Feller Along A Holiday KAL

The people of the Playful Ravelry Group have spoken and they want a totally indulgent KAL and who am I to disagree? So grab your pattern, get to stash diving or better yet, BUYING and make sure you have enough eggnog and mince pies to join us in our festive cast on! We will be knitting up any pattern by Carol Feller for this indulgent KAL. 

Cast on will be on Christmas Eve (24th December 2013) and we will run this through till 31st January 2014 for those who want to work up more than one project or a garment to give you just over a month. 

Carol Feller has very kindly agreed to a discount for any pattern used in this KAL. Use code CAROL15 for a single use code with 15% off! She is also donating a wonderful prize of an ecopy of Among Stones, her most recent (and rather lovely) publication that I reviewed previously

In the spirit of Holiday giving I will also be adding lots of prizes for this one as it's been a while since we did a big giveaway and hey, it's the holidays! I will also be offering a skein of Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Toughie which many of you will be very excited about after covetting the Carol Feller Pyrite socks of been knitting in Buffy Toughie 'Wanderer' colourway. 

Also, I'll be giving away a new to me indie who happens to also be a lovely playful group member. I'm so pleased to see people starting out and with this lady's eye for colour, I'm doubly pleased. Inneryarnzen will be donating 1 full skein and one companion skein of her 100% Merino fingering base,in the colour Birchwood and Tipton Reservoir. Look out for this yarnie in 2014- I'll be chatting about her some more on the podcast very soon!

The rules and ways to enter are in the thread here in the Ravelry group where the chatter is already under way. I’ll hit the random number generator to pick a couple of winners.

Quick News Flash

Firstly, don't forget to enter the fantastic Bombella giveaway. For the beady eyed amongst you, you'll be relieved to hear that the end date isn't 2012 but 2013. Typos and I are not friends. 

Also, one of our very clever Ravelry group members is designing us a mystery sock! How cool is that? Come play!

Finally, I just got a laptop..... which can only mean one thing........ shownotes are being written and the vocal chords are being limbered up. Exciting, exciting times. I MISSED recording. 

More soon x

Featuring: BomBella

Many months ago I was working on some words for a website and got chatting to Ella Austin, the designer behind BomBella. It turned out that she too was expecting a baby and we swapped stories and I learned about her fab knit kits. She offered one up for review to which I winced and admitted, 'I can't knit toys, my RSI can't take the tight gauge . Unfazed, I received a package of beautiful patterns and a ready made owl from Ella that now sits wisely in Playful Baby's nursery. I adore these fuzzy friends and have been looking forward to sharing this delightful designer. 

(c) Ella Austin
Ella designs kits with an amazing eye for beautiful features and details. She enlists the best of British providers such as Fyberspates and Skein Queen to bring exclusive kits to create her charming designs. By working with yarnies, Ella is able to ensure quality kits that match her gorgeous patterns. When I received my sample of patterns I was blown away by the quality of print and layout, not just the gorgeous pieces. 

Ella currently has three popular kits available via Etsy, with plans to launch more very soon. Tawny Owl, as shown above is my personal favourite with the cute little fuzz body from gorgeous Fyberspates Faery Wings yarn in a soft brown palette that highlights the delicate motifs across the body. I think I actually squealed with delight when I open this one up!

(c) Ella Austin
Then there's 'Intrepid Fox', a rather charming chap who calls for Skein Queen's merino 4ply. I think the leg detail is just perfect and am slightly sad my wrists wouldn't hold up to this. I would love to make the fox as it looks like a really satisfying knit. Finally, there's the Bunty Mitts, a retro wallpaper influenced kits, also making use of Skein Queen yarn. 

(c) Ella Austin
I think this is what I enjoy the most about Ella's designs: detail. She just has an ability for taking a motif to a whole other level in a way I haven't seen before. I love the designs and the idea of a kit ready to go is very appealing. I keep pondering who I could gift some too! 

Since receiving my lovely gift for the baby, Ella released another stunning design, 'Leighton House Handwarmers'. As always the patterns are available on Ravelry and the kits are on both her Etsy store as well as the yarn provider, Fyberspates. The inspiration was initially from the damask or brocade style of heavy curtain fabrics that might belong in lavish traditionally decorated mansions. Leighton House was the home and studio of one of Ella's favourite artists, Lord Frederick Leighton so again you can really see Ella drawing on delicious and enticing details. 

