Review: Woodland Knits

tiny owl knits (small image)

There are lots of beautiful knitwear books on my shelves, but the ones I turn to most frequently are the ones where the knits take centre stage. Locations and styling complement the designs and the knitter’s prose reflects their personality and their desire to “connect” with the reader. These are my “comfort knitting” books, the ones I have covered with post it notes of things I want to make for myself or my friends and they’re the ones I curl up with on wet Sunday afternoons, just to turn the pages and be inspired by the content.

Woodland Knits is set to become one of those books. I took it to knit group  and the collective “Oohs and aahs” and “No, no I’m still looking, you can have it in a minute” revealed that my admiration for this book was shared by my fellow knitters. Not surprisingly, it also passed the “teen test”, with young girls (and boys) who hadn’t come across Stephanie Dosen’s work before falling in love with Mr Fox and begging me to knit them a pair of catching butterflies mittens.

Stephanie Dosen has done a grand job, pulling together a collection of new, and familiar designs in a beautiful book . Already I’m inspired to pull out my needles, forget about all the commissions and patterns waiting to  be edited. I could, just for a day, put aside the “work knitting” and indulge in a fantasy of knitted Faerie Wings, a Bo Peep Scarf or a Wildflower Crown …

The commissioning editor and creative team at Quadrille Craft have achieved the difficult task of bringing the  world of “Tiny Owl Knits” to the printed page. Her quirky style, her creativity and her unique way of making you feel that she’s sitting right beside you as you knit haven’t been lost. And there lies its triumph.

Buy this book, put it on your Christmas list or pester your local library to stock it. Any which way you can, get hold of a copy and cherish it. This is a book to have and to hold – and to hope that just a tiny bit of Stephanie Dosen’s enchanted  world rubs off on you and makes your day better – it certainly made mine a little magical.

T x

Woodland Knits is published by Quadrille and is available from 26th September

Review: Feathered Friends

I’ve had this book for a week now and finally I have made time to sit down and tell you all how much I’m loving it!

Some of you may remember how much I raved about the Mollie Makes Christmas book, so it will come as no surprise that I was thrilled to bits when my review copy of Feathered Friends arrived.

It’s been well thumbed and I’ve had to wrestle it out of the hands of the ladies at my knit group, all of whom had their own favourite projects. The crochet blanket, adorned with little birds is high on my wish list (in fact I’ve already earmarked some Stylecraft cotton yarn to make the little birdies applique and I’m pretty sure this will find its way into my holiday work basket.

There are some beautiful projects for the keen felter and stitcher too. In fact, just like the magazine, you could spend hours just looking at the photographs. As you’d expect from the  Mollie Makes team, the styling is spot on and the variety of projects offered means this will make a fab present for all my crafty friends whatever their skill.

It’s on sale now and worth looking out for. I do hope this second offering from Mollie Makes  and Collins and Brown means there will be many more to add to my collection. In conclusion – a beautifully styled book, full of inspiration and priced under a tenner – a bargain too!

Friday Review: Homemade with Love

I was so excited when this dropped through my letterbox this week. Doesn’t the cover just make you feel summer is around the corner? If you’re looking for affordable, achievable makes then this is the magazine for you. I couldn’t help but notice that this issue features several crochet projects, including a super – cute tea cosy by Catherine Hirst and a fab introduction to Granny Squares by Val Pierce. I’ll definitely be showing this issue to the ladies booked on my next crochet workshop.

But, what really took my fancy was a set of needle felted Russian Dolls, in fact I had to get out my needle felting supplies and set to work after lunch today and make a start.  The first is just a work in progress, but I shall be working on some pattern editing this afternoon and then reward myself with more stabby fun this weekend.

You can find issue 2 of Homemade with Love in the news agents right now, inside you’ll also find a great interview with Mandy Munroe, whose pretty little patchwork  project took me right back to Friday afternoon sewing classes at junior school!

Happy making x

Book Review: Homespun Vintage

I was so excited when my copy of this book finally arrived. It is full of beautiful knitting and crochet projects which are sure to find their way to the top of my “Want to knit” list.

Jane Crowfoot is a designer I’ve admired for a long time, her designs are always beautifully presented and this book is no exception. Published by Collins and Brown at £14.99 it really is worth every penny and as you can see from the photo below it’s already found a home in my knitting bag, where I am able to dip into it between my crochet designing and housework!

I find it really hard to say which of the patterns are my favourites. I’ve got a desperate urge to try the crochet and cross stitch cushion featured on the front cover and a beautiful cushion decorated with pom poms! Maybe I just love this book because it has both knitting and crochet patterns in it, we need more books that give us a choice like this.

There is a very helpful techniques section included and each project has a short introduction which describes the inspiration and stories behind each design, I love dipping into this book and reading little snippets.

If Jane Crowfoot’s work isn’t familiar to you, do take a look at her website, and if you would like to buy a copy of this gorgeous book click here to go straight to Anova Books website.

Oh – and don’t just take my word for it – I’ve just noticed Emma Varnam has a copy (and loves it) too!

Happy Making  x

Another Shameless Plug!

Complete Guide To CrochetYes, another shameless plug for some of my recent crochet designs which have been published in The Complete Guide to Crochet, which you can find on the magazine racks in all your favourite news agents right now! Inside you’ll find a collection of some of the best patterns featured in Inside Crochet this year, reviews, hints and tips for all skill levels.

