Monday, June 04, 2007

Knitting Books--What's on the Horizon?

So I've been away the past three weekends. First there was the trip to PA to check on my cow and christen a new one (such is the way of farm life--that picture of Norah the cow commemorates what was probably our final encounter before she's sold).

Then I spent a long Memorial Day weekend in Portland, OR, watching my little brother graduate from Lewis & Clark Law School. P.'s response to J.'s graduation? "Lawyers are bad guys!" Don't know where he picked that up, especially since my brother, who concentrated on environmental law and wants to work for a nonprofit, is most certainly one of the good guys.

Scarcely had I set foot back in Boston before I was off to NYC on Thursday night for BookExpo America, the largest book publishing event in the US. I was there to make contacts for the work that I do, but I also managed to pick up a lot of information about what new books are being published through this fall and winter. So what's new in knitting books?

Apparently knitting for men (and by men) is the new trend, with at least three books focusing on patterns for men (and an emphasis on books men won't be embarrassed to buy). One of these is Debbie Stoller's next Stitch 'n' Bitch volume.

Another theme? Amigurumi, the Japanese dolls and figurines. Sterling has a crocheted Amigurumi book coming out in September, and Chronicle has just launched a new series of Japanese crafts. The first two volumes are Amigurumi (both knitted and crocheted) and Lacy Crochet, a book of accessories for the home.

Follow-ups to popular books are also in the works, with Fiona Ellis's Inspired Fair Isle Knits, Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Nursery, and the next two volumes of Interweave's series, Folk Style and Bag Style. Judith Durant also returns with another volume of One Skein Wonders. Vogue's Stitchionary is back with a fourth volume, this one on crochet. Can you tell crochet is big? Not being a big crocheter myself, the only volume I'm really looking forward to is a collection of crocheted edges (can't remember who's publishing that one, but it looks like it could have uses even for us knitters). Vogue is also coming out with a sock pattern/instruction book that could be promising.

Retro knits are also big, with Sterling doing a pair of books, Toilet Roll Covers and Tea Cozies, some of which actually avoid looking (too) kitschy.

As for newcomers, Yahaira Ferreira (of is coming out with Sensual Knits, which appears to feature classic patterns with fitted shapes and lovely details (and really expensive yarns). The people behind also have a book coming out in November. I got the t-shirt, but not the book, at BEA. I'm also interested in Kat Coyle's Boho Baby Knits and Jane Gottelier's Artwork Blue, both being published in November by Potter Craft.

As usual, it looks like there are some exciting things on the horizon just in time for fall knitting!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sockapalooza Slump

So I thought I had decided on a yarn and pattern for my Sock Pal. She said she loved unusual colors, adventurous patterns, etc. So I found some Socks that Rock in my stash that I thought was pretty wild--by my standards (keeping in mind that the last three sweaters I've knitted have all been gray . . . ) and started in during this last weekend, the first of my three weekend trips during the rest of this month. Only problem? I fell in love with these socks myself.

Turns out the colors aren't actually so outrageous once they're knitted up in the pattern (slip stitch rib) that I chose. Turns out that they're actually perfect for me rather than for my sock pal (especially since I've never knitted a pair of socks for myself before)! So we're back to square 1 for Sockapalooza 4. I need to get this straightened out before I head out to Portland on Wednesday, though--there's some serious plane knitting time that I'll need to take advantage of if I'm going to finish these socks by their deadline!

In other, non-knitting news, here's a picture of me this weekend, along with the cow that was named after me--some may see this as a dubious honor, but I think it's pretty cool.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Seven Random Things

So Gabriella tagged me for a meme, which was a first for her, and is a first for me as well--cool!

The rules: Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.

Seven random things (in a totally random order) about me:

1. I lived in five different states (NE, IL, PA, MI, MN) by the time I was six--my parents were itinerant grad students/professors during my formative years.

2. I've performed at Boston's Symphony Hall with my handbell ensemble, which is also (incidentally) about the hippest handbell group you'll ever see (if I do say so myself).

