Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Celebration Giveaway Sponsors Needed

October is going to be a banner month on my KPG blog!  Not only is my birthday this month (SQUEE!), but my podcast, which has been on hiatus since early 2012 is finally returning.  I'm hoping to have a terrific Celebration Giveaway.  This is a great opportunity to have your products showcased on both my blog and my video podcast.  Additionally, I have a good Twitter, Facebook, and Ravelry Group following.

If you're interested in sponsoring the giveaway with a prize:

  • The giveaway will be promoted during the month of Oct. on my blog, podcast, Ravelry group, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter (random drawing).
  • You applicable social media links will be used to both drive traffic to your sites as well as give the readers additional ways of entering the giveaway.
  • Email me: knitpurlgurl at gmail dot com.  Please include a picture of the item(s) you wish to giveaway along with an approx. retail value and any social media links you'd like included in the giveaway.
  • All prizes will be kept by the sponsors and mailed directly to the winners by the sponsors.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quickie Tech Tip

We've all been there.  You are headed out the door with your latest knit or crochet project AND a book, magazine, or stack of printed off pattern pages.. What a pain.  Instead of lugging that book, why not scan the pattern you are working on and store it in your smart phone?  You don't waste ink or paper by printing -AND- the pattern is super portable!  There are several apps that will let you take a picture of a document and then save it as a PDF document on your phone!  And if you have a good PDF reader on your smart phone (like Adobe), you can easily zoom in on the PDF for print that may be small.

Please use these scanners responsibly and only scan documents you personally own.  Support our community of designers and purchase their patterns.


Monday, September 24, 2012

CO: Oenology Socks

Well, the weather is getting chilly here in Vermont!  I woke up this morning to 33 degrees (F)!  Our entire house, with the exception of our master bedroom, has hard wood flooring, so my little tootsies were positively glacial this morning.  I decided to CO a pair of mindless vanilla socks while I am waiting for my needles to arrive to start another lace poncho.  Immediately, this skein of yarn called out to me!  It's String Theory Colorworks' Resonance Self-Striping in the Oenology colorway.  (Oenology is the art of wine making.)  This is just the perfect colorway for fall!  With the even, 5-stripe repeat, these will make cute socks! Resonance is a 100% SW Merino base.  Since I normally knit with a SW Merino/Nylon blend, I decided that these puppies would be house socks instead of socks I tried to stuff into shoes.  I like my handknit socks to have nylon in them for shoe-wearing only because they tend to wear better in shoes, conforming to feet better, with less shift in the shoe.  So I decided to knit these on a tad bigger needle since I just want them to be warm, cozy, house socks.  I'm using the Gusset Heel Basic Socks pattern by Wendy D. Johnson and knitting them on a US Size 2 1/2, 40" circular needle.  

Do y'all have socks on the needles right now?  If so, what pattern/yarn?


Knitting Software Review & Giveaway!: Pick-A-Stitch

Software Title: Pick-A-Stitch
Compatibility: PC (Windows 98, XP, Vista, 7) or Mac (iOS 10.5 and above), Not iPad or Tablet compatible
Retail Price: $17.95 (USD) for the initial software, 6 Month subscription pkg is $8.95 (USD) or a 12 Month subscription pkg is $15.95 (USD)

If you are a design junkie, like I am, you've already got a collection of the staple stitch dictionaries.  Chances are the Barbara G. Walker Treasuries, the Stitchionary books & Harmony Guides are gracing your bookshelves. With the advent of Ravelry and several other electronic resources, doesn't it make sense to have stitch patterns at the click of your fingertips as well?  This is the aim of Pick-A-Stitch!  In this easy-to-navigate digital stitch collection software, stitch patterns are a click away. 

The initial software package comes with 130 stitches in full color, with written AND charted instructions!  Once you've installed the software program, getting started is easy as pie.  When you open the program, immediately you'll be greeted with a full-color, large image of a stitch pattern. (See pic above)
Atop of the picture, you'll see the stitch name as well as the stitch count necessary for that stitch and the amount of rows needed to complete the stitch.  Immediately below the picture, you will notice a horizontal menu that allows you to click through the Picture view, the Written instructions for that stitch pattern, the Charted instructions for that pattern, and your bookmarks. Below that menu is another horizontal menu that allows you to bookmark a stitch pattern!  This is extremely useful when designing.  If you are mixing different stitch patterns within a design, bookmarking all of the patterns in that design makes the design process very easy.  To the right of the pattern pic is a color menu.  This color menu is actually really helpful in design.  We've all seen those beautiful stitches that get lost in various colors or shades. Now you can click through common colors to get a feel for which color or palette may show your stitch pattern best.  To the left of the large pattern pic, you'll see thumbnail pics of all of the stitch patterns in the category you are browsing.  In the case of the picture above, you can visualize all of the thumbnails for the "Bobbles and Slip Stitches" category.  To the left of the thumbnails, there is a vertical menu bar of all of the available categories of stitches. 