I’ve only managed a quick look at my copy as I’ve been so busy with Christmas, commissions and spending much needed time with the family. If you’re not familiar with Inside Crochet, this Bookazine is a great taster and you’re sure to find several things you want to make.

This would also make a great present for your crocheting friends, with designs for all abilities, clothes, accessories and makes for the home. I am so proud to be included, what a way to end my crocheting year!

Review: Love Crochet

LC02_cover_FINAL.inddI was thrilled when a copy of the Love Crochet Bookazine came through my doormat. A couple of my crochet pupils had mentioned it, but I simply hadn’t had time to pick up a copy. Now I’ve had a good chance to look through it I wanted to share it with other Bakers and Makers who may not have seen it.

Most of the designs come from previously published books, and it was particularly nice to see patterns by some of my favourite designers featured such as Linda Permann and Erika Knight. It’s published by Immediate Media, who also bring you the fabulous “Craftseller”, so just as you’d expect it features projects for all tastes and skill levels.

Do look out for it in the shops, it’s a great buy and there are several things already on my growing “want to make” list, particularly Rachel Henderson’s Cat Hat.

And, as a special treat, the publishers are offering a special subscription rate if you usethis link.

If you have a copy I’d love to know what you think…

 

Book Review: Clangers

“A long way away in a far corner of the sky, on a clear night you can see a faint blue coloured star…”

Of course, if you’re a child of the 1960’s like me, you’ll know that it’s not a star, it’s a planet. In fact, it’s where the Clangers live and as a child I loved this programme more than any other.

I would sit for hours, making tiny Clangers from old socks and pieces of felt, saving milk bottle tops to stick on cardboard and make my own moonscape.

Now, as a grown up I am completely reliving that childhood thanks to the wonderful people at Collins and Brown, who, just in time for Christmas gift giving bring you the Clangers book.

15 easy to follow projects are clearly laid out and photographed. Complete with tips and tricks to help you on your way, even a novice knitter should be able to produce their very own Soup Dragon (thanks to Carol Meldrum’s delightful patterns).

I loved turning the pages of this book. Put it on your Christmas wish list and relive your childhood – or – for you “youngsters” check out Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate’s fabulous story telling here and then come back and tell me you don’t want your very own Clanger!

Craftseller Interview

image

Not only do I have a knitting pattern featured on the front cover of Craftseller this month, inside you can find my super quick and easy pattern for crochet Christmas stockings – and -if  you turn to the back page you can read a little interview with me! Quite frankly I’d buy it just for Suzanne Frank’s knitted kindle cover. I can never resist an excuse to knit with Debbie Bliss Andes!!

Exciting Times

I can’t tell you how excited I was to read this post from my lovely friend Emma today. No-one deserves to have their designs recognised more than Emma, she has such a great eye and really knows how to design things I want to make!

I was lucky enough to meet Debbie Bliss when she came to a trunk show at Fibre and Clay, which is also the place I first met Emma. Interestingly, I also met Lynne at that same trunk show.  Lynne and I have our own exciting news, which you can read about on Lynne’s blog. But, nothing made me whoop for joy quite so much as reading Emma’s news. If you see the Debbie Bliss Fall magazine on the newsstands, buy it, not just for Emma’s beautiful designs, but also to see why Debbie Bliss remains the most inspiring, entertaining and creative knitwear designers the UK currently has.

 

How can I begin to count the ways in which Fibre and Clay has changed my life? It will be missed

Total Game Changer

Last week I was invited along to  a day at Cheshire Cookery School in Altrincham organised by Total (the Greek Yoghurt people). The theme was nutrition and healthy eating, two things I thought I knew a little bit about. But, Martin from MAC Nutrition made me reassess my whole approach to eating and made me realise what a rut we’ve been stuck in when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating!

It’s no secret that since Taran (the pony)  and Pippin (the dog) died, my weight has sky rocketed. Of course I’ve been in complete denial, but the harsh truth is,  not walking a huge dog every day and not having a pony to keep me fit means that my weakness for cake and chocolate has to stop!

And, it stops right now. Armed with some useful advice from Martin, a goody bag full of  tasty yoghurt and a renewed determination to regain some fitness, this family is about to embark on a whole new regime of healthier eating and my lazy ways will be a thing of the past.

And, if you want to know why I’m sharing this on the blog – it’s so I can’t back out – now you all know I’m determined to regain some fitness and not kid myself that a weekly pilates and yoga class can replace the daily walks and hefting of hay bales that used to keep the excess “baggage” at bay!

Of course, there will still be plenty of baking and making, but with a renewed focus on eating for health as well as taste.

Take a look at these gorgeous cookies – we made these on Friday and they are so easy, you can knock up a batch in under 10 minutes. This family loves them!

You can find the recipe here and find more information on Total Greek recipes here.

By the way, the great photos were taken by Dave, one of the few photographers who has succeeded in putting me at my ease and he managed to get some great shots of me in the kitchen.

So, look out for “Foodie Fridays”, when I’ll be sharing more recipes and tips from my Total Greek day. This  week kicks off with my twist on a delicious chicken curry – doesn’t it look delicious? I’ll be posting the recipe on Friday.

Stay healthy and happy.

Tracey x

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