Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 Beadweaving books purchased

There just aren't many beadweaving books published and certinaly not in 2009. Each one I purchased added to my collection and I find them to be very useful. Let's hope t hat 2010 will continue to provide quality.
Seed bead fusion by Nelson-Smith has elements of other techniques that don't interest me. But hopefully this book will help me.
DeCoster's Beaded challenge is all about RAW. Actually she has more interesting patterns in some of the bead magazines.
Cube bead stitching by Jensen opened my eyes and I went out to find 1.5mm cube beads. This was a very worthy addition and also the patterns are quite easy but pretty.
Shaped beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald is a blockbuster of a book. Written in such a way that it leads on to more unexplored territory. All her books are useful but this one was the best for me.
Beaded sphere by Judy Walker was bought from a bead supplier as it's not on Amazon. Again another very important book.
In addition to the books, the magazines continue to lead the way. Sad that Step by step beads has been gobbled up by Interweave. Interweave Press was sold to another company and since that time, it has become a very aggressive marketing power but sometimes the books have to be checked before purchase.

2009 crochet books purchased

50 fabulous crochet squares was good purchase as was 99 granny squares to crochet from an earlier year but bought this year. The latter is a better book with twice as many patterns for the buck. But when it comes to grannies, I like all of them.
100 flowers to knit and crochet was bought because of the editor. good purchase.
Interweave crocheted gifts was also a good purchase. I hope to use it in the future.
Blueprint crochet is hard for me to understand but has some nice patterns. I notice that the author has done other patterns for magazines that are not charted and also this is not the first word on the subject as I have easier books published years before this one.
Freeform crochet and beyond Boght because I have another book by this author I like. This one doesn't come up to that one.
Tunisian crochet is good. Silverman designed everything and the many color photos look helpful. Plus I enjoy doing this anyway.

2009 knitting books purchased

I decided to check my purchases for 2009 on Amazon. I also bought some books in stores and on ABE but mainly Amazon.Overall I am quite disappointed. Somehow books were of higher quality years ago. Now it seems like each book has only a few patterns of interest. So I was recently in the far east and got to look at new books in actual bookstores. I was disappointed in most of them for the same reason that they promise a lot and don't deliver. I am going to itemize the books I bought now explaining what I think about each of them.
Knitting books:
Together or separate by McCauley. I was unhappy with her first book because all the necklines were done for someone with an abnormally long neck. This book didn't do that. Most of the items are really classic and a lot of them use cotton yarns. This book was a pleasant surprise.
All new homespun handknit. I bought this one because I thought it would come up to the level of a much earlier book but it didn't. It emphasizes handspun yarns and someone wrote me on that point, that I should not have been disppointed. There is a nice lace scarf from Nancy Bush, a shoulder lacey shawl and a lace scarf. The entrelac socks look good. Then there are several hats in colorwork. These are the interesting projects. It's possible that I might become more favorable towards this one in the future.
New stranded colorwork is a gorgeous book of Norwegian and some shetland knitting and since I like almost everything on that subject I was pleased with it. The main problem is that there are all kinds of yarns used so I would need to substitute for most of them. However that's probably academic as I'm just trying to use up my yarns and finish all my gorgeous projects that I've got.
Personal footprints by Bordhi was another disappointment as it mainly explains how to knit a perfect sock with one pattern. For me this is too bad I bought it.
Reversible knitting has 50 new stitch patterns and various projects. The patterns could be good but none of the projects interest me. Again I bought this one because I liked her earlier book on scarves which was definitely interesting.
99 yarns and counting was bought as I had been thinking of the earlier book from the Green Mountain spinnery but it looks like the whole group changed in the meantime. Unlike the first book, this one doesn't really list t he yarns used. Patterns are very simple so might be good for beginners but a big mistake for me.
Vintage baby knits was one of the few books I looked at before buying. There's a nice shawl but again not sure if this one will be of much use. The author prefers wool yarns and that is not practical as all the moms want something to put in the machine.
Norwegian handknits has a lot of nice small item patterns and a few large sweaters. Reminds me of growing up in Minnesota. Here I did feel I got a book that is worth the money. But not sure if I'll ever knit anything from it.
Knits from the North sea was criticized as not being very Shetland. I don't care. I feel the shawls and scarves are lovely. Happy with this purchase.
Amigurumi knits was another good purchase. Full of weird critters and different from the other Ami books which are all crochet.
Knit on down is a good collection of useful sweaters for all ages plus some hats and other stuff. Not disappointed with this one.
Knitting saddle style was another disappointment for me. There are no other books on this subject. Author doesn't explain how to design your own so you have to do the pattern her way. I wanted to know how long to make the sleeve and didn't get an answer.
Feminine knits was another disappointment.Main problem is that the yarns used are not American but primarily Danish. I didn't find anything I wanted to make but I could always change my mind. Mainly these patterns are not easy.
Knitting in the sun was another sad story. I found that t he gauges and yarns didn't work out mainly because each designer did her own thing. I tracked each yarn online to see what gauge was called for so if I decide to make anything, I'll have a general idea of the gauge I need. These are mainly sweaters for wamer climes which is good.
Custom knits might prove useful although I haven't bothered with it as the patterns are simple. I just noticed a cape from the top down which has no pattern stitches but might be helpful as I'd like to knit one.
Selbuvotter is in a class sof its own. I probably won't m ake any of the mittens but I'm interested in the fairisle/Norwegian patterns.
Knitted lace of Estonia is definitely a good purchase a nd I'm very pleased I've got it too.
So summing up: I need to be more careful in the future about what I buy. Wait until more reviews come in. The big problem is not to wait too long and the book goes out of print.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beadwork for Dec 2010

