Posts tagged book
Boys' Knits

I have a thing for knitting and crocheting for boys and men.  Being mostly males in this house, plus Georgia and I not really being girly girls has meant that I am drawn towards more gender neutral designs, both in my own work and when adding to my must-make list. There are designs out there, of course, but a lot of them remain on the out of date or still a wee bit too feminine side.

When I saw the title of Katya Frankel's (aka Binge Knitter) new book, I think I actually hopped up and down in excitement. A whole book devoted to my favourite topic? Oh yes. The patterns were instantly queued on Ravelry.  


And look at those cute boys!  My goodness, the photos alone make me want to make everything out of the book. What I like is that the designs are understated - fresh and modern, without being overly done. Although only 5, Ellis already has a clear sense of what he will and won't wear, and he would wear every design in the book - a huge compliment from the intended audience. My favourite has to be Epsilon (the photo at the top) that makes my eyes bleed and fingers itch with the cuteness! Theo James (and probably Georgia) needs one too!!!



I have gotten to know Katya through designing and twitter and she really knows her stuff, a fact that completely shines through in the book, from her very thorough introduction to the detail of her designs. It is a knitters book. I loved it so much, that I broke my usual no-review rule. Katya was also kind enough to answer a few questions for me (because I was actually really nosey and am always curious as to how people got where they are)

How long have you been designing knitwear?
In a way, I started designing my own knits about 20 years ago. The way I learnt to knit as a child was that I had to put together a stitch pattern, work up a swatch and draft the pattern before starting working on it, to make sure it looks and fits the way I wanted it to. But about 6 years ago, after I got back into knitting I discovered a whole new side of it, concentrating more on finishing techniques and different garment constructions rather than stitch patterns as I used to do.


Why write a book just for boys? How did the idea come about?
Good question, partly because I thought there weren't enough boys' knitwear designs that were simple, wearable and had a good balance of interesting-to-work-on and perfect-for-watching-telly knitting. It all came about after my son complained that I NEVER knit anything for him and so we sat down and sketched a couple of sweaters for him to choose from. And it kind of snowballed from there, after a couple of days I had a dozen of ideas for different designs whirling in my head. At that time Shannon Okey was starting rejuvenating her publishing company and on a whim I emailed her asking if she thought it was a good idea to invest time in a boys only sort of book. She did. But mostly it was because my son asked me to knit him a jumper and I couldn't decide which one to make.


What did you find most challenging about the designing and writing process?
Probably fine-tuning all the design elements to make them work together well after I have the initial idea. At least that's the part that I find most time consuming. Making sure that the shaping, sleeve style, stitch patterns and all the little details work across all the sizes in the same way. Second to that is making sure that the pattern is clear and is easy to follow for the knitter.


Do you have a favourite design?
That's a tricky one - there is something about each design that I absolutely love. But if I had to pick just the one, it'd be Baley because it was the very first one. I took the yarn with us on a week's holiday in Yorkshire to play with and have really good memories [with much muttering under my breath] of trying to work out its sleeve shaping on paper because I didn't take my computer with me.


Do your kids have a favourite design?
I know almost for certain it's going to be Landon - it was worked up exactly as they requested with stripes on the front and opposite sleeve and no collar. 
You can buy a copy from Co-operative Press or Ravelry.
All photos copyright of Katya Frankel - awesome knits AND cute photos - a woman after my own heart!!




Her blog book tour continues here:

21 September - Kat Goldin of Slugs on the Refrigirator
25 September - Julia Vaconsin
28 September - Joeli Caparco of Joeli's Kitchen
2 October - Jacqui Harding of Happymaking Designs
5 October - Michelle Miller of Fickle Knitter
9 October - Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches
12 October - Joanne Scrace of Not So Granny
16 October - Anniken Allis of Confessions of a YarnAddict
19 October - Mari Muinonen of MadeByMyself
24 October - Woolly Wormhead
30 October - Ann Kingstone
2 November - Ella Austin of Bombella
9 November - Jill Zielinski of Knitterella
14 November - Kate Oates of Tot Toppers

and dates to be confirmed for

Petit Purls
Heather Kinne of Highland Handmades


Have a lovely weekend! I am 5 days to deadline, so probably see you on the other side! Eeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Without a fraction of a doubt, September is my favourite month.  For me, it has always felt like a month to begin, new projects, even a new year of my own life (my birthday is later this month). Its funny how I feel so effected by the change into September...I want to clean. I want to knit. I want to make big stews in my enormous soup pan and bake things with apples and cinnamon. I can feel the pull towards distractability and looking around the looming deadline to see what is next. 

In some ways, this September is bittersweet.  I will hand in my manuscript at the end of the month and I am already very sad about it. Writing this book has been the single most professionally fufilling thing I have ever done.  I love what I have designed. I love the process of designing.  I love working with the wonderful people who are helping me along the way.  I can not wait to show you all what I have been dreaming then making into reality. 

But for now, I have to wait.  There is more work to do, here where I am. Plans are forming for Life AB (after book)...Capturing Childhood, the etsy shop reopening, some photography work...but for now I have to keep my head down and focus not on the beginnings, but on the harvest. 

