Knitgrrl 2 review in Yarn Market News

Here’s the latest Knitgrrl 2 review, from Yarn Market News, which is a trade magazine for people in the yarn-related industries… everyone from designers to yarn companies to equipment manufacturers.

(You can subscribe to Yarn Market News on their website).

I wrote an article for the next issue of YMN, due out just in time for TNNA Indianapolis in June. Speaking of, I’m really sorry I put off registering for the show so long — there are a lot of classes I wanted to take that were already full, but I am taking a button-related class with Lily Chin that promises to be excellent. I can do a decent buttonhole, but I bet Lily can do a better one, so sign me up!

This weekend I worked on Forecast (knitting, frogging and re-knitting the same section about 5 times until I was happy with my cable and stitch choices) and started to sketch ideas for the book-after-the-book-after-next. This much super-advance-planning is necessary, since I’m going to have to chart out a lot of stuff before I get anywhere near swatching for it.

I also did some photo-collage-sketching for the next book, since I hate the way I sketch with pencil or pen. Although they’re good enough for my own “internal” use, I don’t like showing them to other people. So I Photoshop, collage and do most of it electronically. It works for me.

You heard it here first…oh wait…no, second!

From the Threadbear Fiber Arts mailing list:

Mom & Me Tea Party — Shannon Okey, author of the two Knitgrrl books, has planned a shop visit for the afternoon on Saturday, May 13th, in support of both of her great books.  We’ll have model garments from both as well as the opportunity to “meet and greet” the author herself!  In conjunction with this, we’re doing a “Mom & Me Tea Party”, where parents/children can share their love of knitting at a weekend event tied to the Mother’s Day weekend.  If you’re not familiar with the Knitgrrl series, they’re knitting how-to and pattern books aimed at the teen and pre-teen set.  We’ll have plenty of both books on hand that day, so plan an afternoon out!

I’ll be there as soon as I can (probably after 2:00 — Jillian and I are presenting at the Ann Arbor Book Festival between noon and 1:00, and I have to hop in the car to get up to Lansing), and staying ’til close, so come on out and say hello! Try on Amy Singer’s “Sproingy” capelet from Knitgrrl 2, it’s perfect for spring!

I left my (Red Heart) in San Francisco…

Sorry for the bad joke, Tony Bennett…what I learned this weekend in San Francisco made me think of Red Heart yarn for a second. I had the best time. As soon as I arrived, I went to Petaluma to deliver a sweater design for Lana Grossa in person. (It’s called Stella Maris — I might post a photo of it and its sibling sweater Noemi soon). Unicorn’s warehouse staff told me they ship lots of my books, which was blushingly flattering, and I got to poke and prod all the boxes of yarn for future design consideration…yarn petting being an integral part of any visit to a warehouse full of the stuff!

I signed books at Stitch Diva Jennifer Hansen’s TKGA booth. Jennifer is a great big flaming ball o’ energy — my favorite kind of person. Her booth looked awesome, by the way. I love those mannequin busts of hers, and she’s a consummate salesperson without being car salesman-y about it. You couldn’t help but want to learn how to do Tunisian crochet after watching her do it with three different textures and colors of yarn. That green hairpin lace skirt she designed? Oh, I need it…and in that colorway, too. It’s so heavy and drape-y and fabulous it hurts. Guess what I bought from her, though? A massive handmade Tunisian crochet hook. Yes, crochet. More on that in a sec. She also has these massive hand-turned knitting needles, one of which resembled Mr. Pointy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (I think I need one just so I can name it Mr. Pointy).

I also talked to the wonderful Suss Cousins, who reminds me of all my beautiful blonde Swedish relatives…we’re going to do some events at her NY store this year, which will be great. And finally, I’m negotiating to teach on some fiber-related cruises/tours put on by an amazing travel agency based in California. And this was just in the first 24 hours!

Next, Cecily flew up from Los Angeles to check out Maker Faire and…uh-huh…teach me crochet. I have, at various times over the years, tried to learn how to crochet properly. With the exception of steeking and the kinds of crochet-onto-the-edge-of-things crocheting, I’ve never been very good at it. My grandmother was a great crocheter when she wasn’t braiding massive rag rugs out of wool or making stuff for her (my) dollhouse…two big granny square afghans prove it. Kim tried for a few minutes last summer, but at last, I made that mental breakthrough and now have a very bizarre swatch to show for it. Thanks, Cecily! (After you left I figured out how to decrease and drew all the edges together into a weird cat-toy shape).

