Review and Giveaway: Knitted Mitts & Mittens by Amy Gunderson

Book: Knitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers
Author: Amy Gunderson
Publisher: Stackpole Books
List Price: $19.95

Now that Passover is over and I’ve had a day to breathe, I can tell you about something neat that showed up in the mail just a while back. It was my reviewer’s copy of Knitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers by Amy Gunderson.

The book features patterns for 25 different styles of handwear. It really does cover the spectrum- there are foldover mittens, fingerless gloves, short mitts, and traditional gloves (but with finger tips open for texting). It includes both charted and written patterns.

pictures courtesy Stackpole Books

I’m impressed with the diversity of the designs. Amy Gunderson really seems to know her stuff. There are patterns for a single color, stranded color work, and intarsia. You can pick from designs involving cables, twisted stitches, lace bits, pleats, and even mitered squares. Not only are the Kaleidoscope mitts beautiful, but the hexagons motifs that make them up are built onto each other as you go- no seaming! If you fancy it, pick one of the designs featuring button closures, zippers, or cinched cord for extra pizzaz.

pictures courtesy Stackpole Books

You’re bound to find something you’ll love in this book. Plus, with all the options available, you can use this book to sample different knitting techniques. Fingerless mitts are how I first learned to do stranded colorwork :-)

pictures courtesy Stackpole Books

Thanks to Stackpole Books you have the chance to win a copy of Knitted Mitts & Mittens. Simply leave a comment on this post before Sunday, April 27th at 11:59 pm, telling me what you love about mitts and mittens. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner. Open to US, Canadian, and Mexican residents.

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The Cost of Crochet Diagrams

I love crochet diagrams. They’re a great, visual way of showing how a crochet design comes together. Some magazines and books include them and some don’t. Every wonder why? My guess is that the decision often comes down to cost.

Cost of creating the diagram: There really is no quick and easy software to create professional diagrams. Most professional tech editors I know who do diagrams use vector drawing programs like Adobe Illustrator to hand draw the diagrams. Even a basic shawl design can take an experienced tech editor up to 4 hrs to diagram. Tech editing generally goes for $25-$45 an hour, so you’re talking about adding up to $120 in cost for one pattern. For most patterns that’s probably closer to the $60-80 range, but when you multiply that times the number of patterns in a magazine or book….it adds up.

Cost of printing the diagram: Most magazines and books need to stay within a certain page limit. More pages cost more money. While some projects only need small diagrams, many others can generate enough diagrams to fill a whole page, or more!

While I can see how the cost can dissuade certain publications, I’m very happy that an increasing large number of crochet publications are working to make it happen. I think the increasing prevalence of crochet diagrams is a great thing.

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Mainly Crochet – An Interview with Michele Maks

I love when new resources become available for crocheters. Crochet designer and former magazine editor Michele Maks has launched Mainly Crochet – a subscription crochet pattern site. For $24 a year, you get access to the entire site’s library of patterns. I’ve been watching my Facebook feed as Michele is constantly posting pictures of new patterns being added to the site. She was kind enough to take a pause from her non-stop crochet work to sit down and answer a couple of questions:
What inspired you to start Mainly Crochet?

While I was still working as editor of Crochet World, I was diagnosed with MS, and that made staying at that job impossible. After leaving upon my neurologist’s recommendation, I moved back to Maine where I began the process of healing. After several years of rest and coming back into the land of the living, I realized that I wasn’t done with my career in the design world. While I was interested in designing, I knew that isn’t all I wanted to do. Meeting with Blue Wave Creative, the folks who do my web design, it was suggested that I use the subscription service format that has become Mainly Crochet. My original plan was to produce issues, but this is a way better plan!

How does running Mainly Crochet compare to your previous work as a crochet magazine editor?
It is infinitely more satisfying!(and I really like my boss!)There is no bureaucracy to slog through. I can use whatever pattern I want, whether it takes 101 pages or not. No one can say “we’re cutting your projects so we can fit this ad in”. I can use real people as models. I can produce a pattern in less than a month, and let subscribers have it immediately. At the same time, we can take what time we need to really get the pattern right. I work with designers instead of issuing an editorial calendar, with an enjoyable back and forth honing of the designs that get produced. Having been a designer myself for so long, I value the creative process, and respect my designers. My business model reflects that.
Do you have a favorite pattern that’s up on the site now?

photo courtesy of Mainly Crochet

Yes, and no. A subscription allows access to ALL the patterns on the site. Depending on the day and my mood, I do have favorites that change with both of those factors. Fortunately I can choose everything! And then there are always the ones we’re in the process of producing, always something new!

How would you describe Mainly Crochet patterns?
Varied. Inspired. Traditional. Edgy. Easy. Experienced. There truly is something for everyone!
Anything Else?
Mainly Crochet is a labor of love, created and run by people actively involved in the art and craft of crochet. Our goal is to serve up the best of crochet in the most beautiful manner possible to our subscribers, always with a hook in our hands!

photo courtesy of Mainly Crochet

Michele has actually recently added one of my designs to the site! It’s a Passover matza cover. This really brings me a sense of nostalgia- not only was Michele the first editor to ever purchase one of my crochet patterns,  but it was also a matza cover pattern! Michele is one of those people I have in mind when I say “people in this industry are just so nice”. I hope you’ll hop over to Mainly Crochet and give it a look. I think you’ll like it :-)
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Oh, Paris.

