Crochet Collection Review – Pineapple Passion by Karen Whooley

The pineapple crochet stitch is the focus of Karen Whooley‘s newest pattern collection, Pineapple Passion. It includes five designs including a top, two shawls, a skirt, and a cardigan.

What is the pineapple stitch? It is one that looks complex yet is a clever combination of double, single, and chain stitches. Traditionally this type of crochet is worked in thread, however Karen has chosen to use modern lightweight lace yarns that create beautifully airy fabric. She also provide guidance for substituting yarn at other gauges.

Every pattern includes both charted stitches and written instructions and where beneficial, a schematic is included. The photographs showcase the designs and also highlight the details. There are subtle book design details that make this a beautiful collection, attention has been made to layout and making the best use of each page.

My work with this collection began a while ago. I crocheted the sample for the skirt, Pineapple Elegance. It is worked top down so you could alter the length and the pineapple edge provides a subtle lace touch. The skirt looks complex, but is straightforward to make! Here’s a tip, this design is worked in the round, however, you turn at the end of each one in order to create the beautiful simple cluster that makes up the body of the skirt. This is clever — no unsightly seam to work later.

Pineapple Passion is a collection that is surprisingly wearable — each item is classic with a modern twist. The pineapple stitch is used in a manner that adds to every design without being ostentatious.

I am smitten with the Cardigan. I’m not sure if I’ll use the suggested yarn (Fibra Natura Whisper Lace, also used in the skirt and a delight to crochet) or swatch with another yarn in my stash.

book cover pineapple passion by karen whooleyPineapple Passion is available digitally and in print (with digital download code).

Learn more at karenwhooley.com

beginner mindset & quick book review

Beginner mind (shoshin) is fascinating to me. I love to dive into something and just try things. Some of those things succeed and many fail. It’s in the failures that I learn the most. I’ve found as I advance in a skill I’m less likely to take risks and ask *what if?* as perfectionism threatens to take over.

The knitting machine I borrowed has been good to help me keep a beginner mindset and try things I’ve wanted to for years. For example, I’ve been tossing swatches in the washing machine simply to see what happens. It isn’t always what I expect.

Seaming a machine knitted panelThe speedier swatches have also helped me to see where my skills need additional work. While my vertical stockinette seams look great, I’ve discovered that my horizontal edges need work. My solution over the years has been to use other techniques such as as a three needle bind-off or kitchener stitch. I’m going to work up a bunch of swatches and force myself to practice all different kinds of seams.



grey tabby foster kitten with a bunch of machine knit swatches in her mouthThis is something I’ve said I need to do for years to take my skills to another level. I’ve found every excuse to avoid do so. No more excuses.

Even if an adorable foster kitten keeps trying to take my swatches!


quick book review: Keep Going

keep going book coverA few months ago I was provided an advanced reading copy of Keep Going by Austin Kleon in exchange for a review (the FTC wants you to know). I wrote that review and I’ve been using the book ever since! For fans of Kleon’s work, and those who need a nudge, Keep Going offers ten straightforward ways to do exactly that — keep going. It’s not a deep book, but it’s one that I’ve found can help remind you to keep a list, create a routine, disconnect from the noise, and keep going. This great book combines his succinct elaborations of each point with relevant blackout poems, comics, and quotes. It results in a book that is easy to flip through when a creative spark is needed or to read cover to cover to provide motivation. This is a very useful book and deserves a spot on your bookshelf. Learn more and order at austinkleon.com.

two new titles for knitters

I recently reviewed two new titles for knitters that appeared in the newest issue of Knitty. They are reference books that I think are beneficial for knitters of all levels.

The Knitter’s Dictionary: Knitting Know-How from A to Z
by Kate Atherley
F+W Media/Interweave
$19.99 Hardcover

Kate Atherley has done it again. Her newest book, The Knitting Dictionary, is a comprehensive reference of all things knitting in a concise 126 pages! This is a good tool for every knitter, both those new to the language and those who have been working with it for years. New knitters will delight in the second chapter, “Getting Started with Patterns” which builds on its promise and gives tips for how to successfully work a pattern (while experienced knitters will wish for a time machine). … Kate’s years of experience come through in this valuable volume and the illustrations by Julie Levesque (http://symposi.com) are beautiful and work in symbiosis with the text. Together they make this a comprehensive and concise reference book. This book holds a coveted spot in my knitting bag! Read the full review at Knitty.


