Book Review – Farmyard Knits

Monika of Smoking Hot Needles sent me a lovely knitting book to review.

The book is Farmyard Knits by Fiona Goble

This adorable book contains patterns and full step by step instructions to knit this entire farmyard of friends.There are tips to help you through the progress of choosing yarn and suggestions on how to may each one unique.

There are 12 patterns in the book, farmer and wife, the animals and even a tractor and playmat. I thought the playmat was a great addition. It is made up of all the different fields on the farm, a perfect spot for all your animals to live. Of course if you wanted to make some additions, haybales, a barn…. the possibilities are endless with a little bit of creativity.

Each pattern is knit flat and then sewn together which could cause a bit of fiddling with the smaller animals but I think would be worth it in the end to have this sweet farmyard.

My favourite part of the book and T`s as well is that as you flip through each pattern there is a story to go along with it. It takes you through a day in the life of Frank and Anna, what their job entails on the farm, meeting each animal along the way.

I think we`ll do more reading than knitting with this book but I may just have to knit that tractor, and the collie… or rooster….. well maybe I`ll end up knitting more than I thought…

Fiona Goble has some other books out as well,

Knitivity and The Royal Wedding

as well as here blog here.

Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing the book and Monika for sending it to us.

Book Review – The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

I finished a great book over the weekend.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa.

I’m not one for vampire books/ movies, I have yet to read the Twilight Series but the synopsis of this one drew me in.

The book is set in a futuristic world where Vampires rule. The Vamp’s live in the Inner City while the humans live on the outskirts. Human’s are to be registered and are used as blood cattle.

Allison an unregistered lives in the outskirts of the vampire city, The Fringe with her crew. To stay alive she scavenges for food, and tries not be attacked by roaming vampires or rabids *zombie like animals/humans that are dangerous to both humans and vamps.*

Until the day she herself gets attacked and she has to make a decision, die or become one of them…..

This book really reeled me in from the get go.

Allison was a strong, independant and stubborn character that you could easily attach yourself to. She met many colourful characters along the way, some equally as strong  that you will love and others you love to hate.

I love how the book was set up into three sections. I would finish reading one section, sad that that part was over and then suddenly get sucked right back into the next part of the book.

I don’t want to give too much away but I would definitely suggest picking this one up. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that has drawn me in as much as this one has. I’m really looking forward to the second book in the Blood Of Eden Series and I might even stretch as far as reading her Iron Fey series…. I’m still on the fence with Iron Fey, its about Faeries…. but we will see!

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to review!

ISLAND// Review and Giveaway

I am so delighted today to bring you a review and giveaway of Jane Richmond’s first published book, ISLAND.

The book contains 5 designs, a pair of fingerless mitts, a cowl, a hat, a scarf and a cardigan all in Jane’s modern simplistic style.

 Photography in the book is done by Jane’s brother, Nicholas Kupiak. His partner Kylee Shaw modelled all of the pieces. All photographs in this post are © Nicholas Kupiak.

Jane also worked with Shannon of Luvinthemommyhood to create an aesthetically appealing coffee table book. The first half of the book features Kupiak’s stunning pictures of Jane’s designs in the beautiful nature the Island has to offer, while the remainder of the book contains the written patterns.

Lets have a look at the patterns you will find on the pages of Island.

RATHTREVOR

A simple pair of fingerless mitts with detailed cuffs perfect for everyday wear.

ARBUTUS

A uniquely constructed cowl that uses short rows to create what looks like stacked columns.

RENFREW

A reverse stockinette beanie/slouchy toque with a cabled panel running up the side.

A great unisex hat to have in your library.

STRATHCONA

A fingering weight scarf that really appealed to me.

I’m not usually one for scarves but I love the construction of this one and think it would be a perfect Spring accessory.

Any of these accessories are a great way to use those single skeins of yarn that have been in your stash just waiting for the perfect project.

GRACE

My favourite piece in the collection, Grace, is a raglan cardigan featuring a simple lace motif on the front and back that really turns this cardigan into a gem. Jane’s pattern writing style for garments is probably my favourite to work through. She sets the pattern up as a fill in the blank. You simply choose your size from the table and fill in the correct numbers and you have a pattern written for your exact size. Genius!