I taught two classes at Maker Faire (yes, Julie’s mom came to one of them, which was super-cool — she’s clearly awesome, just like my mom), and sold my hand-dyed yarn / fiber / etc. Photographer extraordinaire Heather Champ bought an orange Erica Weiner scarf kit after previously attempting to decide between green and beige. Champ is just plain gorgeous. I wish she’d model for my next book…and I’m hoping she’ll send a photo of whatever she makes with the kit!

I’m going to upload all my photos from this weekend in one big Flickr set, which I’ll post as soon as I find my cardreader.

Iris yarn + a lovely Knitgrrl review

Check out this yarn, I want it! Beautiful, no? it really does look like irises. Also, here’s a knitting-group-tested review of Knitgrrl 2. I quote:

Each week, I lead a knitting group for kids—so I brought the book with me to get the reaction of the kids in the group. As Heather (who’s 14) flipped through it, I watched her eyes light up. Sure, there were some projects that she didn’t really like—but, for the most part, she liked it. Most of the projects, she pointed out, wouldn’t take forever—which is a bonus for teen knitters, who tend to like quick projects that give them almost-instant gratification. She loved the scarf. She loved the beaded projects. And although she once had a bad experience with a poncho, she told me that she might even give the poncho in this book a shot.

I’m curious to know how one can have a bad experience with a poncho, myself!

Back to the iris yarn — with something like that, I’d want to knit it in a really big openwork pattern to maximize the effect. How pretty would that be? Speaking of new yarn, I’ve got lots of purple-and-green hand-dyed on the way in multiple textures (some boucle, some plain wool, etc). I’ve got an idea for a “garden”-y cardigan. I also cashed in some yarn gift certificates for grey Cascade 220, on its way to becoming Forecast. I don’t knit other people’s patterns much anymore, but I can’t quite resist it. Stefanie, you irresistable designer, you. (Rogue-with-tree variant) and Clapotis will have to wait for now. There, those are my top 3.

I’ve also been sketching the heck out of a self-designed super-complex-cabled Aran, and I’m ready to move to the next step which will be annoying, but necessary: building a set of charts for each cable in their order used. I’ll laminate the pages and mark rows off as I go along with wipe-away marker so I always know where I’m at! (Photos to come when I get that done…I think it’s the only sensible way to go about it short of printing multiple copies of each cable chart and setting them up in a page-by-page format that I can mark off permanently. Although, that’s not a bad idea either…it’ll just have more pages! Decisions, decisions…)

Spring Knitty — wow

I think I can safely say that this is my favorite issue of Knitty yet!

There’s an article about knitting with beads by Knitgrrl 2 beaded-knitter extraordinaire Sivia Harding, and a new column about Frankenknitsâ„¢ by Knitgrrl tech editor Kristi Porter. (Kristi’s as into creative reuse and alterations as I am! Not only does Felt Tips feature recycled felt projects but I’m also currently working on a sewing-related book for another publisher that does some interesting garment renovations, too!)

Jillian made a gorgeous hat out of some hand-dyed wool I gave her in January. That’s one of my favorite colorways, I’m incredibly excited to see it put to such good use!

Knitgrrl 2 was reviewed:

If Debbie Stoller is the the Queen, then Shannon Okey is the High Priestess of the garage band school of knitting. With Knitgrrl 2, Shannon moves her tween and tweenie-minded knitters from the knitting basics to knitting power chords.

I’m blushing. Seriously. But “high priestess” is better than “Donald Trump of knitting”… (that still makes me laugh, Amy!)

And, if you liked the dye job on Jillian’s hat, you can learn how to do it yourself with my article on dishwasher dyeing!

Might I also say again, and loudly, how awesome Big Girl Knits is? So awesome that my knitting gang is driving to Michigan for the book release party at ThreadBear in May. See you there?