I'm pretty unhappy with the latest Beadwork. I did enjoy all the interesting patterns in earlier issues but going back through them, I notice a big change when Melinda Barta became the editor. It seems to me that most of the patterns are doing the Laura McCabe rivoli type thing or RAW and actually t he patterns by Macia DeCoster in RAW are easier than most of the other ones. I enjoy Rivoli too and once learned it but I don't care to keep on with it all that much as it takes a long time for one thing. Now in this latest issue there is just about nothing that is easy. There are a few quickie easy ones at the beginning which don't appeal to me and also one bracelet Arabella near the end which has been done many times already. It's the peyote thing. The only difference here is that the embellishments are different. But frankly I don't even call that one a pattern. However, there is one interesting item in an adv in the back on page 104 the middle picture. It looks to me like brick stitch holding the ever increasing pie shape of beads which I learned to do this week from a Deb Roberti pattern. So maybe I'll try that one from the photo. The article on David Chatt is nice for him but rather sad for me as he seems to have abandoned beading for now. The actual projects only begin on p.40 after wading through pages of advertising. First one is a herringbone rope with a McCabe pendant, etc. Then come the three editorial quickies .DeCoster has an interesting pattern idea as long as I change the beads as I don't care for the pictures. The Kan necklace is another RAW with netting thing. The beaded tubes don't appeal to me. Next is another McCabe wannabe. Then a RAW cuff in two layers and I don't care for that idea either as it just makes it all that much heavier. Next is a peyote triangle with a spiral rope which might be ok if I adapt it as I definitely don't care for the colors. Then a bead embroidery which has been done often before a d finally a bracelet which looks nice but again is a McCabe wannabe. Final project of a brooch is a bit different but still RAW. So just about all of them are going to take a lot of work and are not for the beginner and probably not the intermediate beader either. The advanced beader can take out some ideas and do her own thing as she probably has her own copy of the McCabe book. Also the reason I am so disapppointed is that Interweave Press bought out Step by step beds and then forced it to go to easy beginner projects and then a few months later killed it. So now there is nowhere for the easy pretty patterns that were in that magazine unless Bead and button gets smart and sees there is a big opening for beginning projects. I'm making a bet with myself that Barta will be on her way sometime soon as people walk away from Beadwork. Really, for whom is the magazine now?
And going through my printed out patterns from all my magazines, I am not that surprised to see how many came from Step by step Beads when Rogalski was the editor. They were fairly easy to do, interesting, taught me something as well, and in a rather short beading time I was able to come up with a piece I enjoy still today. So where can the beginning beader or fairly new one now go?
One hopeful note for the end: happily the 4 beaders of the year are being replaced by 4 more. One is McCabe herself, two is Carole Ohl who is a favorite with me. The other two remain to be seen.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Eye of God earrings

This was a pattern in Beadwork and I used 1.5mm Toho cubes instead of the regular beads called for. I like it very much and these will be earrings and perhaps also part of a bracelet.

roberti bracelets

Worked according to the Roberti bracelet pattern but in 3 of the bracelets I c hanged the size of the cube to 1.5mm and I'm very happy with it. I'm using also in one of them a thread called Sonoho which I bought in Singapore. I'm told it's another name for Sono. Anyway it works like the 1G and the KO but it might be more economical as it comes on a much larger tube. I also used Fireline crystal in one of them but I find this difficult as the pattern is brick stitch. I also made a pair of earrings as I didn't have enough of that pink color for a bracelet.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

patchwork bracelet

This lovely bracelet is from the August 2009 issue of Bead and button and is by Melissa van Diljk. It's a variation of the squares as in the Diane Fitzgerald book but since it was probably written up before her book was published then it came from some other source. I'm now making it in red and gold and might also make it for my daughter. It takes me about 2 weeks altogether not beading all the time. I also got a new book on cubes in beading by Virginia Jensen. The book is very interesting and full of good instructions and is meant more for the beginner to intermediate but I'm finding it very good and have discovered that Hobby here in Kfar Saba is an importer of Toho beads so I had a great time buying all sorts of 1.5mm cubes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

more new knitting books

Lots of new books to write about. Here are the knitting ones:

Cat Bordhi, Personal footprints for insouciant sock knitters. I have some of her previous books so had to pick this one up as well. She has some good ideas to make well fitted socks but I generally don't knit them unless I find my socks disappearing. My problem is my loose gauge and only size 2mm needles seem to work for me which isn't much fun.

I have the first book from Green Mountain Spinnery so bought the new one: 99 yarns and counting. I found this rather disappointing as compared to the first one. There are some nice children's sweaters and an aran hat at the beginning. They are all easy. I like the guernsey type cardi vest and the simple st st vest with a lace edging on the bottom. The shawl and scarf are very simple lace patterns. There's an easy fair isle cardi for children. Several hats and a pair of mittens follow and then the best item which is the Istanbul aran pullover with finished chest from 40-52". The aran patterns are all easy ones. Then come some Nordic hats in sock yarn and a fairisle hat which is attractive. there's an entrelac afghan using a brown variegated yarn. Followed by a raglan short cardi and a man's ribbed turtleneck. The whole book is on the easy side and the smaller items would make good fast gifts.

Next up is Lesley Stanfield's :100 flowers to knit and crochet. Very attractive book but I'm unsure just where I'll use them. Maybe that gray entrelac blanket would be a good choice if I bothered with it which I won't.

I have the scarf book by Lynne Barr so naturally went for Reversible knitting. One problem here is that the title is interpreted quite loosely. But she comes up with 50 unusual patterns and also has 20 projects from herself and other designers. I wasn't interested in any of the projects at this point but you never know, right?

