Sunday, 28 October 2012

New blog post: Little Christmas Decorations to Knit & Crochet by Sue Stratford & Val Pierce

'Little Christmas Decorations to Knit & Crochet' by Sue Stratford and Val Pierce is a cute book full of stash-busting characters to make for Christmas.

There are 40 projects in this packed book - 20 to crochet and 20 to knit.

There is everything in here from the traditional stocking and pudding patterns to more innovative patterns for gift toppers and fridge magnets.

To aim for the global market, Sue & Val have put their UK crochet directions into brackets after the European stitch so you are reminded to convert for UK crochet. The patterns look easy to follow although I haven't knitted or crocheted anything from this book (yet!).

There are two pages of instructions at the front of the book to help you with things like french knots and blanket stitch.

There's a quirky feel to the book which is really whimsical and sweet. It captures the childlike excitement you feel when thinking about making for christmas.

'Little Christmas Decorations to Knit & Crochet' is out now and is available from Search Press.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Book Review: Gothic Knits by Fiona McDonald

I've reviewed two books previously by Fiona McDonald and consider myself quite a fan so this is a truly biased post.

What could be better than a doll book but a gothic doll book for Halloween?

There are nine dolls in total - all of which have the best clothes ever. I've knitted two patterns from Fiona's books now and both of them worked out well - there were no errors in the patterns and they were so easy to follow and a joy to make.

There is ten pages of general instructions about how to shape the bodies, stuff, do the faces and finish off well.

As usual for a Fiona McDonald book - you can mix and match the clothes and make them in different yarn and in different colours. This is a very well presented cool book which would make a great present for a teenager who knits or anyone who loves the gothic look!

Gothic Knits by Fiona McDonald is available to buy from Search Press here.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The winner of the giveaway is...

...and the winner is...

Susie Hewer!

Contact me at JoCeliaSimmonds(at) and I will contact the publishers so they can send you a copy of 'Knitting in Circles'. Congratulations : )

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Charity knitting and a birthday present

This month has been a lot busier than usual.

I've started a new job which is always highly exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. So I've made sure I've had some easy peasy knitting on the sofa for when I come home at 5.30 wanting to switch off. The hat above is for the St Mungo's woolly hat day campaign which you can find details of here. I'm trying to squeeze in another aran hat, which should knit up quickly, this week.

It was also my birthday last saturday but my present from my mum didn't arrive until this friday. So I had another birthday yesterday! It suited me fine.

She let me order whatever I wanted from the Panduro catalogue which made me feel like a child with a gift voucher! It was great. So I ordered lots of things I would never normally spend my own money on. I used it as an opportunity to try other crafts. I love the 'Believe' wooden sign. I might paint or varnish it and will hang it up in my bedroom. The alphabet stamps are so cool and what a retro tin : )

The soap pulp and rosebuds are ace - I'm going to make some soaps in the shape of cakes with essential oils - apparently all you do is melt this.

I couldn't resist this doll kit. She is so cute. The box contains absolutely everything you might need to make her up so is excellent value for money.

I am back in full-time work but I am still running my shop. Indeed, I had two sales last week and fulfilled it within two days of receiving it, so please go ahead and order even though I am now employed. There shouldn't be any difference in service as my mum helps out and it will be some extra spending money (I can keep 100% of it now) : )

Friday, 5 October 2012

Book Review & Giveaway: Knitting in Circles by Nicky Epstein

'Knitting in Circles' by Nicky Epstein is one of those innovative resource books that every knitter should have on their bookshelf.

It's a phenomenal directory of circular knitting patterns. It also has some brilliant patterns in it to make clothing and accessories made by sewing circles of knitting together.

I love some of the cable patterns and the idea to sew up a circle of knitting to make a bag had never occurred to me before.

Presented with beautiful photography, there are 100 circular patterns and 20 projects to choose from. You can buy 'Knitting in Circles' by Nicky Epstein here.

I asked Nicky a few questions about who inspires her and when she gets time to knit for herself!

Hi Nicky. Thanks for a wonderful book.

What is your favourite circle in the natural or manmade world?

In the natural world, I’d have to say the sun and the moon, but in the manmade world, probably a pepperoni pizza.

Which knitting designer has inspired you the most?

I admire the work of many of my peers but I draw inspiration from designers like John Paul Gautier and Alex McQueen…designers who keep experimenting.

How do you find the time to knit personally? Do you knit on trains, planes or in the car?

With my schedule I really don’t have time for personal knitting, although I consider my designs an extension of my personality, and I do wind up wearing many of the pieces I’ve designed for magazines or one of my books. I do knit on all forms of transportation and locations…so much knitting, so little time!

The blog tour has been at the following locations and continues on Monday 8th October with Kate Heppell. Be sure to check her out!

27th Sept – Knitting Institute --

28th Sept – Susan Crawford --

1st Oct – Cut Out + Keep --

2nd Oct – Make and Craft --

3rd Oct – Black Cat Originals --

4th Oct – Jessica Biscoe --

5th Oct – Jo Simmonds --

8th Oct – Kate Heppell --

9th Oct – Alix Beech --

10th Oct – ConnieLene Johnston --

If you would like to be in with a chance to win a copy of 'Knitting in Circles' by Nicky Epstein please leave a comment in the thread below leaving a way to contact you. Answer the same question I asked Nicky -
What is your favourite circle in the natural or manmade world?

The winner will be selected randomly and the giveaway will close at 6pm Friday 12th October.
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