Wednesday, 27 January 2010 link: Inspired to Knit: Creating Exquisite Handknits

Name of Book: Inspired to Knit
Author: Michele Rose Orne
Any other info: 9781596680418, Interweave Press, 2008

Types of patterns: mostly women's garments a few accessories.

Number of Patterns: 21: Cardigan/Jacket (8); Caplet (1); Gauntlets (1); Shrug (2); Coat (1); Tunic (1); Jumper (1); Blouse (1); Top (2); Camisole (1); Halter (1); Skirt (1)

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range:34.5"-55.5" (87.5-141cm); not all garments cover these sizes, they were taken from a random sampling of sizes

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs and sketches; colourwork charts in colour, other charts in black and white

Schematics:yes; and with a lot of detail. Bottom to waist measurements, waist to underarm, underarm to top, waist, bottom and bust information, makes it easier to change any details you want.

Target Audience: Intermediate with some advanced ideas thrown in.

How to knit guide: for some of the more complex concepts

Some of it is pretty classical with some modern twists, some of it will date.

Comments: There are three levels to this book. The first is the patterns, more of which later, the second is the idea of moving from design sketch to design; some design notes that would give you further ideas and some notes on making it your own, how to change some things and retain the concept. The third are the Design workshop ideas, four in all reflecting the four parts the book is divided in (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer); all asking people to look further at what inspires you. There are times though that the author comes across as a bit pretentious.

The patterns are divided by season, first being Autumn
The Indian Summer Cardigan is an interesting but boxy cardigan, wouldn't suit everyone but has potential, the leaf shapes on the tip are inerestingly contrasted by the step concept below the waist, it has the 3/4 length sleeves that many people like

The Amber Beaded Cardigan is in gold with beads, quite a nice piece with a little lace on the bottom and a contrast around the edge. The sleeves are flared and full.

Walk in the Woods Jacket. Leaves and flowers in colourwork, you either like this or hate this, again the sleeves are flared and full.

Coral Roses Jacket - long jacket with a belt and inartasia large roses along the hem with a single rose on the back. Could be interesting on the right person, the sleeves use some cablework to pull them in at the bottom and some colourwork at the bottom

Fair Isle Caplet and Gauntlets. This got the most mockery at the Friday Fiber Fun session I brought this to. It isn't pictured with outdoor wear under and I think that detracts from it's possible usefulness. Very not my sort of things

Winter has: Shimmer Lace Shrug, more a cropped cardigan really and it would be cute as either an evening-wear item or possibly a wedding wear item. nice stuff

Snowdrift Cardigan, Cabling at the cuffs and collar that's quite bulky, nice concept but I don't know that it would be all that practical.

Winter Wonderland Coat - cables on the bottom, plain top, cabled cuffs to the elbow, deep collar to show off a nice scarf, this has a lot of potential, though, you'd have to make sure that the end of the cables hit you in the right place, it would be a spectacular piece. Usefully the schematics do show the different "hit" points so pretty easy to adjust.

Evergreen Sleeve Tunic - BIG Bulky knitting for a huge jumper. Looks big on the model, not my sort of thing.

Whisper Cuff Cardigan - torn on this one, large collaring with cables and sleeves with some inset details make it look interesting but I'm not sure that it would stay on well.

Frost Flower cuff Pullover. Interesting lazy daisy stitch embroidery with beading jazzes up this moss stitch jumper, the raglan sleeves with the cabling are also an interesting touch. The beads are sewn in afterwards so you could leave it out or substitute. The bead placement and embroidery are shown as concept rather than clearly worked out.

Spring has: the lily of the valley shrug, shaping created by the stitching, edging added, this isn't a bad design

Seed-Stitch Poet Jacket is a cardigan with an attached scarf with lacework, quite nice looking piece and could work well to dress up a summer dress for a spring or autumn wedding.

The Victorian Lace Blouse also provoked some discussion. It's quite fussy in places but I could see myself getting rid of the flouncing and knitting it as an under-shirt for some of the corsets I own. Underwear as outerwear and it would need careful planning when wearing as the lace needs camisole or such under it.

The Vintage Linterie Top is not the best, the contrast piece underbust doesn't quite work for me, that could be just the photos. Not a bad piece, again could be useful as a corset underwear.

Summer has the Tiny Twists Camisole, interesting detail for the strap, not so sure about the body of the piece, still if that's what you enjoy...

Ribbed Halter - if you like halter tops this might be the piece for you. Made from the centre out it would be easily adjustable for most bodies.

Papillion Cardigan a short-sleeved cardigan with lace skirt andd contrast trip on the edge and cuffs.

Wedding Ensemble is a two-piece garment with a short sleeved top with lace caps and hem and a tiered skirt. I like the top but the skirt is too fussy for my taste.

Buy/Borrow: I own a copy, there are also copies in the Dublin City Public Libraries, if you're looking to start adjusting and designing it's a good book to kickstart ideas. It also helps that some of the patterns are quite pretty. The design notes and make it your own along with the well-drawn schematics make many of the patterns very adaptable, a feature not enough books have.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries have some in stock.

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