I really like this software A LOT!  It's intuitive, easy-to-navigate, and offers bookmarking features that make designing a breeze.  The full colored photos of each stitch pattern are very clear and up close, making choosing an aesthetically pleasing stitch effortless. Having the stitch and row counts immediately accessible at the top of the screen is also tremendously helpful.  PJ Young Publishing sent me the software package along with 3 of the subscription libraries.  I was so smitten, I ordered the rest of the pattern libraries to complete my package. (Back issues are only $2/each!) After downloading the software and digital stitch libraries, I was able to browse, bookmark, and actually create an outline for a design right away.  Since I use my computer to collect patterns, to access knitting websites, and to create my patterns (written and charted), this was just an extension of how I already work.  I love that the software is expandable.  Subscription packages are extremely affordable and I've already subscribed to the 12 month pkg (in addition to the 6 month pkg they sent me for review!).  While I do not advocate pitching your hard copy stitch dictionaries, I do suggest you enhance your resource library with this electronic resource!  This would be a fantastic gift this holiday season for someone you know who dabbles in design (or for yourself!).  :)

But don't take my word for it!  PJ Young Publishing has generously donated a software program PLUS a 1-yr. subscription to one lucky reader of the KPG Blog!  Just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter Widget (below) to enter!  (1) lucky reader will be picked via Rafflecopter (randomly)!!

Disclosure: PJ Young Publishing sent KnitPurlGurl (1) copy of the Pick-A-Stitch software plus (3) back issues & a 6-month subscription FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions expressed in the review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of PJ Young Publishing.  All photos in this post belong to PJ Young Publishing.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Baby Crochet by Sandy Powers

Book Title: Baby Crochet: 20 Hand-Crocheted Designs for Babies Newborn-24 Months
Author: Sandy Powers
ISBN: 978-1-4162-0846-4
Publisher: Sellers Publishing
Approximate Retail Price: $18.95 (USD) / $21.95 (CA)
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Crochet
Availability: Paperback

From hugely popular Etsy seller, Sandy Powers, comes a book of cute & cuddly designs for wee ones.  In Baby Crochet, Sandy presents 20 patterns that are sure to delight any parent of a baby.  Packed with 150 full-color photographs and easy-to-follow pattern instructions, there's bound to be a pattern for every level of crocheter and every baby.

Let's see what's included in the book:

  • Party Hat
  • Newsboy Hat
  • Curly Cue Hat
  • Shamrock Head Cover
  • Woodland Long Elf Hat
  • Beanie with Sheep Applique
Body Suits:
  • Baby Bunting
  • Pretty Posy Petal Body Suit and Hat
  • Sock Monkey Hat and Diaper Cover
  • Cable Hooded Cardigan
  • Car Seat Baby Cocoon
  • Three Peas in Pod Cocoon and Beanie Set
  • Flower Bird Nest Cocoon and Diaper Cover
  • Snowflake Bird Nest Cocoon and Diaper Cover
  • Dragonfly Baby Afghan
  • Baby Pram Afghan
Other Crochet Bits:
  • Baby Bib with Sheep Applique
  • Girl Bootees
  • Boy Bootees
  • Legwarmers for Babies and Toddlers
I really enjoyed this book.  Every pattern includes extremely helpful and up-close photography for completing each project.  All of the projects are photographed very clearly. The font is nice & clean and easy to read.  Each pattern lists the skill level needed to crochet the project.  The sections are divided to provide easy thumb through.  Unfortunately I don't have any wee ones in my life right now, but I would definitely make some of these items as gifts for baby showers!  Particularly, I really like Sock Monkey Hat and Diaper Cover, Beanie with Sheep Applique, Cable Hooded Cardigan, Dragonfly Baby Afghan, Baby Bib with Sheep Applique, and Legwarmers for Babies and Toddlers.  If you have a little one or little ones in your life, this a cute book filled with great gift-giving projects.  After all, handmade is heart-made! :)

You can connect with Sellers Publishing via:
You can connect with Sandy Powers via:
Disclosure: Sellers Publishing sent KnitPurlGurl a copy of Baby Crochet FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions expressed in the review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Sellers Publishing or Sandy Powers.


FO: Purple Sky at Night Poncho

I finally finished it!  YAY!  Actually, it took less than a week because I wasn't knitting anything else, but it felt like it took awhile - not because it wasn't an enjoyable knit, but because I couldn't wait to see it when finished!  This poncho is knit from the Red Sky at Night Poncho pattern by Mary C. Gildersleeve.  I knit it with Olann Gra Josie's 3-ply Kettle-Dyed  100% Superwash Merino in the Grape Crush colorway on US size 6, 16" circular needles.  The lovely Laura of Olann Gra generously provided me with a skein of her yarn for review (look for the complete yarn review next wk on the blog!).