OK. now for the last two books one of which surprised me and the other one didappointed me. Well, that happens when you buy sight unseen.
The bad news is All new homespun handknit edited by Amy Clarke Moore, editor of spin-off magazine. Actually that goes far to explain why I'm unhappy with it. I think if you are a spinner, it would be just right. Nowhere does she give you an alternative yarn but she does give needle size and gauge. Of the 25 small projects I did like the 3 shawl or scarf patterns and especially the one by Nancy Bush. Where needed there are good charts. I also liked the entrelac socks. There's a coin purse by Kathryn Alexander, mittens, socks, baby poncho, zipped baby hoodie (and the baby looks like he's choking as the zipper is in the back and over the back of his head). Moore herself comes up with a domino knit sweater which is done specifically for a child who is bigger in front than in back so she suggests basically that you make your own pattern and I ask then why do we need this pattern at all? Among the other small items are baby soakers.My daughter says no way will she go in that direction.

Now to end on a good note. Best for last. Mary Scott Huff's The New stranded colorwork. This is mainly Norwegian knitting brought up to date. There's tons of information here for the beginner who is scared of steeks for example. I like most of the 17 patterns (I'm not interested in bags and purses). She covers the whole family. Kjersten is a gorgeous green cardi for a woman using Brown Sheep nature spun sport in several colors. Being koi is a vest with t he Koi fish on the top and I love her colors of teals and poppy. Yarn is Harrisville shetland. Another nice vest is Queen of scots using Jamieson's spindrift. Houndstooth is a pullover with a doggie touch in a dk weight yarn. Norwegian blue is probably my favorite though and it also has Harrisville shetland as a cardi. Fleur de zebra is a pullover in Zarina yarns in black and white but with a great pink color to provide the punch. Wassily vest in a dk yarn is for size 44-49" finished chest size and is also nicely done. Finally the hardest one is Wedding belle in Dale of Norway Ull yarn and this is a cardi with lace and picot on the edges. I left out all the other projects like the baby bees sweater as I wouldn't put so much work into something like that but if you do Norwegian or fairisle definitely buy this one even sight unseen.Again, this is a great one for fairisle knitting and I want to use my J&S here.
Marian Poller

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New books

It's autumn so I'm buying books again.
New knit books: Noble, Knits from the north sea. This got criticized on Amazon and my shawls email group because it wasn't strictly Shetland even though the second author comes from there. But I liked the patterns mainly and I have several of her books. Then Sue Flanders, Norwegian handknits. This with my Minnesota background brings back the memories but I doubt if I'll be doing anything as we no longer wear those warmies.
Crochet: Werker, Crocheted gifts. Has some nice quick projects especially the Willow hat. Leinhauser, Granny crochet favorites was ordered from ABE a nd my copy is pristine and I love it. Muriel Kent, Complete crochet course. bought sight unseen because of her Broomstick lace book. Similar material here too.
Rowan picked up this summer in England: magazines 43,44, 45. Classic alpaca book 13 and Purelife winter collection.
Ultimate design sourcebook for crafters to use when I do embroidery. I'm a little disappointed with it as the designs included don't really have what I'm looking for.
I just got the new Knitn style and the latest Interweave crochet which is really good this time. I know they changed editors so that might be the reason. Werker is a good editor but she was relying too much on her group which just hasn't got it yet.
I'm also wary of Interweave because they are bombarding me with lots of patterns for pay and these are mainly reprints from their older stuff
which I've got (if I could just settle down and find it).

I pulled out one of my fairisle projects which I started last winter. I changed it to be 9 1/2 repeats instead of the smallest size of 10 repeats as I generally get 7sts to the inch except that after I had to rip and restart as I had forgotten to start with the last 8 sts of the 32 st pattern, I then discovered that my gauge is exactly on which means what I'm knitting now will be 38" around and I want about 42". So I can't rip again as this pattern is flowery and giving me vision problems anyway. So I'm upping my needle size to 3.25mm which is called for in the pattern anyway, and if that doesn't work, I'll just block it out to be bigger when it's done.

Vision: well, two drs have examined me. I have 2 cataracts (I do have 2 eyes) and one is not ready which they both agree. But the left lazy eye might be ready and one of the drs wants to operate but the other one says to wait. So I'm beginning now to suffer. However I still passed the Israeli driver's eyetest by buying new lenses. I hate this ripoff. Spend the money and you pass. My friend J. who is quite deaf somehow passed it too (they also check hearing) but he spent a lot of $$ with them this summer on a multifocal with a very expensive Italian lense.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Books on broomstick lace

I promised a list of what I've got here on broomstick lace. I just received the newest book or pamphlet actually. "Broomstick crochet fashions" by Margaret Helen Wilkes. This is 32 pages paperback published by Search Press in 1986. ISBN 0 85532 591 7

I bought it on ABE which is a good source for used or op books. There are 7 patterns with color photos. Actually the stitch is always the same. She apparently owned something she wanted to sell to the public so she called it the Whizz Pin. She says in her instructions what size pin to use. She has a 25mm, and a 20mm. The crochet hook varies from 4mm to 7mm hook. Her materials go from mohair to aran yarns.
For her patterns she gives a stitch tension of one pattern which equals 1 inch.
In her step by step instructions which is illustrated, she suggests holding the whizz pin firmly between your knees. She calls for working 5 sts together and using double crochet but since this is English, it means single crochet. She also does not pull all the loops off t he pin at once but only 5 at a time (if you've watched youtube, you've seen Jennifer take them all off at once).
At the time this booklet was written, everything was oversized so you'd probably want to correct for that one.
Wilkes also did another book on regular crochet which I might buy sometime.
Ann Stearns, Batsford book of crochet, c1981. ISBN 0 7134 3312 4
on p. 37 she has something called extended stitch crochet patterns using a large wooden knitting needle or other suitable gauge. She works her loops by putting this large needle behind her hook and yarn and then working a sc over this needle. She then removes the knitting needle and turns the work. She then works the loops together 2, 3, 4 or 5 loops together.
I am not sure she was successful as she doesn't give project for anything in her book. She does have a chapter devoted to something called Turkish crochet as she went there to learn it.

