Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pattern Book Review

As I have mentioned before, I collect the Bouton d'Or layette pattern books and I was looking forward to seeing this year's new book. Last year's book was absolutely fantastic, with 8 knitted soft toys and a wide variety of great-looking garments to knit and crochet for babies and children up to age 10. I love these books. In my opinion, if you only have one layette book, it should be one of these. So, naturally, I had great expectations.

I was in a very great hurry the day I stopped by my local yarn shop in between errands to see if they had the new book yet. When I found it had finally arrived, I quickly paid for the book, grabbed it up and dashed out the door. I didn't look at it until after I returned home.

The quality of the patterns is all that I have come to expect from Bouton d'Or, wonderful designs with fine details, a mixture of classic styles and fun, trendy pieces. A good variety of items to choose from to suit many tastes, great for gifts. There are some new non-traditional color combinations here as well, some that I like and some that I don't, but they encourage you to try new things.

Views from Bouton d'Or layette book #16afghan from Bouton d'Or layette book #16Here are some of the models that I would like to try:

#39 is such a great looking little dress that I just have to make one.

Sweater #27 has a cute car theme that my little boy would just love, but I am not fond of the color scheme. I'll choose different colors for this one.

Sometimes I find that the yarns I have to work with are too close together in color and don't give enough contrast for some of my favorite designs. #11 is a very attractive way to solve that problem and still end up with a classic garment with wide appeal.

#34 is a little tunic top with puffed sleeves that would be perfect for summer wear. There's even a pattern for matching bloomers.

There's a crocheted afghan that promises to be a quick project for last-minute gifts. The photos of #12 aren't very clear, so the finished look will be something of a surprise.

View #19 from Bouton d'Or layette book #16This cardigan, #19, is gorgeous. I just love working with color patterns. During my first browse through the pages of this book I thought to myself, "Hmm, I may knit this one first." After a more detailed inspection, I have changed my mind. While I would like to knit this design at some point, it will have to wait for a while. This is the most difficult pattern in the book and is worked using more than 2 colors per row, and in some places up to 6 colors are used in a single row. I simply don't have much time or concentration to work on a pattern this complicated right now.

This book has great things in it, but I have to admit to feeling a bit disappointed. The layette books that Bouton d'Or has published the last several years were thicker, each containing between 70 and 80 patterns for children from infancy to age 10 or 12 years. This new version offers about half that number-37 designs for ages 0 to 6 years.

Bouton d'Or has a lower price on the cover for this smaller booklet, 6 Euros compared to last years 9 Euros. It's just too bad that my local yarn shop isn't paying attention to it. They are charging the same $20 price as the previous issues.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spring Cleaning

I really must apologize to my readers for neglecting my blog. Some think I've abandoned it and moved on to other things. After all, we see it happen so often in blogland. I assure you that isn't the case. The reason I haven't been posting for the last few months is simply that I haven't had the time to do much in the way of knitting or other crafts. The sharing of these creative projects is the sole reason for this blog's existence.

The reason for my lack of free time? My mother was diagnosed with cancer and I have been quite busy helping to care for her during chemotherapy and the other assorted indignities of modern medicine. I won't go into details, that isn't the purpose of this blog, but suffice it to say that it has been a rather life-altering experience.

Now that things are a bit less hectic, I hope to resume my blogging activities.

paint and brushesWe seem to have caught the spring cleaning bug at my house. Most of our free time is being spent on sprucing up the exterior of our home. I don't know about you, but I think that nothing improves a home more than a fresh coat of paint and a few pots of flowers.

We are painting the house a bright, clean white. Simple, uncomplicated and always a good choice in a hot climate, it has brightened up the feel of our covered patio already with the reflected light it provides. The trim will be in earthy brown and tan tones to help offset that almost artificial looking appearance of the bright white base color. I must say it's a real improvement over the dull rose pink color chosen by the previous owner.

confederate jasmine vine climbing a trelliswhite flowered lantanaThe one drawback to my paint color choice is that the house no longer provides a contrasting background for some of the flowering plants in the landscape.

The 2 most prevalent flowers in the yard are confederate jasmine and white lantana. I could rip them out and replant, I suppose, but I'd rather not do that; the jasmine perfumes the air all around the house, and the lantana blooms profusely and repeatedly year-round, all without attracting bees or wasps to our yard. That's an important consideration if you have an allergy to stings, or are concerned about africanized bees in your area.

I think I'd rather add more flowers in brighter colors to the existing plantings. I don't think there is such a thing as too many flowers in the yard, do you?