book: Mug Hugs

by KateG on 29/10/2010

in Books

Mug Hugs (Cozy) by Alison Howard, Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, 2010.

A half cold mug of tea, (or coffee or hot chocolate) is a very sad state of affairs. Alison Howard, in her book Mug Hugs, gives knitters an enormous range of cozies to keep your favourite cuppa nice and warm, whether you favour a standard mug, a great big latte mug, or even a takeaway coffee cup.

This book is really delightful. The patterns and instructions would be perfect for a beginner knitter’s first project, but also great for an experienced knitter, who would like a quick project that can be finished in one sitting. The cozies would be a great way to use up small amounts of left over yarns, and also would be a great opportunity to use up gorgeous buttons that one might have been collecting for years and years, and not know what to do with. They would also make fantastic gifts, quick to make and easy to personalise. I know what my kid’s teachers will be getting for Christmas this year! [I hope they are not reading this. ed.]

Each pattern features information on materials, size, tension, techniques, pattern notes, method and making up. The instructions are clear and comprehensive, and the techniques section at the end of the book is well illustrated and takes into account the difference in mug size and yarns. In addition to being a pattern book, it is a bit like a stitch library, with each of the patterns using a different stitch, method of construction, or way of working with colour. It would be an excellent first knitting book for anyone looking to make a quick project, or a beginner looking to make something beautiful and functional as a first project.

I really love the lacy Bluebells pattern, Eyelets and Ribbon, With Love and Llama. I can’t wait to settle down with a warm cup of tea and get started.

Reviewed by: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.


September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

Today I want to welcome Cheri from I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar, I love this blog – its organised and creative – featuring lots of boy related crafts, refashioning and tutorials – I love these upcycled boys hats that I featured recently on whipup.

I’m Cheri from I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar. I’m excited to be here today because thie site rocks! There are always oodles and oodles of great links and ideas. I wanted to share something for the upcoming cooler weather. I love all the gorgeous hand-knit scarflettes and cowls I’ve seen around, but I have one problem. I don’t know how to knit. Yeah, that’s a bummer. It’s on the to do list. 

I do, however, love to sew and I do have garbage bags full of clothing waiting to be upcycled or refashioned. So today I’m going to show you how to make this scarflette from an old sweater. Here we go!

I took this long sweater and cut out a long rectangle. (My dimensions were about 8 inches by 29 inches.) I flipped the nice finished sides together and sewed around the edges. I left the bottom end open (the one with the ribbed edge).

I inverted it and sewed on two large buttons. I didn’t make real buttonholes, since the scarflette can easily be pulled over my head. I also didn’t bother to sew the end shut, since the buttons keep it in place. Super easy, super cute, and super warm.

Thank you for having me Kathreen! All of you are welcome to drop in and visit my blog anytime. Thanks!


September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

Today I want to welcome one of my favourite independent knitwear designers Lee Meredith, Lee is also a craft writer, photographer, general maker of things, and doer of stuff! She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is widely known around the internet world as leethal. Find her do stuff! blog, designs, etc, over at

I’m hard at work designing a set of knit hats which are custom-fitting, any-gauge, with multiple options for style types and top decrease patterns. I absolutely love designing these types of patterns, and then seeing knitters’ versions, which of course all look different from each other, and often with variations I never even thought of myself! I’ve been seeing more knitters drawn to these kinds of pattern recently – I think as more people have been knitting for more years, the idea of customized patterns, having more of a say in what you’re creating, is appealing to lots of creative types.

So, I decided to do some searching around for custom-sized and any-gauge/any-yarn patterns. It’s not an easy thing to search for, and I mostly found many very basic hats, mitts, socks, and scarves, but a few very cool designs in the mix. Here are some of them:

  • First, above is my Skoodlet design – a one size fits all, any-gauge pattern.
  • Kirsten Kapur designed a Beret Recipe for through the loops.
  • Spindle And Wheel offers a Build a Beret formula pattern, by Diane Mulholland.
  • Lara Neel wrote about her Any Gauge, Any Size Hat, with a PDF download for her Simple Hat Recipe.
  • Virginia Tullock designed a seed-stitch Bubble Hat pattern for any yarn.
  • Zayantemom designed an “Almost Pattern” for an Earflap hat, also good for any yarn.
  • Another any-gauge Ear Flap Hat recipe can be found on ravelry, designed by Ruth Stewart.
  • Gardiner Yarn Works has a pattern for an Any-Gauge Reversible Pinecone Scarf, designed by Chrissy Gardiner.
  • Kate Gilbert offers a download for a Generic Sock Pattern – make a top-down sock in any yarn for any foot.
  • Lucia created a kind of sock-making calculator for knitting custom socks, called the Hour Glass Knee Sockulator.
  • Rineke Brouwer designed these custom fitting felted Maryjane Slippers for any weight yarn.
  • Bex Hopkins offers a ravelry download for her Any Size Any Yarn Mittens pattern.
  • On knitty, you can find a customizable, custom fitting skirt pattern – Hey Mickey! by Jacquelyn Landry.
  • Pamela Costello wrote up a very detailed instruction sheet on creating a Custom-fit Raglan Sweater in any yarn.
  • The Complete Fabrication blog offers a pattern for Nameraka – Any Size, Any Yarn Seamless Kimono Jumper.
  • And a couple more of my patterns – I designed the Buttonhead hat, which is any-gauge and custom fitting, with 3 different style/shape options (above). My Waving Chevron Scarf is for any yarn/needles, and can be as wide and as long as you like (below).