(c) Ella Austin
Like what you see? Well, leave a comment below telling me which kit you love best to be in with a chance of winning the kit of your choice. Be sure to enter by 25th Jul 2012 to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Tiny Treads by Joeli Caparco

Right out the gate I want to say this is a long overdue review and feature. I had plans to interview the oh so talented Ms Caparco but you know, babies happen. I still predict this in my podcasting future but in the meantime I've been dying to share this because it's such a good bit of work. Let me tell you why.

(c) Cooperative Press
Tiny Treads features 12 sock patterns for infants and children by a mother who knows her knit stuff. It's packed full of practical tips from how to get little ones to wash their own handwash socks (oh yes) to sizing for different tiny feet. What makes this super practical is that it's written by someone who is a whizz tech editor so the patterns just make sense. This is what happens when good editors design: the patterns are thoughtfully and carefully produced with that critical eye for detail.

With tiny feet, it might be tricky to measure, get gauge, get the correct size and yarns and so on, especially if you want to use a partially leftover skein rather than break into a beloved whole skein of deliciousness. The solution is simple: Joeli provides options for whatever gauge you are knitting at. That's genius quite frankly and so much more practical for busy mum's who've grabbed yarn and a 5 minute knitting time out and don't have time to perfectly match yarn.

Gepetto, (c) Cooperative Press
As for the designs themselves, they're practical, fun and make good use of a range of yarns. There's slippers, leg warmers, socks and different weights of yarn so you can find some good foot solutions in here. As someone who baby wears everyday, I predict a lot of these in my future knitting. I also like the fact that it's produced by Cooperative Press, so has clear layout and availability both in print and digitally. It ticks all the right boxes for me when I'm looking for new pattern collections.

Banbury Cross, (c) Cooperative Press
A few highlights I particularly liked were 'Gepetto' legwarmers: a worsted weight pair of cabled leggies that I know I'll be casting on. Also, I loved the 'grown upness' of Banbury Cross socks, a sockweight ribbed pattern that I should imagine work super fast for teeny feet. I am also completely charmed and intrigued in equal measure by these Cinderslippers in two colours of Sock weight. Aren't they cute?

(c) Cooperative Press
If you like mini knits and mini feet and would like the chance to win a digital copy of Joeli's book, please leave a comment below telling me which of the designs you would most likely knit first. The random number generator will select a winner on the 29th April 2013 and announced here on the blog. Good luck!

Of course if you can't wait that long, you can always purchase your copy here or simply check out more of the fab designs in this book.

Botanical Knits Blog Tour and Giveaway.

Wow there have been some amazing publications over the last few months and I'm thrilled to be part of the Botanical Knits tour, which for me, has been a real highlight. There's been some lovely features of this book so far so I will do my best to give you a fresh twist on Alana's latest release. To read or hear more about the book, check the other contributors to the tour out here

(c) NNK

I read through, ogled and drooled over the eBook and straight away was impressed. The attention to detail here is amazing. It's not just the designs that have interesting flair and detail but also the ebook itself. The charts are crisp and clear, the medium of an eBook fully used to make it incredibly easy to navigate and knit from and the way the pages are laid out are just so beautiful.  

Nuts and Bolts: 12 original knitwear designs; 4 garments, 3 hats, 2 sets of gloves, one pair of socks and 2 scarves. Over 110 pages devoted to this collection and available digitally as well as in print.

(c) NNK

Designer: Alana Dakos, the designer behind the Never Not Knitting Collection, podcast and blog. Alana has grown a collection of beautiful women's garments and accessories, teamed up with Hannah Fettig to produce 'Coastal Knits' and produced a children's collection as well as a children's fiction book. All self published by her family run business. 

Aesthetic: It's all about beauty in nature, from the designs and the way that they are captured in photography, to the way they are laid out on the page. Leaves adorn the knits and the pages are filled with some wonderful graphic design of falling leaves. As always, Alana's patterns reflect her eye for detail in design and continue the theme throughout every element of this book. 

Extras I liked: A dedicated website, direct links in the book to Ravelry so you can compare notes of others projects, direct links to resources used in the book. Fantastic navigation from pattern to pattern via hyperlinking. Extremely user friendly. I also love the insight to the designer we get from the introduction by Alana. Her swatches and process pieces are documented in photograph form throughout and I don't know about you but I love to see someone's design process. Someone else's swatches are very interesting to me. 

What impressed me most: The eBook is not a straight PDF, it's alive with easy links to navigate around the carefully laid out sections. The extras I mentioned above means that the knitting experience is complete for those knitters who use Ravelry as a tool and resource to aid their knitting. 

Oak Trail, (c) NNK

Patterns that caught my eye: I adore Oak Trail cloche (pictured above). It is a very distinctive and unique design which has an appealing method too. The brim is knit flat, then stitches are picked up to create the rest of the hat. My fingers are itching to recreate that embossed leaf, I bet it is extremely pleasing to knit!

