Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Name of Book: Knitting the complete guide
Author: Jane Davis
Any other info : Krause Publications, 9780896895911, 2008

Types of patterns: basic starter patterns

Number of Patterns: 8

Split of patterns: Adult

Size Range:38-51"

Colour/Black & White: Colour and black and white

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: Beginner

How to knit guide: What this book is all about


Comments: This is one of the best reference books I've seen lately. Blessed by a spiral spine, this compact and neat book has a basic refresher on knitting and then goes through some stitches, and includes a few patterns to get you going in different weights and different types of yarn. It would be an ideal book to have beside you to occasionally consult about the basics. It's not as good with finishing as some others but still it's quite good with what it does, with clear charts and the samples lead you to think about trying more and different projects. It also has a clear glossary and index.

Buy/Borrow: I'm adding this to my wishlist.

Where found: Library.

Name of Book: I Love Knitting
Author: Rachel Henderson
Any other info: Kyle Cathie, 2006, 1856266842

Types of patterns: Mostly Accessories.

Number of Patterns: Scarves: 4; Corsage: 2; Bowtie necklace:1; Bag: 5; Muff: 1; Hat: 1; Mittens(sleeveless) 1; Shoulderette: 1; Slippers: 1; laptop case: 1; Tea Cosy: 1; Wine Bottle Top: 1; Place Mat: 1; Glasses Case: 1; Dice: 1; Knitted cuff: 1; Pants/Knickers: 1

Split of patterns: mostly women, some men's patterns or unisex stuff thrown in

Size Range: One size for all

Colour/Black & White: colour pictures. Some Black and white charts.

Target Audience: Beginner to advanced beginner

How to knit guide: yes

Experimental/Classical/Modern: "hip" and "cool"

Comments: This book made me feel old and unhip. Most of the patterns were a bit blah and the missing information about the sizing of some of the bags was just uncool. Honestly for me there are much better patterns available online for free. I'm becoming a complete snob as well as I was seriously unimpressed with some of the sample knitting, obviously uneven and not blocked as well as I'd expect from a professional publication.

Buy/Borrow: Oh borrow this sucker first. If your local teen is enchanted, then buy but otherwise this is a bit of a waste, particularly if you're beyond beginner. I'd also have a sneaking suspicion that your local teen will grow out of it pretty quickly.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries.

Name of Book: Knitting for Special Effect
Author: Debby Robinson
Any other info: Little Brown, 1990, 0316751472

Types of patterns: Garments
Number of Patterns: 22; top: 3; cardigan: 6; Jumper: 9; Waistcoat: 2; Coat: 1

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: most patterns are in one size with a few with a second size; the sizing isn't given except with the schematics, so a little mathematics will be needed to find this out, one of the fitted garments is 36" & 38" (90cm and 94cm); many of the garments are oversized

Colour/Black & White: colour with black and white schematics

Schematics: yes with a fair amount of size detail, useful given the above

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced. There's some embroidery, entrelac and colourwork

How to knit guide: no. Some special effect tips scattered with the text.

Modern with some classical twists.

Comments: It does have some desperately 80's/early 90's moments but never underestimate the ability of fashion to recur. There are also some quite classical pieces that still have the ability to catch the eye. Also some of the ideas could spark some inspiration with other projects. I've knit one piece from this and am knitting another. I knit a waistcoat in cotton, which turned out very nice and I'm knitting a Biker Jacket at the moment, no I don't intend to actually wear it on the bike (except possibly for a photo-shoot) but it appealed to my sense of humour. Another pattern that catches my eye is one called Cultured pearl which is a top with beading, Lace and Crystal is a pretty twin-set; traindrops is a pretty jumper; black velvet could be modernised with smaller jewels, and the entrelac jumper is one that looks doable. Yes you would probably need to substitute most of the yarns but that's not the worst thing you'd have to do.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow and see what you think, the book is out of print but I found it online a few years ago not too expensively.

Where found: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown has a copy in stock (I know because I recently borrowed it, again, mine being elsewhere); I got it through Amazon for myself.

Name of Book: Vintage Knitwear for modern Knitters
Author: Lise Lotte Lystrup
Any other info: Thames & Hudson, 9780500514207, 2008

Types of patterns: Mostly women’s jumpers and cardigans with a few accessories

Number of Patterns: Cardigan/Jacket: 6; scarf: 3; Jumper: 5; Tube top: 1; Bolero: 3; Twinset: 1; top: 2; Wrap: 1

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 32” - 42”

Colour/Black & White: Both, reproductions of the vintage designs are in black & white; modern versions in colour

Schematics: yes

Target Audience: I’d say intermediate, there’s some cabling and patterning but nothing looks too complicated. The author seems to regard anything with cabling as advanced, but colourwork is intermediate for her. This is aimed at knitters wanting something old-fashioned.

How to knit guide: no, a basic guide to some tweaks is there and the abbreviations are spelt out.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Modern takes on some fairly classical styles.

Comments: This has potential, one of my major issues with the modern pictures are that they’re all pictured on a dressmakers figure, so really you don’t quite get an idea of how someone’s arms interact with the piece, or how it sits against their neck. From that figure it looks like the patterns have been moved from fairly negative ease (as was fashionable in the 30’s to 50’s) to positive ease. The schematics for one of the jumpers (Sports Sweater in Basket Weave) the 32” bust size is 36” around so if you want the look you might have to look at the finished sizing and see what you want out of it. The patterns themselves don’t tell you how the sizing comes out or what kind of ease is involved in each piece. The author complains about inadequate and faulty older patterns, seemingly unaware of some of the Vogue books with updated patterns.

For me there were one or two that slightly tweaked my interest but nothing that made me want to borrow the book, never mind reach for the needles.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow. You might really like the patterns but I was underwhelmed.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.
Name of Book: Custom Knits
Author: Wendy Bernard
Any other info: 2008, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 978-1584797135

Types of patterns: women's clothing,some accessories with the instructions men's clothing could be adapted

Number of Patterns: Jumper (5); Cardigan (6); top (7); Cape (1); Waistcoat (1); Beach Cover-up(1); wrap/shawl (2); Hat (1); Skirt (1)

Split of patterns: Women's

Size Range: x-small (30") to 3x-Large (51")

Colour/Black & White: Colour photos throughout, some sketches; someone though decided that bikini's were the best other clothing to not distract from most of the pictures. Sometimes it's difficult to see some of the construction details from the photos.

Schematics: Yes

Target Audience: Intermediate. There's no beginners guide here but most of the pieces are mostly stocking stitch.

How to knit guide: no

Experimental/Classical/Modern: a lot of the pieces are pretty classic.

Comments: An interesting book. It starts with the authors philosophy and a "how to make your own custom dress form" guide, then takes you on a journey through some patterns and then to how to adapt said patterns to suit yourself.

This is all top-down construction, which suits some people and doesn't suit some others, but it does talk about adjusting designs and working them for yourself. This is a book for someone who knows something about what they're letting themselves in for. Definitely not a beginners book, though many of the patterns are mostly stocking (or stockingette) stitch or with a little bit of fairly simple design involved. It's a book to stretch you, to make you think about your relationship with your favourite jumpers and see how you can make them yourself, in your own favourite colours and with your own detail.

Buy/Borrow: borrow first and see how you like it. I bought a copy after deciding that I needed to tweak something I wasn't incredibly happy with. The patterns don't sing to me, but the design advice is proving invaluable.

Where found: Proving very popular in the libraries!