So Pretty! Crochet: Review & Giveaway

Hello! Gracious, where does the time go? When I got in touch with Amy about her new book, So Pretty! Crochet, many many weeks ago (ouch!), I had the best intentions of getting this giveaway up and running. I appreciate her patience as life has taken over here. I love back to school time for the fresh-start feel and that is what I intend to do here with my blog.

In the last 3-4 years I have been working on my crochet skills. I have the basics down and have a few finished items under my belt. I do not consider myself a newbie, though I do still rely heavily on reference materials as I work a project. When I first flipped through So Pretty! Crochet, I found many projects that I wanted to try! The styling and photographs draw you in and you really will say “Oooh, that is so pretty!” Among the 24 projects, there is a nice mix of accessories, small wearables and home decor. The projects are all current and trendy. The projects are designed by indie designers, and each pattern in introduced by the designer with links of where to find them online at their etsy site, blog, or twitter. The materials used in the projects meet a range of price points. I decided to give the Windowpane Cuff, by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, a try. This pattern has written and charted directions (awesome – for whatever reason, I am getting the hang of crochet charts much easier than the written directions! Knitting charts were not this easy for me!). I used some leftover Koigu sock yarn. I think it took me longer to decide on buttons than it did to actually work up the cuff! I am pleased with the results. I can see where I can still improve on my crochet skills, but that is expected! It fits Lorelai’s lower leg quite well (the things we do for a good picture sometime!) and she kept it on for a while – fancy dress up, tah-dah!
Cuff
This is a hardcover book and I love the sturdiness and beauty that adds, but I do wish it was spiral bound to help the pages lay flat. I also wish more projects from the book were up on Ravelry, certainly in time that will happen. You can look inside the book on amazon. This book does have basic instructions for crochet techniques which is handy for someone like me, but it is not a “Learn to crochet” book.
In the meantime, I am thinking about trying the I-cord bracelet (crochet i-cord! I never knew there was such a thing!), and I am wondering about the Pastelito Necklace (the bottom picture on the designer’s blog) using some of my sock yarn leftovers.
Amy very kindly sent me this book and one to giveaway! Please leave a comment on this post (I have changed the comment settings, so everyone should be able to comment!) – Do you crochet? Do you have a crochet tip for me? Make sure I am able to get in touch with you if you win – an email or Ravelry id. I will draw a winner next Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Cast On, Bind Off Blog Tour

When I attended the Knitter’s Review retreat back in 2010, part of the weekend included a trip to Storey Publishing!  I was so excited to be contacted to participate in the Cast On, Bind Off blog tour! They sent me a copy of this new little resource to review and giveaway, isn’t that nice?

So what do I think of this book? My first thought was that it was so small! This book is only 6″ x 7″, just right to have tucked into your project bag or sitting nearby when you start or finish your project.  The pictures are fantastic, which for me is HUGE. There is also a spiral binding so the pages will lay flat while you are working (why why why don’t more knitting books come like this?!) I am a self-taught knitter, and left-handed to boot. Good photographs and descriptions help me reverse what I need to do in order to achieve the right results.

 Each technique has the cast on or bind off name, aliases, and a brief description of the characteristics and when you would want to use it. There are photos of the front and back of the edge. Then you are taken stepwise through working each technique and tips to “Get it Right”. The front cover has an index of the cast ons and the back cover has the index of the bind offs, clever!

 My default cast-on is usually the long tail cast on, but from this book I am now in search of a project that would require something else – I love the look of the “Tricolor Braided Cast On”. I have been meaning to try a color work project, and never thought that the cast on could be multicolored as well! I also find that even after knitting for 10 years, I still need to look up how to Kitchener and I-Cord bind offs. This book will be staying close by my work area especially for those photos and steps.

Would you like to receive a copy of this book for your own resource library? Please leave a comment with a way to get in touch (either email or Ravelry id will work). Do you know of a color work project on which I could try this Tricolor Braided Cast On? Is there a cast on or bind off that stumps you? A winner will be drawn next Thursday, July 26!

You don’t have to take my word for it, I’m just one stop on this blog tour. Check out what these bloggers and designers have to say about Cast On, Bind Off too!

7/9         Picnic Knits
7/10       Knit and Tonic
7/11       Zeneedle
7/12       Rambling Designs
7/13       Rambling Designs (pt. 2: Leslie Ann guest post)
7/14       Neo Knits
7/15       Knit & Nosh
7/16       Knitting at Large
7/17       Rebecca Danger
7/18       Lapdog Creations
7/19       Nutmeg Knitter
7/20       Yarnagogo
7/21       Weekend Knitter
7/22       knitgrrl
7/23       It’s a Purl, Man
7/24       Whip Up
7/25       Knitspot
7/26       Under the Humble Moon
7/27       Knitting Daily
7/28       Knitting School Dropout
7/29       Hugs for Your Head

7/30       The Knit Girllls

"I am Hutterite" – Book Review

“I Am Hutterite” by Mary-Ann Kirkby
From the booksneeze.com website and Thomas Nelson publishing company:
**A fascinating journey into the heart and culture of a reclusive religious community.

“I Am Hutterite” takes readers into the hidden heart of the little-known Hutterite colony where author Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. When she was ten, her parents packed up their seven children and a handful of possessions and left the colony to start a new life. Overnight they were thrust into a world they didn’t understand, a world that did not understand them.

With great humor, Kirkby describes how she adapted to popular culture, and with raw honesty she describes her family’s deep sense of loss for their community. More than a history lesson, I Am Hutterite is a powerful tale of retracing steps and understanding how our beginnings often define us.**

I am very happy that this was one of the choices over on booksneeze.com. I hadn’t heard of the book, nor had I heard of Hutterites, but I like a good memoir and the idea of having to endure such a radical culture shift from religious colony to “English” in 1969 sounded really interesting. I devoured this book in 3 days – I found so much of the detail of colony life to be so engaging, if a bit slow to start (though in reading before bed I found it quite calming – maybe that’s the qualities of the Hutterites coming through?) I had a bit of trouble in the beginning keeping all the relatives straight, but it didn’t take away from the story. There is a family tree in the back of the book, along with a glossary for the Hutterite language sprinkled throughout the book – I wish that had been placed in the front of the book for my own reference. The book details life on the colony, her grandparents, parents and siblings, but I felt stopped short when it came to life outside of the colony. We are told of the authors early years in “English” school (middle school / early high school), but I would have liked to learn more about her adjustments into the outside culture and her trips back to the colony. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and I plan to share this with family and friends (Wife, “Mom”, Knitter – I’ll bring it to knitting for you!).
I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program in exchange for a fair review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”