Here Comes the Sun: Things Look Up with Lace Knitting

Here Comes the Sun: Things Look Up with Lace Knitting

LaceKnitting-RAW Bokmerke 1-trafalgarbooksThese days it really helps that the days are getting longer, sunnier, and warmer, and the world around us is slowly waking up. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of turning your face into the sun after a long chilly winter—this one especially. This spring in particular many of us find ourselves at loose ends, having to make the best of unexpectedly empty schedules and keep ourselves occupied with something—anything—more productive, fulfilling, and engaging than checking the news every ten minutes …

Cooking, baking, sewing, knitting—these are the kinds of activities that have appeal when we’re stuck at home and tired of technology. And openwork knitting is a wonderful way to welcome the spring. Lace stitches come in infinite flavors, including happy seasonal patterns like buds, flowers, and leaves. Light, silky yarns and breezy lace garments are as comfortable to work as they will be to wear, and filled with all the promise of a fresh start and a new day…something we all look forward to this year.

LaceKnitting-RAW Blaa genser 2-trafalgarbooksLACE KNITTING by Denise Samson (the knit designer who also wrote the popular PONCHOS TO KNIT and THE CABLE KNITTER’S GUIDE) is the resource recommended by TSB Craft Editor Kim Cook for those looking to explore openwork techniques with their knitting needles. Featuring a fascinating introduction to the history of lace knitting and the fundamentals of choosing tools and materials, readers are then treated to a beautifully rich “stitch dictionary”: 40 individual lace patterns, from the deceptively simple to the beautifully intricate, presented with clear, easy-to-read charts, and swatches photographed in full color and high quality, so you can see exactly how each stitch represented on the chart looks when it’s worked for real. In addition, there are 30 designs for garments, accessories, and furnishings.

We’d love to hear how you are being creative these days and the projects you’re embarking on this spring! Stay in touch, and stay well.

LACE KNITTING is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Kids at Home? It’s a Great Time to Sew!

Kids at Home? It’s a Great Time to Sew!

Kids Learn to Stitch_Big Bad Bug-4We’re all in the midst of weeks of homeschooling and disruption to our kids usual schedules. In an effort to find positive opportunities in the challenges we’re facing, perhaps now is a chance to introduce new skills that might not have found time in students’ busy schedules before.

TSB Craft Editor Kim Cook recommends the book KIDS LEARN TO STITCH by Lucinda Guy as a great starter guide for youngsters who want to create with their hands. Charmingly illustrated by artist François Hall, KIDS LEARN TO STITCH enlists the help of the two original animal characters, Pip and Peg, to teach children how to use a sewing needle and thread to make simple, practical, and decorative projects.

We’re happy to offer this FREE DOWNLOAD of the pages for learning Straight Stitches, to share with your kids.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE STRAIGHT STITCHES LESSON

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Do your children prefer to work from the blog? Here is an excerpt for your convenience:

STRAIGHT STITCHES
Now you are ready to make your first stitches—straight stitches!
 
Straight stitches can be short or long.
 
Short straight stitches are called seed stitches and they can be made close together or scattered about—just like seeds!
 
Long straight stitches are called running stitches and they can be made running one after the other in lines, or wherever you want them.
 
Kids Learn to Stitch_Straight Stitch-3Seed Stitch
1 Hold the felt in one hand and the needle and thread in the other. Push the needle up into the felt from underneath.
 
The knot is at the back of the felt—and the needle is at the front.
 
 
2 Carefully pull the needle and thread all the way through the felt until the knot at the end stops you from pulling it any further.

 
3 Now push the needle and thread down into the felt, close to the hole it came up through.
 
Carefully pull the needle and thread all the way through the felt until you can’t pull it any further.
 
 
4 You have made your first seed stitch. The needle and thread are at the back of the felt again and you are ready to make more stitches!

 
Running Stitch
A running stitch is made in just the same way as a seed stitch, but you make a longer stitch by pushing the needle back into the felt further away from the hole it came up through.
 
Once you have made one running stitch, you can make lots more!

Kids Learn to Stitch

KIDS LEARN TO STITCH is available from the TSB online bookstore, where all craft books are 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING through April 1.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of quality equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 

FREE Valentine’s Day Knitting Pattern and BIG Craft Book Sale!

We love what we do, and we love our customers, so to celebrate all that mushy stuff, we’re not only holding a BIG sale at our online bookstore, we’re giving you a FREE pattern, too!

Today through Sunday, February 16, 2020, you save 20% on our fine knitting, crochet, weaving, embroidery, and mosaic books, and get FREE SHIPPING in the US when you order from http://www.trafalgarbooks.com. Plus, you’re supporting a small business…yay!

CLICK HERE to shop our Valentine’s Day Sale!

As promised, we also have a quick, easy, and fun (oh, and FREE!) knitting pattern. These Boho Wristwarmers from our book KNITTING FOR THE FUN OF IT by Frida Pontén use embroidered stitches (duplicate stitch) to add a cute “heart” shape decoration all around, so you can really share the love!

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Pattern from Knitting for the Fun of It by Frida Ponten.

