Mosaic & Lace Knits (review and giveaway)

So have you noticed how I tend to say things like ‘don’t worry, it’s not really colorwork‘ or ‘it’s ok, you only ever work with one yarn at once‘ when I talk about my projects?  Yeah, that’s because I’m sort of scared of having to manage two strands of yarn on one row (and just possibly a little in awe of folks who can pull it off it).  Judging from what I hear from you guys, I’m not alone.  If you’re with me in the one-yarn-at-a-time camp (or if you’re one of those fancy two-at-a-time folks and want to try something fun), check out Barbara Benson’s new book, Mosaic & Lace Knits.

My first introduction to mosaic knitting was in Barbara Walker’s books (she talks about it in some of her stitch dictionaries, and later did a whole book on the subject).  Barbara Benson was inspired by the same books (as so many of us designers are!), and wanted to take the technique even further.  She’s developed methods for incorporating lace and patterning into mosaic knitting.  The result is fabric and projects that still have the ‘how the heck did you do that?’ wow factor, but without any of the heaviness that sometimes comes with traditional mosaic knitting.

The book starts off with a very approachable introduction to the subject and shows you all the techniques you’ll need to work the patterns.  Now, Barbara isn’t mean enough to say this, but I am…don’t skip this bit.  This technique is probably new to you, and you’re going to have much more fun with the patterns if you take the time to read the introductory bits.  I promise it’s worth it.  Once you’ve read it, you’ll be ready to dive into the patterns!

Twelve of the 20 projects are what I affectionately think of as snuggly neck things (meaning scarves, shawls, and cowls), three are hats, three are hand things (the fingertip equivalent of snuggly neck things), and the last two projects are a shopping bag and a pillow.

Smaller scale projects like this are the perfect place to experiment with a new technique.  They give you enough room to practice and feel clever without making you worry you’ve taken on something daunting!  I confess I wish a few more of the patterns came in multiple sizes (I have a big head and big hands…one-size-fits-all things don’t generally fit me), but I suspect for many of them you can improvise by either adding in extra repeats or working at a bigger gauge (you’re a knitter, you’re clever, I have faith in you).

If you’re looking for something new to tackle, I’ve got a copy of the book to send home with a lucky someone!  If you think it should be you, just leave a comment telling me which one of the patterns in the book catches your eye first.  I’m especially taken with the Quatrefoil Cap, but I love hearing what you guys like.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, April 21, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick winners, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send the book their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winners).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  Photos are from the book and are used with permission.

Ensnared (plus giveaway)

Do you realize how long it’s been since we had a shiny new sock pattern around here?  It was back in November.  That’s just not cool!  We need more socks, and I think Ensnared are just the ticket.

That’s a nice classic sock to jump back in with, isn’t it now!  There’s just something about a perfect ribbed sock that’s hard to beat.  They fit so well and feel so good on your feet and you can totally get away with them if your sock target insists on fairly sedate socks.

And, if you have a yarn as beautiful as this, the ribbing is actually sort of meditative.  The yarn is Meridian by Seven Sisters Arts in the color Damselfly, and it is (like all of their yarns) a thing of beauty and delight.

But you guys know me well enough to know that it’s really that fancy bit on the top that steals my heart.  There’s something about that lattice work that just does me in.  It’s the perfect mix of interesting but not fiddly (and just impressive looking enough that you feel rather pleased with yourself while you’re doing it, which really is the important bit).  It gets me in my happy knitting place every time, and really, isn’t that what knitting’s for?

So here’s what we’re going to do.  I want to hear what gets you in your happy knitting place.  Is it ribbing? Plain stockinette?  Colorwork?  Something where you can see the pattern and don’t need to check a chart?  There’s no wrong answer, I just like knowing what everyone else geeks out on!  The random number fairy will pick someone out of a hat, and I’ll send them a skein of this gorgeous Seven Sisters Arts yarn.

And for everyone I can’t send yarn to (I’m just not cool enough to get yarn to everyone, sorry!), I’ve got a coupon for this pattern.  You can use the code HAPPYPLACE to get 10% off the hat between now and Friday.  Just put Ensnared in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code HAPPYPLACE.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, April 21, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winners).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them. Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

Good Mail (yes, more!)

This really is one of the most enjoyable parts of any book…the yarn shower that comes at the beginning…

Because really, how could you not love finding that in your mailbox?  That’s the Magnificent DK base from Knit Circus in their Brass and Steam colorway, with an extra skein of the yellow that comes at the end (the KC folks are super flexible and will totally help you get the amount/color of yarn you need for whatever scheme you’ve cooked up!).

Or this…it’s just pretty much going to make your day no matter what.  I swear it just about glows!  It’s Daintree by Skein in the color Sea View (I love their colors, I used their yarn in Calcareous and was helplessly smitten).

You can see all the yarns for this book over here, and I swear it’s just about the most colorful bunch of yarns I’ve ever played with…this is going to be so much fun!

Once you pom…

Sorry folks, didn’t mean to leave you hanging on the pom pom front!

The first round went pretty well.

Though I did learn a few things.  Namely, you want to fill that pom pom maker up as full as you can, and you want to be nice and tidy and keep your wraps straight and even as you go.  Also…the large pom pom is, well, rather large.

Hence a slightly smaller pom pom for the second go round…

I suspect the pink and gray hat will have this perched proudly on top from time to time!

I may end up getting the next smallest size of pom pom maker at some point…I’ll have to try wearing these and see just how comfortable I am having a yarn-y tennis ball perched on top of my head or if I’d feel more at home with something a wee bit more restrained…