Monthly Archives: June 2017

Review: Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

The Yarn Harlot is well-known in knitting circles for her blog full of amusing yarn related anecdotes and Knitting Rules! is written in that style, but also contains lots of helpful knitting content. You can easily read it through from start to finish, or just look up the information you need.

Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee ©Rachel Gibbs

If you’ve ever felt bad about knitting too much, having too much yarn or not being able to get through a conversation without mentioning knitting, then Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is here for you and even has handy tips and quizzes to help you deal with it. The first two chapters are “What is Knitting and How Does it Get Like This?” and “Yarn and How Not to Feel Guilty About It” and are recommended reading for any budding knitting-addict. The section on identifying mystery yarn is something that all knitters will find comes in handy at some point, and contains multiple ways of identifying fibres, weights and yardage.

Letter to Inventor of Ziploc bags

Letter to Inventor of Ziploc bags ©Rachel Gibbs

Highlights include “Five Reasons Why People Don’t Knit” (and why they’re all poor excuses), a quiz to assess your level of knitting obsession (I come out as a Scientist, unsurprisingly), a letter to the inventor of ziploc bags thanking them on behalf of the knitting community. It also has a section on identifying mystery yarn, which is something that all knitters will find comes in handy at some point and contains multiple ways of identifying fibres, weights and yardage.

Chapter Three is called “Know Your Stuff” which is all about stuff knitters use that isn’t yarn, i.e. needles, bags, patterns and notions (it has a handy list of what should be inside a model knitting bag). l. It’s also the only book which I’ve seen mention casein needles. I inherited some casein DPNs from my grandma and can attest to her point that they taste very, very bad, despite being made from milk protein.

The next chapter is “Gauge, Swatches, and Learning to Accept Them” which includes 10 Times When You Should Worry About Gauge” and “5 Times You Don’t Need to Get Gauge”, to cover all the bases. She includes a cautionary tale to remind you about the perils of ignoring gauge, but in a  very amusing way.

Ten Reasons Not to Knit Socks

Ten Reasons Not to Knit Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The final four chapters are about different types of project: hats, socks, scarves and shawls, and sweaters. Each gives 10 reasons to knit that type of object (the socks chapter has 10 reasons not to as well) and then has basic patterns for everything other than sweaters, including size charts to fit almost anyone. There are then suggestions on how to build on the basic patterns to make more interesting things.

For a small book, it packs in a lot of information and in a very accessible way. While the technical bits are probably more suited to a beginner knitter, I think all knitters can get something out of this book as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a very relatable writer. Not only does Knitting Rules contain guidelines for knitting, it’s also a celebration of knitters everywhere and the crazy things they do for love of the craft.

These are affiliate links, I get a small commission if you buy using these links.

Price: £8.99

New Pattern: Total Internal Reflection Socks

My new pattern, Total Internal Reflection Socks, is another one that requires a bit of a physics lesson. Total internal reflection is when light hits a boundary between two mediums at an angle greater than the critical angle so that it entirely reflects back instead of passing through. It’s used in fibre optics to make the light bounce from side to side along the cable and reach the other end.

Total internal reflection diagram

Total Internal Reflection ©Wikimedia Commons

The pattern has zig-zagging cables that travel all down the sock on a twisted rib background. Smocked panels separate the bouncing cables and continue right into the toe.

Total Internal Reflection Socks

Total Internal Reflection Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

The socks come in three sizes, to fit leg circumference of 8/S (9/M, 10/L)”/20 (23, 25.5) cm and feature a flap and gusset heel. This makes it easy to adapt for a high instep. The pattern has written and charted instructions, whichever you find easier to use, and a diagram to help you visualise how it all fits together.

Flap and gusset heel

Flap and gusset heel ©Rachel Gibbs

Because of the stitch patterns used, these socks use a lot of yarn. The sample is made in The Uncommon Thread Tough Sock in the Lust colourway. I made the Medium size with a 9″ foot and used 96g. Be aware that you may need a yarn with a yardage of more than 400 yards and you may need more than 100g, especially if you make the Large size. Some indie dyed skeins, in particular, are larger than specified, try weighing your yarn first.

Close up of Total Internal Reflection Socks

Close up of Total Internal Reflection Socks ©Rachel Gibbs

Thanks to all my testers and my tech editor who helped make this pattern even better.

Visit the Ravelry pattern page here for more information and buy Total Internal Reflection Socks for £3.50+VAT directly here.

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