Thursday, April 03, 2008

Two books and a give-away


1. The keeper: A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd

Every time I look at this book I love it more. My first impression was that it is beautifully designed and includes lots of nice cabled sweaters; after spending a little more time between its covers, I'm now ready to queue at least four projects the minute they show up on Ravelry.

I don't spin, and I almost passed on this book because of its subtitle -- "Knitting with Handspun Yarns" -- but for each pattern (and there are 26 in total), there are photos of and instructions for that project in both a handspun yarn and a commercial yarn. Most of the projects are intricately cabled sweaters (pullovers, cardigans, and vests), but there are also socks, scarves, and a hat. This book will be available April 8; by April 9, I hope, I'll be queueing the Portland pullover, the Harriet cardigan, the Twilight scarf, and the Narragansett Bay socks. (No photos because I seriously am on my way to the library, but trust me: it's a beautiful book filled with some beautiful stuff.)

2. The give-away: Tweed by Nancy J. Thomas

Some knitters have a thing for tweed yarns, but I don't have any particular feelings about them one way or the other. The 20-odd projects in this book are perfectly fine (in fact, there's a Central Park Hoodie-type jacket that I think will tempt more than a few knitters), but nothing really jumps out at me as something I'm going to knit, so I'm going to send this book to a good home. Of course, you don't have to knit these projects in tweed yarns, but for the knitter who is interested, there's lots of info about the history of these yarns and how they are made, so I'd prefer to send the book to someone who really appreciates tweediness. If you want this book, please leave a comment about why I should care more about tweed yarns, or about your favourite tweed, or about something tweedy you've knit or someone else's tweedy knits that you've admired. I'll pick a winner sometime next week.

59 comments:

Amy Jo said...

The thing I most like about my tweedy knits is they are forgiving of the animal hair showing so starkly. I appreciate that. I also like that interest tweed yarn gives a plain stockinette cardigan.

Lauren Anne said...

It seems that tweed yarn gives a lot more interest to a piece, something so simple as a scarf, for instance. The colors and the variations make me want to knit with tweed more!

Protagitron said...

I like tweed because it gives me that aura of intellectualism I would otherwise have to go to class to achieve.
My particular favourite: Rowan Scottish Tweed for the colours.

Tish said...

I like tweeds for the unexpected little pops of color. I knit my daughter a pair of fingerless mitts from an oatmeal Donegal tweed (she chose it) and I have a deep purple Donegal for something for me later. Our caramel-tan dog's hair and our black cat's hair blend in equally well with both.

Karlie said...

I'm also a fan of tweedy yarns for the interest - knitting a boy sweater out of a tweed or heathered yarn helps keep interest up (since they're usually likely to pick mind-numbing patterns) and also makes it easier to see your stitches against the dark colour they're also guaranteed to pick :)

Krystal said...

I love watching my knits take shape when I use tweedy yarn. "Where will next little bit end up? Ohh...it'd be great if the green bit went right there..." Knitting with tweed yarn adds visual interest to otherwise plain patterns and they somehow make even complex patterns look more sophisticated. Using tweedy yarn is a great way to add color, texture and interest to your knitting with all the extra effort.

jane said...

In what other context could you ever use Tweed, Tweedy, Tweediness into a paragraph multiple times without having a putty twat-esque lisp?

For that and that alone you should love the tweed.

whistlepeaknits said...

I knit my Equestrian Blazer with Rowan Scottish Tweed. The colour is lovely but it's a bit scrathchy.

I'd love to see the knit organizer on your couch.

Sarah said...

Tweed helps you achieve several goals with a garment: 1 - It helps you make something that can be casual and dressy, 2 - Tweed items mix better with existing garments in your closet because of the little fleck of different colors and 3 - tweed hides cat hair, dog hair, dandruff, coffee stains, spilled crumbs and much more. Tweed = the perfect fiber. Thank you!

~Jo~ said...

I will be looking forward to seeing the 'A fine fleece' book. I just started spinning so it would be nice to have inspiration to knit with my handspun yarn. :)

Stacey said...

I love tweedy yarn because the little "tweedies" give it depth and texture. Plus I love how rustic it looks and how it hides dog hair!

Erin said...

My favorite tweed is Rowan DK Scottish Tweed! Tweeds are wonderful to work with because they give another dimension of texture and colour to basic knitwork. Tweeds force cables to pop and the gentle flecks attract the eye.
I think the complexity is what gets me. That and it just feels a little rugged.

Chris said...

I have no particular feelings about tweed one way or the other. :)

jennifer.auroradesign said...

I was just thinking this morning about how much I love tweed yarns...

JustApril said...