Back Soon.


P.S. My post on Manly Crochet was featured in this awesome eMagazine, Modern Vintage, grab a cuppa and set your liberty curls and have a read.


The Countdown: 8 Weeks to Go

I submit my manuscript 8 weeks from today. This is what I have left to do:




77 balls of yarn. SEVENTY SEVEN BALLS OF YARN have to be made into something in 8 weeks.  That means I need to use about 1/day for the next 2 months.

And the postman wondered why I was crying when I answered the door today.

In the immortal words of my mother: You can do it. You can do it. If you put your mind to it.  

Yarn Parade

IMG_6220.jpg IMG_6211.jpg IMG_6210.jpg IMG_6208.jpg

Just some of the yarns coming into the house at the minute. 

-- The top one is a custom dye of Flump Aran from Sarah at Babylonglegs that begged and pleaded with me to make it into something beautiful.  I told it that I had no time for other projects that I needed to work on Work.  But it looked at me so forelornly and I was sucked in. I am going to try and write up the pattern today in my "free" moments.

-- Malabrigo Silky Merino in Cape Code Grey is another simply amazing wool to work with.  It is on the thin side of DK, but just shimmery and gorgeous.

- Do not adjust your computer screens.  The "retina singeing" green is another Babylonglegs masterpiece...Baron GreenBack on her Semi-Precious DK base.  I love working with silk.  While it is on the expensive end of yarns, I am a huge fan of yarns with a silk content for children.  They are light, wear and wash well, holds their shape and is great for maintaining body temperature. Plus I have yet to meet a yarn with a silk content that is scratchy.  Children's wear takes such small amounts of wool, that it doesn't work out to be that expensive for a jumper or vest.

- Finally, most unexpectedly lovely yarn is Artesano superwash.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't have low expectations, but I just didn't have any expectations because I'd never heard of it before.  It is soft, has beautiful stitch definition and is just joyful to work with. 

I have to admit that I have found choosing and sourcing the yarns challenging.  Its where my lack of years of experience really show as I simply have not seen and touched that many wools in person. Plus, the sheer number of options available is mind-blowing.  However, slowly I am getting there.  There are still a couple of projects that I have no idea what I am going to use, but I am hoping a trip to Loop Knitting next week when we are in London will sort me out.

In the Name of Research

I can't get these on to Flickr any other way. Sorry, instagram followers.

Fact: One never realises how much yarn there is in the world, until one starts researching a crochet book.

The range of makers, sheep, animals, fibres, drape, loft, ply, weight, place of origin, place of manufacture, dyes, varigation, self-striping, kettle dyed, hand dyed, dip dyed, hand painted, hand spun...MAKES MY HEAD WANT TO EXPLODE.

And after hours of researching online, I knew I had to go to a store and put my hands on some things to help it all seem a bit more, er, tangible. 

My creation

These things I learned:

- Apparently. if it was left up to me, I would make the whole book in shades of grey. I wouldn't even look at any lines that didn't have grey in them, because I must have some bizarre obsession with the colour. Upon further examination, of the last 12 of my designs or projects, 11 have been grey and the other 1 was supposed to be but the yarn arrived a brown shade. I wish I had thought of this pinboard (and I only noticed just now that one of my photos is on it, lol). I don't even look good in grey.

- Britain is even more of a DK nation than I thought.  So many of my favourite brands have discontinued their Aran weights. This isn't a deal breaker, but I am a bit disappointed that Wendy in particular has done this in some of their lines. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like my yarn like I like my men...big and burly.

- No one stocks the perfect mustard yellow.  Since Rowan discontinued its honey colourway in Pure Wool, I am at a loss for the *perfect* shade of yellow.  Everything is either too sunshiney or too greeny.  I feel slightly bereft.  However, owning this bag would help me overcome (hint, Kevin, hint).

Sadly, I am no further in my quest for wool.  I have "ideas" and "resignations" - on that note I bought 2 teeny tiny hooks (2mm and 3mm - cripes that is SMALL) to possibly get my head around crocheting with sock wool. SOCK WOOL. It seems I will be developing a taste for tall and lanky...hmmmm.


All Change


It is the only constant, isn't it?  Particularly so in a life filled with children.  I am 100% certain that Theo couldn't walk around the house yesterday, but today he was running (and shrieking) after his brother and sister, much to the dismay of the other patrons at the garden centre. 

Because, more than the usual ebb and flow of life, things are changing here too.  You may have noticed that all of the handmade items have been removed from the etsy shop and the folksy shop is closed.   

Last week was a tremendous one. Two hugely exciting projects came together in the space of a few days (it happens like that, doesn't it?). I have felt a bit like Theo this last week.  Screaming with delight and newness and excitement and change, bursting at the seams to tell anyone who will listen my news.  

I am writing a book. 

Can you believe it? Because I can not. In fact, I can confirm that it was only in my wildest of wild dreams did I ever think anything like this could happen.  But it did. And I am thrilled. 

I can't give any more details...on the book or the other new venture, but no, I am not pregnant!