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Friday, April 12, 2024

Radiant Raffia Giveaway

Radiant Raffia Giveaway

Thank you, Bloomsbury!

I was so excited the other day to open my email and find a lovely inquiry from Emily at Bloomsbury Publishers (@Bloomsburybooksus) asking if I would like an advanced copy of Radiant Raffia by Olga Panagopoulou. Of course, I jumped at the chance, but not before getting a special treat for YOU as well! But more on that in a second.

This beautifully photographed book includes 20 Inspiring crochet projects made with natural yarn. Wait, crochet? Not knitting? Yep! Crochet! My original fiber art. When I was about 5 years old, my grandmother taught me crochet. She was an avid crocheter. Though she never wrote her own patterns, she could take any doily she found and recreate it without a pattern. She taught my mom, who made all the blankets we had in our house and many I now have in mine. Then, my grandmother taught me. As my grandmother was one of my all time favorite people, her favorite hobby, crocheting, is very dear to my heart and reminds me of her. I can still feel the Louisiana summer heat as I am sitting in the back of her metallic olive green Mercury with crochet cotton and a tiny metal hook, my small fingers trying to create my own version of the numerous doilies that lay on each table in her home. Crocheting being our go to traveling activity while my Pop drove. You can read more about how my grandmother influenced my love of crochet here, and about my current favorite crochet project I have ever done that still sits on my table by my chair.

But enough about me - you are here to find out about this book. What is in it and should you buy it?

As the subtitle indicates, this book contains 20 crochet projects for you and your home, all made with natural fibers. The two pictured on the front cover are a cute hat and drawstring bag, each I would love to begin immediately! The book is broken up into three sections, accessories such as the hat and belts, housewares such baskets and a tablecloth, and then a section on special stitches to help you with the included patterns. The author lives "on the dreamy Cycladic island of Syros," (p.6) a Greek island in the Aegean Sea south-east of Athens. This region and the dreamy seaside setting are reflected in the beachy vibes of the patterns and the photography. Flipping through the book makes you want to pack one of these beach bags from the book with a towel, sunscreen and raffia yarn and find a chair under an umbrella to crochet the day away. Which was exacting the author's dream life, and why she wrote the book! I would say mission accomplished! Buy this fabulous book as soon as it comes out on May 21st, 2024.

Can't wait until May 21? I got you! The lovely Emily at Bloomsbury has offered my readers a copy as well! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is one (or all!) of the following:

  • If you comment on this blog post with why you would love to crochet one of these projects, your will be given one entry.
  • If you share this blog post to your social media, you can win TWO entries.
  • If you sign up for my newsletter at, you will be given FIVE entries.
That's it! I will put all the entries in a hat and randomly select one on April 25, 2024. I will notify the winner and Bloomsbury will send you an advanced copy! You will love it!

Your crocheting girlfriend,

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Thursday, March 14, 2024

7 Books for Learning How to Knit

7 Books for Learning How to Knit

There has been a resurgence of crafts and learning how to make things ever since the pandemic locked us in our houses for over a year in 2020. One of those crafts is my personal favorite - knitting. I have spent over a decade teaching people to knit and spreading the love of all things fiber arts and now, it seems everyone knits, or wants to! I have searched the interwebs and have found seven books that I believe will help you learn my favorite craft.

But let's get our crafts straight first. Every time I am knitting in public, I inevitably run across someone who says, "Oh, my grandma crochets." I usually respond with, "Mine did, too, and taught me how as well. But this is knitting." At that point I usually get a confused look and a quick end to the conversation. Your average non-fiber artists do not know the difference between knitting and crocheting. There are many examples in movies and television, as well as advertising, where one craft is mistakenly used for the other. And if you are just learning to knit, you might not understand the difference either. So, let's clear it up.

Knitting uses two straight needles.

Crocheting uses one hook.

And though I love all fiber arts, and can knit and crochet, I typically focus on knitting on this blog. And that is why we are here - to learn to knit. What are the best books to learn to knit? Any one that you can understand the directions, has pictures, and has patterns that you can follow to get your started. With those criteria in mind, here are seven books on learning how to knit. I hope you find one that will help you on your knitting journey.

1. Vogue® Knitting The Learn-to-Knit Book

The staple of any knitters pattern collection are Vogue patterns. Vogue is a trusted name in knitting how-to as well. Thus, this book promises to be solid guide to learning to knit.

2. Knitting for the Absolute Beginner

Absolute beginner? Then you might want to check out this one by Alison Dupernex. The patterns include sweaters, which might be intimidating for a newbie, but it also might be just the thing to push you out of the box of rectangular knitting. 

This book makes a bold promise - to be able to knit in 3 days, but I believe it is totally possible! In fact, I have a video that I think can teach you to knit in 15 seconds! (See below). Therefore, this claim might just be what you need.

4. First Time Knitting: The Absolute Beginner's Guide

If it is your first-time knitting, take a look at this book. This books takes a learn-by-doing approach, teaching you as you work sample projects.

5. Knitting for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide for Knitting Beginners

6. How to Knit: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning How to Knit Step-by-Step

I love the photography in this book. Though all of the books will give you step-by-step guidance, being able to see what you need to do is essential. The photography may just help you.

7. Susan B. Anderson's Kids' Knitting Workshop: The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Learn to Knit!

If you are looking for a book to help kids learn to knit (or kids at heart), you can never go wrong with Susan B. Anderson. She is one of my all-time knitting heroes, and I will always recommend everything she writes. My autographed copy of her Itty-Bitty Toys book is one of my treasures. She also has a yarn company, Barret Wool Co., that sells beautiful American sourced wool. Check it out!

Learn to knit in 15 seconds?

Think it isn't possible? Take a watch and then tell me if this doesn't explain it well!

@girlfriendsknitting #girlfriendsknitting #learntoknit #knittersoftiktok #knittingtutorial #knittok ♬ original sound - Finnished Knits
Now, whichever book or course you choose to learn to knit, the main thing is DON'T GIVE UP! It takes practice. You will feel awkward at first, and like you need two more hands to get everything doing the right thing. That is a normal part of the learning process and does not mean you can't learn or aren't any good at knitting. It just means you are learning. Keep learning!

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Girlfriends Knitting is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.