Knitmare on Elm Street by Hannah Simpson ~ Price $11.56
My BF got this for me from Forbidden Planet and OMG! HEART the patterns in this book. The book has great illustrated and easy to understand instructions and the diagrams feature “werewolf” hands demonstrating the knitting techniques. Fun! A pun on Freddie Krueger and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, Knitmare on Elm Street is filled with AWESOME knit patterns like:
Circus Monkey (with mini cymbals)
Freddie Krueger Hand Puppet
Necronomicon iPad Cozy
Kraken Tentacle (yes it’s just one giant tentacle!)
Haunted House Diorama (my fave!)
Freakshow Finger Puppets
If you’re in NYC, Forbidden Planet sells them! So you can pop into their store and check out the freakishly fun gems in this book in person. Forbidden Planet is located right across from the Union Square Movie Theater and a block away from The Strand Bookstore.
Forbidden Planet has been a popular haunt for comic book nerds for as long as I can remember. It’s chock full of graphic novels to mangas, collectibles from G-Force figurines to Hulk Hogan busts, t-shirts to keychains, tote bags to candy, and of course the oddball knitting book!
Regal Union Square Stadium 14 Movie Theater is right in that area and is one of my fave mainstream theaters to go to. Sunshine is my fave indie theater. (They have great movie snacks and if you buy popcorn there, they have a popcorn flavor bar where you can sprinkle your popcorn with assorted “cheese powders” like nacho cheese or apple cinnamon.) Among other notableslike IFC where Crispin Glover screened his “What Is It?” and Anthology where they always play a wonderfully curated selection of films on the big screen! Like everything from John Cassavetes to Point Blank to Big Trouble in Little China … WIN!
The Strand Bookstore is one of my fave bookstores in the entire city (all 5 boroughs included). I go to Strand for it’s huge selection of books at great prices. e.g. I got my Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities there eons ago. And can also get anything from 100 Years of Cholera to Great Gatsby to cookbooks.
St. Mark’s Bookshop is also brilliant and one of my faves. I go to St. Mark’s for the best curated selection, indie and mainstream. You can’t ever go wrong with anything you pick up in this little book store. It’s a treasury of the best to read now and/or what’s noteworthy and worthy of reading now even if it’s not new! Of course the prices here are never as good as Amazon, however it’s just so chock full of exquisitely selected books, it’s more than worth the (very) slight markups you’d pay compared to Amazon.
New York, NY 10003
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue New York, NY 10003
Regal Union Square Cinema
New York, NY 10003
St. Mark’s Bookshop
31 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10003
New York, NY 10003
IFC Film Center
323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street
I saw these on Daily Mail and had to repost. They’re awesome knit patterns for the holidays. They make great fun little knit gifts. And books make great gifts for knitters too. Patterns contain both knit and crochet items.
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Mollie Makes Photo from Mathilde
Check out these awesome dog and cat knits by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. Great to make as gifts for dog lovers. Great books to give as gifts for knitting lovers. Fabulous and affordable. AWESOME!
Would you like to win this lovely free knitting book, Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting? Melissa Morgan Oakes, who wrote the book, was kind enough to send me a couple of copies to review and giveaway! You can learn more about the book in my full review ! See below on how to enter!
* Comment on any one of the posts on this blog between now and August 15, 2011 and you will automatically be entered to win. (Required)
* Retweet my tweet for a bonus entry. Make sure to include your twitter name in the comment!
* Follow me on twitter for yet another bonus entry. Make sure to include your twitter name in the comment!
* Do something (anything), include my website link – OmgHeart.com, and tell me what you did for yet another bonus entry! Please include a photo and/or link and any other relevant information like your Ravelry or blog and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Example: Facebook like this page by hitting the link at the bottom of this page. Join my website with Google Friend Connect. Knit, sew, or crochet a little something with a heart on it! Find something knit, sewn, or crochet with a heart on it! It will be posted on my site!