Interweave crochet has 2 issues for which I found patterns: fall 2007 and summer 2009.
I bought by luck one issue of Crochet fantasy for summer 2005 # 181 and this was a goldmine of info on this stitch. pages 22-37. If you have this issue enough said, but if someone wants more info I'll be glad to oblige.

Leisure arts, The afghan book #63. Back cover has the afghan and it calls for a size 50 needle. Very nice item. designed by Marion Graham

McCalls afghan collection (so old the cover is missing so I don't know which one it was) but on p.30 there's a pretty afghan using 6 colors of Bear brand yarn and a size 50 pin. It works off 5 loops for each one. This is the booklet with some nice American flag afghans.

Bernat Treasury of afghans book #246. page 14 Uses 3 colors of Bernat yarn and size 50 needle. It uses 5 loops together and repeats two rows for each color.

Unger afghans vol 128. Uses Unger lovely in 3 colors and size 50 needle. Yarn is doubled and 5 loops are worked together.

Anyone have any more patterns?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

from Jean Powers pattern

This took me two weeks of pretty intensive beading. I had some vision problems from my cataracts and also had to learn how to manipulate the thread which wanted to go elsewhere. I followed her instructions exactly and plan on making this next time as a necklace. Since it does go over my hand but feels a bit big, I might make it smaller next time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

zigzag chain

I gave away my zigzag necklace and when I got home I discovered I couldn't find my instructions as it makes a nice simple necklace with beads and 4mm Swarovski crystals. So I pulled out the Goodhue book and found on p.44 lots of zigzags but not the one I wanted. So then I started to bead. I remembered there were 3 beads sitting across from my crystal and you need to return to the last seed bead again always working up. The crystals sit first on the left and then on the right side with the seed beads zigzagging between them. What I did was to first make a circle of 9 beads with a good knot and go through again. Then I added 3 sb and one crystal and returned to the last sb on the circle. Next I added 3 more sb and 1 crystal and continued to return to t he sb before that and t hen going on through the 3sbs I just added. Seems to be ok.

Monday, July 20, 2009

kreplach vs dim sum

I started making kreplach when I was 4! The first attempt ended in me almost dying when I fell off a broken chair and grabbed the pot of boiling water on my way down. The Polish neighbor who was assisting me, grabbed a towel and pulled all the skin off my burned leg and I ended up going through several skin graft operations and treatments as I could no longer walk. But I didn't lose my love of kreplach. My aunt Fanny was a real kreplach maker but hers wern't very tasty unlike my aunt Dora's who was a great Roumanian cook. She taught me to use the best cheese I could find. One day we were driving in Winnipeg Lake beach where she had a summerhome. She pointed out a cow in a backyard and we stopped to buy some cheese from the cow's owner. The cheese was still warm. It made probably the best cheese kreplach I've ever tasted. After that it was a very long time until I could really make a decent kreplach. I think my dear sister Bev still can't do it. But then she's been wasting all these years working as a doctor.

In the following recipe I write how I roll out the dough. It wasn't like that before I saw how they do it in Kowloon. The traditional POlish or Jewish way of perogie or kreplach making is to take at least half the dough and roll it out into a big rectangle with a regular big rolling pin. The dough is rolled out to be quite thin. Then a glass or cup is used to make circles throughout the rectangle. The glass has to be coated on the bottom with some flour so it won't stick to the dough. The major problem is that a lot of the dough is left after all the circles are made and this dough is used again. The next time the dough is much tougher and drier so it's a difficult job. It also takes longer and the dough just isn't the same on this new batch.

In Kowloon I was waiting outside a dimsum restaurant and in the window there were some Chinese chefs making the dough for dim sum. They took pinches of dough and rolled each one out separately for one dim sum and they used a small rolling pin. I couldn't find it in Hongkong but I did actually find it in Israel. I explained this method to a Ukrainian friend who also makes kreplach and she switched to my way also.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

red pepper pickled

1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 or 4 cloves or clove spice
black pepper optional
Bring to boil. Add 2 red peppers cut up and cook about 4 minutes. Serve with chicken.

kreplach recipe

My kreplach recipe is very low salt but you can add salt if you want to the dough or to the boiling water or after; however, try it this way as it's very tasty.
Begin by boiling 2 large pans filled with water.
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cold water
1 egg
Add part of the water to the flour and egg in a food processer and continue adding water slowly until the dough begins to move as one piece (rather violenty too)
If you have too watery a dough, just continue to knead it with more flour.
Put aside and make the filling.

Cheese filling:
200 grams or 8 oz of low salt white cheese. Can be farmer's cheese. My cheese is about 50mg salt in 100 grams of cheese.
sugar to taste (up to 3 TBSP)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1 heaping TBSP sour cream (I use low fat 9%)
Mix all but the egg and taste. when taste is right, then add a beaten egg and mix well.

Blueberry or fruit fillings:
Fruit plus sugar
cinamon optional
Cornflour if watery.

