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TGIF wherein we giveaway a bookie September 2, 2011

Every day, several times a day a *shout* comes in to Studio Chic Knits. Loud and clear, an email SOS lands in my mailbox. A knitter, somewhere in time, somewhere on a WIP, has hit a wall and needs to be rescued.

Usually, a little first aid goes a long way from here to there.

But sometimes, it gets stalled by what I think of as the Internet Effect.

Many of us, especially in the last five years or so have enjoyed an explosion of information online. There is content galore; blogs, social networks, videos, picture sites and more where we all can edify and illuminate Any Subject under the Sun. But of course, Knitting has enjoyed a particular heyday with this phenom.

I have met, virtually, quite, many knitters who have learned everything they know about knitting from the Internet. I bow to these knitters; they are fearless and game and creative in a way I never was sitting at my Grammie’s knee knitting my first mitten with its mismatched thumbs. BRAVA/BRAVO the new milleniums!

But even with all the incredible resources out there, I’ve found one thing to be mightly true: nothing beats a human touch. It always breaks my heart to tell someone that unless I could be there in person, I cannot diagnose their knitting in the Cloud, that sometimes they just have to reach out and find a real time demo.

And second to this hand hold? A Good Book.

There’s many knitting references out there that we turn to all the time, even after all these years of knitting. But here’s one that goes beyond a couple of paragraphs or columns and shows actual garments being constructed.

Through a series of still pictures and clear explanations, this tome titled: Knit Simple Knitting Workshops (Carla Scott) shows just how some of the most basic projects look as works in progress. In the grand tradition of “Things you wish you knew when you started…”, this book breaks it down for many topics that many knitters might come across.

After a short introductory section, with the typical tools and knit/crochet stitch nods, the book gets very interesting.

Now, you find actual patterns for essential projects (some in multi-sized, multi-gauged versions). Within these pattern pages, as you a making the item, are nuggets that help pull you along the road to an FO.

You make a hat, then some mittens, finding some easy ways to embellish a simple project to take it higher and make it truly yours. Then starts what I’m thinking is the true value of this book.

There is a great explanation of how to read a chart, called “All About Cables.” Now, in the realm of really pronounced preferences, there’s the ongoing tug-O-war between chart and written out instruction lovers.

I’m a chart gal myself, preferring the visual clues as a fast-track shorthand for what’s going down on the needles. I include the written instructions for stitch patterns as well in Chic Knits designs, for clarity and completeness.

But it’s the chart I use when I’m going great guns on the couch watching that 57th episode of Bones. ;p

Here’s something that helps explain the goobley-gook that must appear to those who shy away from graphical instructions.

There’s a great section on socks as well. You see the whole breakdown of casting on with double points, positioning the stitches, turning the heel. I like! I’ve had a dysfunctional relationship with DPN my entire knitting career and this just might cure me!

There are simple sock patterns to accompany this magic and a nice flat series of pictures showing the stitch architecure of what goes on during the dreaded Kitchner portion of sock making.

One of my main missions in knitting is to inspire knitters to Read Their Knitting, to really see it, in both the big, and the little picture. Once you *get it*, nothing remains the same, then you can soar! It’s like that indefinable moment of learning to ride a two-wheeler bike where only an immersion and user committment gives you a fundamental understanding of the almost weightlessness of balance. It’s something individual to you alone although many, many people have discovered its magic.

In knitting, it is understanding what that stitch is doing, how the loops actually work together to form the fabric.

I think because it’s done with sticks and usually bunched together in the making, we lose the individual energy and movement of the string along its path.

Looking at it from above, in a nice flat, non-moving picture, you can trace that road the yarn takes and begin to see.

This book, with its sections and projects for the basics then all the way to jewelry, buttons, shaping, increasing, seaming, i-cord, and lest we forget, pompoms, just might be what you need to see clearer, see more.

Truly TYWYK…

So to celebrate the start of the weekend (TGIF!) and to maybe inspire you to learn something new (or even something new about something old you already know), leave a comment below on what you’re working on and what technique you’d like to know better.

We will randomly draw a winner to be announced next Friday, the 9th.

Happy Knitting!

94 responses to “TGIF wherein we giveaway a bookie September 2, 2011”

  1. Alicia says:

    I am working on a scarf and hat and will be starting on a baby blanket soon :) What I would like to learn: everything lol but specifically colorwork, there’s just so many pretty projects out there that I can’t do because I can only use one color sigh

  2. Penny says:

    Would love to win this. Would learn all about colorwork with this!

  3. ~Julie says:

    Right now I am working on a simple lace scarf for my mother’s birthday. I would love to learn how to cable. Been knitting for 10 years and have never tried. I learn best when someone shows me and sits beside me while I try.