* Enter by Sunday, August 15, 2011, 11:59PM!
* Open to all entrants from all countries!
* One signed copy of Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting
* A nice note from OMG! Heart all the way from New York City!
* Drawing will be held on August 31, 2011. Powered by Random.org.
* Winner will be announced that same day! I will find you :)
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WE HAVE A WINNER!
Congratulations, Rosrin W. from Stafford, TX! Your prize will be sent out shortly!
And thanks to all those (12) knitting fans who entered the contest!
Check out this sporty cowl I made. It’s actually dual purpose, it’s both a neck gator and a ski hat, all in one! Yes, it’s unseasonably warm considering it’s June but I wanted to illustrate some Circular Knitting techniques from this new book!
Imagine knitting your stitches in a coil or a spiral! It’s not too different than knitting a flat square, just a slight variation. That happens to give you some great flexibility in your knitting!
Best of all, “Circular Knitting” or “Knitting in the Round” requires Circular Needles! My fave tools. I use “Circs” whenever possible for my projects because they can be used to knit regular flat pieces too. Without poking your neighbor in the seat next to you. Or having them stick out of your bag!
A popular form of Circular Knitting is Sock Knitting. Knitting socks nicely demonstrates this technique. Hats and cowls are also great examples of simple Circular Knitting. It can be adapted and applied to many types of knitting actually. Top Down Sweater Knitting is a good example. Sweaters can be knitted in separate shaped pieces and then sewn together. Or in one continuous piece (for the most part) using Circular Knitting!
What’s In The Book?
It’s got everything you need to get started in Circular Knitting. And actually it’s a great reference guide for traditional Knitting too from how to measure yourself for a custom fit to reading pattern charts!
I had a great time reading it because it reminded me of some old techniques while giving me some great new project ideas. Some highlights include:
* A great overview of essential tools, notions, and supplies. As well as an introduction to yarns and fibers.
* Instructions on 4 different circular knitting methods using Double Pointed Needles and Circular Needles.
* A special chapter on special techniques in Circular Knitting, Stranded Knitting, and Instarsia. And solutions to common problems when knitting in the round like Jogless Stripes.
* How to plan and begin your first project including Measuring Yourself, Swatching, and Selecting Your Yarns and Tools. To finishing your project with Joining, Weaving in Ends, and Blocking.
* 15 Patterns in all – 3 Starter Projects; 3 Simple Projects; 3 Intermediate Projects including mittens and socks and a felting project; 3 Advanced Projects including sweaters; 3 Steeked Projects something I’ve never heard of before.
* A simple stitch library.
Fun Fact: I’ve actually never bought a knitting how-to book before. Yes, believe it or not, I’m a self-taught knitter who taught myself to knit purely from books and the internet, yet I do not own a single comprehensive how-to knitting book.
I first started knitting when I was 14 years old. I went to my local New York Public Library to raid the Knitting section for books. I took out every book they had on Knitting! Since this was eons ago, I can’t remember for sure if I ever got my hands on a step-by-step how-to book. But somehow I managed. Cut to years later circa 2003 when I picked it up again and began collecting a library of Knitting books!
All the books I own are things are like Nicky Epstein’s Knitting On Top Of The World, Vogue Knitting’s Stitchionary, vintage pattern books for afghans, victorian garb, and various collectibles that I might find at a junk sale or consignment shop including books from different countries like Japan and Taiwan! Along with a myriad of pattern sheets and knitting publications like Berroco, Jaeger, Rebecca, Lopi, and Interweave. In general pattern, stitch, and special technique books are what I own. I use the internet to fill in the gaps. So this book is an especially nice addition to my library.
Another Ripley’s Believe It or Not Fact: I’d never taken a knitting class. Until a few months ago! And it happened to be Melissa’s Toe Up Socks, 2 At A Time class! Which is how I met her! Yes, I’d also never taken a single knitting class in my life until recently. So for those who are thinking of trying Knitting and want to take the plunge solo, you can do it. I did. And hopefully blogs like mine will aid you in doing so. Without sacrificing proper technique!
