Monthly Archives: March 2013

Book Review: Cast On, Bind Off

If you’re anything like me, someone taught you a specific way to cast-on and bind-off your knitting. For the first year or so, I only used the Long-Tail Cast-On and the Traditional Bind-Off, since that’s what my Mom taught me for my first knitting project.

Eventually, I came across a pattern that required casting-on stitches while I was knitting using something called backwards loop….say what?! I went to the internet, typed in “backwards loop cast-on” and found some directions. Unless a pattern states otherwise, I still use my trusty Long-Tail Cast-On and the Traditional Bind-Off. Lots of times, though, a pattern calls for a specific type of cast-on or bind-off and I usually have to look it up.

Leslie Ann Bestor has complied 52 methods of cast-ons and bind-offs in this great little book to help you decipher a specific method stated in a pattern or to help you choose the best method for your project:

One of the things I love most about this book is that it’s spiral bound so it lays flat when you open it. There’s nothing worse than trying to hold a book open, look at the pictures, and use 2 needles and some yarn to learn a new technique!

I also love that there’s a table of contents of sorts in both the front and back (on the inside of the cover). The front cover lists all the cast-on methods by type: All-Purpose, Ribbing (moderate stretch), Ribbing (a lot of stretch), End of Row, Super Stretchy (socks, hats, mittens, lace), Decorative, Temporary & Hems, Toe-Up Sock, and Circular (center start). The back cover lists all the bind-off methods in the same manner: All Purpose, Lace, Decorative, Stretchy Ribbed, and Specific Use. It’s incredibly easy to glance and find the page number you need.

Each technique has been photographed from the front, back and edge so you can fully see what it will look like. The photographs are accompanied by the characteristics of the technique and examples of what it’s best used for. The directions are clearly photographed and the text is clear and concise. I used the book for one of my recent projects to do a new-to-me provisional cast-on and will definitely turn to it again and again.

Cast-On, Bind-Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods,” would be a great addition to any knitter’s library and is small enough to toss in your knitting bag to take with you! We have copies in stock to help round out your knitting library.


Filed under Books/Patterns, Knitting

Meet the Samples :: Cowl Season


Arctic Circle Cowl / Antonia Shankland / The Fibre Company Tundra / Tamarack

Cowls seem to be the accessory of the season; we’re seeing them everywhere!  Easy to wear, cowls offer warmth and style without the loose ends of a scarf to worry about.  We love the little pop of color a cowl can add to a neutral winter coat, and sometimes even leave them on all day!

The smaller scale of a cowl provides an opportunity to play with a new technique, stitch pattern, or luxury yarn. As knitters and crocheters we have the ability to create our own accessories, just the way we like them.  What could be better than that?

Here are some of our favorite samples for your viewing pleasure.  Short, long, thick, thin, there’s infinite variety when it comes to choosing your cowl style.


Lacy Infinity Crochet Scarf by Heidi Beukelman / Twisted Sisters Essential / Handpaint 86


September Circle Cowl byMelissa LaBarre / Schoppel-Wool’s Crazy Zauberball


Bedknobs + Broomsticks by Tiny Owl Knits / Knit One Crochet Too’s Seda Rustica / Stormy Sea

Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho / Madelinetosh Chunky / Tomato

Do like to make cowls?  Why or why not?  Let us know in the comments!

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Filed under Books/Patterns, Crochet, Knitting, LYS, Meet the Samples, Yarn