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Review post. Two books now in my possession, A Knitters Guide to Yarn Cocktails and Knitting Nature. My new Knitpicks dpns.

A Knitters Guide to Yarn Cocktails (30 Technique-expanding recipes for Tasty Little Projects) by Anatasia Blaes and Kelly Wilson was received as a Christmas present. The book is spiral bound which will be fabulous for the lap while working on the projects. The book is separated into chapters by technique; textures, knitting in the round, bobbles bead & embellishments, mitreing, cables, felting and edging. The first chapter runs through the basic knitting rules and needs, with more of a jewellry focus, including fixtures and beading. There is a great section on fibres with colour pictures of swatches of various fibres and their pros and cons. This is very informative and an excellent visual for the different fibres.

The patterns themselves are short, quick gift-type patterns. Most of the patterns are not my cup of tea (boob tube, men’s knitted boxers, corsets, knickers), but I do like the Blue Bayou mitred stole, the After Dark Martini Sweater and the High Roller Vest. There are some great jewellry patterns for necklaces, I am most intrigued by the felted pendant (Irish Coffee Necklace) where circles are felted then rimmed with beads. This is a project I would like to try some day.

The penultimate chapter is cocktail recipes, so you can match your drink to your pattern!

Overall, this is a fun book, but the majority of patterns I won’t make…however, I am more tempted by the cocktails! But I am a little bit of a boozy floozy sometimes.

Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan. I bought this book as part of my Christmas presents from Book Depository (you know the game, one for them, one for me). The book is 39 designs inspired by patterns in nature and grouped into six chapters; hexagons, pentagons, spirals, phyllotaxis, fractals and waves. I had flicked through this book in book shops and marvelled at the beautiful pictures on windswept grey beaches. The book is like a coffee table book but much more. The patterns are technical yet simple enough for an intermediate knitter like myself to think ‘hey I could knit that’. The patterns are timeless and elegant, like the natural shapes on which they are based. I look at patterns in a couple of ways, 1) wow that is beautiful, I respect the talent of the designer but I would personally never wear that, 2) going straight into my ravelry queue or 3) hmm, not for me.

Knitting Nature has a lot of No.1 type patterns, beautiful to look at but I will never make them. Patterns like the Hex Coat, the Bubble Pullover, the Cowl Pullover, the Serpentine Coat are beautiful and inspired, but not my bag. I like looking at the picture though and I am not drawn to knit skirts or tank tops either.

But the patterns that spoke to me in a Ravelry queue way are all jumpers. The Turbulence U-Neck Pullover with its Celtic medieval centrepiece, the Islamic Moorish Ogee Tunic, the diamond scales of the Phyllo Yoked Pullover, the spiral shell of the Cabled Spiral Pullover, the Swirled Pentagon Pullover and the petals of the Sand Dollar Pullover. All simple but with beautiful detailing.

The science goes over my head, but the pieces are beautiful and timeless. My only criticism is that some of the patterns only have one photo of the garment. I like more than one photo to get a good idea of whether I want to make it. But a stunning book, what a designer Norah Gaughan is.

Knitpick Needles – I bought some yarn at the Tapestry Craft sale. When I was at a meet-up for Damo’s yarn focus group, I noticed CraftyScience (I think that’s her ravelry name) was knitted with metal dpns. I asked her about them and she told me they were Knitpicks. I grabbed a pack of 5 nickel-plated 2.50mm in the sale and opened them up to cast on a Monkey Sock in Grignasco Strong Print. I love them. They are so sharp and slippery. I usually put the 5th needle in my hair when I am not working it. But if I walk around the house (mad woman look with needles sticking out of my head), these slip right out! The needles slip through the yarn with ease, straight knit stitch is a joy, k2tog is a joy. I am in love.