What I Like
I especially liked the intro chapter. It features a nice listing of tools and notions. From different Straight Needles, Double Pointed Needles, and Circular Needles. It also includes a great list of supporting notions and supplies and goes into some basic yarn and fiber information too.
When I got back into Knitting several years ago, I switched almost exclusively to Circular Needles and to Knitting in the Round whenever possible. It’s slightly more efficient, there tends to be less stopping and less seaming! So I’m no stranger to it, yet I was still able to find quite a few new tips and tricks from this book. I discovered Circular Knitting that uses 2 Circular Needles. A great alternative for when you don’t have the right length circular needles for your project!
It’s great for a refresher or as a handy resource for any level knitter. If you’ve knitted before but haven’t in awhile or forget a basic technique, the book includes great foundation instructions. Like Long-Tail Cast On, Color Changes, and Magic Loop. It also reminded me of a color change technique I learned years ago in high school called Russian Join! It is great for joining yarns with fibers that do not felt well. Love it! The Pros and Cons sections are great too. I learned quite a few new Pros and some new uses too for old techniques!
Lastly, for those already knitting in the round, Chapter 3 is devoted to fixing some very common problems with working in the round. Like how to fix the gap you might have in your joins called Laddering and working with stripes for smoother color changes called “Jogless Striping”. It also goes into working with small motifs and Intarsia! It includes False Side Seams as well, an advanced optional technique. Chapter 5 is devoted to planning your project and is also a nice reference guide.
It’s a nice essential how-to book suitable for everyone from the beginner novice to the experienced. It has everything a beginner needs to know displayed in an easily digestible format. I consider myself an Intermediate to Advanced knitter yet was able to find new insights, tips, and tricks. So it could be a great book for experienced knitters to check out too.
BONUS! CONTEST – You can own this book too! Melissa was kind enough to send along an extra copy to send out to one lucky winner! So if you’re interested in adding this book to your knitting library, then see here for how to enter.
The full pattern for the project on this page is also coming soon! It’s a simple pattern I made up inspired by the “Jogless Striping” technique and a beginner pattern that is included in the book!
Finally my amigurumi army is complete! These crochet critters have been kicking around in my parking lot (or graveyard) of projects in progress since way before my National Crochet Month post. I first made them as party favors for my friend Shahina’s Christmas Party circa 2008. My original 12 crochet critters are now all over the world from Denmark to Singapore to England and all across the United States. This batch was started last year only to be completed last week! My new batch includes some surprise characters – The Gurk Heroes!
Meet the Gurk Heroes [Left to Right]: Feraldan the Archer ~ Sir Rugnar the Knight ~ Gorlok the Wizard!
No, I did not name them. Who are they? These are the characters from the mobile game, Gurk ! They are the very same characters you’ll be playing in this 8-bit RPG game to explore The Wilderness, venture into the Gray Citadel, or hang out in Port Bristle. In short, Gurk is a game for your mobile phone. It’s a throwback to retro gaming that you can now play on your Android phone!
For all those Gurk fans out there who will naturally be reading this knitting blog – get ready to LOSE YOUR MINDS! Gurk II, the sequel to Gurk Original, just dropped a few days ago! Mushroom cloud! These are the characters from the original Gurk. Why do I care? The Mad Scientist made this game!
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But first, would you like to make your very own crochet critters? These amigurumis make a great Beginner Intermediate project in nice bite-sized pieces. Also a great way to try out Circular Crochet or Crochet in the Round. The only drawback with these projects is in the assembly! The crochet part is easy! It’s all the finishing touches and details that take some special care. Each critter consists of 1 head (stuffed with poly-fill), 1 body (stuffed with beans), felt eyes (sewed on), and embroidery floss mouth. You can customize them from there on out.