The pictures below show my small rolling pin.put flour on a level surface. I take a large pinch of dough and roll it into a circle about 2-3" in diameter. Roll fairly thin and then add cheese or fruit (small amount). I usually fold the circle over once and pinch up the edges. This technically is called perogie. To make kreplach, continue and take two corners and pinch them together.Be very careful that the dough is well sealed especially if the filling is fruit.

Add about 10 kreplach to the boiling water and after they all have reached the top of the pan, continue cooking about 10 minutes and then remove into a strainer. You might want to lower the heat while it's cooking and don't cover.

For cheese I like melted butter (unsalted of course) and a little sour cream. For fruit, you might want to put a little sugar on each one. Taste first.

kreplach, cheese and blueberry

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Diakeito crochet

I spent several hours today figuring out the pattern in the Diakeito magazine shown here (cover is the project). The yarn is Dialien and it's a beautiful pastel ribbon. Color is LE 605. I think it's a linen, cotton blend. The ball is 35 grams and is 123 m. The pattern calls for 230 grams so I have enough too. I began with the "magic loop" and then went on to make 2 hexagons and connect them. To my amazement I was spot on gauge which almost never happens to me. The hook is a Japanese 2.0 which is called for in the pattern.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

cucumber salad

This recipe from my old Betty Crocker book.
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper.
Slice cucumbers into bowl and add rest of ingredients. refrigerate 3 hours.
6 servings, 10 calories per serving

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Being grumpy

It's nice to be grumpy. At age 69 I feel I'm entitled and my daughter says it's fine to be grumpy here on my blog. Yesterday I was very grumpy and today less so. I decided to let off steam on the Beadchat email group about people who come to me for free beading lessons for as long as 2 hours of my time. These are people who can't read instructions for themselves, have almost no beads and materials and just try to learn for free using the cheapest materials. They also never bead on their own. I met some of them at the local retired center where there's a lovely woman who teaches crafts and seems to mainly teach beadwork. She's really good too. But in 2 hours with about 30 to 40 women all wanting her help, she really can't do that much so some of the ladies seeing that I'm pretty good, try to come and visit me for help. They come with poor materials that are not suitable and are not interested in buying the right stuff. Some think they can use mine. One lady came without her glasses which she really needed as she had a high cylinder number. AFter quite a few of these visits I finally popped. Well, today the beadchat email group responded. I thought I'd be burned for sure and was very surprised to read the outpouring of support by other beaders who had also been burnt by students and people wanting to learn for free. I got a lot of good ideas too and the big one is to just say: no.

I also posted a letter to knittalk which is a knitting email group and here I wanted to write about a knitting book published in 2003: New directions in Knitting. Several people said they had bought it and others wrote they were ordering it and it was available very reasonably now. So I just might send in a few more reviews. I know that people prefer positive reviews so I need to take a look at my large collection and see what is there. Now that I'm alone again, and dieting, I often take a few books or magazines to read while eating to eat less and it also gives me time to go back over something I had forgotten about and say: wow, I'd like to knit that.

I had to go to the dentist today after hours of pain yesterday. The lady dentist said it's time to take out the tooth. It didn't even hurt and she hardly used any pressure as it was so wobbly. Then she had to put that horrible thing in my mouth to get the measurement for the new tooth which will be added to the stuff I have. I'm so happy as it will be ready tomorrow. No waiting.

And today it's terribly hot and heavy. I don't usually feel much from the weather but sitting at home in my usually lovely living room, I felt a slight headache. And the weather tomorrow is going to be even worse.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Potawatomi weave

Potawatomi weave is shown in the Goodhue book "Indian beadweaving patterns". It is similar to Daisy stitch but I think faster and if you change the beads you can come up with some of the designs I made in my picture here. You can Google for it too. There's a lovely pattern by Carolyn Pedrick called Twilight necklace
Books with it are "A Treasury of beaded jewelry" by Mary Ellen Harte (p.20-21) and "Beaded jewelry with found objects" by Carole Rodgers on p.30. It is very good for chains and she has a few in this book. Bead and button also had something on it some years ago. I find it works fastest with larger beads and in more than one color. I did it with 11s in one color and was quite unhappy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My favorite chili recipe

My daughter asked for this one.
3 TB butter or olive oil
1 large onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound chopped beef or red turkey meat
1 1/3 cups canned tomatoes with juice or substitute 2 cans of tomato sauce
1 green pepper, minced
1 cup water
2 TB chili powder
1 tsp cumin seed, crushed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp basil
1 small bay leaf

1) Heat the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute until golden brown. Add the meat and brown.
2) Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 3 hours. If desired, add 1 can of kidney beans and just heat through.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Feminine knits- review

This book Feminine knits by Samsoe is translated from the Danish and the publisher, Interweave, has not bothered to change the yarns used. The cheapie way friends. Instead on p.126 they indicate where you can make substitutions of course using the more expensive yarns like Rowan. In addition the patterns are written for small sizes and generally don't give much extra width. Biggest sizes are about 43" around.
Now some of the patterns are inspirational so the excellent knitter (and why she or he needs this book I have no idea)can then fight with it and get the particular item they want at the gauge he or she wants. But after all that work, I say just use the patterns for inspiration and do your o wn thing and next time don't buy this book sight unseen. This book is best borrowed from the public library although here in Israel you can scratch that one too. And as for Interweave, well I've been burned before by them so now I will be that much more careful in the future.

The book got 3 stars from me on Amazon in my review and I think that was generous.