  4. amberincolo says:

    I am working on toe-up socks, a simple shawl with ruffled edge (that is almost done), and a huge lace shawl that I started a year ago. The rows are so long it takes forever.
    I would like to learn colorwork, specifically fair-isle, and continental knitting for the fair-isle.

  5. Jaime says:

    Working on too many projects at once – a blanket, mittens, scarf, rug and shawl… Would love more knowledge on colorwork.

  6. Beth says:

    I just finished knitting a beaded bracelet using 000 needles. I would really like to tackle a pair of socks in the near future.

  7. Cruz says:

    I am working on a sweater and was not very disciplined about counting rows, now some pieces are longer than others! Can this book teach me to be more careful?!

  8. CyndyC says:

    2 pairs of socks and a tam. I am contemplating digging in the stash for Madelinetosh Tart for Danica.

  9. CindyCindy says:

    Blocking a scarf, knitting a Christmas present lap throw, socks for my niece and a scarf/shawlette for my other niece. I wanna work a cardigan for me, but don’t dare cast on!!!!

  10. MaryAnne says:

    I am so happy to say I made three sweaters this summer…..I really can’t believe it myself. I’m on a small project binge for a few weeks…..hats, scarves, mittens, etc for gifts. Also involved in some charity knitting for victims of Hurricane Irene. The book looks fabulous. I think, as we discussed a while ago, I’d still like to improve my “pick up and knit” skills…..especially as it relates to sleeves and cardigan bands.

  11. Stacie says:

    I am crazy in love with knitting lace shawls. I don’t know why, but I am working on three shawls right now. I only use written out patterns, but with lace, I am starting to see that understanding charts is key to a pleasant knitting session. (I am a seasoned tinker) LOL, The chart section of this book sounds like something I need on my shelves. Thanks for the chance…..

  12. Dolly says:

    Starting a capelet but really want to try mt first vest or sweater this fall (chic knits pattern suggestion for a sweater newbie shamelessly solicited).. and learn cables.

  13. PICAdrienne says:

    Fixing a miscrossed cable. Oh, I am going to be learning that one a bit better this weekend. I am working on the Veddy Vest, and I crossed the cables too soon, so I am going to be dropping back, and uncrossing the cables and carrying on. By the end of the weekend, I feel fairly sure I will know this technique a bit better. I have converted the pattern to in the row, so I have four of those to fix. Obviously, that did not go to my son’s football game last night, simpler knitting was required.

  14. meg says:

    For some time, the idea of a top-down set-in sleeve has been tapping at the back of my mind — maybe it was Bonne Marie who planted it there. Been meaning to buy my own “From the Top” book, as there’s a description therein. One of these days . . .

  15. Sandra says:

    I have done the squares and am now working on edging of a bedspread in ecru cotton. I want to get to grips with provisional cast on. I am sure I could do it if shown.

  16. Debbie says:

    I am starting to learn lace shawls and want to do some with beads. I have always been afraid because I have trouble reading charts. If the directions are written out line by line I am Ok. Not alot of patterns that are written that way. I love to learn new things and of course with getting older its easy to stay in the same old, same old, and not to leave your comfort zone. I love to learn anything and everything about knitting, provisional cast on, set in sleeves, enterlac, cable charts. I am sure this book would teach me alot.

  17. Gina E says:

    I am one of those people who have learned entirely through the Internet and books! :) I would love to have a lesson or two or three… :-)

    I’m test knitting a new cardigan sweater for a designer on Ravelry. I just started today and there are no problems so far (knock on wood).

  18. Rita says:

    I just finished knitting a couple of lace birthday scarves so I’m ready for a new project. Searching for the next pattern is part of the fun for me. I have to decide if I’m knitting for me, or if I should start knitting for my sister’s birthday. She’s had a tough couple of months so I’m leaning in her direction. She loves cowls so I plan to make a variety including one infinity scarf style.

    I’d like to know more about lace in order to design my own lace stitch pattern.

  19. Laura says:

    I am currently knitting a sweater that I (gulp) designed myself. It could be great, it could suck, not sure yet what the outcome will be! I’d like (obviously) to learn more about sweater design. I’d also love to learn more about short rows… I keep stumbling across neat tricks (bust shaping, neck shaping, etc.) that all seem to use short rows. I’d love to find a really good reference on how best to execute them (there seem to be a lot of ways!) and reasons/places you should use them.

  20. Holly says:

    I just finished a Multi-directional Diagonal Scarf and tonight I cast-on a Wham Bamm Thank You Lamb Cowl. I wish I had more time to knit. How do I make more time?

  21. Leslie says:

    I’m working on westknits mystery KAL Earth and Sky. I would love to be able to weave in my ends so they are invisible, but I haven’t run across a good tutorial.