What You’ll Need
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn, Worsted Weight, 100% Acrylic
364 yards, $3.99 per skein. In lots of assorted colors!
Crochet Hook Size G [4.25mm]
1 Creepy Cute Book
1 Bag Dried Pinto Beans
Poly-Fill or Cotton Balls
Sewing Needle and Thread
Embroidery Floss and Tapestry Needle
Black Felt + Assorted Colors
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
I was at the local Borders Bookshop on a lark when I stumbled upon this book, Creepy Cute by Christen Haden. $10. The book itself is adorable, with great instructions, and a pattern for each of its many creepy critters. About 20 in all. My fave technique I learned from this book is the Magic Ring! All my creepy critters are based on patterns from this book! The Gurk Heroes are a variation on the the creepy critters you’ll find in the book.
Also, thanks to Mr. Gurk Alert himself, John Watkinson, for not only handcrafting Gurk and Gurk II but those darling felt weapons you see on each little Gurklet!
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You will control 3 characters as you wander through the land of Gurk to battle marauding monsters, fight your way through dungeons and dragons, and discover new treasure. In the Gurk sequel, you will also encounter new NPCs to talk to who will give you quests to complete. Confetti!
Gurk is an original RPG written, designed, and developed by John Watkinson! This tour de force was inspired by his love of Ultima and Bard’s Tale II. I remember back in the day when Gurk only lived on a single crappy Nokia candy bar phone. Watkinson’s Nokia phone. That he took out of his pocket in the middle of a dim movie theater. With a screen the size of a postage stamp! Perhaps it was living on a few phones out in Japan, maybe Europe. But back then there were no app markets to be found and Europe and Asia led the free world in mobile technology. So only the truly hardcore managed to find it and download it. But that’s about it. I never played it during its J2ME days but the teensy world made up entirely of colored pixel blocks was cute!
Until one fateful Thanksgiving Day, circa 2010, when he decided to bring it over to Android! I believe he ported the whole thing over in one weekend. Or perhaps across a long weekend. Monstrous. Soon after Gurk got ported from ye olde J2ME (an old mobile OS. NO!) over to Android (YES! My mobile OS of choice.), the sequel came out – and smashingly so!
What’s Great About Gurk II?
I love exploring the new maps, encountering new monsters, weps, and armor. Basically I like discovering new monsters, terrain, weapons, or treasures! And of course playing my new girl toons! Yes, G2 features a new cast of characters including what I like to call The Girls of Gurk! There are 6 new toons to choose from, 9 in all. And they feature 3 female ones! Hooray! You can mix and match them however you like.
You can also try your luck when picking your toons with the re-roll option! Re-roll to try getting the best stats possible for your starting players. As you level up, you will encounter more delightful denizens, graduate from Fish Oil Salve (blecch) to potions and jewels, wield fancier weps and armor, and gain access to new and exotic territories. There is also a whole cache of brand new bosses, dungeons, treasures… and food! Yes, there are provisions in the game now in the form of Jewels, Potions, and Salves. Mmm Mmm.
What else is new? There’s a ship, guys!! Where you can sail across the briny deep while fighting monsters right on deck. If you get bored or are feeling lonely in the land of Gurk, stop and say Hi! to some NPCs who can give you a little smarmy advice or a quest! Oh and one more thing – you can summon your own imps to help you fight!! Pets!! Check out the Gurk Wiki for some Tips & Tricks on gameplay and a rundown of new UI features.
The Music! Something Chiptune fans will especially appreciate. Gurk II includes an original score also by Watkinson himself. And is a swoon-worthy homage to Chiptunes circa late 80′s. And it’s good, guys! SCOOP: The soundtrack to Gurk II was originally composed in the mid-90s. He dug them up and decided to use them in G2. So actually, they were an homage created during the 8-bit heyday and therefore better classified as vintage! So these original vintage chiptunes are a super bonus IMHO that many otakus of the 8-bit RPG genre will appreciate. The final release version includes SFX too! I have yet to play the final release. But once I finish playing through beta, I will check it out! I don’t want to give up my OP Flame Chant just yet! Plus, my toons are looking sharp in their OP gear.