If only to swoon over the stuff at Brooklyn Tweed, you should love tweed more and more =) *sigh*

(http://brooklyntweed.blogspot.com/)

Anonymous said...

hmmm... after reading al these insightful comments, I feel I should like tweed even more than I already do... my own personal love for the tweedy goodness, though, comes from the fact that in a household full of boys, if I want them to wear anything I knit, they need to "accept" the yarn as masculine... and believe me, even a four yr old has an opinion on what a viril yarn should be! tweeds are fun in that sense because the boys feel safe with the colors and I get a little fun out of it too (bland male colors all the time would just drive me nuts)... plus, as mentionned by many others, tweed if forgiving for pilling, pulls and stains, another very satisfying quality for garnments worn by a bunch of crazy little monkeys intent on climbing trees, rolling down hills and crawling into tight spaces in the pursuit of dinosaur bones or pirate treasures!
-Marie-Michèle

regina said...

I love tweed. I think it adds tremendous depth -- colors somehow seem more vibrant to me when they contain flecks of other colors. I know that probably doesn't make much sense, but that's how it appears to me. I just bought a bunch of beautiful tweed yarns in order to make Hello Yarn's incredible Fiddlehead Mittens. I only hope I do them justice!

Balkan Style Bloggers said...

I haven't knit with any tweed, but I have read the comments above, and I am convinced that it is worth an entire book.

"Confession is good for the soul only in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff - it is a palliative rather than a remedy." - as said by some ol' British chap.

Sarah said...

I like the history of tweed coming from the Scottish isles... although I think that's tweed fabric and not so much the yarn. I like the tweed of Silky Wool - wool with little slubs of silk that make tweed.
I love the sound of the other book, too - anything "elaborately cabled" sounds good to me!

meegiemoo said...

reason to like tweed: Tangled Yoke Sweater

Stephanie said...

Ohmygosh! What a great book topic. My husband and some of my friends in my knitting group constantly make fun of me for my inordinate love of tweed. And I'm not sure where it comes from. I love the nubbly texture, the color pops, the Scottish heritage--oh, just all of it. :)

On my honeymoon in Ireland, I wheedled my way into possessing a bag of wine-colored Tweed yarn that I hoard like mad. To date there has not been a pattern good enough for my beautiful yarn!

knitchick said...

I've always had a preference for things that are British (with a hard "t")--don't know exactly why--probably some book I read as a kid. And when I think "British", I picture a tall woman in a longish tweed skirt, clunky shoes, and a slightly shabby, tweedy wool cardigan sweater pulled around her. I really need to knit a sweater like that soon...

Ann said...

ooh, I love tweed. I don't know why... it just seems like I could wear it on some moor somewhere, even though I really only wear it in my house and at work.

Country Mouse said...

I quite like tweed. It seems to me to lend to a project the depth of color we all love, without the negative effects (pooling, colors too bright for some uses) of the hand-painted yarns that are still so popular.

vierge-en-trop said...

Do a little Ravelry search for Salina by Kim Hargreaves. I think it's a really pretty sweater and wouldn't look half as good minus the tweediness.

Ühltje said...

My thoughts on tweed seem hardly original, but here goes. I love the fact that a tweed yarn has interest the way a solid yarn might just be a little too bland and a variegated yarn too busy.

Robin said...

I have to admit that I am a tweed lover. I think it is the rustic quality of the wool (yum) with the variety in colour that you get with the little tweedy flecks (double yum). I'm going to keep my eyes open for that other book as well. Thanks for your reviews!

Meg said...

You should care more about tweed because the little specks of tweedy color are tiny bits of unexpected happiness!

trek said...

The color specks in tweeds help to bring outfits together by pairing up the tweed specks with the color of the blouse or slacks or jacket...

Anonymous said...

I live in the mountains of Virginia (think The Waltons) and the Shenandoah Valley is a splendid place for tweed knits to reside. The Valley is very similar to the Lake District of England and parts of Ireland. The book, and projects from the book, belong in Virginia. Victoria

Turtle said...

I like tweed because of the different dimension and look of texture the yarn itself gives to a project. I have not knit tons with tweeds yet (hence why this book is on my wishlist!) but i am intrigued by it.

Seanna Lea said...

When I think of tweed I think of English professors with the leather patches on their sweaters, the smell of libraries, the quiet spaces between the stitches, and meditative silence of reading.

My favorite is Skye Tweed, though I believe it is being discontinued.

Carol said...

I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I like things that have history to them. And tweedy yarns have it. My husband is of Scottish extraction, so tweedy is exactly the kind of thing that goes over well in my household....

michaele said...

Do any of us need a reason to acquire a new knitting book!?!?
;)

I've got a lot of tweedy yarn in my stash with no project attached - if you really need a reason why I should get the book, just think of how much stash reduction this would enable. Then I'd be able to justify buying more sock yarn!

gibsongirl said...

All of those beautiful patterns in Rowan Vintage Style and A Season's Tale were what sold me on tweed...what other yarn could match up to the rustic beauty of those knits?

QuirkyKnitter said...

ODE TO TWEED

Those who do not love you, Tweed,
as I do, take a hint:
You're more than just a trendy need
or yarn covered in lint.

