Knitting Book of the Month

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“Cast On, Bind Off,” by Leslie Ann Bestor (Storey Publishing, $16.95) is a little gem of a book — just 5 1/2 inches by 7 inches — that begs to be be tucked in a knitting bag and carried with you always. And for good reason. It walks you through cast-ons for every need. They’re grouped by All-Purpose, Ribbing (moderate stretch), Ribbing (a lot of stretch), End-of-Row, Super Stretchy (socks, hats, mittens, lace), Decorative, Temporary & Hems, Toe-Up Socks and Circular. Bind offs are split into All-Purpose, Lace, Decorative, Stretchy Ribbed (toe-up  socks, top-down garments, neck openings) and Specific Use. As many as nine different techniques are in each category. (And one of the cast-ons is the legendary Judy’s Magic Cast On. That alone is worth the price of the book for any toe-up sock knitter.)

Each  technique has clear, close-up color photos, excellent step-by-step directions and notes on the technique’s characteristics, alternative names and what it’s good for, plus possible pitfalls and how to avoid them. The book’s got a partially concealed wire binding, which means you can keep it flat while working from it, and the print’s big and clear. It’s a rare thing to see so much valuable information packed into such a small space and such a useful format.

Truly, every part of this book was designed with ease of use in mind. The inside front cover groups the cast ons by type, and the back cover does the same for the bind offs. The index breaks it down still further. If you look under, say, “Hats,” you’ll see first a list of suitable bind offs, then the cast ons. Beautiful. The photos show the end result from both the front and the back. It’s a great feature that I’d never seen before in a knitting book, and seeing it made it clear that this book was put together by someone who knows exactly how much of a pain it is to pick out a bind off once you’ve realized you’ve done the wrong one.

I’ve seen a number of these techniques elsewhere, but never all of them together, and absolutely never in such a clear, easy-to-use format. This is a must for any knitter’s library. You’ll go back to it time and again, and you’ll never again have a glorious project wrecked by the wrong technique. (Anyone who’s ended up with a too-tight bind off on a sweater neck knows what I’m talking about.) Buy the book. Your knitting will thank you, and you’ll thank Leslie Ann Bestor for writing “Cast On, Bind Off.”

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April 2018 Alpaca Farm

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Our guest speaker for April was Heather Lysantri of Breezy Hill Alpaca Farm in Woodbine, Md.

Heather talked about the fun and challenges of raising Alpaca (animals native to high elevations in Peru) in Maryland.  She has visited alpaca farms in Peru, to better understand how to raise the animals and how to process their fiber into beautiful yarn.  Here are some photos from the presentation.

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And a few of our projects:

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Ashling Shawl

Knitting Book of the Month

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April 2018

The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing:  Beautiful Color and Simple Knits  by Linda La Belle
This book is a wonderful introduction and course in different dyeing techniques with lots of color, plenty of patterns to work up, and suggestions for using the various dyes with different fibers. Great attention to the details of what each dyeing process is, what tools are needed, safety precautions, and then great examples of knitted or crocheted garments using each specific process with different fibers. It will give any dyer inspiring ideas, but especially encouraging to the beginning dyer.

Here’s a project using self-striping dyed yarn:dyeing sock yarn And the table of contents:

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Knitting Book of the Month

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March 2018

Field Guild to Knitted Birds

Rara avises fly around the roost of Arne & Carlos, a clothing design company founded by Nerjordet and Zachrison (Easter Knots). Their knitted birds are the whimsical designs of two creative people, who write as one about “designer birds”: birdies that began as Christmas decorations, knitted in one color, as well as ones patterned after real birds, the kind that fly about the men’s Norse home. This brightly colored book introduces the flock’s expansion into winter and spring birds, green birds embroidered with sequins and contrasting floss, and birds of paradise. The authors figure their readers already know how to knit and have most of the trappings, including bits of yarn left over from bigger projects. The first chapter, which includes the basic pattern (repeated for easy reference on the back overlays), explains the materials and gauges needed for knitting, filling, and decorating as well for the wire stands that keep the wagtail, turdus, and titmouse from flopping over. The cutest avians wear Norwegian sweaters or Peruvian hats with pom-poms. knitted birds

March 2018

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Our program this month was a presentation by Michelle Maynard, executive director of Project Knitwell.  This film describes their program of therapeutic knitting.