The beginning of this project was a tad bumpy. Since I was the first one to knit it, there were a few errata, but the designer was extremely nice and prompt about updating the pattern.  Once I got to the border, I'd forgotten about the border instructions listed earlier in the pattern and started the border on the RS instead of the WS - thus the border points aren't centered on the body stitch motifs.  But that's okay!  The poncho also turned out a little shorter than I'd hoped, so if I knit this again, I'll likely knit it on bigger needles.

This was a fun and fast knit and sure to be a great fall wardrobe piece!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Press Release: First Annual "Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day"

Save the Date: First-annual “Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day”                            is January 24, 2013
—Join the movement and help spread the word—
VANCOUVER, Wash., Sept. 21, 2012— This January 24, 2013, quilters and fabric lovers around the country are encouraged to show their support for local, independent quilt shops on the inaugural “Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day”—an event promoted by The Fabric Shop Network with industry support to raise awareness for the importance of these businesses in their local economy and in the creative pursuits of quilters, sewists, fabric enthusiasts, and crafters everywhere.

The Fabric Shop Network President Laurie Harsh will launch the nationwide program at the International Quilt Market this October in Houston, Texas and is asking consumers and industry peers to mark their calendars and save the date for January 24, 2013. Harsh has developed many fabric shop hop campaigns over the last several years, but this is the first initiative designed to drive foot traffic into independent quilt retailers on a single day.

“Quilt shops are vital to our industry and are much more than a retail venue. They are a place where sewists and quilters meet and connect, trade stories about their latest projects, take classes, and learn new techniques, and are inspired to work with fabric in exciting new ways,” says Harsh.

“By spreading the word about “Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day,” we can show our support to these businesses at a time when they need it the most,” adds Harsh.

The Fabric Shop Network is offering local quilt shops free online promotional materials and a number of social media tools to promote the inaugural event on the official website,

There are thousands of independent, local quilt and fabric shops around the country, according to The Fabric Shop Network. Shops will be joining the celebration for the January 24 event by offering special classes, demos, trunk shows, author book signings, savings, and more. The event website,, will be a hub for information and will feature the stories of many independent shops around the country.

Social media also will be a vital part of raising awareness about the importance of Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day and The Fabric Shop Network will be launching campaigns on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to drive consumers to their local shops on January 24. The event’s official Facebook page is:

Details on these promotions will be announced at International Quilt Market; in the meantime, The Fabric Shop Network is encouraging everyone to spread the word about the day and grab the “I Love My Local Quilt Shop” and “Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day” widgets and button from the official website to show their support.

The Fabric Shop Network is the trade organization for independent quilt and fabric shop owners and design studios. Founded in 1997 by Laurie Harsh, its mission is to be a leading source of information to help quilt and fabric shop business owners grow, succeed, prosper, and enjoy business to the fullest. The company strives to provide the most complete, comprehensive, and detailed source of business information available within the fabric retailing industry. The Fabric Shop Network publishes two bimonthly magazines, FabShop News and WebCents; three consumer websites—, and; three unique fabric campaigns—Project 95/FabricShoppersUnite, QuiltRed, and Clara’s Calling; and numerous marketing programs and one-day events for retailers.


Book Review: Wearable KnitWits by Katie Boyette

Book Title: Wearable KnitWits - 20 Fun Designs to Knit for Adults & Kids
Author: Katie Boyette
ISBN: 978-1-4162-0845-7
Publisher: Sellers Publishing
Approximate Retail Price: $18.95 (USD) / $21.95 (CA)
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Knitting
Availability: Paperback

From the author of the fun and whimsical books, KnitWit: 20 Fun Projects for Beginners and Seasoned Knitters, and More KnitWits: 20 More Fun Projects for Those Who Love to Knit & Purl, comes this delightful take on knitwear.  With patterns suitable for both beginners and intermediate knitters, this book contains 150 full-color photos with step-by-step instructions for each project.  These projects are sure to make that special someone in your life smile and squeal with delight. Let's a take a look inside the book!

I really enjoyed reviewing this book!  It's delightful, charming, silly, and just plain fun!  The photography is absolutely fantastic.  Every project is very easy to see.  There are tons of step-by-step instructions with photos to help you complete the sewing, embroidery, and embellishments on the projects.  Katie also includes the pattern pieces for the eyes, teeth, and whatnot that are to be sewn onto the projects.  Each section is organized so that the easiest patterns are in the front of each section and the most difficult in the back of each section.  The pattern directions are written in a very nice, rounded, clean font, making it very easy to read.  Katie provides charts for all of the colorwork projects, so if you're coveting your child's Grump sweater, you can steal the chart and make one of your own!  I must say that my children have both requested items for themselves from this book and have been pouring over the patterns.  DD (age 7) would LOVE the Cyclops Mittens and the Raincloud Socks while DS (age 17) would like me to knit him a pair of Ninja Mitts and a Robot Scarf.  Personally, I'm smitten with the Hooter Hat and Mr. Micro Charm.  ;)  If you love to knit amigurumi or have enjoyed Katie's previous designs, you've got to pick up a copy of this truly fun book.  Who says knitters have to knit serious socks and sweaters all of the time?  Now knit time can be play time too!