Knitting Modular Shawls, Wraps, and Stoles: An Easy, Innovative Technique for Creating Custom Designs, with 185 Stitch Patterns
by Melissa Leapman
Storey Publishing
$32.00 hardcover, also to be released as an ebook
288 pages

It can be overwhelming if you want to begin designing your own shawls. Melissa Leapman’s newest book – a combination master class on shawl design and dictionary of over 200+ knitting stitches – will help you begin. Read the full review at Knitty.

two new titles for embroidery & cross stitch

If you are looking to build your stitching skill set this autumn, two newly released books are here to help. It’s not often that a book will strike the right balance between tutorial, step-by-step guide, and inspiration yet both titles I review today do. The first, A Year of Embroidery by Yumiko Higuichi provides inspiration throughout the seasons. Improper Cross-Stitch by Haley Pierson-Cox finds the right combination of snark, tradition, and cats to make you want to pick up your needle and embroidery floss.

Book Cover - YearofEmbroideryA Year of Embroidery
A Month-to-Month Collection of Motifs for Seasonal Stitching

by Yumiko Higuchi
Roost Books

Artist Yumiko Higuichi’s newest collection, A Year of Embroidery: A Month-to-Month Collection of Motifs for Seasonal Stitching is full of beautiful inspiration. The book begins with a stunning photo gallery highlighting each motif. Many are also shown in different applications, for example as embellishments to accessories such as a hat or a bag. In addition, several designs appear in two different forms, in both monochrome and full colour.

It also includes a tutorial review of basic stitches and key techniques making it ideal for both beginners and advanced embroiderers alike. Each motif design includes an outline for tracing and includes Higuichi’s inspiration as well as suggested colour placement and stitches. This book is special because the choice for how to utilize the designs is left to the embroiderer. This ensures that each reader will make the designs unique and their own. If stuck for ideas, the photo gallery provides inspiration from small zakka crafts, framed canvases, or as accent on an accessory.

This is a beautiful collection that embroiderers can refer to throughout the year.


BookCover-ImproperCrossStitchImproper Cross-Stitch35+ Properly Naughty Patterns
by Haley Pierson-Cox
St. Martin’s Press

Improper Cross-Stitch brings fun, whim, and a bit of modern snark to a traditional craft. The beginning covers basics of the tools and techniques important for successful cross stitch projects, making it an ideal gift for beginners. The tutorial section includes tips and tricks that advanced stitchers will appreciate.

The designs range from mild “cat lady for life” to the ironic “wine and cats” to the nerdy “Squad Goals” and more. This title provides a starting point for unique and personal stitching through the inclusion of different alphabet designs, tips for design success, and details on finishing the pieces for display.

This is a well thought out, delightful, and inspiring book for cross-stitch.


I received an eARC of these titles from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The FTC wants you to know.

two new knitting collections

Books are always crossing my path. Some I stop to read and review, others I let go on. Today’s duo are two I’m happy I stopped to get to know, at first glance I wasn’t sure about either of them. The first, Wool Studio : The knit.wear Capsule Collection, features modern and sophisticated garments and my personal style is more–plain. Closer review of this title showed me greater depth in the designs. The second collection, Tickled PINK is all about a colour I detest. I’m trying to be more accepting of it–while I won’t wear it personally I can now work it up–for someone else. I urge you to look at both of these books, they may surprise you.

wool studio book cover

Wool Studio : The knit.wear Capsule Collection

by Meghan Babin
F+W Media

This is a compilation of 21 simple yet sophisticated designs for the modern woman. The featured yarns and designers combine to celebrate one of my favourite maxims, less is more. This knit.wear collection celebrates slow fashion and timeless design. The resulting patterns show that there is possibility beyond stockinette and complex lace to highlight the beauty of wool and knitted stitches. The choices of yarns and stitches cover the seasonal spectrum, making it possible for to work through all the designs to build a wardrobe that encompasses the year. While many of the designs are not to my style, Bristol Ivy’s Hyannis Port Pullover and the Avila Tee by Amanda Bell, are both toward the top of my to-knit list. This is an interesting collection with a stunning group of designers.

