Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Herrchners Blue-Ribbon Afghans

I had to keep this book just for the cover:
The Afghan on the cover is based on the granny square, but turns it into a center star. A blend of nine-patch blocks and all around granny borders would make this a crochet project that would keep your interest. and leave you with plenty of ends to weave in. This project on ravelry is one of my favorite FO's from this pattern, she chose my favorite colors. 

Many people report errata in the 1998 printing of the book. This site has corrections for the blue star afghan on the cover, if you decide to crochet it. You can also contact Herrschners for corrections. 

There are 48 patterns in the book, most are crochet. Twelve patterns use afghan stitch, so if you are a fan you have to check out those patterns.  The Memory Star blanket is a great way to learn the half granny square. This is a Granny square that one half (diagonally) is one color, the rest another color. Many quilt patterns could be crocheted using these half and full granny squares. I've always wanted to make a afghan this way. Maybe some day...

Of the five knit patterns my favorite is the fan stitch. This would make a great stash buster, take the strips with you then join them later. 

All in all this book will be staying in my library for now. If you would like a copy Amazon is selling them. That is my affiliate link. You don't pay more, but I get a small amount to help continue crafting. 

What pattern did you like most from the book? Here is another fabulous FO from ravelry:

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Friday, April 17, 2015

The reason for test kniting

Have you heard of test knitting? It is where a pattern designer (knit or crochet) sends her pattern to other people so they can knit it. Why would she give the pattern away? The information from the test knit can help her make the pattern clear and understandable. It also provides feedback on how well other yarns do or don't work for this pattern, and even what needle size to suggest.

Each designer is different, as are their reasons for testing. One example I know of an item that needed to be tested comes from my mom. It was a pattern for a quilt she found in a magazine. It gave a template for the pieces, and told you how to sew them together. Sounds simple right? My mom has made her own templates and sewn quilts from just pictures, this should have been a breeze. Except the pieces didn't fit together. The sides that were sown together were different sizes. This would have been easy to spot if someone had just sent the pattern to another quilter and asked them to make just one block.

Not every test is going to show up such glaring flaws in a pattern, but even the little things like treating a double Yo as one stitch or two on the next row can help make a pattern clear and fun to knit. It gives you a real knitter point of view. This is very important if you are just starting out designing. Even if you are a designer with hundreds of patterns, having someone else read and knit the pattern is the best way to ensure other people will be able to knit a project they love.

So why should you test knit? It is fun! Kristen Rettig wrote a blog post on why she test knits, and what she loves about it. Andi recently blogged about her experience test knitting, and gives tips if you want to become a test knitter.

My favorite part about test knitting is working directly with the designer to make the pattern as user friendly as possible. I have quite a bit of knitting experience, but the way things are worded can make them more complicated then they need to be. Or you can have that tricky knitting that a explanation or photo tells you you can do it! Every time I test knit I learn something new. How to make closed loop cables, how to strand knit, how to avoid an awkward start to a granny square round. Or just a new wording that makes you see how you can improve your knitting.

Obviously you can learn all this by knitting a variety of projects from a variety of designers on your own. But having the structure of a deadline, and analyzing a pattern to give feed back means you will see things you might have missed otherwise.

This is #9 square from A Celtic Quilt #2, currently in testing. My project page will also be linked to the pattern when it is released. The celtic quilt link above takes you to the designers project page, Impeccable Knits adds new blocks as they are getting tested. You can also find Celtic Quilt #1.

Watch for a future post on how to be a good tester. Tips on what feedback they need, and how to have an enjoyable test knit.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Mobius Loop Released, New scarf in the wips

I am happy to announce the release of Spring Mobius Loop. Through Wednesday 18th of April it is $1 off, just add it to your cart.

I have been knitting and writing the pattern on a new spring scarf. This one is Chloe's Heart. The center stitch pattern is from Lovely Stitches Volume 2: 35 Lace Cables by Annie Maloney. I love the stitches in this book and her other books, so you will definitely be seeing more of them.

I'm hoping to release this pattern early in May. The test will be up this week in the Testing Pool in Raverly. Please let me know if you want an earburn for the test or the release. My scarf in is Lacey by Interlacements yarn, a lace weight super fine merino in colorway lime. I recommend it! If you must substitute yarn, use a fingering or lace weight with a suitable needle. You want the stitches tight enough to show off the pattern stitches.

Chloe's Heart

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