You can connect with Sellers Publishing via:
You can connect with Katie Boyette via:
Disclosure: Sellers Publishing sent KnitPurlGurl a FREE copy of Wearable KnitWits for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions expressed in the review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Sellers Publishing or Katie Boyette. 

Photo Credit: Sellers Publishing


OT: Finally Home

Since getting married almost 15 yrs ago, DH & I have moved 7 times.  That's A LOT of moving!  However, DH & I have always subscribed to the theory that home is where the heart is and as long as we have each other, we're home.  And it's very true for us.  But moving to VT has made us feel even more at home.  Originally from Ohio, we grew up in a semi-rural, conservative area.  It was nice.  When we got married, we moved to Wooster, which we enjoyed more than where we'd grown up.  Our final move in Ohio was to a very rural area south of Wooster - where we felt very much at home, but where our son was struggling due to his Autism Spectrum Disorder and the general attitudes and misconceptions of the small school district.

Eventually we moved our family to PA - just north of Pittsburgh.  We lived in a pretty suburban area and were not thrilled with upscale, fast-paced lifestyle there.  The schools, however, were heads and shoulders above any district we'd seen in OH! From there we moved to a rural area north of Pittsburgh.  It felt more like home.  Our family prefers the quiet, slow-paced life of country living.  We enjoy sitting outdoors on our porch, drinking coffee and watching wildlife.  It was nearly perfect.  Our son was in an amazing school.  Our daughter was in a pretty good school and we enjoyed our country retreat.

But then, DH was offered the opportunity to work for a fantastic company in VT.  Even though we knew how hard it would be to uproot and move, we knew that we'd be okay as long as the four of us were together.  The first month was a tad bumpy.  Getting used to a new town; trying to get the kids registered for school; renting a house (until ours sells) in a very suburban neighborhood; and getting used to a new state, was a tad jarring.  After the first month, we moved from the suburban neighborhood to a beautiful house in a more rural area of the town.  The kids were all registered for school and ready to go.  DH was getting into the swing of things at work.  Things started to feel more normal.

It's been 2 months since we moved to VT and I have to say we are the happiest we've ever been.  We are renting a house that sits on acreage and overlooks the mountains in New Hampshire.  DH absolutely adores his  new job.  Our son is in the MOST proactive school for Autism Sepctrum Disorders he's ever been in.  His IEP team has him scheduled in interactive learning classes in which they use one class to teach many subjects.  For instance, he's in woodshop.  It's an applied learning class for children with learning disabilities: mainly dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia..  The class uses woodshop to teach  math, reading, and english as well as social skills.  The way the class is outlined is phenomenal and so innovative.  It's EXACTLY what we've been looking for all of these years.  The school has tailored his schedule to him.  So he's taking many technology classes since he's a complete wiz at computers (he even helped his teacher with her computer already this school year.).  He's flourishing and has made numerous friends! The school is really combining his need for support with his talents and his need for social skills and independence training.  I LOVE IT!  And more importantly, so does he!

Meanwhile, our daughter is enjoying her school!  The children in her school are taught right away to be bilingual.  They all take Spanish twice a week.  The kids call their teachers and the other school professionals by their first names.  The kids feel as though they are collaborating with each other and their teachers on their education.  It's empowering and a terrific life skill that they will use in the business world.  The kids learn in a multitude of modalities.  The 2nd graders will even man the school store and count the money and change.  The school had a huge Welcome Back BBQ last night!  The kids were all smiles.  The parents are all very involved.  The kids HUG their teachers!  It's amazing!  Even their approach to math and reading is very innovative.  They are using a program in-line with the Wilson Reading program for all students.  (Wilson is used to help dyslexic students.)  Each student's homework and tests are custom tailored to the student, as though they all have IEPs.  The teachers make sure that every student is sufficiently challenged, but not frustrated.  Collaboration, acceptance, creative expression, and sharing are cornerstones of the kids' education.  My daughter is even taking the Chinese Cultural program where she'll learn about Chinese culture, tradition, food, and Chinese languages.  She's also in the Children's Chorus.  I can't say enough about how enriching and refreshing this school is!  Oh and to top it off - the elementary schools start before the high school/middle school students because of the the circadian rhythm of the the older students!  Apparently, as children hit puberty, their circadian rhythm changes.  The science says the older students will learn better if they start school later.  Say it with me: AWESOMESAUCE!

