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55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colorful Festive Ornaments--Tree Decorations, Centerpieces, Wreaths, Window Dressings Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 1, 2011
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From the Inside Flap
You’ll find bold ornament designs in red, white, green, black, blue, and multiple colors, some with a touch of silver or novelty yarn for visual texture. The array of knitted decorations feature classic holiday graphics such as snowflakes, berries, bows, angels, and animals, as well as more ornate patterns often found in Scandinavian sweaters, hats, and mittens.
Whether giving hand-made gifts or adding a touch of holiday cheer to your home or business, you’ll find the step-by-step instructions and fascinating mix of contemporary and vintage color photographs in 55 Christmas Balls to Knit the ideal learning toolsclear, descriptive, and quirky-cool.
With techniques, patterns, and sources of inspiration fondly shared by the designers, you’ll be outright charmed by Arne and Carlos. Their knitting antics are the perfect recipe for holiday décor that is colorful, festive, and delightful.
ARNE & CARLOS
• 55 unique, hand-knit holiday ornaments
• Step-by-step instructions, how-to tips, and recommended techniques
• Full-color photos, charts, and illustrations
• Ideas for using festive motifs in other knitting projects
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The other reviewer is correct, there is very little technical instruction, but that is not the focus of the book. There are many well written books already in print on the subject of stranded knitting. I recommend Alice Starmore's "Fair Isle Knitting" or Ann Feitleson's book, or the Philosopher Wool book; they all have excellent technical advice.
The other reviewer is also correct that there are no patterns for anything other than the balls. I think something got lost in translation. My guess is "window dressings, centerpieces," etc was meant to describe ways to display the ornaments.
Anywho, I'm glad to add this delightful book to my collection and can't wait to start my Christmas knitting :)
The pattern is easy to follow. Each pattern is charted out. Two versions of design are suggested - knit in the pattern or embroidery after the ball is knitted.
One thing for sure, once you start you will have a difficult time stopping.
There is one basic, easy-to-knit pattern for the balls. You knit a tube, starting with a few stitches, then increase and decrease to get the ball shape, and end once again with only a few stitches. The ball is stuffed, the tube is sewn closed, and the yarn ends are crocheted into a hanging loop. Detailed instructions are given for crocheting the hanging loops, but non-crocheters could certainly use wire hangers.
The ball designs are added by "knitting in", using Fair Isle technique; or by embroidering, using duplicate stitch technique. The duplicate stitch method is clearly illustrated. However, the "knitting in" method is only vaguely discussed. Knitters who are unfamiliar with color knitting will need to consult something else (to learn about charts, floats, tension, and handling two yarns) if they want to "knit in" the designs.
The book has clear, easy-to-read charts for a wide variety of simple motifs: geometric patterns, snowflakes, Norwegian roses, stick-figure skiers and dancers, hearts, anchors, reindeer, flowers, birds. Many of the motifs are taken from, or inspired by, traditional Norwegian knitted sweaters, hats, and mittens.
There are many photos of ornate traditional Norwegian Christmas ornaments (handmade from wood or glass), printed holiday books and cards, and holiday decorations (including a miniature dollhouse). However, there are no instructions for knitted centerpieces, wreaths, or window dressings (as I expected from the subtitle). Because of the excellent charts, but lack of examples of multi-colored Christmas balls, I rate this book at 4 stars ("I like it" on the official Amazon scale).
ONE WEEK FOLLOWUP
Have now knitted my second ball, this one stranded instead of embroidered. I double the chart and knit on two circular needles instead of 5 straight pins and this works perfectly. I think the next project will be to design something specific for my sister from the back chart.
This book has very clear patterns with accompanying pictures of the finished ball. If you are not familiar with circular knitting or have not knit with two strands you might want to get some instructions before trying these projects. There are some excellent tutorials on U-tube for both types of knitting. Anyone with even a little experience in this area will find this book very easy to follow.