Knitting in the sun -review

I reviewed this book on Amazon and gave it 3 stars. Today I tried to figure out the yarns used. 32 patterns and pretty much 32 different yarns as well. I didn't find all of them but after a long search on 2 different yarn index sites came up with most of them. In the book many are not labeled correctly as there are different weights under the same name and the book doesn't indicate that so you need to check yardage as well. Already in this new book some yarns seem to be discontinued. The main problem here is that the book doesn't give indications of whether the yarns are worsted, dk or whatever. That's the old way. The new way is a cockamanie number system which is very useless especially if you happen to be a crocheter.
Since I don't live in the states and want to use my stash, it's important for me to know what kind of yarn is in the pattern as many of the yarns especially in this book are the newest latest thing. In general after all that searching I discovered that most of the yarns are either worsted or dk weight. But that doesn't mean that you will need the correct needle and here is t he big problem. Sometimes the pattern changes the gauge the yarn usually gets into something looser or tighter and if you want to make your item the same way, first of all you need to know what the yarn gauge is supposed to be and then figure out what you can do based on the pattern gauge. So that all makes this book a big headache.
Because of that, I now prefer to use this book and similar just for inspiration. Then I can madly go my own way. Now we are lucky here because this book has schematics and that is the key. With the schematic I can then do my own thing and try to come up with the same size. See? The life of a knitter just gets harder all the time.
And of course if you want to make your sweater a different size from the sizes here, well you're are definitely on your own. So therefore this book is not for the beginner who is planning to make something from it. In general she will fail.

Sabta's Polish red peppers

I dragged this pickled pepper dish from Sabta who came from Poland.
Boil 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar with some cloves and black pepper. Boil about 4 minutes and then cover and cook a few more minutes until peppers are tender. Refrigerate. Very good with chicken dishes

chicken and rice dish

I travel a lot and I need my recipes but don't carry them along so this is a great way to access them. Not too many. I'm basically low-salt and dieting although my blood pressure with pills is fine and my drs don't t hink I need to lose much if at all but I have to compete with what I see around me.
My new friend Ilana is Persian and that inspired me to make a chicken dish with rice. It's fast and easy. Salt can always be added after. This is enough for me for 3 or 4 meals as I only am eating 100 grams of meat at a time.
1 breast
1 onion, chopped
1 small carrot grated
1 tomato, small pieces
1 red pepper, small pieces
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup white dry wine
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup uncooked rice
Fry the onion and garlic a nd remove from pan. Flour chicken breast cut up into portions (3 or 4) and quickly fry til golden color. Remove from pan. Now return everything with chicken on top. Add spices. Can be anything. I use black pepper, tumeric or curry powder and something called chicken spices from Schwartz. Add 1 cup uncooked rice and 2 cups of liquid. I like to use some dry white wine and water. Cook uncovered a few minutes. Lower heat, cover, and cook until rice is done. About 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

new c hair

This is my new knitting, beading and guest chair from Gary Alexander. Took 2 months, but it's here. The wood is gorgeous and the rest is black leather. It's a very heavy chair.

cotton top

I started this one very long time ago. now done.

Kathryn Alexander sweater

I finally found this project in my stash going back about 4 years. It's the Kathryn Alexander sweater with lots of entrelac using a kit of her great single ply yarns.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RAW earrings with and without clips

I made these earrings twice once for me and the second time for my first customer! Only she has no holes in her ears and wears clips or clippsim as it's called here. So I went out and bought some and saw I needed to glue something to the ugly empty spot in the front of the clips. I bought some cheap plastic flatbacks, some glue appropriate for them and to my surprise something like a q-tip but instead of cotton it has wax and this just adheres to the bead and you can easily put it in place. In fact much easier than using what we call a pincetta. Sorry, my English is going here. It was recommended to me along with the glue by the saleslady.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peyote design from Yanti in Jakarta

Yanti is my student in Jakarta a nd when I returned on my last trip I was amazed to see her lovely peyote even count bracelet using beads I had sent her with my son. I recreated it here. Yanti is now one of maybe none who bead this way in Jakarta and I'm very proud of her. She is now probably creating something in RAW.

Rivero's Beaded bracelet IV

Mostly easy but I learned some good things too. Book recommended.

crocheted blankie shell stitch

After struggling for a few days trying to remember where I found this pattern it finally came to me. It's in the VK crocheted baby blankets book on p. 60. The pattern includes an animal head but since this is a lapghan for an adult I don't need that and also I wouldn't give a 100% wool blankie to a newborn. I like it so much that I dug into my stash collection and came up with another Te Awa yarn from Australia. I have several of them actually. I'm using a 5.00 hook and after going through my hook collection I found that a plain simple aluminum one with no name of the brand works the best on this one. I do love my Phildar hook too but it's quite heavy at this size and the American Boye is not as slidey as I like either. The pattern is very easy but I haven't found it in any of my stitch crochet books yet. It mainly uses sc, hdc and dc to make a sort of shell which then on the second row heads in the other direction. But except for the beg row, everything else is the same as row 2 which makes it delightfully easy and quick to make.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Just finished a baby blankie in the VK Grannies book. Designed by Marilyn Losee. This was such fun to do. I used several variegated acrylics I bought here in Holon instead of the plain colors in the pattern. I even have enough left over for a second one. Now I just need to find a baby!
I saw my surgeon last week and also got back the blood test. Both were excellent. The surgeon isn't sure whether I still have the cancer but he thinks it's there only smaller and just wants now to check me again in 4 months.The hormone pill I'm taking is being very successful for me. So once more, I am so lucky. I told a girlfriend about it and she was amazed and told me to "go away". She has had to have chemo and it has spread to other parts of her body. She seems to think th at th e 3 marker tests on the blood test would indicate if there is cancer but I think she is wrong. One can't depend on that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cheer wools LYS

I forgot to take a picture of the new store for Cheer wools and they just moved on this visit farther up Hennessey not far from the football fields. I found some NOro yarns but pretty expensive and their selection of Japanese knitting books was slim for 2009. Also they had removed their older European knitting books but on my final visit it looked like they had put some of them out again because they do get a lot of "foreign" visitors. I was asked by one lady who was a tourist from Canada about finding a pattern in English for an afghan and when she told m e she was heading soon to Singapore I told her to wait and go to the Golden dragon which has a great selection of English wools (Sirdar and Rowan) plus Japanese yarns and lots of books and needles. Singapore knitters have told me this is the best LYS in Singapore.