The Project Knitwell Story

In the second half of our meeting we had Show and Share and our popular yarn raffle.

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Ring Chart pattern

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My Cryptonite pattern

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Parallax Scarf

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Three Wishes pattern

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Lost and Found Jacket

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Longitudinal Socks pattern

February, 2018 Color Harmony

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This month’s guest speaker was Lisa Check, owner of Flying Goat Farm.  Lisa’s presentation was on color harmony, which goes beyond basic color theory.  Her slide show is below:

Colorharmony

Here are some photos from the presentation:

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Lisa Check

variagated shawls

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Lisa’s space dyed yarns made into shawls.

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Yarns from Flying Goat Farm

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And photos from our Show and Share:

Ann socks

Ann’s socks and pullover (Twist Collective brioche stitch) made of handspun

Dana kimono

Dana’s Noro Kimono cardigan

Emily shawl

Emily’s lace shawl

Lisa fairisle

Lisa’s cashmere fairisle

Mila pullover

Mila’s original design pullover

Lois gansey

Lois’ ganseyJanet glovesJanet’s Musica gloves

Jeanne hand dyed

Jeanne’s hand dyed fleece

 

 

January 2018 Japanese Knitting

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We started the New Year off with a bang, with our speaker, Gayle Roehm.   A former management consultant in Asia, Gayle’s second career is translating Japanese language knitting books for the English speaking public.  Her first book is called The Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible

As we learned, it is specifically a collection of 260 knitting stitch patterns by Hitomi Shida, translated by Gayle.  The patterns are mostly lace and cable and are for advanced knitters.

We also learned that Japanese knitting patterns translated into English have very little text, compared to English knitting patterns in the U.S. and U.K.  Instead, they have schematics that give the directions in graphic format.  Here’s an example and explanation of Japanese charting format.

Anyway, Gayle brought along some sample projects from her book.  Here are some photos:

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Gayle also shared this sample pattern from her book

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And then the book sales/signing began!

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And a few photos from our Show and Share:

Great work – Jackie, Sara, Sydney and Sydney’s Mom

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A beautiful example of Swing Knitting!

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December 2017

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The December meeting was our annual Yarn Swap and Sale.  Members brought yarn, books or tools to share or sell.

In addition to our yarn swap, we had a brief presentation by Carol Lichtenstein, a representative from Project Linus. Project Linus is  a charitable organization that provides blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.  Carol is the generous donor for the majority of the yarn we have been giving away this year!

We collected some really nice knitted and crocheted red scarfs for our charity knitting, Foster Care to Success Program.   Thank you ladies!  Here are some photos of the red scarves, with hand-written notes.

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Some highlights of our Show and Share – finished or almost finished projects.

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Rambling Rows Afghan

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Scottish Thistle Scarf

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Montego Mystery Shawl

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November, 2017 All About Wool and Sheep

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On November 4th we hosted  Leanne Reuter from Pleasant Valley Shetlands and Shearing.  She gave a talk and slide show entitled “From Farm to Yarn”, discussing wool processing, shearing and an amazing variety of domesticated breeds of sheep.

Leanne brought a small quantity of fiber and yarn, for those interested in buying yarn or fiber directly from the farmer.  She has Merino and Shetland sheep.

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Leanne demonstrating a drop spindle.

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Some of Leanne’s yarn for sale, along with her homemade candy.

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A sample of Lopi yarns

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Bags of wool fleece from different breeds of sheep.


 

From our Show and Share:

 

Ann

Ann’s fleece sweater.

Judy

Judy’s Great American Afghan square.

Manuela

Manuela’s tapestry crochet Kitty Bag.

Margaretta

Margretta’s No Pressure scarf

Nancy

Nancy’s Charlie Blanket