I’m slowly adjusting back to normal life after a lovely week long trip to Paris, France. It was a delightful trip. Of course, my itinerary included a stop into a local yarn store. I stopped in at L’Oisive Thé. Actually, in my enthusiasm, I stopped over a whole hour before opening time. Oops :-)   It gave my husband and me time to walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the beautiful parks.

french flowersI purchased a French crochet book called Crochet Boheme. I love the romantic look of the pieces. Plus, it includes stitch symbol diagrams!

crochet bohemeWhat’s your favorite knitting or crochet souvenir? A pattern book? Yarn? Buttons?

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Autumn Leaves Shawlette Crochet Pattern

In January we had a CAL for the Autumn Leaves Shawlette pattern.

Aren’t these gorgeous?

Photo courtesy of Wendy V. (aka Tekkie)

Photo courtesy of Lee

autumn leaves crochet shawl

photo courtesy of Chrisie

So what are you waiting for? Get stitching!

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Spring into Crochet (and a sneak peak)

How is it March already? The ground here is still covered with snow, but some birds popped up yesterday. I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, spring is on its way.

I’m springing into major design mode. The crochet design ideas just keep coming. In addition to new shawl designs, you can expect a fabulous flowery necklace. Here’s a sneak peak!

crochet pattern necklace sneak peak

March is National Crochet Month. To celebrate, Crochetville is hosting a designer blog tour. Welcome to everyone who’s hopped over here from Crochetville! *waves*

Crochetville is a proud corporate sponsor of Halos of Hope, a 501(c)3 charity devoted to providing crocheted, knitted, and other handmade hats to cancer patients around the country. In honor of National Crochet Month please consider donating a hat.

You may send your hats to:

Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle, Harvest, AL 35749

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Have you heard of arm knitting?

Whether you’re an avid knitter or have never tried knitting before, you’ll want to check out arm knitting. It’s a new craft that’s hot right now. A scarf done in 30 minutes or less?! Yes, please!

My friend Mary Beth Temple has loads of how to videos on her site www.arm-knitting.com. There is even a video explaining arm knitting in Spanish by fellow designer Charles Voth!

You can also pre-order Mary Beth’s new booklet: Arm Knitting. It has 15 arm knitting patterns. Isn’t this scarf awesome?

So have you tried arm knitting? What did you think?

 

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The 2 Crochet Techniques That Will Change Your Life

Take your crochet to the next level with these 2 techniques:

Magic Ring (aka Adjustable Ring)

This method for starting in the round eliminates unsightly holes.

 

Foundation Stitches

You don’t have to start every project by chaining. Foundation stitches let you start working the first row immediately. The video below shows the foundation single crochet, but you can also do foundation half-double crochet, double crochet, shells, and more.

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6 Must Have Knitting Books

A while back I saw many people posting their must have knitting books on Facebook. Here are mine.

Knitting from the Top
Barbara G. Walker (Paperback – Feb 1996)
This is THE book for creating top down garments. I’ve even used the concepts from this book to create crocheted garments.

 

 

Knitter’s Handbook: Essential Skills & Helpful Hints from Knitter’s Magazine

(Spiral-bound – Jun 1, 2005)
This was gifted to me by a good friend. Clear instructions and illustrations for cast ons, bind offs, button holes, and more.

 

Mastering Color Knitting: Simple Instructions for Stranded, Intarsia, and Double Knitting
Melissa Leapman (Paperback – Nov 9, 2010)
If you ever want to do more with color knitting than just basic stripes, you NEED this book. It was invaluable for my first stranded knitting project.

 

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns
Barbara G. Walker (Paperback – May 1998)
A must if you plan to design anything…ever. I also recommend the other 3 in the series.

 

 

Knitting Lace – Lewis
Susanna Lewis (Paperback – Dec 1, 2009)
Not just stitch patterns- it helps you understand what really is going on with lace knitting.

 

 

Shaping Shawls
Anna Dalvi (Paperback)
This book will guide you through different shawl constructions and how to make them your own.

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Crochet Stylesheet Questionaire

Today’s news is for crochet designers. If you are a designer putting out your own patterns, you need a style sheet. What’s a style sheet? It’s a list of guidelines that helps keep your patterns consistent and professional. There are a lot of decisions to make when creating a style sheet, and it can get overwhelming trying to make sure you don’t forget anything. Not any more.

I’m pleased to announce the availability of the Style Sheet Questionnaire for Crochet Designers. Together with Elizabeth Green Musselman, we’ve put together a document to help you create your very own style sheet. It’s a 13 page word document that helps you to address all the major points of pattern style. Simply fill in the blanks and check off boxes, and you’ll have a thorough crochet style sheet of your very own.

The Style Sheet Questionnarie for Crochet Designers is available for only $6.95 through Cooperative Press.

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