Spring summer handknit collection for women

This is a Diakeito book and the cover shawllette uses the Diallien yarn. Most of the items are crocheted but there is some knitting. NIcest books for 2009 I saw so far so I bought it.

yarn purchases in Hongkong

I was really sticking to my yarn diet this trip but couldn't resist the following yarns left to right: Dialien color 605 from Diakeito. I bought 9 balls and it is probably linen with cotton in a variegated color. This will probably become some kind of crocheted vest or shawl. The next yarn is Diamist lame in color 707. This has some gold and silver colors an d 3 balls should be enough for a narrow summer scarf. Both are Diamond yarns. The third one is Diadomina in color 323 and is a variegated red and pink and other colors. I bought 9 balls which should be enough for a plain raglan pullover. The prices from Filokilo are approx the same with the discount as in Japan. You have to bargain but it also helps to be a good repeat customer. This store often has classes too. They carry some cheaper Italian yarns. None of the stores I've seen in Hongkong carry Chinese yarns although I believe there is a place somewhere in Hongkong. Just haven't found it yet.

another LYS in Hongkong

This Lys is on the same street as Filokilo so worth a visit. They only carry Filatura di crosa (at a nice discount) and some Cleckheaton from Australia. They also have lots of Clover needles. There's another store called Spotlight in Kowloon that I visited this trip with my daughter. They also have lots of Aussie yarns and books and I also found there some of the cheaper Miyuki delica beads plus I bought a pliers for split rings which I hadn't seen anywhere else. Didn't take a picture though.

New style LYS in Hongkong

New style lys in Hongkong has been around for years in one location or another. Always when I go there, I find a class of knitters. The yarns are eclectic being Japanese or Italian and expensive too. I was able to bargain with them last trip and got some nice Noro silk garden. They have moved also nearer now to the Sogo dept store and not far from Tailor and alteration. Both stores are on the main street Hennessey. There are signs to them above the sidewalk so you have to be on the lookout. This one is closer to Sogo than the other one. The store is about the same size as before. The salespeople are pleasant and speak English. they have a good selection of new and old Japanese knitting books and some needles. I usually visit but don't buy.

Tailor and alteration Hongkong LYS

Tailor and Alteration has been in this new location now over 6 months and still is absolutely impossible to find anything. They moved closer to Sogo on the same road but into a much smaller store and now all the knitting books are just piled up one on top of the next. The yarns for knitting are in very narrow aisles and other items like embroidery and sewing seem to have almost disappeared. I visited them on this trip and the earlier one and both times walked out without buying anything. Just impossible.

entrelac in Kersti

This sweater started out as a vest because I only had 10 balls of Koigu Kersti which is a lovely variegated dk weight yarn. But after I reached the end of the front and back I saw that I still had 4 balls so I picked up sts around the armhole and knit down and in fact I still have most of one ball left! So this yarn while pricey is very good on length or something. I got my inspiration from seeing a sweater in entrelac by Hubert from her man's knitting sweater book only there she used a plain yarn for the sleeves. However aside from that, I just used my own specifications for the item because I've made so many entrelacs myself. I generally go by the entrelac pattern in the old Harmony stitch book. This one used 10 sts for one triangle and square. Also, the sweater itself has a wonderfully elastic feeling from the yarn and also I did make a vest before this one in the same yarn but it just completely stretched out after washing. I think the entrelacs should hold the yarn now from doing that.
I got back from a month out in the far east where I saw my great knitting friends out there. Siowchin (little purl of the orient) and Marjorie in Hongkong and Tanti out in Jakarta. The only yarn I bought was at Filokilo in Kowloon because they have always a great selection of Diakeito yarns and I can get also a nice discount from them. This time they were very happy to see me and gave me some yarn catalogs from Diakeito with all the colors and specifications for each of their winter and summer yarns. All in Japanese but still quite understandable. I also took photos of a few of the yarnstores in Hongkong who have relocated. I did buy one Japanese knitting book because I have so many in my collection from several years and I just didn't see anything wildly exciting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring interweave knits and Best of the worsteds

Today I picked up my mail which included the spring Interweave knits magazine. I felt that the pages were printed on much lighter paper. Am I right? As for the patterns: There are a lot of cottons and that's great as it will help me to finish off more of my huge cotton stash. I have a lot of Tahki cotton classic so the scarf by Eunny Jang is calling. I did a shawl online by Susan Lawrence and I have the yarn called for to make the Fountain pen shawl. I have the Brown Sheep cotton fleece also (7 skeins) so the Jeff's pub sweater is another option although I'm a bit scared about sewing in a long zipper assuming I could even find one. The shawl by Norah Gaughan is worn as a skirt so I can't tell how it would look as a shawl so that's a no go for me. Omdahl has a shawl and it interests me although I have her book so probably will do something from her book before this one. I really am attracted to the scarf by Kenny Chua. I can't figure out what the yarn is. sport weight? dk? The tee by Teva Durham is quite attractive. The other items I find less interesting as they resemble so many others found in other places.