As for me, well, I found a small community of knitters.  Now that the kids are in school, I plan to venture out and socialize. Walking and biking are extremely common here in New England.  I plan on getting a good bike and enjoying.  The community is very artsy and laid back.  People are not pretentious here.  People are genuinely nice and caring.  They accept everyone.  There's even a gentleman who used to walk his pig downtown.  The town even has a Strolling of the Heifers event.  There are gallery walks and farmer's markets.  Any day of the week, you may see musicians standing in front of the coffee shop strumming guitars or singing.  You may see people sketching or painting downtown.  Everyone does their part to recycle and preserve the community.  And the entire community gathers numerous times a year for events.  Believe it or not, there's even a clown college and a children's theater. My daughter is already excited about taking acrobatics!!  And my son is thrilled that there are so many places for him to paint and throw pottery!  It's exactly the community we were looking for: laid back, artsy, community-minded, accepting of all (even children with disabilities!!), and friendly.  Our family finally feels settled and at home.  And I cannot tell you what peace and happiness that brings us.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: Knitting in Circles by Nicky Epstein

Book Title: Knitting in Circles: 100 Circular Patterns for Sweaters, Bags, Hats, Afghans, and More
Author: Nicky Epstein
ISBN: 978-0-307-58706-0
Approximate Retail Price: $29.99 (USD)/$35.00 (CA)
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Knitting
Availability: Hard Cover and eBook

As a fan of Nicky Epstein's book, Knitting Block by Block, I was thrilled to see that she released Knitting in Circles!  Nicky takes you on a journey to explore the techniques used in creating interesting and gorgeous circles, which can be used in a variety of ways to embellish or build sweaters, bags, hats, afghans, and the like.  Nicky explores texture, technique, color, and application in this fantastic knitting reference.  Let's take a peek at what's inside the book!

  • Notes on Texture and Gauge
  • Designing with Circles
  • Project Gallery
  • Round 1: Basic Circle Shaping
    • Spoke
    • Radiator
    • 10-Spiral Decrease
    • 10-Spiral Decrease (2 needle w/ seam)
    • 5-Spiral Decrease
    • 5-Spiral Decrease (with seam)
    • Petalwork
    • Burst
    • Halo
    • Swirl
    • Garter Stitch Circle
    • Garter Stitch Striped Circle
    • Corkscrew
    • Stockinette Stitch Circle
    • Stockinette Stitch Scallops
    • Seed Stitch Circle
    • Eyelet Points
    • Orbit
    • Pie
    • Rotate
    • Garter Spiral
    • Pinwheel
    • Sphere
  • Round 2: Texture & Techniques
    • Cathedral Window
    • Bobble Swirl
    • Periphery
    • Daisy Mae Circle
    • Domino Disk
    • Ribbed Round
    • Ringed Leaves
    • Brunhilda's Whirl
    • Entrelac Encircle
    • Cirque
    • Stellar
    • Bobble Burst
    • Bulbiform Brioche
    • Bold Reversible Cable
    • Capella
    • Tree Circle
  • Round 3: Lace & Points
    • Elegant Leaf Lace
    • 8-Point Star Lace Medallion
    • Sunburst
    • 6-Point Star Lace Medallion
    • Sawtooth Lace
    • 3-Color Point Pinwheel
    • Petal Circle
    • Cycle Point II
    • Picot-Lace Ringlet
    • Posies
    • Aureole
    • Celestial Bloom
    • Fanfare
    • Wheel Web
    • Star Bright
    • Morning Bloom
    • Lacy Swirl
    • Stella Luna
    • Illuminator
  • Round 4: Colorwork
    • Orbit (bi-color)
    • Hoops (circle ridges)
    • Rotunda
    • Dots
    • Karma
    • Yin/Yang
    • Modern Fair Isle
    • Retro Bouquet
    • Fair Isle Image
    • Fractal Fair Isle
    • Sailing
    • Spheroid
    • Stallion (textures)
    • Kismet
    • Western Hemisphere
    • Starry Night
    • Jacobean Bluebird
    • Halo Color Orb
    • Rosey
    • Queen of Hearts
    • Tick Tock Clock
  • Round 5: Eclectic
    • Link Frame
    • Camarilla
    • Small Center (5-spiral)
    • Victorian Parasol
    • Ringed Leaves with Beads
    • Coil and Leaf
    • Circus Wheel
    • Hearts Entwined
    • Two Hearts Together
    • Two Hearts in One
    • Bold Petal
    • Bold Ruffle Floral
    • Ecliptic Floral Circle
    • Rotate Spiral
    • Nautilus
    • Ruching Round
    • Round and Round
    • Quatrefoil
    • Blooming Petals
    • Petite Floral
    • Revolve
  • Project Instructions
    • Stella Luna Pullover
    • Hemisphere Shrug & Rotunda Cape
    • Crystal Lace Jacket
    • Spring Leaves Jacket
    • Esther's Pinwheel Cap & Slouchy Hat
    • Brunhilda's Whirl & Capella Coverup
    • Illuminator Fringed Vest
    • Entrelac Capelet
    • Circulate Cape
    • Daisy Mae Pullover
    • Big Blooms Capelet
    • Starstruck Tunic
    • Rambling Reversible Cable Scarf
    • Circle Sampler Afghan
    • Kaleidoscope Afghan
    • Hoopla Bag
    • Celestial Shawl
    • Eternity Dress
    • Le Cirque Baby Afghan
    • Circles into Hats
    • Autumn Leaf Beret
  • 5 Easy Pieces to Make
  • How to Shape Circles
  • Knitting Techniques
  • Joining
  • Mix-And-Match Circles
I could flip through this book for hours, imagining ways to utilize these circle motifs.  The photography of the circle motifs is fantastic! Each circle is shot straight on and close up, making the motfis easy to see.  The motifs are color-coordinated by section.  In each "Round", the photos of the circles are shown first with page numbers listed for the actual patterns.  I like this presentation best, as it's easiest to browse the book.  I think some of these circle motifs would make great doily gifts or circles that could be matted and framed (particularly the colorwork) and given as gifts.  I must admit, I was not a huge fan of most of the circular designs using the motifs.  (I did like the Eternity Dress, the Le Cirque Baby Afghan, and possibly the Spring Leaves Jacket.)  That said, I do like this book.  I like that Nicky is continuing to explore geometric shapes and motifs.  I think the ultimate use of a series of books like this would be to utilize different shapes and motifs to create stunning garments and afghans.

