Review: Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop

I’m so looking forward to the day when I can teach Lila to knit. She isn’t even four yet, but I’m already looking ahead and developing a little arsenal of resources that I hope will spur her interest and be valuable tools to help her learn when the time comes. Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop: The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Learn to Knit! is definitely one of those resources.

Excerpted from Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lauren Volo. Illustrations by Alison Kolesar.

Excerpted from Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lauren Volo. Illustrations by Alison Kolesar.

The book features a progressive series of patterns and knitting lessons, that hep develop skills. Starting with knitting in the round and working through knitting, purling, knitting flat, etc. so that by the end of the book a child will have developed a full range of skills. Every project includes details on how to finish it- so when there are pom poms, there is also a tutorial on making pom poms.  For an adorable knitted snowman, there are direction on how to finish him off with a properly sewn on felt carrot nose.  The concept feels really well organized and thought out- which makes sense, as Susan has actually got a lot of experience teaching kids to knit!

Who This Book is For: Girls aged 8-13 seem to be the target audience, but younger kids who are feeling determined will no doubt be inspired to take a crack at it. Its detailed enough (it really does cover everything) that you could gift this book to your nieces or the kids of close friends and not feel like you have to teach them to knit as well- toss in a few skeins of fun yarn and some needles, and it would be an amazing gift for a tween aged girl! You can check out all the bright and happy patterns included in the book here.

Three patterns that are perfect for new knitting hands (and look awesome enough that an experienced knitter would want to knit them!) are the Fox Pillow, Cowl, and Leg Warmers.

Excerpted from Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lauren Volo. Illustrations by Alison Kolesar.

Excerpted from Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lauren Volo. Illustrations by Alison Kolesar.

Things I loved: It’s spiral bound, so it stays open easily (why doesn’t every single knitting pattern book out there have this?!), the photos are beautiful and inspiring and likely will stay current for some time. Everything is explained step by step and built sequentially around lessons that advance skills in a logical fashion, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. The patterns are really attractive and classic items, so I can see how they would be happily knit many times over, and actually used by the kids themselves.  Also for a variety of yarn quantities- there are plenty of projects that are just one skein or less.

Things I didn’t love: The book says it’s a kids knitting workshop, but it’s targeted pretty exclusively at girls. I could only find one photo with a boy in it, and he is wearing a hand puppet, not knitting. I wish the photos had been a little more inclusive- boys can knit, too! Also, the table of contents is …. unhelpful. I was looking for the page number for a certain pattern, but the patterns aren’t listed in the table of contents- you have to use the table of contents to get to a section, then the first page of that section tells you which lessons and patterns are to be found in that section.  Would have been a lot more helpful if it was all in the main table of contents.

Overall, this is a great book that any girl who is interested in knitting will likely love to have. Do you have a little girl in your life that would benefit from Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop? To enter, please leave me a comment and let me know who in your life you would like to give this book to and why by midnight on Thursday, January 28th- the winner will be announced on Friday morning!

 

Modification Monday: Cusp

Modification Monday: Cusp | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Cusp

Knitter Extraordinaire: Onkuri (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods:  Changed the neckline to a steeked v-neck, and made vertical arm slits instead of horizontal ones. Project page can be found here, and has amazing details and some great thoughts on other potential modifications. I highly recommend reading her notes if you are even considering knitting the pattern.

What Makes This Awesome:  Oh, where to begin! I agree that the v neck really helps echo the ‘wedges’ of the pullover, the result is great.  Her solution of the vertical arm slits help prevent the fabric from bubbling in unflattering ways while wearing the garment,  and allow for better elongation of the ‘sleeve’ which makes it much more wearable for the average person. Onkuri also noted that as it’s knit from the center out it’s very easy to customize fit, even for a variety of gauges.  The result is a drapey, flattering fit for a garment that might otherwise be difficult to wear- Onkuri’s version is shows just how wearable it can really be!

Modification Monday: Cusp | knittedbliss.com

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

The harsh reality of when mass retailers partner with indie designers. 

As someone who shares the content of others on Mondays and Fridays, this essay was very on point about how important it is to value the work of other bloggers and be respectful about how their work is shared.

Letting go of perfection and embracing the okay.

When was the last time you asked for a raise? Here is how to go about it, and some interesting facts that you might not know- for example, your workplace might have raises automatically approved each year, you just have to ask.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: One Pan Cajun CHicken Dinner| knittedbliss.com

I’m a big fan of one-dish cooking (who needs more dishes to do?), and this Cajun chicken and veggie dish is fantastically easy. If you get pre-mixed Cajun seasoning, you’ll save a lot of time, too! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Twix Thumbprint Cookies | knittedbliss.com

Twix thumbprint cookies– again, not a lot of ingredients, but that chocolate caramel cookie combo is irresistible. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here (and from the same site as the Cajun chicken- I’m a fan of Cooking Classy!).

