February 23, 2010

The Joy of a Well Written Pattern

I am one of the 966 Ravelry knitters who has experienced the sheer joy of knitting Brooklyn Tweed's Girasole pattern. Part of this joy stems from the uninterrupted rhythm of knitting in the round. Another portion of said joy can be attributed to the Malabrigo yarn I'm knitting with -- if they made eggplant colored butter, this yarn would be it. While nostalgic memories of past doily knitting accounts for another smidgen of my joy. But really, when you peel away the layers, the heart of my Girasole joy comes from a well written pattern.

Girasole is a bit of a blob on the needles -- Chart F, Row 5

Each of us -- based on our experience, knitting style, and brain quirkiness -- have qualities we consider essential to a well written pattern. Here are my reasons for declaring Girasole to be one:

  • The designer, Jared Flood, respects the intelligence of his knitting audience. His instructions are concise and precise and he includes links to additional resources for the curious or those seeking further explanation.
  • Girasole is a potentially daunting project filled with many rounds of 600+ stitches, but the pattern is divided into managagable sections allowing for a sense of accomplishment and movement through the project.

  • The Lace charts are large, clear, accurate,and accompanied by a detailed legend.

  • The pattern itself is aesthetically beautiful and well designed -- from the layout, to the color scheme, to the gorgeous photos.

  • And last, but not least -- the pattern is error free.

If you're one of the 2069 knitters who has this project in their Ravelry queue, I have but one thing to say: What are you waiting for? Cast on!

I love how the sections flow into each other!

February 23, 2010 in nonaReviews, Project - 2010 | Permalink | Comments (20)

July 15, 2007

Cabin Fever Fever

Have you seen the new Cabin Fever book, Button Up Your Top Down?  The sisters at Cabin Fever advocate no-sew, top-down, in-the-round knitting and have written a wonderful book for women's cardigans based on this philosophy.  The book begins with two generic patterns -- one in D.K and the other in Aran -- which allow you to mix and match different necklines, body lengths, and sleeve styles.  Basic, customizable, and rich with possibilities.  The remaining patterns in the book are designs created by the Cabin Fever team based on these generic patterns. 

I'm curious, oh so curious, to try one of these patterns.  Now that Josephine is finished -- pictures and details to follow shortly -- I've casted on an Aran weight, crew neck, hip length, 3/4 sleeve variation, perhaps with a touch of deep ribbing.  Looking a bit like a big blob I must say, but I'm quickly approaching the infamous body-sleeve divide where the big blob should begin to resemble a sweater.

July 15, 2007 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (8)

March 16, 2007

New Things

I like new things.  I like change.  I like experimenting.  With the blanket I'm knitting for 3 day old nona-niece-the-newest -- who, by the way, is super cute -- I'm trying several two new things; the Addi Turbo Lace Needles and the Russian Join.

nona loves trying new things and is hooked on the needles

The new Addi Turbo lace needles are wonderful -- dare I say perfect --- and worth every single doggone penny -- 1595 of them.  The tip, the cord, the metal, the join -- what more can a girl ask for, except a larger range of needle sizes.  Excellent review and additional details here

Weaving ends in is my knitting nemisis.  It's high time for a change. Time to try one of the many yarn joining techniques out their.  For this yarn I selected the Russian Join.   So far so good -- the join is a tad bit bulky, but is not visible with this yarn and stitch pattern. Are you ready for a change?  Try something new!

March Madness
6:00pm PST -- March Madness is in full swing!  We have 4 "Knit Pickers" tied for 1st place -- Deb, Melissa, Preeti, & Kate -- with many more in hot pursuit.

9:30pm PST -- All the games are in for the evening and we have a new leader -- Preeti, with 24 points.  Following close behind with 23 points are Kate, Jennifer, Deb, and Melissa.  We'll see what tomorrow brings...

March 16, 2007 in nonaReviews, Tips and Techniques | Permalink | Comments (10)

October 30, 2006

Late to the Party

There are times when I'm late to the party.  Case in point -- the book Knit 2 Together by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark has been sitting on my LYS's bookshelf for several weeks -- if not months -- and I have all but ignored it.  Ignored it I said!  How could nona have ignored a book full of such innovative and fun designs, a book full of such funny Ullman stories and asides?  As I said, sometimes I'm late to the party.   

Can I tell you something I wish?  I wish the designers who are writing today's fabulous knitting books, such as this one, would also publish a few single patterns.  These patterns would give knitters exposure to the designer's work and -- if the patterns are well designed and written -- encourage the knitter to buy the entire book.  I know a lot of knitters who are willing to spend $6.00 on a pattern, but are less inclined to spend $27.00 on a book.