You can connect with Crown Publishing via:
You can connect with Nicky Epstein via:
Disclosure: Crown Publishing sent KnitPurlGurl a copy of Knitting in Circles FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions expressed in the review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Crown Publishing, Random House, Potter Craft, or Nicky Epstein.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Burn Baby, Burn

Recently, I wanted to knit a simple "lace" (really just eyelets, since lace is worked on every row w/o resting rows) something or other.  My life is crazy busy with all of the review work I've got going on, the kids' afterschool activities, and daily life as a housewife.  I found a lace poncho which I absolutely adored and thought would make a terrific fall garment - not too heavy, not too light.  Since I needed to perform a yarn review for an Indie dyer, I was thrilled that I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone, so to speak.

I swatched and CO immediately!  Almost from the beginning, I found errata.  Of course, like an idiot, I didn't bother to check if the pattern had been knit by other Ravelers before purchasing it.  As it turns out, it had not.  I messaged the designer back and forth several times the first day.  She was very nice and very prompt about replying to my messages and updating the pattern, but it was frustrating nonetheless to realize the pattern I just bought had not been test knit.

After getting through the body of the poncho, it was time to start the border, which is also how the garment is bound off.  As the garment had been knit in the round, I didn't think at all about it when the border instructions said to CO 8 st. proceeded by border rows.  So I CO 8 st and started knitting back and forth on the border rows.  About 1/4 of the way through the border, I noticed something odd.  The body stitches in the pattern picture were centered on the border points.  Makes sense.  However, mine were NOT centered.  And then I noticed it - a big hole between the body and the border of the first border point I knit. What the heck?!  Then it hit me - I wonder if I was supposed to CO the border st on the WS?!  I remember reading the pattern notes at the beg. of the pattern and there were instructions about the border.  I flipped back through the pattern to the beginning and sure enough, in the pattern notes, it said to CO the border st WS facing. ARGH!  Being 1/4 of the way through, with 1/4 of the stitches now bound off, I decided I would just finish my wonky border as I'd started it.  Afterall, this pattern was supposed to be an easy, mindless knit, and ripping out the border/BO was going to be a big PITA!

I messaged the designer to let her know that that border info should be placed with the border instructions.  If any of you are like me, you switch from pattern to pattern and some projects go back into the knitting bag for awhile.  It's easy to forget the border info from the beginning of the pattern, when it's not with the section you're knitting on.

Please, please, please - if you are a designer that sells your patterns - have them test knit and tech edited. I really like this designer's designs - they're all very pretty and she is very nice, but now I'll likely not buy another design from her because this one gave me non-stop headaches.  A friend of mine suggested I burn the project!  LOL!  But no, I will carry on.  I will finish my very imperfect project, so that I can at least give a thorough review of the yarn I was using for the Indie dyer (It's not HER fault I chose a pattern that turned out to be a pain in the bum.).

Lesson learned. Buy only patterns that other knitters have knit and be vigilant about reading notes from the other knitters of the pattern.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Knitting the Perfect Fit by Melissa Leapman

Author: Melissa Leapman
ISBN: 978-0-307-58664-3
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group/Random House/Potter Craft
Approximate Retail Price: $22.99 (USD)/ $26.99 (CA)
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Knitting
Availability: Paperback and eBook

Whether you want to design the perfectly fit sweater for yourself or to sell, this book is a must-have!  Melissa Leapman takes you through the steps of creating a sweater that fits.  No more "one-size-fits-all!"  We've all knit sweaters with the greatest optimism: we got gauge; bought gorgeous yarn; followed the pattern to a T.. but then, we block and try it on, and well, it doesn't quite fit.  It's heart-breaking.  It's frustrating.  And more over, it's not necessary.  Let Melissa Leapman show you how to fit your sweaters to your body type and how to obtain the look and feel you're hoping for.  This is one reference book sweater knitters shouldn't be without.  This book not only provides you with a course-within-a-book (Designer's Workshop), but with some nifty patterns that make terrific design examples of the tips and techniques Melissa is writing about.

