I picked up this book at a Half Price Books and am very pleased with the adorableness and wide variety of designs in this collection. Primarily the paI picked up this book at a Half Price Books and am very pleased with the adorableness and wide variety of designs in this collection. Primarily the patterns are for sweaters and cardigans. There are a few accessory patterns as well, though I'm not so much a fan of those designs. The yarns used for the patterns in this book are from a range of manufacturers. Including some that are now discontinued, so if you like to use the exact same yarn as the original pattern, there are a few in here where that may not be possible. My only qualm with this collection, besides the sometimes-frumpy accessory designs, is that I wish Rengren included a wider variety of sizes. I don't believe there is one pattern in this book that is sized for newborns. The youngest, I believe, is 6-12 months. Then 12-18 months. A handful of patterns also offer 18-24 months....more
Not too excited about the patterns in this book. And I don't know if this was the photo stager's fault or what, but some of the socks had really funnyNot too excited about the patterns in this book. And I don't know if this was the photo stager's fault or what, but some of the socks had really funny shapes. There were just a couple of Christmas stocking patterns that I thought were fairly cute and would consider possibly casting on, if and when I ever get motivated to more than daydream about knitting my own stockings....more
As with Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, I was disappointed in the two-dimensionality of most of these flowers. (I wasAs with Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, I was disappointed in the two-dimensionality of most of these flowers. (I was looking for knit and crochet flower patterns to make a three-dimensional bouquet.) Many of the fruits and vegetables in this collection, however, have a more three-dimensional look. The blackberries are particularly cute. I like the way this book is arranged, with a photographic Directory of Flowers near the beginning, so you can easily browse through the whole collection. It also includes basic knitting and crocheting instructions. On the whole, I noted 11 out of the 100 patterns that I would be interested in making, in future....more
The patterns in this books are just darling! And although I wouldn't actually wear a lot of them out in public, they are quite a pleasure to look throThe patterns in this books are just darling! And although I wouldn't actually wear a lot of them out in public, they are quite a pleasure to look through, in this collection. From a Deer with Little Antlers Hat to Faerie Wings and a Dragon Watcher's Hood, these items--as knitted gifts--would likely go over fantastically with a younger audience....more
I wouldn't say I've read a lot of nonfiction stories about knitting. But what I have read has brought me to expect a lot of wit and humor, as well asI wouldn't say I've read a lot of nonfiction stories about knitting. But what I have read has brought me to expect a lot of wit and humor, as well as a point. In contrast to those expectations, many of these personal essays were meandering and barely cohesive. As a book with all professional writers as contributors, I have to say I was rather disappointed in the quality of many of the stories. Many of them (particularly at the beginning of the collection) came off as if they were written for a warm-up writing prompt and then published as-is, with very little editing or refining. The stories were also very arbitrarily arranged in alphabetical order by last name of the contributors, which didn't at all help with the flow of the collection. Lastly, a significant portion of the essays were written by people who wished they could knit. I suspect this book is primarily aimed at a knitting audience. As a knitter, I am much more interested in reading about other knitters, when I read a collection of personal essays about knitting, than about people who wish they could knit. Just pick up a pair of needles and do it already! It's really not that hard.
There were a few hidden gems, including contributions by Andre Dubus III, Martha Frankel, Jessi Hempel, Joyce Maynard, and Taylor M. Polites....more
Needles and Artifice is a combo steampunk short story and steampunk knitting patterns. My four stars goes toward the patterns, which I would actuallyNeedles and Artifice is a combo steampunk short story and steampunk knitting patterns. My four stars goes toward the patterns, which I would actually have granted five stars except the way the patterns are given seems sometimes overly complicated and not streamlined enough (based on my reading the patterns). I haven't tried to knit any of them yet. Though I will! Their claim of "ingenious knitting patterns" is really no exaggeration.
The short story aspect of the book, I would give only two stars, unfortunately. Needles and Artifice begins with Anna--a Lady of Mischief (a band of like-minded lady adventurers and uber fans of tea and knitting) and one-man airship pilot--and Kristoff ("a real gentleman") on Anna's airship when it is attacked by pirates, (view spoiler)[on Kristoff's evil twin brother's dime (hide spoiler)]. We then follow the fledgling not-yet-couple as they gather resources and fellow Ladies of Mischief to seek revenge and put an end to an evil plot against them.