October 30, 2006 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (12)

October 05, 2006

Portland Yarn

The nona-family recently returned from a 4 day college trip to the Pacific Northwest.  In Portland -- between college visits and a required stop at Powell's Books --  I was able to slip out and visit one of the city's yarn stores, Knit Purl.  When playing tourist in a local knit shop, I like to sleuth around searching for something new or unique -- you know, a special souvenir.  At Knit Purl, I found Shibui Knits yarn and patterns, which are locally dyed (the yarn) and designed (the patterns).

Shibui Sock Yarn

As for my souvenirs -- note the use of the plural -- I brought home 4 skeins of Shibui Sock Yarn along with 2 patterns, Kago and Maru.  Once my Hydrangea socks are finished, I plan to knit a pair of socks featuring circles and stripes.

October 5, 2006 in nonaReviews, Project - Socks | Permalink | Comments (9)

September 29, 2006

Must See

Just in case you haven't seen The Last Knit yet, click on over and watch.  By the way, I love her yarn and the sound of her needles!

September 29, 2006 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (8)

March 31, 2006

Sundara Yarns

If you have yet to discover Sundara Yarn, please stop what you're doing and go now!  Sundara -- aka Purly Whites -- has a fabulous concept.  She offers yarns ranging from lace weight to aran in 40 beautiful colors.  Pick your yarn, pick your color, and Sundara will hand dye it to order -- just for you!  She's also cleverly leverage Typepad and PayPal to create a simple and secure shopping experience.  I'm not even going to mention the one-of-a-kind multicolor yarn -- you'll have to go see that one for yourself!  Of course, nona had to order!  Not only did I receive some wonderful yarn, but I also received excellent customer service. 

1 skein of Silk Lace and 3 skeins of Sock Yarn -- Yum!

So what do I plan to make with this beautiful yarn?  I'm going to use the Silk Lace to knit Eunny Jang's Print O' the Wave Stole and the sock yarn to knit -- well, socks.

March 31, 2006 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (7)

September 23, 2005

Confessions of a Yarn Snob

I hate to admit it, but nona's a bit of a yarn snob.  Plop me down in a yarn store and I'm consistently drawn to the expensive, luxurious yarns.  Willing to pay a bit more?  Why not for such beautiful yarn?  Up until yesterday -- being the yarn snob that I am -- I had virtually shunned washable wool.  I'm not sure what got into me, but I bought a ball of Cascade 220 Superwash and went home to swatch.  Well, this washable wool is wonderful -- soft, stretchy and not the least bit itchy.  What can I say besides, "Lesson Learned".

Cascade 220 Superwash works up beautifully on a variety of needle sizes!

September 23, 2005 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (10)

September 19, 2005


nona highly recommends the new book on the block, AlterKNITS.  Why am I touting this book when there are so may great knitting books on the market?  Maybe it's the beautiful presentation.  Maybe it's the projects and exercises encouraging you to think outside the box.  Or maybe -- just maybe -- its Project #26: "Screen Door"!  Even if you're not the least bit interested in knitting a project, the photos are still beautiful, the pattern still interesting, and the approach still intriguing. 

May we all think outside the box and "alter" the next project we make, even if it's just a little.

September 19, 2005 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (8)

August 28, 2005

Fall Vogue Knitting

Today I took my first perusal through this fall's issue of Vogue Knitting.  Let me tell you, my friends, I was pleasantly surprised -- finding lots of interesting tidbits along with several patterns I'd love to knit.  Here are several of my top picks:

  1. The Knitting Map - In Cork Ireland the Half/Angel performance company is working on a year long knitting installation.  During 2005, GPS devices measure the movement of things -- cars, people, weather -- throughout the city of Cork.  These movements are then automatically translated into knitting patterns, which 50 people -- at a time -- sit around and knit.  This continues every day for the entire year.  nona's not sure if this is genius or utter craziness.  But heck,  I'd volunteer to be a knitter -- at least for a few days -- if I was passing through Cork.   
  2. Turkish Cast On - Meg Swanson describes how to work a Turkish Cast On -- an invisible way to cast on for a closed end piece of knitting.  Think sock toe.   And yes, I've already experimented with this little goodie, which works like a charm.  I'll be using this cast on method for my Sockapal-2-za socks.  If you're a sock knitter, this how-to article is worth the price of the magazine!

  3. Pattern #11 -- I'm diggin this big chunky sweater with the delicate mohair ruffle.

Now nona tries to avoid the negative, but I am so, so, absolutely so tired of those "Knit Care" full page advertisements of the teenage girls in their bathing suits.   Please enough is enough -- if I promise to buy one of your products will you stop running these ads?

What was your take, opinionated knitter, on this issue of Vogue Knitting?

August 28, 2005 in nonaReviews | Permalink | Comments (14)

All patterns, designs, content, and photographs Copyright 2004-2010 nonaKnits and Carolyn Quill Steele. All rights reserved. My free patterns are available for your individual personal use as long as no profit is made from the distribution of the pattern or finished item. If you have any copyright questions or requests, please ask -- nonaKnits at gmail dot com.