Knit the Alphabet blog hop & giveaway

Regular readers will know that I'm a fan of designer Claire Garland, and have been since I knitted her Pixie Moon doll pattern back in November 2011. I follow Claire on Instagram and have seen photos of lovely knitted letters and alphabet cushions over the past few months, so I was delighted when her publishers, Stitch Craft Create  invited me to take part in a blog hop for the launch of her new book, "Knit the Alphabet".
As you might expect - the clue is in the title, after all - this colourful book includes patterns for all the letters of the alphabet (in uppercase), as well as a few extra characters (a heart, star and ampersand). Each pattern is offered in three different sizes for different yarn weights - 4 ply, aran and super chunky. I like that a wide range of different yarns are suggested, and the knitter is encouraged to mix them up to include stripes - these would be great for using up "scrap yarns".

The techniques used in the book - from simple sock cast-on to knitting on DPNs and using mattress stitch - are well described and illustrated in the back of the book, although I would imagine most people who buy it would already have some knitting experience and would find the patterns  to be straight-forward and fun.

So what can you do with these letters? The smaller sizes might make cute wall hangings, mobiles for a child's bedroom or look good on a shelf. I can imagine gifting initials and an ampersand as a wedding gift, or for spelling out a baby's name for naming ceremony. The larger sizes make cute cushions and would look great in the children's playroom. 

Earlier this week I had a chance to ask Claire a little more about the book, and what she's been up to, here's what she had to say:

Hi Claire, and welcome to Crafts from the Cwtch. Many of my readers will be familiar with your work as one of my very favourite projects was your Pixie Moon pattern which I made back in 2011, and she has appeared on the blog quite a lot since then. When did you first start designing your own patterns? Is this something you always wanted to do?
I love your Pixie Moon version! Being a creative person I always wanted, and still want, to make things from my own imagination - my first 'makes' were space outfits made from sweet wrappers, loo paper and sellotape for my pippa dolls - I also designed my own cards for family members…

What other crafts do you enjoy?
I've suddenly got into crochet, and as I've got into it the hook has reduced in size and the yarn/ cotton finer! I also like sewing and embroidery although my sewing machine and I don't get on very well!

  
You are most well known for your knitted doll patterns and lovely doll clothes/ accessories - you seem to enjoy making what my mum would call "fiddly" things. How often do you knit full-sized garments? Do you make your own clothes?
My one and only full sized item was a cardigan which was knitted in garter stitch and was larger than life - I had knitted it for my art college days and used it to wrap around myself a few times to keep warm in the studio! Smaller things suit me because I like to see a finished article asap - not very patient!

How did you come up with the idea of knitting the alphabet?
I really like letters and numbers and their form and what they stand for - they also look great as an item of art in a room on a wall spelling out words or as a cushion on a chair - so to knit them (and now crochet them) seemed a natural progression

Do you have a favourite pattern in the book - one which you enjoy knitting more than the others?
The ampersand was a real challenge and I really like the way it has turned out - the flip side - 'S' was a bit of a nightmare!!

The thing I like most about your patterns is the attention to detail. When I was knitting Pixie, the little ankles and backs of her knees thrilled me no end. With the alphabet, it's all in the serifs. How did you go about designing the letters and characters - did you use a specific font?
I had the alphabet typed out on a page on my computer - Times Bold - to refer to - it became quite mathematical as the elements of each letter are all relative, something I had never realised before!

I've seen on Instagram that you are now crocheting letters, can we expect another book?
It's still in working progress at the moment so I've not proposed the idea to anyone with it yet.

What's next for you?
I would really, really love to sell finished/ handmade items with beautiful packaging - however it has to be something that would work logistically - that's what is occupying my mind at the present!

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, I'd like to wish you the best of luck with the book and everything else you're working on. Thank you so much Sarah, and very good luck to your mum - I'm a huge fan - and we all want her to win!! Claire

You can see more of Claire's work on her blog, on Facebook and her Etsy store. You can also find her on Ravelry, Pinterest and Tumblr. You can find more details on the blog hop here

If you'd like to get your hands on a copy of the book it's already available in paperback on Amazon for £14.99 and one lucky reader can get a copy for free! To enter the draw, please leave a comment on this post saying what you'd use the patterns for, and remember to leave an email address or your Ravelry name so I can contact you if you win. The draw will take place on Monday 31st March 2014 and is open to international readers too. Good luck!

59 comments

  1. A friend had a copy of this fantastic book at our monthly knitting group and I suggested that each member should knit a letter of Knit Whits (our group name). It would involve learning new skills like the sock cast on, knitting in the round for those who don't already and the colour selection would be up to the knitter, we could then use them on our craft stalls where we sell our knitted items for charity.

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  2. This looks a great book - I'd love to knit my children's names!

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  3. I'd knit letters for my grand-children to help with their reading, and for a bit of fun!!!

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  4. I'd use it to make our last name and hang on the wall.

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  5. I'd knit a selection of letters for a different family word each week.

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  6. I have some friends expecting babies soon, so I would knit each baby's name as a gift.