Melissa takes you from knitting a sweater to knitting a couture garment.  She takes you on an exploration of fully fashioned techniques to provide amazing fit, visual interest, and a classic, sophisticated garment that's sure to be a staple in your wardrobe.

Let's take a peek at what's included in this fab book:

Chapter 1: The Basics
  • What Makes a Garment Fully Fashioned
  • Get Your Knitting Into Shape: Fully Fashioned How-Tos
    • Decreases
    • Increases
  • Knitting as a Foreign Language: Knitting Charts 101
  • Knitting to Flatter
    • Body Types
Chapter 2: Step Away from the Edge
Chapter 3: Designer Details
Chapter 4: Figure Flatterers
  • Designer Workshop - Knit a Fine Figure
    • The Triangle Body Shape
    • The Inverted Triangle Body Shape
    • Round Body Shapes
    • Rectangular Body Shapes
    • Hourglass Body Shapes
    • Special Design Consideration
      • Plus-Size Body Types
      • Petite Body Types
  • Pattern: Marie
  • Pattern: Glamour Girl
  • Pattern: Angled Ribs
  • Pattern: Charlie
  • Pattern: Jen
  • Pattern: Sydney
  • Pattern: Trompe l'Oeil
  • Pattern: Angie

I'm smitten with this book. Not only is the information extremely helpful in knitting sweaters that will actually fit, but the patterns cover a myriad of women's sizes (up to 4X).  This book is truly for every woman.  I really liked that the photography focused on the garments, not the "art" aspect.  The garments and their construction are easy to see in every photograph.  The swatches are very clear.  The Designer's Workshops are incredibly informative without being overly bogged down.  This is definitely an informative and enjoyable read.

You can connect with Crown Publishing or Potter Craft via:
You can connect with Melissa Leapman via:
Disclosure: Crown Publishing sent KnitPurlGurl a copy of Knitting the Perfect Fit FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions expressed in the review are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Crown Publishing, Potter Craft, Random House, or Melissa Leapman.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review: Crochet Boutique by Rachel Oglesby

You can connect with Lark Crafts via:
Disclosure: Lark Crafts sent KnitPurlGurl Crochet Boutique FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the preceding review.  All opinions expressed in the review are those of KnitPurlGurl and do not necessarily reflect those of Lark Crafts or Rachel Oglesby.


Friday, September 14, 2012

On the Blocking Mats: Ecken+Kanten

Unfortunately, the lighting in this room is not that great today - so this picture is a tad muted, but this is Ecken+Kanten by Martina Behm on the blocking mats.  I used Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in the Fresh Fish colorway on US size 4 needles.  It's a very simple, garter st shawl that utilizes short rows to create the multi-directional knitting.  This is the perfect mindless project.  It's terrific for self-striping yarn and is a great unisex pattern.  Due to the multi-directional nature of this pattern, sections 1 & 4 are not completely even and required some creative and aggressive blocking.  I was relieved when it blocked out as I'd hoped and also when I read other Ravelers' notes stating they had the same issue.  I would recommend a stretchy BO for this pattern (thank God that's what I did) since the two end sections are not symmetrical.  All in all, I really enjoyed knitting it and would definitely recommend it for a quickie gift or for an unusual scarf to wear either under a coat or as an accessory.

NOTE: This is the PERFECT pattern for luxury yarn.  Because you must weigh your yarn in the beginning, you can use up the ENTIRE skein of yarn and not waste a bit!!  :)



Howdy, readers!  Now that I'm finally settled in my new house and the kids are back to school, it's time to work on the many WONDERFUL product reviews I have!!!  This upcoming week, I will have knitting journals and knit & crochet books to show you!  Lots of goodies to share with y'all!

I just finished knitting Ecken+Kanten by Martina Behm and will hopefully block it as well as the Garter Hug that is still waiting to be blocked, this weekend!  Pics to come!

I just started listening to the fantabulous Melissa of the SingleHandedKnits Podcast and of course I jumped right into the Sock the Vote Challenge #4: Hearts of Gold!  For this challenge, we were asked to knit a set of hearts for our troops: a red heart for a troop serving and a purple heart for a wounded troop.  Since I prefer crocheted hearts, I crocheted a pair of teeny, tiny hearts that are pocket-sized!  I used Lion Brand Yarn Bonbons in the 'Celebrate' package in red and purple, a US size D crochet hook, and the Heart Motifs pattern by Carrie Carpenter (size small) to create these cutie patooties!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Holiday Gift Making for Yarnies

Can you believe that we're almost 1/2 way through Sept. already?  That means that knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners, and crafters everywhere have started their Christmas (or Winter Holiday) gift making.  But what can you give a fellow knitter who has knit everything they could want for themselves?  How about notions or sundries?  Here are some great ideas and links to instructions for some useful yarnie gifts!

