was in looking at the pictures (he is only 22 months, so his attention span is rather short). His favorite part was the cat on the back cover that looks exactly like our cat, “Leonard” (he and the cat are best frenemies and his finds “cat” everywhere). The 4 year old, though, loved both the pictures and the story. This one has been in reading rotation since it arrived at our house a few weeks ago, which means she really likes it. She’s also quite captivated by the illustrations and she loves finding the “knitting animal.” The baby absolutely loves the illustrations and finding things he recognizes in them. Much like Phoebe and Freddie, Henry loves the same things that all children encounter on a daily basis: building blocks, superhero capes, and outdoors fun. 

    I think one of the most fun things about this book are finding all the hidden surprises in the pictures! I love the granny square blanket that is used to help make a tent, the play cape Henry wears with his romper pjs, the knitting animals and the little otter who is wearing one of those old-time striped bathing suits. Then, there are all the lovely knits the animals wear to their Thanksgiving feast: shawls, vests, sweaters, cardigans- such a lovely buffet of hand knits!

    If you are a fan of the Phoebe and Freddie books, you will definitely want to add Henry’s Hat to your collections. If you haven’t met the adorable animals in the Slate Falls Press books, you will definitely want to meet Henry. I cannot wait to cast on for a stuffed Henry to share with my littles. There is nothing quite like a stuffed friend to really help the story come alive. And if your little has ever lost their favorite hand knit hat, they will definitely relate to this story and enjoy it.

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Penguin in Love

Andrea Sanchez

Jessica Anderson likes to design fun and quirky knitting patterns that are easy to finish. She enjoys being home with her 5 children and her supportive husband, and coffee. Lots of coffee. To find out more about her work and many adventures in knitting and homeschooling, you can find her at: www.allinadaysfun.blogspot.com, and on Ravelry as MonkeyButtBabies. 

I have a weakness when it comes to children's books, particularly when it comes to requests from my children to buy them yet another story to read together. However, I am so glad that my little one's love of penguins led us to buying "Penguin in Love" by Salina Yoon (affiliate link). Not only is it an adorable story with penguins, it's about knitting penguins! Also, the timing for this book is perfect as it continues with the "Mitten" theme and will give you a chance to visit some of those activities you might have missed during The Mitten series or to finish up knitting your mittens.

In this story, Penguin finds a lost mitten and goes in search of it's owner. He of course wants to find who knitted this lovely mitten and to find its match. Elsewhere, Bootsy the penguin knits cozies because "Knitting warmed her lonely heart." Both of the penguins knit for their animal friends who are cold and need bill cozies, or sweaters to keep them warm and dry. Their animal friends decide to do something nice for them in return, helping these two penguins find their own perfect matches. When the penguins discover their yarn is missing, they are taken on an adventure that has a happy ending.

This little book has so much fun packed into its pages--hand knits for all, yarn bombing, and a whale of a sweater. It comes in board book form, making it perfect for little hands. The text is simple and easy to follow, but not rhyming. It is perfect for you littles who like penguins and arctic animals. It is also a wonderful chance to have a sweet knitting story on the book shelves.

I don't know about yours, but my little ones absolutely love it when I when I have a little surprise that goes along with our story, and this one has lots of options. You could definitely stick with the mitten theme and finish whipping up that pair of mittens (and if for some reason one goes missing, you can always repurpose the remaining mitten as a bill cozy for you puffins during winter play). If your little one likes friends of the stuffed variety, there are several penguin patterns to choose from. One of my favorites is "Egg to Penguin" in Susan B. Anderson's Topsy-Turvey-Inside Out Knit Toys. This one is so much fun and a huge hit at my house, because the little penguin can either be an egg, or it hatches as a sweet little penguin friend. This one knits up quickly and provides hours of fun.

If you are really up for a knitting adventure, my little penguin fan inspired my pattern, "Happy Penguin Sweater." I received many penguin pictures of the time this design was developed and had to work the face several times before it met my little critics' approval. Skacel's HiKoo is a wonderful yarn for littles. The colors were spot-on, it met an "it isn't itchy" thumbs up right off the bat and it has been easy to wash. This pattern will cover all your little penguins, from Newborn to size 10, so no penguin is left out!