3. I somehow graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, even though I a) am not blonde, b) don't sing, and c) don't have even a drop of Norwegian blood. Go figure.

4. Back when I worked a "real" (i.e., office) job, I worked in rights and permissions at a couple different publishing companies. Normally, this was pretty routine, but I did get to grant permission for some of our books and journals to appear on screen in movies like Hulk and Good Will Hunting. Who knew that books could be stars, too?

5. I was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by my high school class.

6. My four-year-old son knows more about sharks, whales, and many other marine creatures than most adults--once I won a trivia contest thanks to facts about whales that I learned from him!

7. My first and middle names (Norah Caroline) are only two letters different from a certain southern state.

And that's it--now I'm supposed to tag 7 people, so we'll try Theresa, Elinor, Terri Lynn, Sarah, Hy, Suzanne, and Anna. Have fun!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

. . . And, We're Back!

So I figured I should actually post sometime this spring, since I've signed up for Sockapalooza 4 and all. How about some pictures of that never-ending Nantucket Jacket, which (as tends to happen when I actually sit down and work on something) did actually end after all?

Here's a view of the front:

One with a very surprised-looking P:

And one from the back to show that groovy waist shaping:

Project Details:

Pattern: Nantucket Jacket, Interweave Knits Winter 2006

Yarn: Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran, Color 12 (grey)

Started: 11/1/2007 (ish)

Finished: roundabout 3/30/2007

Comments: As I noted here, I had a heck of a time getting gauge when I started, but all that ripping out paid off--it is probably the best-fitting sweater I've ever knitted for myself. I added barely an extra inch to the body, between the end of the waist shaping and the armholes. Otherwise, I followed the pattern pretty closely. I've been wearing this sweater a lot since finishing it, and it's one of those sweaters that gets oohs and aahs from everyone once they realize that I knit it myself. So if you've been on the fence about making this sweater, go for it--it's fun to knit and looks a lot harder than it actually is!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Project? What New Project?

Despite my somewhat pessimistic limerick from the other day, the Nantucket Jacket is all over but the buttons--it turns out that I actually can get a lot of knitting done if I only have one active project on the needles. Stay tuned for pics.

But this means that I've moved on to a new project, a long overdue one, using the oldest yarn in my stash. Since this is my first real foray into colorwork, here's hoping that the Denise needle breaking on the eighth round doesn't bode ill for the project as a whole! I'm making this truck sweater (the one on the far right). I bought the yarn and the pattern two summers ago, on a little day trip up to Green Mountain Spinnery. At that time, I intended to make the 3-4 year size for P. Now, though, I plan to make the 5-6 year size. Good thing they take the same amount of yarn!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


OK, here's the real knitting limerick (and it's even clean), just a few days late for St. Patrick's Day. I don't think I really need to explain this poetic form, do I?

There once was a sweater from Nantucket
More than once I've been tempted to chuck it.
I've done cables and lace
Till I'm blue in the face.
Will I finish before I kick the bucket?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lisa Jinxed Me!

So there I was at Knitsmiths yesterday, innocently knitting along on my new project, when Lisa B. asks, "Are those Denise knitting needles you're using? Do you like them?" Well, yes, I was using my second-hand Denise set that I purchased off eBay many moons ago, back when I first started knitting. And yes, I did like them, even though one of the included cables had broken several months before. No sooner had I picked up that project today, though, than . . . snap! Another cable--and needle--down the drain.

So here's my question. Has anyone used the new Knit Picks Options interchangeable set? Reviews good and/or bad? I like the idea of an interchangeable set because a) it's more affordable than buying all those needles singly (and I knit almost exclusively on circulars); b) I like the flexibility of having all my needles together for when I'm, say, swatching for a project. Gauge not quite right? Voila--switch to a different set of tips, and you can knit another swatch without having to fumble through the old knitting needle case; and c) I like being able to just throw the whole darn set in my luggage when I'm traveling. Anyway, I'd appreciate any feedback on this set--I'm thinking of making a yarn order from Knit Picks soon anyway, so now I'm weighing whether or not to order this needle set as well.