If you would like to get your hands on a copy of Island , it is available for purchase through Amazon and digitally through Ravlery as an ebook or individual patterns. When you purchase the hard copy of the book a code is attached to the back cover so you can add the digital pdf’s to your Ravelry library as well.
Jane generously sent me 2 copies of Island, one to review and one to giveaway to one lucky reader. If you would like to try your luck at winning a copy of this beautiful book please leave a comment on this post telling me which design you like the best. I’ll draw a name one week from today Jan 24th 2013.
The Pagan Knitter interviewed Jane in December about the book and some of the places where the pictures were taken.
I was completely taken by one of the last pictures in the book of Kinsol Trestle in Shawnigan. Jane talks a bit about it in the interview and it is definitely somewhere I would love to visit if I ever have the chance to visit the Island.
Thank you so much to Jane and Shannon for letting me be part of the blog tour and being able to share this little gem with all of you.
If luck is not on your side this time check out the remaining stops on the blog tour below for another chance to win.
J A N U A R Y
   8th - Vancouver Yarn
 10th - KD Quilts
 14th - Canadian Living
 17th - Celtic Cast On
22nd - Canary Knits
 24th - Hey Jen Renee
 29th - The Yarniad
 31st - Knitted Bliss
F E B R U A R Y
   5th - French Press Knits
   7th - Truly Myrtle
 12th - Noodlehead
 14th - Miso Crafty
 19th - SweetGeorgia
 21st - A Playful Day

Kids Book Reviews

Recently T and I had the chance to review some kids books.

Sometimes its turkey, Sometimes its feathers by Lorna & Lecia Balian

This is a mixed media book, the backgrounds are actual photographs of things while Mrs. Gumm etc are all drawings. At first I wasn’t sure I liked this idea but upon reading it a second time I decided that it was pretty neat.

The story is of an old woman *and her cat* who finds an egg and decides to try and hatch it. A turkey hatches out of the egg and she plans to fatten him up to eat for Thanksgiving Dinner. Month after month the turkey eats and eats getting fatter and fatter. Mrs. Gumm is excited at the prospect of eating that turkey but in the end she decides that it would be better to share Thanksgiving with two friends instead.

This story is what I would imagine myself to be like if I hatched an egg and then tried to eat it after it was all grown up. Definitely wouldn’t be eaten.

A cute story about forming friendships and I guess it would be a good book for vegetarians too.

Thank you to Star Bright Books for providing me with a copy to review.

Luca Lashes Visits the Doctor by Nicole and Damir Fonovich

Out of the four books I’m reviewing today this was T’s favourite.

Luca Lashes is a series of rhyming books geared toward children to help them through fearful situations. You can visit Luca Lashes for more information on the series.

Luca is off for a visit to the doctor’s to get his shots, he’s a  bit fearful but Luca has something special to help him. Luca has long lashes that when he blinks twice makes him brave and strong. Learn how Luca’s Lashes help him through a visit to the doctor’s leaving him much braver than when he first arrived.

T really enjoyed the rhyming in this book and I think as a parent it makes for a pleasant read as well, especially when you read it over and over again.

There is also a “Suggestions to parents” page at the end of the book on how to make these types of situations easier for your child.

T gives Luca Lashes Visits the dentist two thumbs up. I’d definitely be interested to read some of the other books in the series that help children copy with these types of situations.

Thanks to Kids Can Press who provided me a copy to review.

Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell

Ok how could I not review this book, a book about hand knit sweaters… I’m there.

Cousin Clara’s house is consumed by a crocodile so she has to move in with Lester’s family. All was going well, and Cousin Clara seems to occupy her time with knitting, and only knitting until Cousin Clara announces that she made Lester a sweater and it is hideous! Poor Lester suffers through sweater after sweater that Cousin Clara knits for him, each one suffer mysterious accidents.

This was a fun and quirky book for children and adults.The illustrations were fabulous,T loved turning the pages to see what the next sweater would look like.

 This book has language geared more towards school age children but that won’t stop us from reading it.

Thanks to Kids Can Press for providing a copy to review.

Food For A Fish by Kelly Pulley

I think this book was my favourite of the lot.

Much like Luca Lashes, this book rhymes and I am definitely a fan of rhyming books, they just seem to roll off the tongue.

This book retells the story of Jonah and the Whale in a humorous entertaining fashion that everyone will enjoy. I find Bible stories to be a bit dry but the fabulous illustrations paired with the fun rhyming scheme made this my favourite. I could definitely pick this book up at any time during the day and enjoy reading it again.

Thanks to David C. Cook publishing for sending me a copy to review.

Yarn Along

Excited to join Yarn Along today and tell you about a book I just couldn’t put down!

I read Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim in two days. I stayed up waaaay too late the first night and then finished it off during nap time the following day.