I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The FTC wants you to know.

tickled pink book cover

Tickled PINK

By C.C. Almon and Dami Almon

C.C. returns with her daughter Dami in Tickled PINK, a collection of knitting designs featuring four indie dyers and eight patterns. There’s something for everyone with four different socks, a hat, shawl, cowl, and wrap. They all celebrate C.C.’s favourite colour—pink! My curiosity in this book is about how they have grown as designers since their first book, Coffee with C.C.. I was also curious what a collection around a single colour would be like.

The answer is beautiful, even if I personally would choose to celebrate other colours. The selection of yarns, colour choices within the pink spectrum, and designs are well thought and executed. Beautiful yarns by Neighborhood Fiber Company, Suburban Stitcher, Abstract Fiber, and Seven Sisters Arts when combined with the creativity of both C.C. and Dami, show the vast possibility of pink! I can’t decide between the Bashful Stripes Shawl or the Sea and Sky Wrap as my most favourite pieces in this collection. Of course I’ll knit mine in more Penny-friendly non-pink colourways.

Available digitally at ravelry and in print through JavaPurl Designs.

I received an eARC of this title from the author in exchange for a review. The FTC wants you to know.

stitch dictionaries, new and old

When I’m stuck for ideas I pick up a stitch dictionary. I’m always on the look out for new ones. Sometimes new means they were published years ago and it’s my first time exploring them. Those that have gathered dust are also given a second chance. Why? While many of the stitches are consistent across books, seeing a stitch in a different can open up possibilities.

Recent bookshelf additions

book cover: Knitting Counterpanes by Mary Walker Phillips book cover: Knitting Encyclopedia: 1500 Patterns, Needles (Penguin Mon Tricot New Special Yearly Edition OJ87)At a recent library book sale, I picked up two stitch dictionaries, Knitting Counterpanes by Mary Walker Phillips and Knitting Encyclopedia: 1500 Patterns. I am fascinated by the work of Phillips. While counterpanes aren’t something that excite me right now, I find inspiration in how they pair different stitches together. The 1500 Patterns book was a whim, it was only $2 so I knew I was getting my money’s worth! It’s a pamphlet from the mid 80s, the photos and printing aren’t the clearest. Even though the instructions aren’t in the current standard written abbreviations, I’m inspired. There are many stitches I’ve flagged to swatch for potential future projects. Why? Sometimes it’s the name of a stitch or the fabric a stitch creates that cause an idea to swirl enough that I’m running for needles and yarn to begin a swatch.

Recent library checkouts

These are at the mercy of hold lists, availability, and the number of times I can renew them! If I find myself checking a book out frequently, I purchase a copy of my own. Recent checkouts include Japanese knitting stitch bible : 260 exquisite patterns by Hitomi Shida, translated with an introduction by Gayle Roehm and Alterknit stitch dictionary by Andrea Rangel. These are stunning books, please see Franklin’s review.

Older titles often find their way home with me too. It’s important to show the circulation system that these books are important. Sometimes I even check out books I own to try to keep them on the shelves. Recent examples include The knitting all around stitch dictionary : 150 new stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth & in the round by Wendy Bernard and Norah Gaughan’s knitted cable sourcebook. Yesterday Vogue knitting stitchionary 5. Volume five, Lace knitting followed me home (along with eleven other books I want to read). Why? It was there, spring has me thinking of lace, I could reach it without looking for a step stool, and I opened to a spread that paired two stitches in a way that had already been itching at the back of my head.

Recent review

This is a new crochet title, and it made me want to run off, acquire all the colours, and make crochet motifs. The review also appeared in the Spring + Summer 2018 edition of Knitty.
book cover: crochet kaleidoscope

Crochet Kaleidoscope: Shifting Shapes and Shades Across 100 Motifs

by Sandra Eng

Color and crochet motifs go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, it’s often challenging to visualize how different color combinations can transform a motif.

In Crochet Kaleidoscope, Eng provides clear photos of 100 motifs and explores how they look with different choices. After learning basic color theory, you can find answers to common questions from “how many colors are too many?” to “does order matter?”

Included are several home decor and accessory projects to help you begin your color journey. All motifs include both written instructions and stitch diagrams.

Disclaimer: I received an eARC this title from NetGalley in exchange for reviews. The FTC wants you to know.