The story was well-polished--which is more than I can say for a lot of self-published books--but not well developed. First, there was one glaring mechanical issue of a very inconsistent viewpoint. The story jumped from the head of one character to the next sometimes within the very same paragraph, making things often rather confusing for the reader. One of the other major issues I had was the fact that the The Ladies of Mischief faced basically no resistance throughout the story. Everything was easy for them. They breezed through every tight situation with nary a scratch to show for it. Also, the personalities of the other Ladies didn't quite come through in the narrative itself (despite the inset character introductions at the beginning of each chapter). I found it hard to tell them apart sometimes, and they served more as filler than actually adding anything to the story itself.
On the other hand, I liked the characters of Anna and Kristoff. Though I would have liked to find out more about their back story. How did they even know each other? How did Anna come to rescue Kristoff from his undesired arranged marriage (the off-stage event that happens before the story, to set the events of Needles and Artifice in motion). I also loved the photography of both the characters, at the beginning of each chapter, and of the knitting patterns. Some of the set photos were fantastic as well, although most of the hand-drawn illustrations or "notes" didn't quite work for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
There are quite a few very lovely patterns in this book that I hope one day to knit myself. I have already almost finished a re-sized (and modified toThere are quite a few very lovely patterns in this book that I hope one day to knit myself. I have already almost finished a re-sized (and modified to be knit in the round) version of the Buttoned Bag. I particularly like the incorporation of beads and buttons into these patterns....more
Free-range knitter contains a collection of personal essays and humorous bits pertaining to her life-long obsession with knitting. Being one of her laFree-range knitter contains a collection of personal essays and humorous bits pertaining to her life-long obsession with knitting. Being one of her later works, this book contains a lot of essays about the latter stages of parental life--once most of her kids have reached their teenage years.
This is the second book I've read by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and I actually found this one a bit disappointing. I particularly found most of the essays about parenting and watching other people knit rather dull and was impatient to get to the next story. Yet she hides little gems even in these more boring stories, so I don't feel like I can skip ahead without potentially missing out on something. (Note to people with kids: you probably won't find the parenting essays so dull. It's just that I don't have children, let alone teenagers, so it really isn't the kind of thing I can sympathize with yet.)
Free-range knitter, as with Pearl-McPhee's other works, offered a few very redeeming stories in it as well. I particularly enjoyed the essay about how she knits while she walks, and the unfortunate elevator incident that results, and her story on how she taught her daughters to knit through osmosis....more
This is a very fun and funny collection of anecdotes, accompanied by often humorously-related famous quotes, about knitting. Written for the knitting-This is a very fun and funny collection of anecdotes, accompanied by often humorously-related famous quotes, about knitting. Written for the knitting-obsessed or simply the knitting hobbyist, this quick read will re-inspire your knitting and make you long for more time with your neglected needles. At Knit's End definitely makes me want to read Pearl-McPhee's other books and her knitting blog....more
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitting fanatic and yarn enthusiast who writes hilarious real-life stories and other non-fiction works about knitting. BeStephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitting fanatic and yarn enthusiast who writes hilarious real-life stories and other non-fiction works about knitting. Being a knitting enthusiast myself, I find her writing very enjoyable and inspiring, and her knitting misadventures make me feel quite a lot better about being a knitting nerd myself. Plus, it's always nice to have a benchmark to point to and say, "At least I'm not that crazy!" (Stephanie, I <3 you!)
About this collection of stories in particular...upon finishing, I wasn't too surprised to discover that it was actually her very first published collection (before that she was writing in blog form only). This collection felt a little less refined than the other things I've read from her (At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much and Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again, so far). Both of which were so hilarious and so frickin' insightful at times. There were definitely some very amusing moments in Yarn Harlot. Although, thinking back, I almost feel like the introduction to the book was actually one of the best parts. What really threw me off were the sad stories. I just...don't pick up these books to get bummed out. She had a couple rather bum-out stories in this collection. One about a woman whose arthritis has grown so bad that she will never be able to knit again, and then another about being a birth companion to a woman who has a still-born child. (See? I bet you're bummed out now too.) But if you can look past those stories, the rest are maybe worth a looksie....more