 Set in the 1800′s on a Cotton Plantation the story is told in the eyes of  Mattie a slave who has to leave her own baby to become a wet nurse for the plantation owners newborn daughter Elizabeth.  First thing in the morning and last thing at night Mattie watches the Quarters, as her family goes about  their day hoping to get a glimpse of her son from the nursery window. While Mattie misses her son, her affection for Elizabeth is growing day by day as is Elizabeth’s for Mattie.

A wonderfully written yet heart wretching story of the lives of slaves and the sacrifices they were forced to make. How, for lack of a better word, “idiotic”  plantation owners were thinking they were doing the slaves a favour……and a  special bond that would change Elizabeth’s life, opened her eyes to many wrong doing’s and would ultimately impact the woman she would become.

Beautifully written, a definite page turner and my favourite book so far this year!

*I must also note this is the author’s FIRST book! Excited to see what’s next for Ibrahim.

KNITTING

I’ve been culling the herd of WIP’s this week. I was feeling a little overwhelmed with how many projects I had on the go and wanted to try and bring it back down to a manageable number before we set off this weekend.

This is a cardigan I started for T in early February.  I didn’t get very far into it before it languished in my basket  as 20 sweaters were all screaming at me to be knit RIGHT NOW!

The pattern is from a baby booklet I got free with a Let’s Knit magazine Moose came home with while we were in Ireland last. There don’t seem to be any pictures of the pattern online so you’ll have to wait a little while longer before you can get a glimpse of it. It is a BABY book but the sizes on this pattern went  up to 2 years. The measurements seemed like it would fit T if I added some overall length so fingers crossed it comes out ok.

I’m kicking myself for not knitting this in the round. If I do knit it again I will definitely take the time to do that because the finishing on this baby is brutal!!! It’s taking just as much time to sew it all up as it did to knit!!

Hopefully it’s worth it!

Lovely Little Knits for Girls – Book Review

I recently had the chance to review a sweet knitting book called

Lovely Little Knits for Girls by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard

 I must admit I was intrigued by this book when I saw the title and read that it was for older children.  Lots of patterns go up to size two and then stop but this book contains 20 knitting patterns geared towards toddlers to seven year olds.

The book is split into five categories

Sweaters, Cardigans, Dresses and Tops, Skirts and Snoods, and Charming Accessories!

The patterns are beautifully portrayed with a very modern feel.

From lacey cardigan’s, puffy sleeves, cabled dresses, textured skirts and light and airy accessories there really is a little taste of  everything in this book.  Some projects are rated for experienced knitters but there are some other less advanced pattern thrown in the mix too.

The projects use typical UK yarns like Rowan, Louisa Harding and Debbie Bliss but Sondergaard  also gives some tips for substitution where needed.

I’m honestly not sure that these patterns would really suit many two year olds or be very practical for that matter. I would say that 90% would be geared more towards the older girls, although the Isabel Cable and Little Branch dress has T written all over it!  *How I wish I had more than the cover photo to show you* I think I’ll be knitting that one up for Fall.

Overall I think it is a beautiful knitting book that might be just the ticket for your the little fashionista in your life.

Lovely Little Knits for Girls is published by Tauton Press and  will be released on February 21st 2012.

Thanks to Tauton Press for providing me with an advanced copy to review!

Contemporary Irish Knits

Have you heard about it?

Contemporary Irish Knits by the lovely Carol Feller!

Carol’s book contains 20 seamless designs focusing on the use of Irish yarns and inspired by Ireland’s Knitting Heritage.

Carol discusses the orgins of Aran Knitting, takes us on a little tour of three remaining woollen mills that have been operating for generations as well as a look at the new generation of hand dyers emerging.

I don’t typically sit down and read a knitting book from cover to cover but I did with this one. It wasn’t a few patterns thrown together and displayed as a book. Carol really took the time to fill us in on the Irish Knitting Heritage, inform us about the mills and dyers while creating some beautiful designs. Its the type of book you could read again and again.

Here’s a look at some of the lovely projects in the book:

Ardara

A beautifully cabled tunic length cardigan.

Trying to decide on a colour for this one.


(c) Joseph Feller

Ballinagree

A geometric cabled boy’s sweater.


(c) Jospeh Feller

Straboy

A stunning aran hoodie that I’m trying to convince Moose into wearing.

I really want to knit this!


(c) Joseph Feller

Dangan

A cable and lace shawl/blanket

Is this colour not perfection???

(c) Joseph Feller

Rathcooney Hat and Fingerless Mitts

A beautiful set using the cocoon stitch.


(c) Joseph Feller

and the one that sealed the deal on my purchase

Rossbeg

A beautiful cabled yoke cardigan that will be perfect for T.

(c) Joseph Feller

As you can see from the picture at the beginning of this post I’m currently working on Rossbeg in Tahki yarns Donegal Tweed. Its coming together nicely and I hope to have it finished soon.