Autumn's End, the cover sweater is really something. Dripping with lace leaf detail it is very typical of Alana's work: beautiful, elegant and feminine. What I have always enjoyed about Alana's design style is the femininity she puts into her careful construction. I trust her patterns implicitly. I want to knit this sweater. 

Pressed Leaves also caught my eye, not just for its' beauty but it's knitting appeal. I find leaves extraordinarily pleasing to knit and this DK beret looks amazing to knit- so much motivating texture! The chart itself is pleasing to the eye. I know I'll be making this beret at some point, it's too pretty not to. 

Pressed Leaves (c) NNK

Want your own copy? Well here are the details:

- Order the printed copy for $22 + shipping and As a special thank you for preordering the printed copy, you will get the ebook for free immediately. The printed book will ship mid-May. You will also receive an exclusive extra botanically inspired garment pattern with the copy of your printed book as a thank you from Alana for preordering.

- Order the ebook by itself for $18. (A great option for those knitters who live internationally and do not want to pay the high cost of shipping). 

- Both options will be available on botanicalknits.com site very soon.

(After the pre-order period ends in May, the book will be available EITHER in print for $22 or ebook for $18).

Can't wait till then? Leave a comment below by 16th March 2013, telling me which of the designs you would want to knit to be in with a chance to win an ecopy of the book. Good luck!

Island by Jane Richmond Blog Tour

Almost a year ago, I asked Jane to be my Valentine and celebrated her fabulous eye for design and pattern writing. I have long admired Jane's disarmingly simple aesthetic that has lead to a powerhouse collection of stylish of patterns for women, me and children's garments and accessories. Her patterns are intuitively written and I've spent many a happy hour perusing her library of patterns as there's so many that look fun to knit. So I was over the moon when I heard there was a book in the works. 

Some of you may remember me waxing lyrical about the fab video she put out as a hint of things to come. I loved the photography, the music, the knitting..... I just wanted my hands on that book as soon as I saw it. I love knitting collections that go beyond the knitwear into a book that even non knitters will admire. Apparently, this is just what Jane had in mind: a coffee table book that rolled all things knitty and beautiful about her home island into one. 

Strathcona (c) Nicholas Kupiak
As a later entrant in the blog tour I thought about trying to present the book in a slightly different way and look at the more editorial design choices of the book. If you want to read the other fantastic blog posts, please follow the links here. There's the nuts and bolts of course: 5 unique patterns, available both digitally and in hard copy. However, it's not just this that makes my heart sing. It's the care that Jane takes in her pattern design, writing and presentation that really gets me going as a knitter. The book inspires me visually as well as creatively. Here's a few reasons why......

Grace (c) Nicholas Kupiak
This collection features handknits inspired by life on Vanouver Island and is lovingly presented with exquisite photographs that demonstrate just why the island is so inspiring. It's a moody collection that begs to be treated indulgently and when I got my copy I popped the kettle on, got some favourite chocolate and nestled down to read; it's that kind of book. There's a lot of pages for a 5 piece collection so you can turn to this book time and again to indulge. 

About those pages: no information is left out. At the back of the book you will find a clear sizing chart, directory, resources and the patterns are clear and expertly written without becoming cluttered and overwhelming. A nice touch is the sizing- in the patterns you have a blank that you can pencil in the size that you are knitting from the chart at the back rather than navigate 11 (yes 11) sizing options. A nice touch that shows Jane is thinking of the experience of working from her patterns.  

Arbutus (c) Nicholas Kupiak
Each design has multiple pictures so you have a good idea of how your finished product will look. No saggy bits hidden by arty photography. It's appealing but it's clear. Perfect for knitwear. 

Finally, I love the book itself. The binding is strong enough for it to feel like a real book and polished but its' size means that it is easy to prop open and keep open with something like, say, a coffee cup (or glass of gin and tonic). The paper feels high quality and nice to touch and the size of the book makes it perfect for knitting on the move.

Renfrew (c) Nicholas Kupiak
So if this review has made you curious about where you can get your hands on a copy, please visit Jane's website where you will find the following details and more about the book. 


Print copies of ISLAND are now available through Amazon.comAmazon.ca, and Amazon.co.uk. Please don't forget to write a review once you've had a look at the book, it really helps to allow others to discover the book. 

Of course there's also the option to win a copy right here too! One lucky commenter will receive their own signed copy of the book if you can tell me your favourite pattern of Jane's in the comment of this blog post. Answer before 1st March 2012 and check back here on the 2nd for the announcement. Good luck!