Pin Ups and Link Love: Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie | knittedbliss.com

Have you tried a breakfast smoothie that involves blending in oats? If you like something sweet in the morning and need a bit more staying power than just a fruit smoothie, try this hot chocolate breakfast smoothie. It has oats blended in. I personally skip the cooking stage since I don’t care if it is hot  not, but I suppose it isn’t really a hot chocolate smoothie if it’s cold. But I don’t mind- remember when iced hot chocolate was a thing? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Crochet Heart Tutorial

These pretty crochet hearts look adorable in bright colours- you could crochet a little garland, or find all sorts of little sues for them- they would be cute appliques on a coffee sleeve! Pinterest link is here, and the original crochet tutorial is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Birdhouse Key holder | knittedbliss.com

I’m smitten with this little DIY birdhouse key keeper, which includes the pattern for the felt key ring. This would be a perfect key holder for a special key that you don’t need to keep on a key ring regularly- or for kids that need to keep track of just their house key! Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

It was a busy week with my in laws here- a good visit! It will b ea busy week on the blog next week- most of my weekend will be prepping new posts and spending time with the family. How about you guys?

Modification Monday: Accidental Stripes

Modification Monday: Accidental Stripes | knittedbliss.com

Modification Monday: Accidental Stripes

Original Pattern: A Cropped Sweater for Winter

Knitter Extraordinaire: Kat (Ravelry ID, Blog)

Mods: Modified the originally cropped sweater pattern to be hip length, and added in dramatic stripes and colour blocking at the sleeve caps. Project page with details can be found here.

What Makes This  Awesome: I love, love, love the stripes on this sweater. They are beautifully proportioned and even through the body, but the real magic is the sleeves. The blue sleeve caps give a great, graphic  move into wider stripes that decrease in width  as they move down the arm to the cuff.  Kat was very clever in changing how the stripes worked on the sleeves, as it gives the sweater a really modern effect, and with the blue sleeve caps, it keeps the stripe son the body from feeling too busy. It’s easily one of the best striped sweaters I’ve seen!

Modification Monday: Accidental Stripes | knittedbliss.com

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

10 things to help spread positivity an optimism.

Is reading more on your list of things you want to do in 2016? Here’s a list of 46 brilliant short novels you can read in a day.

I had a little write up about my forthcoming book of poetry on Open Book Toronto. feel free to check it out- there’s even a sample poem!

Also, a farm in Virginia is looking for people to cuddle baby goats. Yes, you read that right.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Oreo Cheesecake Cookies | knittedbliss.com

I know it’s January and we’re all supposed to eat kale and quinoa exclusively for the next several weeks, but I don’t believe in deprivation. These Oreo Cheesecake Cookies are surprisingly fast and easy to put together (generally if ‘oreos’ are an ingredient, you probably don’t need much else) and soooo indulgent. If you make them and have friends over, it’s like you’re splitting the calories! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Crockpot Chiken and Wild Rice Soup | knittedbliss.com

I may not do deprivation, but I certainly love soups and stew this time of year. This crockpot chicken and wild rice soup is perfect for January in that it doesn’t have a million ingredients and is satisfying and hearty in a deep, soul-satisfying way. And definitely less calories than the oreo cookies. Just saying. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here. 

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Clay knobs| knittedbliss.com

I love this DIY for faceted clay knobs, which would be a great way to refresh a dresser or some cabinets. I love how pretty and modern it looks. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: A Better SSK decrease | knittedbliss.com

This knitting trick to neaten your SSK decreases is pretty much blowing my knitter’s mind right now- that looks SO much better! And I’ve never liked how the SSK decrease looked before. This is definitely something I’m adding to my knitting trick arsenal. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Thread Spectrum| knittedbliss.com

If I lived anywhere near Washington DC, I’d be at this exhibit in a heartbeat. This is the breathtaking threaded light spectrum by artist Gabriel Dawe, comprised of over 60 miles of embroidery thread. It’s worth clicking through to see photos of this spectacular installation from different angles. Pinterest link is here, and the original link is here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekends, my friends! My in laws are visiting this weekend, all the way from England to meet little baby James. We are looking forward to seeing them- and having some extra hands to help with  the littles!