If you aren’t sold on it yet *then you are crazy!* there are still a ton of projects you can see here or on Carol’s blog.

If you are into seamless knits and cables I don’t see how you could resist!

Book Review – Spring for Susannah

Susannah realizes that with her parents deceased and no marriage prospects in the wings she has no choice but to agree to become a mail order bride.  She becomes the wife of her pastor’s brother, Jesse. He moved west to Dakota territory to homestead and Susannah makes the long trip out to join him as his wife.

Susannah is as shy as they come and doesn’t believe she is good enough for anyone. She is in constant fear that Jesse will change his mind and ship her back to Michigan. Jesse on the other hand has been praying for a wife to love and tries to help Susannah through her shyness and fears.

Their life in the west is plagued by hard times, in their relationship with each other, crops being wiped out, fires threatening to burn down the homestead and being able to make money to survive.  Jesse decides his last resort is prospecting for gold and sets off to find some. Susannah’s  heart is truly tested when Jesse doesn’t return and no one has seen or heard of him. Everyone assumes him dead and tries to make Susannah realize that she needs a husband to survive this wilderness.

Will Susannah find the faith needed to survive the prairies alone?

I really enjoyed this book. I felt I could really connect with the characters and felt their pain, sadness and happy times. The author did a great job portraying them. It was interesting to see the trials and tribulations families went through when beginning a new life from scratch. I hope the author continues this story in another book as I want to know more about these characters lives and what happens next.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review – Knitting Knee Highs by Barb Brown

I was pumped when ,while browsing Book Sneeze`s selection of available books, happened upon a knitting book!!

Of course I jumped on it immediately and  it arrived this week!

As the title of the book suggests it is a book of Knee High Sock patterns.

First off you should know that the author, Barb Brown is  a Canadian. She lives in Alberta and teaches knitting, designing and dye workshops. She’s been in a few online magazines and the popular book Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn.

The book begins with a knee-high formula for you to use to get an accurate fit. There is also info that helps you convert a normal sock pattern to a knee high and tips and tricks for custom fitting. This information will prove very helpful in creating knee-highs for yourself or others.

Each pattern in this book is shown in at least two different ways. One pattern will be knit as a knee high and then converted to an ankle sock. Another will be a knee high and converted to a regular sock or a leg warmer. I LOVE this idea because really not everyone in the world likes knee highs and it is so great to see what else you can actually do with the pattern and how different each one looks.

The majority of the patterns are fair isle but there are also a few lace ones, some kilt hoses as well. I wouldn’t rate this as a beginner sock knitting book but for those who enjoy fair isle AND socks its a great resource.  I already have several patterns picked out that I want to knit and could see myself really using all of the patterns with the various adaptions mentioned in the book.

The book uses a great variety of well known yarns although I will prefer to knit mine with mostly solid colours because I’m just a solids kind of girl. The one thing that did erk me about the book was the photography….

I mean really I don’t think anyone plans on wearing fair isle knit knee-highs with an evening dress…or maybe thats just me.

All in all this is a wonderful book and will get much use when my sock mojo kicks up again.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: The Promise of an Angel by Ruth Reid

I recently had the opportunity to review the book, The Promise Of An Angel by Ruth Reid.

I’ve read a lot of Amish Fiction in my time, my bookshelf upstairs is a testament to that so I knew what to expect before I began reading. This book however was quite different to the Amish Fiction I’m used to. The story was set in Michigan where usually Ohio or Pennsylvania are the main areas used. Judith Fischer is a 19 year old Amish girl living in an Amish community in Michigan. She, like every other Amish girl longs to marry and have boppli’s living the plain and simple life. She has waited two years, abiding by her parents rule of not courting until she was 19, to court Levi Plank. Judith’s world is turned upside down when a tragic accident befall’s her 5 year old brother Sam. An angel visits Judith and assures her that Sam’s steps are ordered by God and that he will walk again. When Judith reveals the Angels visit to the members of the community, no one believes her except for Andrew Lapp.  Judith’s faith is tested, heart is broken and feels completely alone.

Will Sam walk again? Will Judith trust in God and stay faithful if it means being shunned?

This was my first time reading an ebook. I was pleasantly surprised  being able to knit and read at the same time and not have to worry about pages staying open. This was a nice change from the other Amish books I’ve read. It left me wanting to find out more about these characters and their lives and what might happen next in the community but as Amish Fiction is… a bit predictable. Yes there are twists and turns but you always know where it will end up. Maybe that’s why I like Amish Fiction, for its predictability.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255