What are 8-bit games?
Think Nintendo NES. Yes, like Super Mario Brothers and Duckhunt! The pioneers of modern day personal gaming or home gaming consoles, first made popular in the late 80s. Or arcade games like Donkey Kong or Pac-Man. Some other notables include Sega and the console that sparked it all, Atari. Usually defined by pixelated graphics and rudimentary animations. Simple gameplay. Retro! Read all about The History of the Game Console on Wikipedia!
What are RPGs?
Role Playing Games. Which became more popular during the home console 8-bit revolution. Most notable are Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda. The gameplay is turn-based which means it’s usually along the lines of “Do you want to enter the dragon’s lair?” Yes or No! “Press 1 to Attack” and so on. They usually include things like knights and dragons, quests and spells, swords and armor… RPGs back then also had the tendency to attract girl gamers, there weren’t many options that appealed to the handful of girl gamers in the 80s.
All modern day RPGs can trace their roots right back to role playing card games like Dungeons and Dragons. Yikes. RPGs today come in many flavors. And includes the modern day quintessential juggernaut of the genre, World of Warcraft. A suped up version of RPGs otherwise known as an MMORPG! Less turn-based but every bit the consummate RPG. It’s a living, real-time RPG where you can game with players from all over the world. It’s a sub-culture unto its own.
Meet the Developers
You can learn more about Gurk, John Watkinson, and Matt and John’s nerdery for profit – Larva Labs on their website. This duo of mobile software developers makes all kinds of apps for iPhone, Android, Sidekick, and iPad. Including the popular Androidify! Fun x 4 = All!
In the meantime, check out Gurk II on the big screen at this year’s Google Developer Conference, Google IO 2011. It was fully functional!
I officially have Socks Fever! Not only are these my first ever socks but they are done using a technique called Toe-Up Sock Knitting! Which simply means instead of knitting the socks from the cuff down to the toe, they are knit beginning from the toe on up! Is this any better traditional sock knitting? I guess the benefit is you can try them on as you go! For me this method just seems more fun, you can see the sock form right away which is more satisfying to me. And best of all the worst part is done once the foot is formed so you’re home free from the ankle on up to the cuff! Another benefit is that these socks are done using circular needles (2 needles) instead of double pointed needles (4 needles). Nice!
As part of my Spring Knit, Sew, & Crochet Class Mania, I took this one day 7-hour class taught by Melissa Morgan Oakes at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio here in New York. We learned Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On, increasing the gusset, shaped heel cups, and heel flaps, all from the toe up! We were able to finish our sample baby booties all the way up til the ankle in one class. We were required to use Lion Brand Yarn and purchase the book. But it was a lovely productive class and still worth the money. Class, 7 hours, $95. Book, $10.95. US Size 6 Circular Needles 40 inch, Addi Turbos, $17.50. Lion Brand Yarn – Baby Wool, Worsted Weight, 98 yards, $5.29.
Note: I liked Judy’s Magic Cast On which is a variation on the Magic Loop (a technique used for tubular knitting or circular knitting when using circs instead of dpns). The major difference is you cast on to both needles at once with your fingers rather than using the basic cast on and them splitting the loops into 2 groups by bending the wire. What I like is the cast on is lightning fast and I feel easier than your traditional cast on. A drawback is the first row must be knit slightly different because of the way the stitches are oriented.
If you’d like to find out more on your own, check out Melissa’s book, Toe Up Socks – 2 at a Time. Or check out Knit Picks who has a lovely free downloadable pattern that includes everything you need to know! Also note, these sample socks are baby size except I managed to mess up the foot so it is too long! Stay tuned for my first real socks!
