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Show and Tell - Product Reviews

By Allegra and Brandy

Show and Tell is a fun feature of our magazine which showcases knitting or crochet-related products, as well as handcrafted products for children. A limited number of products are reviewed personally by Brandy or Allegra for each issue, to ensure that each product is evaluated with the utmost time and care. If you are interested in having your product reviewed, send it to us! We'd love to check it out.


Jelly Stitch Markers

Book: Vintage Baby Knits

Vintage Baby Knits: More Than 40 Heirloom Patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s
by Kristen Rengren
STC Craft/Melanie Falick Book
$27.50

Destined to be a classic in its own time, Kristen Rengren’s book, Vintage Baby Knits: More than 40 Heirloom patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s, offers an exceptional collection of patterns for babies aged 3 months to 24 months. Rengren got to bring her two passions together in creating this book: knitting and her admiration for vintage clothing. She spent a couple years collecting hundreds of patterns from the 1920s through the 1950s, sadly having to narrow her projects down to a mere 40 plus for the book!
There are so many things that I love about this book. I like how Rengren maintains the classic spirit of the vintage patterns while using modern yarns such as Blue Moon Fiber Arts “Socks that Rock”, Louet Euroflax, Fleece Artist Sea Wool and a few organic yarns, just to name a few. I like how she revised the patterns to suit the modern knitter, as well as the modern baby.

Rengren gives some nice pointers about knitting for babies, thoughts about sizing and yarn choices. She also gives some very nice knitting history from the decades focused upon in the book.

There is something for everyone in this book: simple patterns, a few “jiffy quicks” (to quote Rengren in her Introduction), finely gauged heirloom pieces, cables, lace, color work and textured stitches. A nice balance between designs for boys, girls, and unisex patterns, as well as so many lovely accessories such as blankets, socks/slippers, hats/bonnets and toys. It is very impressive that Rengren maintains the high level of taste and quality when offering such a vast amount of patterns.

Some of my personal favorites are the Louise Cardigan (so sweet), Bunny Blanket (I love the use of appliqué), Ducky Onesie (could anything be cuter?),and the Oscar Argyle Sweater (excellent color combination). Two patterns designs that I’d love to “super size” would be the Floyd Pullover and the Otto Short-Sleeved Pullover.

I am sure that my daughter will benefit greatly from many of the designs in this book. It is truly a class act. You can find more information about Kristen and her designs at www.retroknit.net.


Book: Fairy Tale Knits

Fairy Tale Knits Fairy Tale Knits: 32 Projects to Knit Happily Ever After
by Alison Stewart-Guinee
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
$24.99

When I received my copy of Fairy Tale Knits: 32 Projects to Knit Happily Ever After, I pretty much squealed with glee. The cover design, Snow Queen, grabbed my heart and eye, forcing me to drop everything and scour through the book immediately. We are incredibly lucky here at Petite Purls to have gotten to know Alison Stewart-Guinee in the past few months as she is one of our designers for our Fall Issue!

I immediately appreciated Stewart-Guinee’s attention to detail as soon as I opened the book. I enjoyed the “yellowed edges”, which reminded me of an old copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
I love that the projects in this book are both practical and, at the same time, full of imagination and whimsy. They do not look like costumes in any way. The designs can easily be altered and experimented upon for “everyday” wear.

The projects in this book are for knitters of all levels. Many come in an excellent range of sizes (infant to age 8) and many have seamless construction: a favored method of knitting here at Petite Purls.
This is another book that has a fantastic selection of patterns, 32 to be exact. There are many wonderful boy designs as well as some very lovely patterns for girls. The book rounds out nicely with accessories such as hats, bags, elf slippers and some castle “decor”.
Some of my personal favorites are the Hansel Sweater and Gretel dress (adorable embellishments), Cinderella Dress and Modern Chain Maille Sweater (both would be excellent projects for the beginning knitter), and the Princess Sweater. But my all time favorite collection from this book is the Snow Queen Coat, Capelet and Muff. The chosen colors, and the fine photography immediately sweep you off to Narnia. Hands down, my friends, this is Stewart-Guinee’s Tour de Force.

Fairy Tale Knits is Alison’s first book. I look forward to seeing what she does in the future. She is currently working on a line of patterns for children and for the home. You can find more information about Alison and her designs at www.knittingbyhand.com


Yarn: Spud & Chloë

Fine, Sweater, Outer
by Blue Sky Alpacas

Jelly Stitch MarkersOne of the greatest launches this past summer (besides our Premiere Issue!) was the launch of Blue Sky Alpacas newest yarn line, Spud and Chloë. The yarn made it’s debut at the TNNA show in Columbus, Ohio in June 2009.

The adorable name for the yarn line came when the owner of Blue Sky was introduced to a friend’s pair of sheep, Spud and Chloë. The names stuck, and will soon stick in your head as well! Spud and Chloë comes with it’s own branding, pretty much the cutest logo ever, and the tagline: “Sweet Yarns for Real Life”. So true, in so many ways! First of all, the three yarns currently offered are made of natural fibers and are machine washable. Let me say that again: natural fibers and are machine washable. A mama’s best friend! Fine is fingering weight (80% superwash wool & 20% silk), Sweater is worsted weight (55% superwash wool & 45% organic cotton), and Outer is bulky (65% superwash wool & 35% organic cotton).

Jelly Stitch MarkersTo continue the cuteness, Spud and Chloë currently offers 27 hues in a “pop-color palette.” Their color names include Ice Cream, Grass, Rootbeer, Popcorn, Clementine, Tutu. Bright, wonderful colors, just screaming to be knit with! I have been told that new colors should be hitting the market for the fall. I can only hope that a couple purples might join the cool kids?

I have only had the opportunity to try out Fine and Sweater. Both were a pleasure to work with. Since Fine has some silk in it, the texture while knitting it was a bit rough. It subtly reminded me more of knitting with something like hemp than with wool and silk. I must say though, that it softened up beautifully after a washing. Sweater was totally enjoyable to knit with. Usually I am not a fan of knitting with cotton, as it tends to hurt my hands, but since this is a blend, I had no problems. My knitting did grow a bit when I washed it, but it dried beautifully and returned back to it’s original size almost completely. I look forward to knitting with Outer in the future.

Jelly Stitch MarkersSpud and Chloë has an adorable pattern line, right now focusing heavily on accessories and children’s wear, as well as many outerwear pieces. A Petite Purls favorite, the lovely Susan B. Anderson, writes the Spud and Chloë blog, designs free patterns for the blog and fresh new patterns for the yarn line. What a lucky lady!

We here at Petite Purls are very excited about this yarn line and how perfect it is for knitting childrens’ clothing. You can bet that we have some designs using Spud and Chloë in store for you. Our design wheels are already turning!