You conjure thoughts of heathered moors,
professors' patch-ed 'bows,
exciting finds in goodwill stores ...
and cat hairs never show!

The depth of color! The flecks of joy!
No solid can compare!
Be ye Aran or Donegal,
I'd wear thee anywhere!

String Bean said...

I love tweed because my favorite sweater is knit with it (Rowan Felted Tweed). I originally planned on knitting the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, but then ran into some strife and needed a simple knit. Using tweed allowed me to knit a simple St.st sweater without feeling like I was taking the easy road. I was just letting the yarn sing.
I love that there's so many varieties of tweeds na dhow vastly different they can be while still being the same kind of yarn: tweed. *LOVE*

Heide said...

Knitting with tweed adds an entire new dimension to your knitting projects without having drastic color changes which can often overpower both the stitch pattern and the garment. I'm often guilty of buying wildly colored yarns because the skeins are so beautiful only to be dissappointed with the resulting garment. Tweeds also hide those rare occurrences when stitches are not regular for some reason or another. In a nutshell, TWEED ROCKS!

miss ewe said...

Tweed! I am soooo easily bored. Somehow the little tweedy bits make me happy, give a project interest all the way through. LOVE the tweed. Plus, it's so satisfying to find "just the right tweed", the one that is in your favourite colour, with tweedy bits of all your favourite complements to that colour, in just the right proportion... they are hard to find, and therefore all the more exciting to come across!

Renee said...

I love tweed. Tweed adds a bit of excitement to a normally dull knit. Recently a friend and I noticed that a ball of yarn was 95% wool and 5% donegal and I'm pretty keen to find out exactly what they mean by donegal. I figure the flecks are the donegal but aren't they wool too?

Maria said...

You don't have to love tweed if you don't want to! You're the boss of your knitting. I love the little flecks of surprise color in tweed yarn.

Joan said...

Tweeds have always been a part of my life. My father was born in Scotland. He wore his Harris Tweeds proudly. Tweeds are especially forgiving. I would love to try some new ideas in his honor.

claudia said...

Very interested to hear your thoughts on these two books. I'm still formulating my own.

corvustristis said...

It really is as simple as visual interest to me. Tweeds add another dimention to the knit.

Nadia said...

I love the accent colours that can be rolled into a tweed. It makes the piece more versatile.

Sally Comes Unraveled said...

I'll be honest, I don't appreciate tweed, but I want to. I often like tweeds in the skein, but can't figure out what to knit with them. I'm hoping this book will show me the way.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've never really thought about knitting with tweed. BUT, I come from a family full of Tweeds. "Tweed" is my maiden name, and I'd love to have a book named after us.

Dandy said...

Oooo, I love tweed yarns... gives just a hint to color to a project!

I should use more of them ;)

Holly of HollYarns said...

The only thing (I think!) that I've knitted with tweed is a baby hat, but I'd love to know a bit more about it!

Kirsten said...

I think you would love Tweed if you thought of it as warm, comforting and homey especially when it's so cold outside in Canada. It is the perfect yarn to make a warm, protective, cuddle-up sweater!

Lisa Boyer said...

I have some Jo Sharp Silk Road Tweed, but that's the only tweed I have. But I love tweed! I think it gives the yarn a whole lot more texture and dimension--like raisins or nuts in plain cake.

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I am not asking for the book, but I do want you to know how much I appreciate tweediness. My Zoey (My avatar on Ravlery) has a nickname: Tweedy and when I feed her I sing a plangent little song that she enjoyed called "Tweedy Delivery!"

Yes, Tweedy is good. I always hoped I would become a British tweedy lady.

Instead I became a cat lady in Ohio.

Affably yours,

Doulton

Dawn in NL said...

I really like tweedy yarn, I think it raises stocking stitch to new heights. It is versatile, I can imagine it in classic, rustic and casual styles. In short, you (read I) can't go wrong with tweed.

Dawn

Sondra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sondra said...

My Mom and I both adore Tweed! Theres something so sophisticated about tweed. On a trip to England my Mom bought a bunch of tweed yarn that I know she'd love to use up.

It would make a cool Mother's Day gift, so I'd definitely love to be considered for the give away!

Michele Vogel said...

Every yarn deserves a little yarn. Some just more than others. :)

Kerry said...

Tweed is a classic. It can be vintage-y, or period, or current. Everyone can wear it as it can be very netural with creams and browns or very bold with bright flecks of colour. Tweed can make the most simple garter stitch hats and scarves interesting. Still not sold on tweed? Then look at Jared Flood's work.

Pat said...

I really like tweed yarn. It can be very subtle in its blending of colours but the little surprise bits of colour which pop up stop it from being boring. Most times, I will pick a tweed yarn over a solid colour. There is just more interest in the yarn itself. The book sounds very interesting and I would love to read it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for letting me know about A Fine Fleece- I bought if for myself as a treat for getting through a very busy time as I change careers. I love this book. Best! Margaret