Spring is here! It was 74 gorgeous degrees outside yesterday in NYC! Nothing like nice weather to chase away the winter blues (and all the seriously heavy stuff going on in the world right now). So I’m ready for Summer. I’ve been dreaming up some fun ideas to get into gear and decided to celebrate by taking some Knitting classes. I’ve so far only been interested in classes for Sewing. I’ve never taken a formal course in Knitting or Crochet before. So this time around I decided to try some out. Perhaps those who prefer to try Knitting or Crochet for the first time with a class can find this list helpful too! I’ll be trying 4 classes this Spring. 3 Knitting, 1 Sewing. From Lion Brand Yarn Studio, Purl Soho, and Sew Fast Sew Easy. With a special mention to 3rd Ward and Etsy Labs. I’m super excited! Read on for full details!
Lion Brand Yarn Studio
The above book by Melissa Morgan Oakes is one of the classes I’ll be trying here. LBY Studio has a wealth of Knitting and Crochet classes for everyone from the beginner beginner to the rabid fanatic. Beginning Crochet or Knitting, Crochet or Knitting Brush-Up courses for those who just need a refresher, Toe-Up Socks, Top Down Knitting, Tunisian Crochet and many more wonderful courses. I saw quite a few I’d like to take. But I settled on two to start. Toe Up Socks 1 session. 7 hours! $95. And Top Down Knitting. 3 sessions. 2 hours each. $75! They often have wonderful special classes and events by anyone from Nicky Epstein – if you knit it’s likely you either own or have come across one of her books before. I personally own Knitting on Top of the World and Crocheting on the Edge. To Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. And many more. The only drawback so far is that you must choose a Lion Brand Yarn for your project. I didn’t love that but don’t mind it too much yet. Not too bad considering it’s easier to cover more ground if everyone works with standard materials. It’s also a common practice for most classes. But you will get 10% off all yarns and supplies you purchase if you’re taking a class.
HOLY CRAP! I just found the sewing book of my dreams. I went to the bookstore on a lark (as per usual) to check out the sewing books. I wasn’t expecting to find anything to write home about. Instead I found something to write to the world about! Ha. Ok. I kid. But seriously.
So far it’s got everything I’m looking for. Everything I’ve learned in my previous classes (all the beginner topics like Sewing Machine, Tools, Fabrics, Stitches, and Reading Patterns) to what I’m looking for now, Alterations! Along with much more like Button Holes, Pleats, Pants etc.
All with clear gorgeous and very descriptive photographs (not illustrations). And in a very digestible format great for beginners or as a very handy reference for the more advanced. Comprehensive yet easy enough for beginners to digest, expansive yet organized, beautifully laid out all in a giant pink hardcover textbook. IT’S A GEM!
Compare that to the $430 I’ve spent on 2 classes (and that’s with major shopping around and a half price class!) I still think beginning Sewing for the first time requires a class. But once you get that and the basics down it’s easier to choose which way to go from there. After no real luck looking for a decent comprehensive sewing class and then finding this book, I’m going to forego my next sewing class. And self-learn for a bit like I did for Knitting and Crochet. I can get more done on my own time in this fashion too. If you’re in the same boat as me, then I highly recommend flipping through to see if it’s for you. If so, you can save some money on classes!
Ha. Look what I got for my birthday! My good friend (rox!) gave me this lovely sewing book because I dove headlong into sewing a few months ago. Plus, it had a pattern for a camera bag that was especially thoughtful because I just got a new camera. Perfect!
Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee features 20 very accessible sewing projects with pattern sheets! It includes a wide array of sewing arts from applique and embroidery to quilting. The projects also range from quilts and home goods to day bags, skirts, and aprons. I really like how it spans a few different sewing disciplines, great for someone who is curious and might try out an applique project for kicks. The skill levels look to range from novice to intermediate. I have not tried a pattern out yet but the first one I’d like to make is the Camera Bag Pattern. It’s been added to my long list of sewing projects and will be posted when it’s complete! Find out more about Meg McElwee and Sew Liberated.