Knockout Knits (review and giveaway)

I’ve known the delightful Laura Nelkin for a while now.  We first met back when she was the design director for the (dearly departed and much missed) Schaefer Yarn.  She was kind enough to ask me to design a pattern in their yarns when I was a very new designer and just barely starting out.  We’ve kept in touch over the years (we tend to show up at a lot of the same fiber events), and I was so excited when I heard she was working on her first book.

And now that the book is here, and I’ve had the chance to spend some lovely time with it, I’m even more excited.  It’s called Knockout Knits, and the title is marvelously apt.  Everyone single of these projects is a hit.

knockout knitsThe book’s 23 accessory patterns are divided into three categories: wrapped stitches, advanced lace, and beads.  Each section begins with a lovely introduction to the topic at hand.  These introductions (and the accompanying clear and thorough diagrams) teach you exactly what you need to know to get started with the patterns in that section.

Then (and this is the genius bit), Laura gives you a cuff pattern that makes use of the techniques you just learned.  This is a marvelous way to structure things, as it gives you an instant gratification project with which to hone your skills.  You’ll be done in no time (really, the cuffs take something like 20 yards of yarn) and feeling confident and ready to tackle the larger projects.

And those larger projects are a treat!  The book includes hats, mitts, cowls, shawls, scarves, and of course the lovely knitted jewelry Laura’s know for.  I am fairly hopelessly smitten with all of them.  Check out the book’s ravelry page for the full list (there’s even a free extra pattern, just to give you a little taste of all the book has to offer, you should go grab it).  You really can’t go wrong.  It’s a marvelous combination of instruction and inspiration, all presented beautifully.

And Laura’s going to make one of you very very happy by sending a copy your way.  Just leave a comment letting me know which of the projects in the book you’re most excited to try.  Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to get the book to them.  If you’re leaving a comment, 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 winner).  If I do get in touch with 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 send physical prizes to US addresses.

The photographs were taken by Lauren Volo, belong to Potter Craft, and were used here with permission.

So Much Better (Plus Giveaway)

So, as promised, I’d like you to meet someone who really knows her way around the bead shop.  May I introduce the lovely Laura Nelkin?

I got to know Laura when she was design director for Schaefer Yarn.  She got in touch with me when I was very new at this pattern thing and asked if I’d like to do a design for Schaefer.  This was an incredibly generous thing to do.  I was a complete newbie and was totally making it up as I went along.  Her encouragement was a tremendous help.

Laura has recently made the switch to being an independent knitwear designer, and she’s doing some amazing things.  Her latest project is a video class on lace shawls that looks like great fun.  Even more impressive (at lest to me, as I sit here surrounded by hundreds of beads and a few false starts) is her way with beads.

She’s done lots of individual beaded patterns in the past (Ennoble more or less makes me weak in the knees), but now she’s done something even more fun.  She’s put together a whole collection of knitted jewelry and other accessories (most of it with beads).  She’s releasing one pattern a month, plus a few surprise patterns here and there.  The first pattern came out back in May, and new patterns are being added every month.

The pattern collection is called Adorn, and it is absolutely marvelous.  The patterns are lovely, and the instructions are clear enough that even a bead novice like me isn’t intimidated.  If you’re already a bead expert or if you’ve only been considering taking up beading (and really, if you like yarn shops, there is a good chance you’ll like bead shops…they hit a lot of the same ‘oooooh, pretty colors’ buttons in my brain), you’ll want to add this to your collection.

I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky reader.  If you’d like it to be you, just leave me a comment below and tell me what you like to do with beads (even if it’s just admire them from a distance).  I’ll pick a winner on Friday.  Do be sure to use a real email address so I can get in touch if you win (and don’t worry, I won’t do anything with any of the addresses except contact the winner).