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  7. I love the ampersand! And I would think the letters would make great Christmas presents in cushion size.

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  8. I would make the &! My husband is a photographer and wouldnt that be a fun prop for couples to hold and pose with? It could also be fun with parents and a new baby!

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  9. I would make the full alphabet for the baby to learn his letters. Ravelry name lc200

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  10. These would be so great done in a super large size as a pillow for the kids bed. Between my kids and my niece we have a series of somewhat uncommon names, so having something personalized would be adorable in their room. I would also like to do miniature versions for on-to-go play to work on sight words with my daughter!

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  12. I would absolutely love this! I'd make some cushions in our intials for our living room sofa, and I'd knit my husband a banner for his upcoming 30th birthday ^_^

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  13. I'd knit my kid's names... or maybe some whitty saying. Thanks for the chance of winning.

    deballan

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  14. I would knit letters for my son and soon to be baby. But also my sister announced that she is getting married this year just last night, so now I'm thinking her and her fiancées initials would make a great wedding gift!!
    Mrs Blaza on ravelry x
    Mrs Blaza on ravelry

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  15. OMD - I've already told my cousin in Canada about this book - this is amazing - just when you think everything which could be knitted (Did you see the bridge project in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania USA? )...

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  16. oh the kids would love their initials!

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  17. What A Fun Idea! I Would Knit All My Family's Names First Then The Pet's Names

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  18. Fantastic! I have stitched my children's names to create bunting so would love to have a go at making cushions too! Thank you!

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  19. the kids names for a start off

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  20. knitted alaphabet bunting - birlliant!

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  21. My niece's names, be a great first birthday present for them!

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  22. I'd knit my children's names and my new little niece's name too

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  23. I'd ask my mum to knit me my little boys name for his bedroom and the whole alphabet to put in his playroom

    rlduncanuk@yahoo.co.uk

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  24. I would knit my family's names

    flake221012210122101@gmail.com

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  25. I would love to knit some short and fun phrases, like "Love n Peace" :)

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  26. It's a bit random but I'd love to knit the initials of each room of the house to hang on the doors - B for bathroom, etc and I think the small ones would be great to make as gift tags for pressies in bigger boxes, such as a pair of slippers.

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  27. I'd knit my daughter' shame for her to put on her bed at uni and feel loved!

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  28. I'd give it to my mum to knit all her grandkids names Jules631@outlook.com

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  29. i love the letter decoration, even more the knitted ones!

    day26sleeper@yahoo.co.uk

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  30. Great giveaway! I would love to win that book, it looks great!

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  31. I would love to knit these up for our church preschool! The kids would have fun with them! (or my alter ego would love to yarn bomb with knitted letters!)

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  32. My daughter would love this - she would do everyone's names

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  33. I'd knit my two daughters' names!

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  34. I'd knit my two beautiful little granddaughters names for on their bedroom walls. Lovely!

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  35. Ooh I think I'd knit some big initials cushions and maybe a happy birthday or merry Christmas bunting in the little ones!

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  36. I would knit my daughters' names for their bedrooms - @pepicola3

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  37. I'd knit some cushions for my classroom,so my kids can learn their spellings with lovely squishiness Petersson on ravelry

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  38. There's so much you could do with this but I think I would start with a lovely 'Happy Birthday' and then maybe a 'Merry Christmas'. Thank you!

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  39. Lovely! I would do my girls initials for their new room. It would be ace for new baby gifts too :)

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  40. I'd would like to make my children's names for their rooms, then some to celebrate Christmas and birthdays, then some for my classroom. The posiblities are endless! bextow2(at) yahoo (dot) co.(dot) uk

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  41. I would knit my girl's names to make a knitted type bunting and if anyone had a new baby I would knit the baby's name

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  42. I would knit the word mum and keep them on the bed to cuddle when I think of her.
    caroline.offord@btinternet.com

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  43. My husband and I have the same initials so it would be cool to make our initials for our bed. Or I could make the name of my daughter and SIL's store Five in One or maybe my son's initials ......oh the possibilities.
    I am mjm on ravelry

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  44. I have no kids of my own, but there are lots of little people in my life so letters for them!

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  45. Knit letters for my step-grandchildren for them to play with and learn their alphabet.

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  46. I would love to knit the girls name and hang them on the wall

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  47. I'd make the letters so i could make fun words!

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  48. I would make bunting for my grandsons room

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  49. I would use it to make gifts for my nieces and nephews

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  50. would love to do this for my sons and my nieces

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  51. I would love to make my daughters name to hang it from the celling
    nothappymon@gmail.com

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  52. Would love to do this for my Niece & Nephews!!!!! :)

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  53. would love to do the initials for my 5 children :)

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  54. I'd use them to create my son's name and then nephew and nieces

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  55. I would knit my childrens names x
    creamegg@hotmail.co.uk

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  56. First I'd start on letters for my numerous grandchildren then move on to the children's and young adult section of the library I work in. What fun to use them in conjunction with some of our learning books at story-time.

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