Thanks, Amy and the rest of the team at Knitty, for continuing to put out the best online knitting mag there is! (the addition of KnittySpin is just icing on the Magnolia cupcake)

Library Journal review: Knitgrrl 2

I’ve been told this review will appear in the 15 April issue of Library Journal:

Funky Knits: Knitting Know-How for Hip Young Things
(Carol Meldrum & Julie Marchington)
Knitgrrl 2: Learn To Knit with 16 All-New Patterns

Both these books target the young, hip knitter, but with very different approaches. Knitgrrl 2, Okey’s follow-up to Knitgrrl, emphasizes instruction, with colorful closeup illustrations of such techniques as casting on, knitting, purling, joining new yarn, and binding off; chapters on dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid, knitting with beads, and embellishing knits; and a small collection of projects suitable for beginners. Among the 16 projects are beaded jewelry, a quick-knit poncho, and a beach bag (with cell-phone case).

Funky Knits also contains instruction for the beginning knitter but with enough detail to make it more suitable for the knitter with some experience. In some cases (e.g., the textured zip-up top, the acoustic guitar case) we’re most likely talking college-age. Then, too, Meldrum (coauthor, Denim People) uses pricey yarns that may not fit within a teenager’s budget; some yarn substitution might be in order. Projects include a basic black party dress with lace trimming and iPod covers. Knitgrrl 2 is an excellent buy for
public library teen collections; consider Funky Knits for large public libraries in need of knitting books for young adults.

I checked out Funky Knits in January at TNNA. It’s cool, though I agree that it seems targeted to a slightly older audience. I love the book’s disco-style cover! Also, it appears to have been produced in the UK, which may explain some of the pricier yarn choices. I’m totally guessing on this, but I’ve noticed a lot of British knitting books use yarns that are somewhat expensive here, such as Rowan, but that probably cost as much for them as Cascade or Brown Sheep does for us. UK readers correct me if I’m wrong, please!

This morning I received a lovely email from a reader (hi Sadie!) who points out the heart chart in Knitgrrl one is slightly off and that adjustments must be made to fit the hearts evenly around the 80 stitches at the bottom. I’ll check that out and post corrections on the errata page as needed.

Have a lovely Friday, everyone! The sun is shining in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio and I hope you’ve got the same.

Knitgrrl 2 officially on sale!

And it’s a smidge early…just like last time.

Order it on now!

Knitgrrl 2 has 16 fun patterns as well as lots of related projects and activities for knitters of all ages. There’s an entire chapter on knit-and-beaded jewelry – Sivia Harding designed some amazing bracelets and necklaces — once you know how to make one, you can customize them to your heart’s content. There’s also a no-worries sweater pattern anyone can knit by Kristi Porter, a springy capelet by Amy Singer…and that’s just the beginning!

Knitgrrl 2 has dozens of simple step-by-step photos just like Knitgrrl, with great new techniques for you to learn as well as the basics (just in case you don’t have Knitgrrl or you need a refresher course). Once again, illustrations by the fantastic Kathleen Jacques…and thanks to my mom and boyfriend for all their help with the instructional photos.

Where else are you going to get 16 patterns this cool for $9.95? (Obviously I’m biased, but come on…it’s a great price, isn’t it? I’ve seen single patterns sell for that much!)

Now it’s time to do the happy book release dance…and then knuckle down and work on some last-minute stuff for the two Interweave books. We had some knitted felt refuse to cooperate this weekend, and I edited so many new book photos (over 630) that my eyesight actually blurred! The 630 photos were 2 books’ worth, and not yet winnowed down in the case of the felting photos, never fear…but just renaming them took the better part of an afternoon, let alone color-correcting, etc. I swear I’ll need reading glasses if this keeps up!

The lovely Natasha Fialkov of Luxe Fibre is sending us a last-minute custom fiber blend for another book project that went awry over the weekend (seriously — is Mercury in retrograde? I’m starting to wonder). She also promised to send me 72 hours in a day and a million dollars, both of which would also be welcome right now!

So, faithful Knitgrrl-ers — let me know what you think of #2, and don’t forget to send photos or links to your creations from the book! We’ll have a book-related contest later in the spring for mailing list subscribers only, so sign up in the right sidebar if you haven’t already!

Knitgrrl honored by NYPL

Wow, talk about a fantastic way to start your day! I just got an email from my editor at Watson Guptill, who told me Knitgrrl was selected for the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age 2006 list! Books on the list are considered the best of the previous year’s publishing for teenagers 12 to 18 years. All the titles chosen have been read, reviewed, and recommended by young adult librarians. Yay! Thank you, NYPL!