Merry Christmas!

All of us here at La Casa G* hope that you and yours had a lovely Christmas and/or a lovely Tuesday.

The nice folks at Tin Can Knits are giving all the knitters out there a very nice Christmas present: one free pattern (thanks to Nik for the heads-up!). After much deliberation, I finally chose the Sunflower shawl pattern.

sunflower shawl
Photo from Tin Can Knits

I think it will look fabulous in some Sheep of a Different Color laceweight I’ve been hanging onto for a while.

SDC Ginger, close-up


I would give you a link to the shop, but the dyer behind SDC stopped dyeing yarn several years back, and the shop I bought it from went out of business. In 2010. So, yeah, I’ve kind of had it for some time now.

Head on over to Tin Can Knits before New Year’s Day and share the knit love!

Coming soon: a wrap-up post on my 2012 Reading Challenges. Spoiler: they really didn’t go very well.

Book Review: Little Knitted Creatures

Yes, another book review. But it’s a knitting book, and a fantastic one at that!

Little Knitted CreaturesLittle Knitted Creatures by Amy Gaines

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When this book arrived at my library, I was so charmed by it that I carried it around the staff room, reading passages to anyone who would listen. Unusual for a knitting book, right? Well, this is one unusual knitting book.

The 26 patterns are absolutely adorable, but what makes this book really special is the fact that they all have stories. The creatures are split into groups, and each group photo is paired with an introductory description of who they are and what they’re doing. The gnomes, hedgehog, squirrel, and mouse, for instance, are holding a meeting to discuss efforts to preserve the Big Cap Oak tree, while the frog, owl, ladybug, and bee are staging a production of ROMEO & JULIET. Then, each individual pattern has a little backstory of its own. (Oh, the poor nervous frog!)

The instruction pages for each pattern are clean and visually appealing, with a nice big font and plenty of white space. Special techniques are clearly illustrated where necessary, with general instructions at the end of the book. The yarn requirements are given using the CYCA Standard Yarn Weight System, while the specific yarns used for each photographed model are listed at the end of the book. In the General Instructions, the knitter can find the yarn weight chart, a needle size conversion chart, and explanations of abbreviations used. This information makes it easy to substitute yarns and understand unfamiliar terms.

I can hardly wait to cast on for just about every creature in this book, and I sincerely hope Amy Gaines puts out another book soon!

View all my reviews

More Cuteness!

When I wasn’t looking, a whole new knitting e-zine went live. Who knew? And it is full of terribly cute things. Seriously.  Just look at Jacques Crusteau and tell me he’s not adorable. (Little Miss would call him “Crabby Crawl”, of course.) I really like the way the pupils are made of felt and sewn on – I think that’s what I’m going to do for Mr. Deadliest Crab’s eyes.

Summer ’09 is the very first issue of Petite Purls, a new quarterly e-zine full of free patterns for babies and children. The feature articles are on children and crafts, subjects near and dear to my Children’s Librarian heart. Their aesthetic is clean and classic, with a touch of whimsy, and I like the way they describe difficulty levels from “Totally do-able for a mama while breastfeeding or snuggling with baby” to “Seriously? Wait until the kids have been dropped off at college to take on this project”.  (Okay, the descriptions might not appeal so much to the knitting dads/godfathers/uncles.) Patterns in this first issue include – besides our friend Jacques – a Debbie Bliss-inspired little girl’s dress, a cute summer cardi, a sweet cabled vest, a halter dress, and a felted intarsia & fair isle messenger/diaper bag that comes complete with its own changing pad. I hope that future issues might have a few heirloom-style projects, like christening blankets, but I love the very current, wearable feel of the garment patterns.

Very much in the mold of Knitty, Petite Purls is off to a strong start as a great resource for kids’ patterns, whether you’re knitting for your own little one, need to whip up a baby shower gift, or just want one of those bug-eyed lobsters for yourself.