 

Ready to get started? CLICK HERE to download your FREE WRISTWARMER PATTERN.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day from the TSB Staff!

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 

 

Crafting Journey: The Bedspread That Crossed the Country

Crafting Journey: The Bedspread That Crossed the Country

In our new series of stories that tell us the personal journeys we experience when creating with our hands, TSB Managing Director Martha Cook shares the history behind the handmade lace bedspread that was knit on a road trip in the early 1960s. 

My father was a piano technician who for years was both tuner and travel companion to pianist Rudolf Serkin in the 1950s and 1960s.

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My father Oscar Ekberg (left) and Rudolf Serkin.

How does this have anything remotely to do with knitting you ask? In 1962, my mother, newly married, set off with my father across the United States transporting Serkin’s Steinway grand piano for a national concert tour. It would be their working honeymoon.

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My parents, Oscar and Ruth, on their wedding day.

The trip began in Brattleboro, Vermont, on November 25. My mom knew she would spend many hours in the box truck traveling state to state and at concert venues. She wanted to have a project that would occupy the long hours of sitting. As an avid knitter, she chose an ambitious pattern that would last the whole trip: a lace-knitted bedspread. Armed with the pattern, needles, and loads of off-white cotton yarn—and the piano, of course—off they went.

The finished double-bed-sized spread would be comprised of dozens of 10-inch squares.

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One of the finished squares.

This seemed practical to Mom since she would knit them one-by-one and not be encumbered by a huge cotton “blanket” as the states passed by.

From Vermont, to New York City, and on to Chicago, they drove, and Mom knitted. Besides being Dad’s travel companion, she was also his assistant for which she was paid $10.00/day. She took care of the accommodation plans and the bookkeeping. I’m lucky to have the little three-ring notebook in which she recorded their daily expenses.

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Their daily travel expenses in 1962.

Here are a couple days’ records once they were traveling along the coast of California:

The Flamingo Motel in Berkeley, one night @ $9.00
Breakfast, $1.39
Lunch $1.90
Dinner $1.92

Flamingo Motel

Now closed, this vintage photo of the Flamingo Motel from about the same time period, judging by the cars in the lot.

 A few days later in Santa Barbara, where things were a bit more “expensive”…
 
The El Prado Motor Inn, one night @ $12.00
Breakfast, $2.81
Lunch, $2.50
Coffee, 42₵
Dinner, $4.31!

 

El Prado

Long gone, the chic and oh-so-modern El Prado Motor Inn.

By the time Mom and Dad were traveling down the California coast, there were many finished knitted squares for the bedspread. The panel truck that carried them across the country was left in Los Angeles, where my dad’s brother and his wife flew from New England to drive it back to the East Coast. My parents and the bag full of knitted squares flew to Hartford, Connecticut, and then made their way back to Brattleboro, Vermont.
 
Once home, my grandmother helped Mom assemble the bedspread. It was made for the cannonball double bed that I have in my home today.

 

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I do not have photos of my mom knitting during the trip, but here she is at 96 holding the spread and telling me about the journey that happened over 50 years ago.

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My mother, Ruth, holding the hand knit bedspread she made in the early sixties.

I’m sorry that I do not have the pattern my mother used on her journey. When I saw the bedspread featured in our newly published book LACE KNITTING by Denise Samson, I was struck by the similarities.

 

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The bedspread pattern from the book LACE KNITTING by Denise Samson.

If you are interested in this pattern, or in other openwork patterns, LACE KNITTING is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

And do YOU have a crafting journey to share? We’d love to feature your story on our blog! Contact rdidier@trafalgarbooks.com.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

The Decade in Craft Books

The Decade in Craft Books

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Here we are on the cusp of not only a new year but a whole new decade. This gives us a chance to look back across the last 10 years and consider what we’ve done with our time…

Here at TSB, we’ve published a whole lotta craft books.

We are so lucky to be able to work with the talented fiber-craft artists and designers who write our books! Thank you to each and every one of them for partnering with us in the production of quality education for the crafting community.

And so, let’s consider the decade in craft books.

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And we’ve had many highlights along the way:

2010: Knitting Motifs for Babies and Kids by Lucinda Guy

2011: 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne & Carlos (over 100,000 sold)

2012: 300+ Mosaic Tips, Techniques, Templates, and Trade Secrets by Bonnie Fitzgerald

2013: Learn to Weave with Anne Field (Anne Field died on May 29, 2013, as she was doing the final edits on the book. Her drive and determination to finish it, even though she was very ill, is a reflection of her passion for weaving.)

2014: Viking Knits and Ancient Ornaments by Elsebeth Lavold

2015: Bonnie Fitzgerald’s Guide to Mosaic Techniques 

2016: Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens

2017: Mittens from Around Norway by Nina Granlund Sæther

2018: Faroe Island Knits by Svanhild Strøm and Marjun Biskopstø and Arne & Carlos Favorite Designs

2019: Selbu Mittens by Anne Bårdsgård 

And thank you to all our readers, who choose to support great authors, small companies, and are always striving to learn one more thing to be better at their craft.

