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A new book for the new year

Happy New Year, my friends!  I hope 2014 treated you well, and I am looking forward to a happy and healthy 2015 with my family and all of you!


The new year is a time for fresh beginnings, and perhaps, like me, you are looking forward to challenging your knitting and trying something new.  I recently came across two new books that I’d like to tell you about, the first of which is Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant.

I had the pleasure of reviewing Nancy’s first book focusing on the brioche stitch, Knitting Brioche, about five years ago (how time flies!).  You can read that review here.

Nancy’s newest book shares some of the elements of the first.  For example, she continues to use a unique language and charting system to label brioche stitches.  Don’t worry if you don’t have the first book to review these: the system is discussed in detail in this book, as well.

However, Knitting Fresh Brioche focuses exclusively on two-color brioche knitting.  The remarkable thing about Nancy’s work is the way she uses shaping – increases and decreases – together with the two colors of yarn to create unique stitch patterns.  More than 100 pages of the book are devoted to a stitch dictionary of these patterns.

 
 

In addition to the stitch dictionary, the book has 12 patterns, all scarves and shawls.

I noticed that many of the projects use single-ply yarns, or yarns with some silk content.  I think the texture of these yarns brings a nice definition to the brioche stitches, and allows the scarves to drape beautifully.  Click on a picture to view bigger:

 
 

Perhaps one of these patterns has intrigued you, and it will be your first project of 2015?!?

Season’s Greetings and seasonal handknits

As the year comes to a close, I want to wish you and yours a very happy Holiday season!  When 2015 rolls around, I will be going back to work.  I dread thinking about how this will affect my crafting and knitting.  I hope to squeeze in as many stitches as I can here and there, and to stay in touch.

My little Christmas tree, my joy and light.  I followed the Christmas Tree Hat pattern over 60 stitches using US 8 needles.  The yarn is Berroco Comfort in 9791/Gooseberry Heather.  The star topper is from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac.  The baubles are from my local Joann’s, and they are only on the front of the hat, since Sonya spends most of her time on her back.

And here are my favorite Christmas gifts in their complementary mama-knit sweaters! (Gregory’s and Sonya’s)

Happy Holidays!

Sonya’s stocking

I don’t have the best record for finishing Christmas stockings in time for Christmas, but I totally beat the deadline for Sonya!

Pattern: the Komi colorwork pattern is co-opted from mitten #10 in Charlene Schurch’s Mostly Mittens. As you may or may not know, Walter has some roots in the Komi region of Russia, so it seemed totally fitting to have at least one stocking with Komi motifs. For stocking construction and stitch counts, I mimicked the St. Nick stocking I knit for myself 5 years ago.

Yarn: Raumagarn Strikkegarn 3-ply wool yarn, in 5/71 (light pink), 198 (light green), 173 (dark pink), and 112 (aubergine). I bought the yarn from Nordic Fiber Arts in Durham, NH, and their customer service was fantastic; Debbie, one of the employees (owner?), helped me select colors over the phone! Highly recommend.

Needles: US 4 Susan Bates 16″ circular needle and dpns.

Here is our fireplace mantle, with everyone’s stockings in place!  From left to right: mine, Gregory’s, Sonya’s, and Walter’s.  They are all different designs, but I think they look beautiful together.