1.) Wool Wash - How about making handmade wool wash?  Knitters & crocheters use wool wash all of the time.  So why not pair a favorite essential oil with a terrific recipe for wool wash and gift in a cute bottle, embellished to your heart's content?  

Homemade Wool Wash - 3 recipes from the laundry gurus at
Wool Wash Recipe - From Fern and Faerie
Home Made Wool Wash - From Just Claire

Brambleberry: Essential Oils, Bottles

2.) Stitch Markers - Everyone has stitch markers, but how about some handmade, beautiful stitch markers?

Split-ring and Pin stitch markers - from the knitting gurus at
Flex Cord stitch markers (MY fave way to make st markers) - from PDX Knitter
Crochet St Markers - from Crochet Me
Lobster Clasp Crochet St Markers - from Knot By Gran'ma

I was able to get all of my beading supplies at my local JoAnns.

3.) Needle Cases - A homemade case is a perfect gift - especially for the knitter who travels!

Knitting Needle Roll - from Made by Loulabelle
Knitting Needle Case - by Design Sponge
Interchangeable Knitting Needle Case - by Life According to Missus Vonkysmeed
Crochet Hook Case - by Life According to Missus Vonkysmeed

4.) Project Bags - Can yarnies really have TOO many project bags?  I think not.  Make one that is one of a kind for your fave yarniac!

Easy Drawstring Bag - by Purl Soho
Box Bag - by Truly Myrtle
2 Kates Project Bag - by Kate Davies Designs
Bucket Bag - by Nested in Stitches

5.) Tape Measures - Why not knit or crochet custom tape measure covers and gift a cutie-patootie tape measure that will be the diamond of your yarnie's notion bag?!

Let's think outside the slippers and ornaments this holiday season! Knit and Crochet On!


Monday, September 10, 2012

OT: 30 Min. A Day To a Spotless House!

I found that not only am I an ADD knitter, but I'm an ADD house cleaner. I tend to try to accomplish all of the cleaning on 1 day, which is just crazy!  Taking cues from some other bloggers, I've decided to come up with a common sense schedule of cleaning to keep my house spotless! (Or as clean as it can possibly be with 2 kids and 2 dogs.)

Here's the schedule:

  1. Tidy up house (pick up things that are out of place)
  2. Wash dishes
  3. Wash laundry & put away
  4. Wipe down kitchen & bathroom counters
  5. Quickly wipe down appliance fronts
  1. Dust all furniture
  2. Dust all molding: baseboard, crown, chair rail, window, and door trim
  3. Dust all electronics
  4. Dust all light fixtures
  5. Dust all framed art
  6. Dust all knick knacks
  7. Dust spindles and rails
  1. Sweep all hard surfaced flooring
  2. Vacuum all rugs and carpets
  1. Wash all hard surfaced flooring
  2. Spot clean (if necessary) all rugs and carpets
  1. Wash out sinks
  2. Clean toilets
  3. Scrub tile in shower/ clean bath tub
  4. Wash mirrors and faucets
  1. Discard expired or old food
  2. Wash out fridge shelves & compartments
Once a Month:
  1. Wash windows
  2. Clean dishwasher and washing machine
  3. Clean hampers & recycle bins
  4. Organize closets
Just working on these chores 30 minutes a day (more or less depending on your space), helps to keep the house orderly and clean.  It typically takes me 30 minutes of daily chores plus 15-60 minutes of the chores listed for the specific day of the week (It can be as little as 15 min. or as much as 60 min. It all evens out.). Do your chores early in the day, and your day is a snap!


KnitPurlGurl Podcast is Returning!

After a LONG hiatus due to a death in the family and an unexpected move to the east coast, the KPG Podcast is returning!  Look for the first episode on Fri., Oct. 5th!  My podcast will move to Fridays due to my new schedule.  As before, you can find my episodes here on the blog, on, and on iTunes.

I've decided to podcast in seasons.  So the new season of the KnitPurlGurl Video Podcast will run Oct. - May.  This gives me an opportunity to spend my summer with the kids, without worry of podcast deadlines or having any knitting done (I don't knit too much in the summer).  Also, I won't be podcasting during school breaks.  As well intentioned as I am, recording podcasts when the kids are home is not only difficult from a noise standpoint, but difficult because we try to spend their time at home doing something together.  Due to the sheer amount of podcasts that record weekly, I've chosen to record my podcast on the 1st & 3rd Fridays of every month.  If for some reason a school break coincides with a scheduled podcast day, I'll let my viewers know in advance what day the podcast will be recorded.

I hope you'll join me for the '12-'13 season!! :)

Knit on!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School Promo!

So the kids are headed back to school in nifty new clothes and fab new kicks.  Who says we can't get something for back to school too?!  Now through 9/14/12, take 20% off any of my shawl patterns!  Shawls are the perfect fall accessory to wear around your neck!  Check it out & spread the word!

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