Happy New Decade,

The TSB Staff

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Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

If You Want to Knit That Chris Evans “Knives Out” Sweater, Here’s a Free Pattern

If You Want to Knit That Chris Evans “Knives Out” Sweater, Here’s a Free Pattern

Whether it’s Lenny Kravitz in a fabulously massive scarf

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Pacific Coast News/Buzzfeed

 

or Katie Holmes in a very un-grandpa cardigan

Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise are Pictured Hailing a Taxi in New York City.

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we’re always excited when trendsetters bring knitwear to the fashion foreground. Our newest viral yarny passion involves the “Chris Evans sweater” or “Knives Out Sweater,” a phenomenon which The New Yorker deemed of social relevance in a piece this week by Rachel Syme. 

If you’re in the hunt for the “eggshell Aran” then you’re in luck, because we’re going to give you a fabulous pattern to knit one all your own FOR FREE. TSB author Martin Storey included a Classic Aran Sweater in just the right color of Rowan tweed yarn in his book EASY CABLE & ARAN KNITS.

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From EASY CABLE & ARAN KNITS by Martin Storey

And yes, you can have it. Viral sensation, all yours. Call us suckers for the season of giving. Go ahead and click the link below to download the pattern.

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Aran sweater Chris Evans sweater Knives Out Sweater

If one pattern isn’t enough to feed your yarn-loving soul, Martin Storey’s EASY CABLE & ARAN KNITS is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to see our newest titles, including the hot new release SELBU MITTENS.

Happy Holidays!

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

5 Knitting Books for the Holidays

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Make that crafty friend or family member feel extra special this holiday season with one of these top knitting titles!

 

1

Selbu MittensSELBU MITTENS by Anne Bardsgard

SELBU MITTENS is THE Number One knitting book this holiday season! The ultimate compendium for any Norwegian mitten enthusiast, this gorgeous and inspiring resource was produced in conjunction with a one-of-a-kind exhibition of gloves and mittens from Selbu at the Sverresborg Trøndelag Folkemuseum. A thoroughly researched and illustrated account of the rich history of Selbu patterning—instantly recognizable for its dramatic contrasts and intricate motifs—covers the development of the designs themselves, and the essential role these knitted accessories have played in the cultural and economic development of the Selbu region. “It is rare to find a knitting book this well written and that provides this amount of useful information,” says blogger Lappone in her review. “It deserves to be read by knitters all over the world.”

 

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55 Christmas Balls to Knit PB55 CHRISTMAS BALLS TO KNIT by Arne & Carlos

For nearly 20 years, Scandinavian knitting sensations Arne & Carlos have been delighting crafters around the world, using their unique sense of style to translate traditional Scandinavian designs into quirky, colorful, and endlessly fun projects of all kinds. But perhaps the most beloved example of their charm and versatility is the “Christmas ball”: a cleverly small-scale and deceptively simple pattern that can be adapted to feature any color or combination of colors, any decorative motif—including wintry classics like snowflakes, bows, and angels, and more ornate Scandinavian-inspired designs. “You’ll want to knit a few hundred of these ornaments for the holidays,” said Vogue Knitting in their review. “Use them to mark place settings, delight hostesses, create centerpieces, festoon wreaths or adorn your tree—or all of the above.”

 

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Socks from Around NorwaySOCKS FROM AROUND NORWAY by Nina Granlund Sæther

The author of the beloved Mittens from Around Norway, is back with an all-new guide to Norway’s hidden treasures—this time, featuring your feet! Explore centuries of Scandinavian sock-knitting history, with dozens of classic patterns and more obscure design delights drawn from the author’s in-depth knowledge of Norwegian knitting and reconstructed from carefully-researched historical sources. Beautiful photographs and easy-to-read pattern charts complete the experience. “Saether’s follow-up to her acclaimed Mittens from Around Norway features 40 traditional sock patterns inspired by treasures from museums and private Norwegian folk-art collections,” said Yarn Market News.

 

4

VikingKnits-fullVIKING KNITS & ANCIENT ORNAMENTS by Elsebeth Lavold

Ever since her ground-breaking book VIKING PATTERNS FOR KNITTING was published, Elsebeth Lavold has been recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on cabling as she introduced her own innovation, using lifted increases to create interlace patterns instead of just to shape garments. With more than a decade of added experience and continued research, she takes the concept a step further in this book. “If you love cables, there’s not one pattern you won’t want to try,” said Examiner.com in their review. “If you want to knit and create your own cables as well as surround yourself with their history and symbolism, this book will be a welcomed addition to your personal library.”

 

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Dogs on SweatersDOGS ON SWEATERS by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne

This book pairs simplicity and flexibility with a variety of knitwear patterns and styles for men, women, children, babies—and even dogs! Choose between basic designs for raglan, long-and-loose, relaxed-fit, and more; and then pick your favorite from among the 18 featured breed motifs, or adapt your own. “If you are a dog lover looking for a way to get your lovable pooch into your knitting, this is the book for you,” said blogger Marly Bird in her review. “This book is filled with fun, stylish knits that feature your four-legged friend…a great collection of knits for dog lovers.”

 

Want a craft book but don’t see one here that’s just right? BROWSE OUR STORE to find books for every crafter.

Thank you for supporting small business and independent publishing!

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.