Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: Topsy- Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys

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I am not sure who was more excited when a copy of  Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys by Susan B Anderson arrived on my doorstep, me or my 5 year old daughter. My daughter and I are both big fans of Susan's books. When I attended TNNA in June, I got to see and touch the actual samples from the book during Susan's book signings. I knew that my daughter would go crazy over the toys from the book. 
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The cover is one of her favorite parts of the book. When you pull the tab, you can see that the toy changes into another toy. The knitted projects in the whole book are reversible. You get two toys in one. There are a total of 12 projects with beautiful photos of the projects. Plus, it has photo tutorials of any special techniques you may need to know or special details that may need further visual aids.

After flipping through the book, she had me write down a list of all the toys she wanted me to knit for her. Her picks: Happy Mouse, Egg to Penguin, Chrysalis to Monarch, Flower Fairy in a Tulip, Snowman & Tree, Top-Down Seamless Petticoat Dolls. She wanted me to knit the Happy Mouse first and it has to be in pink.  

The following review is her opinion of every single project in this book. 5 year olds are pretty honest and very opinionated. It's always so funny to hear their initial reaction to something.
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"I want a Happy Mouse because she is so cute. I only want Happy and not Sad because it's just too sad. I don't want the mouse to cry boohoo. Can you make me a Happy Mouse first and I want it in pink."

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"I like the Penguin because it is super super cute! I have always love penguins even when I was a little baby. You can flip this into an egg and egg begins with the letter E."

Egg to Alligator, "I don't like the crocodile so much. It's for boys and it's too crocodile-ly."

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"I love that the butterfly can turn into a cocoon. And then it can fly around like a real butterfly."

Pigs in a Blanket, "The piggies are so cute rolling around in a blanket. And then it is inside a tent."

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"Pull it down and there is a fairy. Pop it up and it's a flower. My two favorite things are fairies and flowers."
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"The Bunny & Lamb is so cute and cuddly. I don't like the blue and gray one. I only like the pink one."
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"I love the Snowman & Tree! I can flip the snowman into a Christmas Tree. I like Christmas because Santa brings you gifts."

The Fox & the Hen, "I only like the chicken a little bit. I don't want to turn the chicken into a fox because the fox scares me."

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"I like this because I like dogs. The door is not open, but if you flip it, the dog is asleep inside. He is always sleepy."

Squirrel & Hedgehog, "The squirrel is kinda cute. It loves acorns. I don't like the Hedgehog because if you touch it, you will scream and bleed. Too spikey!"
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"I like these dolls. You can dance around with it. It flips over and you get a different one with yellow hair. I love it so much and it's super cute."

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This morning I surprised her with the Happy Mouse that she wanted. She squealed with  glee. I apparently got the smile just right on mouse. She is very detailed oriented like me and had specified the smile that she wanted. I aim to please. :-)

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This was easy to knit and everything was knit seamlessly. The photo tutorials were clear and very helpful. I can't wait to make the other projects on my daughter's list.

The Giveaway!
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The very generous people at Artisan Books has offered to give one of you lucky readers a copy of the book. Please leave me a comment telling me which one is your favorite project from the book. The winner will be picked by a random number generator. Last day to comment is Oct 13, 2013. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you, either Ravelry name, blog link, or email address.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Zoom Loom (Pin Loom) Weaving Class at Trillium Yarns

Yesterday, I was back at Trillium Yarns in Morristown, New Jersey, to teach another class on Weaving with the Schacht Zoom Loom. It was a gorgeous day with sun streaming through the windows and a cool breeze in a beautiful yarn shop. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect setting to teach a class.
Weaving on the Schacht Zoom Loom
Look at the concentration of my students! If you have never woven on a pin loom before, it can be quite confusing looking at all the warp threads running vertically and horizontally. In my beginner class, one of my goals is to make sure that everyone gets comfortable with learning to warp the Zoom Loom. I also provide handouts that has written instructions along with illustrations so that you can refer to it if you need to after you leave the class.

Students' finished squares 
These squares were made by a mother and a daughter taking my class together. The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool. After learning the basic weave, I had them experiment with warping in 2 colors and doubling up the yarn for the first warp. It was fun to see how many different variations you can get just by changing the warp colors.

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It was great group of students and I had a lot of fun teaching them. I will be back at Trilliums Yarn next month to teach an Advance Zoom Loom Class and Rigid Heddle Weaving. Please call Beverly at Trillium Yarns if you want to sign up.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Small Weaving: Ochre & Grays

Recently, I have been playing around with my small pin looms using them in a different way. I put the warp on the bottom and top pins and leave the sides free. The yarns are from an assortment of odds and ends that I keep in a basket. I wanted to play with colors and different techniques with the one rule of not having any rules. That statement makes me chuckle because I am rule a follower, but once in a rare while, I just want to play.

I am quite pleased with this experimental weaving. I like the hints of the red warp peeking out. The small yellow square is done using a Tapestry technique called Weft Interlock. I had never tried it but understood how it was suppose to be done, so I took a stab at it. Weaving can be unwoven so it's not a huge commitment on my part. One of the nice things about weaving this way is that I can just pop the weaving off the pins when I am done. All selvedges are finished.
Where did I get my color inspirations from? I recently visited my sister and this is her living room. I knew I wanted to create something using this same palette. That is how my mind works. I get inspired by everyday things or my environment.

Are you inspired by colors?