I also got the book "Best of the worsteds" edited by Bobbie Matela and published by House of White Birches. This is good again for my huge stash as I have so much yarn that knits to the gauge of 4.5 sts to the inch or thereabouts. All the patterns are easy ones and are designed by many designers new and old names to me. The patterns come with schematics which are useful just that way for me. There are 40 designs arranged by subject of baby stuff, gifts and wearables.
What I liked best are: most of the baby stuff many of which are done in cottons. The gifts section has something called shadow placemats which look great. A hat and scarf set in mitred squares. zigzag scarf, cabled hat and fingerless gloves. ribbed cap which is much more than just ribs. In the wearables, there's a nice bolero in a variegated yarn which I have (of course). A gorgeous cardi lace vest in cotton. knit from the top pullover with baby cables accenting the raglans. long vest in a rib pattern I did on the raglan sweater I'm working on now. Classic cables vest (which is why I bought the book in the first place). A very nice straight up vest in a cotton yarn (here I'm pleased to have the schematic). I like the diamond twist afghan and the modular one knit in pieces. There's a handy section at the back to help with knitting and crochet but since I didn't see anything in crochet, I'm not sure why they put it in. Those are the patterns I might do or use in some way. I also liked the editor's introduction in which she suggests you just go ahead and use up any yarn that fits the worsted weight label. Very nice book.

granny hat

The granny square comes from the VK book called "Grannies" c2008 and it's actually the basic square for a baby blankie on p.69 by Marianne Forrestal. I have also started the blankie in the same acrylic yarn but in a gorgeous hot color. All I did here was to crochet 5 squares and attach the first 4. The 5th square was attached at th e top with one side to one side of each square and it is a very quick item to make and because it's just one color, there's a lot less ends to sew in too.

Diakeito raglan

Yarn is Diadomina # 335 which I bought a few months ago at the LYS in HOngkong. It's a new color (my photo shows the colors too light) and I really love it too. I made it smaller about size 42 but I think it is a bit wider anyway. However I like the way it fits. I also made the sleeves 18"
long as I rather like them that way in case it's cold outside. Brrr. Again I relied on the J. Fee book on raglans. I do have a problem right now though. I've started another raglan which is written to be worked in pieces. So I did a sleeve and really don't understand why it was done so that the rapid decreases all come first. That makes a raglan which is really impossible for me to wear. Maybe a very slim model. Anyway, I'll be redoing it the way I did this one.

clown toy

This is from Knitted toys by Jean Greenhowe, c89. It's been a wip for years as I didn't know what to do with the hair but now in the future I might do an embroidery stitch with it which I ran across in a very old French book.Anyway, I gave it to Asya and she wasn't interested. She's more into cars. Also everything looks to her like a phone and if it isn't a phone (and this is not for sure) than she couldn't care less. I'm getting ready to go to her 2nd birthday party in March. It's in HOngkong so the trip is a long one for me. But my two kids have set up a really grand time for me including two trips into China, 2 days in Macao, a day in Penang in Malaysia and of course Singapore and Jakarta and a few weeks with the little one. This time she's getting cars!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

new books

I just got more knitting books for my continually expanding collection. Both are good too. Luxury yarn one-skein wonders edited by Durant is full of great ideas which can easily be adapted. For example, there's a crocheted baby hat by Edie Eckman that calls to me for myself and all I need to do is use a heavier weight yarn and crochet until it fits. Also some really good looking scarves and some patterns for neck warmers which could also double as hats. My friend Bracha knit something that works like that. Pull it up and it's a sort of hat and down it's for the neck.
The other book is an old one edited by Jane Waller: The 30s family knitting book from 1981. I found it on ABE.UK as I don't think it was ever published in the US. I have a few of her other books so I knew pretty much what to expect and was not disappointed. She has reprinted the pages of old knitting magazines of the 30s and added a 2 page historical note and material showing what size needles and hooks and yarn to use with each pattern. There are some quirky ones here like a baby boy sunsuit in something called swimwool. But the men's patterns would be great for today as they are not complicated patterns but rely on nice stitchwork for their effect. The women's side has some great items too which could be knit as is. Others provide ideas for stitches to use in projects. There is a sweater called tuck-in which is meant to do just that so as to emphasize the waist. In fact the sweaters are all figure flattering and would be useful today as we are returning to that style. Also included are a few suits and dresses which I won't be doing. Another unusual item is a vest and panties set to be worn apparently as under clothing. The yarns are all mainly thin wools being mainly 4ply and dk weights. One nice pullover though all in angora. There are no arans but two calling for a little fairisle work. Two nice simple shawls, a lovely scarf. No hats. I'm waiting also for a new book she's bringing out in England later in the spring also similar to this and her others.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

zigzag finished

I bought this yarn around 1997 or at least that's when I began to knit it. It's Ellen's half pint farm falkland merino. I paid $50 for 1350 yds in one hank at Stitches East (Valley Forge, Pa.). I met her there and liked t he ocean colorway. Now that I'm wearing it, it's really pleasant to wear. The pattern is my own based on a stitch from the second Barbara Walker treasury on p. 123 and called Zigzag ribbon stitch. She suggests it will be great for variegated yarn. I found the pattern pretty hard as I did it in the round. I did th e sleeves in plain st st or I never would have finished it in Dec. 2007.
I just got some wonderful news tonight. The biopsy on the strange thing on my leg (which was a burn scar from 1945) turns out to be ok even though 2 doctors thought it was probably cancer. I knew about it for maybe 15 years an d even have a letter from the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn to watch out for anything red on my leg. Well, it was pink so I just ignored it all those years. I am a very lucky person and feel like I've won t he lottery twice this past half year.
I also received my new mattresses tonight about 10 days earlier than I figured they'd arrive.