  22. Jenink says:

    I’m working on the second sleeve (set-in, top-down) on a jacket, and just cast on for a lacy, summer top. The techniques I haven’t had a go at yet but know are looming in my future are cables, colourwork and steeking. I’d like to get much better at buttonholes as well and the one that REALLY scares me? Putting a zip in. Eeeekkk!

  23. julie says:

    I’m getting ready to dive into color work…would love to learn more about it as I’m sure I’ll need rescued while making mittens!

  24. Donna says:

    I am working on a short sleeve cardigan and have one finished waiting for the ribbed bands. I would love to know how to do the ribbed button bands so that they look even and professional – not lumpy and homemade!

  25. Robin F. says:

    i am finishing the last 2 inches of a top down sweater. Then will pick up and do the sleeves. My socks on needles will be frogged-turns out that I hate the pattern. I am hoping to practice my Japanese knitting so I can do a sweater

  26. LisaW says:

    I’m working on a lace stole, a Pagona wrap, and am about to embark into the world of doubleknitting. I hope I can learn to knit two handed so it’s easier!

  27. Kitten With A Whiplash says:

    I’m whippinging up hats for the homeless as the weather starts to turn chilly. There are some aspects of chart reading that escape me, and my lace work needs help. Thanks for the giveaway.

  28. Beth W. says:

    I’m about to start my first mystery KAL. I have to learn to reach charts!! Thanks for the fun.

  29. Debby says:

    I’m working on baby things for the first grandchild — what fun! I haven’t done any colorwork in a long time, and I’m not sure I did it correctly before. I’d love to be able to do it well — maybe even with one color in each hand.

  30. marina says:

    i’m working on my first turtleneck pullover. i would like to learn how to do short rows better!

  31. mary pat says:

    I need to know “tricks of the trade” to help me stop making mistakes! Seems like every project involves a lot of ripping back! I am sure I would have made twice as many sweaters if I hadn’t had to redo so many!

  32. LizzyA says:

    I learned to knit mostly from books and would love another. There’s always something new to learn.

  33. Wendibtz says:

    I’ve usually have about 5 projects on the needles and at any one time and could use an oveall reference book like this one as I get “stuck” occasionally and my wonderful super knitter neighbor isn’t always home!

  34. technikat says:

    I’ve learned everything I know about knitting from books mostly with the occasional video on You-tube. As you say, an occasional explanation from a human can be invaluable because it’s designed to answer exactly your question or confusion rather than a generic explanation of a technique.

    The really useful thing about books is that they are there when you need an answer. I tend to forget the details of what I’ve been told. With a book, I can look it up again.

  35. affiknity says:

    I am working a lace cardigan for myself. I would love to pick up intarsia. It intimidates me and haven’t tried it yet.

  36. Elise says:

    I’m working on a featherweight cardi. I would love to be better at casting on and binding off. Mine can look pretty sloppy sometimes.

  37. Anna says:

    I’m working on the Every Way Wrap, from IK Fall 2010. I love the look of cables, but I’m still in baby steps for making them. I’m with you on charts; wouldn’t want to make either lace or cables without ’em! I have tried intarsia, but wasn’t at all happy with the results — not too neat! I think the color work, either intarsia or Fair Isle, is about the most intimidating type of knitting, for me personally. Oh, and Debbie Stoller taught me to knit!

  38. Wendy says:

    I’m working on finishing a bolero (I started 4 years ago…) and a sweater knit in kidsilk aura… I’d like to try different cast ons, I always use the cable cast on, no matter what.

  39. Alexis says:

    Trying to make felted slippers and can’t get the edge to felt enough to stay tight around the foot but the length of the “sole” area is fine so I am trying to selectively felt the top further but its not working so well. Any advice? Thanks!

  40. Jo Anne says:

    I have a couple of project going: a top-down raglan pullover sweater, a slouchy hat, 2 log cabin blankets, several pairs of socks. Most of my focus is on finishing the sweater because I cast on for it late last summer then put it aside for almost a year. I tend to get bored so it is good to have projects to switch to when I need a change.

  41. Nicole says:

    I’m working on a cowl. This is my first real project. I have oodles to learn and at this point I can’t even pinpoint one technique I want to learn, I want to learn them all!

  42. Sharlene says:

    Currently working on another Ishbel and a Transverse Cardigan. After sewing up the Transverse I realized I need more practice sewing seams on garter stitch. I was able to do a good job and the second try. :)

  43. Mary Ann says:

    I am a fairly new knitter. This book would give me a jump start!

  44. Becky Ganzhorn says:

    I may be too late, but none the less….
    I am learning different ways of adding beads to lace. Not that difficult really, but I haven’t done before. I bought the super dental floss to give that method a go…. Very odd looking stuff really! I love your style sensibilities and your blog is great. Thanks for a chance to win! B

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