    And my Shapeshifter design is not only for any yarn, but it’s also extremely versatile in terms of wearability:

    This is another knitting pattern trend I’ve been spotting lately, which is also awesome! Designs like Infinite Loop by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Eternity Scarf by Michele Wang, and Bertrand Louis by Katushika (all ravelry links) are just a few of the patterns I’ve recently come across with different wearability options – fun!

    Be sure to comment with any fabulous patterns that I missed, with custom-fitting, any-gauge, versatility elements, since I’m sure there are tons more out there! Happy knitting!


    September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

    Today I want to welcome Anna Hrachovec from, Anna’s first book of patterns, Knitting Mochimochi, was released in June (we reviewed it). Anna is a Brooklyn-based knitter who divides her time between designing patterns for unusual knitted toys and creating more complex one-off knitted pieces for exhibition. You can find Anna, her patterns, and her blog at

    Knitting a Weird World

    While most people in the US have been spending their summer days at the beach, or taking trips to the mountains, or just trying to stay cool, I have been wallowing in wool for the past two months. The somewhat foolish decision to spend the hottest time of the year knitting nonstop was entirely my own – I’m in the middle of making an 8-foot installation piece for a solo show (my first!), which will open 7 October at gallery hanahou in New York. And yes, the whole thing will be knitted, give or take a vintage model train. It’s an insane undertaking, and I’m loving it.

    The idea started with a vision of a train set. What’s more fun than exploring the detailed landscape lovingly put together by a model train enthusiast? For the past year, I’ve been obsessed with knitting miniature animals, people, and other objects, and it seemed natural to bring a bunch of them together in one scene. The surrounding landscape – mountains, buildings, and the like – would give me the opportunity to try my hand at knitting larger pieces.

    With the generous help of Cascade Yarns, I began with the ground layer, which I made by knitting with four balls of thick yarn at a time. I mixed three shades of green to give the color some variation, and I’m planning to display it purl-side up for a fun texture.

    I had a general idea of the different elements and scenes that I wanted to incorporate into the landscape, and that has evolved a bit as I’ve progressed. To keep myself from getting bored, I’ve tried to mix it up by sometimes working on a bunch of little things that I know I will want to put somewhere, like trees and cows, while setting deadlines for myself to make the larger pieces that will determine the contours of the entire design.

    During the process of knitting, I’ve frequently brought everything out and set it up in position so that I can visualize how it’s taking shape and decide what I need to work on next. I took this photo early on in the process, letting skeins of yarn stand in for future landscape features.

    One great thing that has come out of this process so far is the way it has forced me to take risks in my designs and problem-solve in creative ways. The big rainbow that I recently knitted is one example – I only had a vague idea of how I could knit it in strips over foam, so that it would result in a sturdy structure with a smooth surface.

    I invested four long days of working on this rainbow, and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out until the very end. (I did a step-by-step post about it on my blog, where you can see the results.)

    Other parts have just been fun, like the skyscrapers that I made based on the Shyscrapers pattern in my book Knitting Mochimochi. I started out knowing how to make them, so it was just a matter of choosing colors and making them in varying sizes. It was fun to have them as desk companions for a few days as I was deciding on their placement.

    I still have a lot of knitting ahead of me before everything is finished and ready for the public, but I’m feeling good about my progress so far, and lucky to have this opportunity to take on a big crazy project of my own design. If you’re in the NYC area, please join me for the opening on October 7th at gallery hanahou!

    Details of the show: Greetings from Mochimochi: a weird world of fun and chaos hand-knitted by Anna Hrachovec : October 7 – 29, 2010 : Opening reception: Thursday, October 7, 7-9 p.m. – RSVP : gallery hanahou, 611 Broadway, Suite 730, NYC :


    The Art of Knitted Lace: With Complete Lace How-to and Dozens of Patterns Potter Craft (July 13, 2010). Contributors to The Art of Knitted Lace include Lisa Llloyd, Annie Modesitt, Phoenix Bess, Berta Karapetyan, Melissa Matthay and Kristin Omdahl.

    This is a truly stunning book (the cover doesn’t do it justice), filled with knitted lace designs from some incredible designers (see the partial list above). This book is not just another lace knitting book of patterns though – for those ready to go on the lace knitting journey this book will take you there from the first step to the last with explanations on how to read a chart, how to read line-by-line instructions, and different casting on and casting off techniques, along with the basics of knitting, swatching and blocking and then on to designing your own lace shawl + lots of lace tips and tricks to help you along your way.

    The chapters have divided the lace designs into different styles: romantic, casual and runway. In the romantic chapter you will find some well loved patterns like Annie Modesitt’s Ninotchka Tank and her Silk Stockings which appeared in her bookRomantic Hand Knits, and beautiful fresh patterns from new designers like the Day in Venice Stole from Anne Lorenz-Panzer.

    The runway section is as you might guess all about fashion – knitted lace dresses, hats, skirts and jackets. The Hamptons Dress by Berta Karapetyan has a beautiful shape to it and a really pretty shell like pattern – it was previously published in her book Runway Knits. Kristin Ohdahl has contributed a new pattern – a very beautiful Lacy Skirt with a drawstring waist. I loved the very delicate Giverny Wrap by Cheryl Niamath, which is knitted in a mohair/silk blend.

    The last chapter – casual lace, is full of more practical knits, made with more practical, sturdy and slightly rustic yarns. This chapter includes cardigans and turtle-neck sweaters, socks and vests. I particularly liked the Ruby Vest, the Ravensong Sweater and the Harriet Sweater all by Lisa Lloyd, which appeared in her excellent book A Fine Fleece.

    The patterns in this book are a compilation of some already published patterns by old favourite knitwear designers and some new patterns by upcoming designers, and for me this is perfect, with (if I counted correctly) 36 patterns in one place – great value. [ps. there is a free pattern for the Cats Eye Scarf available.]

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