Thursday, 15 July 2010

Beads, Buttons & Lace review

Ravelry Link; Book Depository Link
Known both as Beads Buttons & Lace (UK title) and Romantic Style (US title)

Types of patterns: Garments, Accessories, Household

Number of Patterns 21: Camisole (1); Cape (1); Dress (1); blouse (1); cardigan (2); shrug (1), top (1); Dressing Gown (1); Throw (1); Socks (1); coat-hanger covers (1); Button (1); Cushion (1); Bolster (1); necklace (2); Belt (1); shawl (2); Bag (2); Hat (1)

Split of patterns: Women

Size Range: 32-40

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs

Schematics: for garments.

Target Audience: some beginner pieces, most for intermediate with a few pieces that might need more time than experience.

How to knit guide: brief guide to some extra ideas, including some advice on following patterns and some crochet motifs and edgings.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Most pieces are fairly classical but may need some tweaking to make a little more fashionable or wearable.


This was published as Beads, Buttons and Lace in the UK and as Romantic Style in the US. From online reviews I see that some of the patterns were also published in Rowan Magazine. If the designer isn't mentioned it's Jennie Atkinson.

Divided into sections we start with Out and about
The cotton Camisole, knit in cotton this has a fitted bra top, though there's no mention of what to do if your bust is bigger or smaller. I'd lean on Knitting Lingerie Style for a better version if your bust doesn't correspond.

Beaded Cape, this has a tie fastening that wouldn't suit me. and has a simple petal shape, the beads are knitted as you go so it may be interesting to block when finished. The sample looks both stiff and creased. Knit in Merino.

The Butterfly Dress
appears on the US Edition cover, a slip dress that needs planned underwear, knit in Kidsilk haze with spagetti straps this is fitted, open lace work, this would also need bravery.

Lace Blouse also needs planned underwear as it's quite open, a short-sleeved buttoned t shape, covered in lace

The Beaded Jacket by Kim Hargreaves is in cotton with beading, a slightly flared peplum in moss stitch, long sleeves, and a collar that to my eyes sits a bit high, I'm not a fan of collars that point at my shoulders. I also don't think I'd be decorating myself with the ribbon around my waist. I'd like to see a shot of this open, as this is how I tend to wear my cardigans.

Beaded shrug: A elbow-length shrug with crocheted on beads and a hood. Knit is kidsilk haze open and lacy I can see this appealing to fans of kidsilk haze.

Chevron Lace Top by Kim Hargreaves - this is a long-sleeved top with a henley style opening, again the collar is quite high, I'd be inclined to lose 1-2 of the buttons and lowering the collar, almost more work than it's worth. The open lacework would again demand underwear planning

Then we move to Home Comforts
The first two patterns in this chapter are almost a cheat, one is the longer version of the other, the Bed Jacket is the short version and then the Dressing Gown is the floor-sweeping version, many people have commented that they would shorten it if they were to actually knit it, to be a more practical length. They have a large shawl collar, it's what appears on the Beads, Button Lace version of the book, lace edged, very pretty, knit in Rowan Kid Classic, it's acres of knitting for the long version.

Diamond Throw is knit in three pieces then a crochet border and a fringe added

The Lacy Bed Socks are pictured all slouched but they're either knee or over-knee height and with a ribbon to finish and fasten.

Hanger Covers - for decorative covers on padded hangers, probably a good introduction to lace work

Rose Button Cushion - by Lois Daykin inartasia roses with beads and decorative buttons

Buttoned Flower Bolster by Lois Daykin - see the words "girlie dream" just make me want to break out in dark colours and sharp objects, this is a lacy bolster with beads and ribbons and a decorative flower to add to it.

The next chapter is Little Extras.

Starting with Crochet Necklace - it's done in lurex yarn that looks like copper and no picture shows how it would sit, judging by eye it's probably close-fitting but the lack of model is offputting.

Crochet Choker is also in Lurex with 116 beads this would be a nice piece for someone who likes neck chokers.

Crocheted Belt uses lurex again and 93 beads and is picturesquely displayed on a statue rather than on a person, I do like how it looks but I have no idea how it looks in real life. (alas no-one has tried it yet on Ravelry)

Crochet Shawl by Kim Hargreaves uses Kidsilk Haze and square motifs crocheted together in what looks like a long stole style with fringing.

Crochet Motif Bag by Martin Storey is a knitted bag with a ribbon decorating the gusset and with a decorative crochet motifs.

Lace Shawl by Sharon Miller is another stole style knit in Kidsilk Haze in a zig-zag lace which looks pretty simple but is written rather than charted, there's also a beaded loop to thread the shawl through.

Button Crochet Belt - a wide obi style belt with buttons decorating it and long ties.

Crochet Cap by Kim Hargreaves - motifs around the edge and a filet crochet top.

Buttoned Bag by Kim Hargreaves is knit in wool with random buttons decorating it

Buy/Borrow: I'd borrow, I'm glad I did rather than buy, it's not really me, some pieces made me look twice but they would need some serious work to make them work for me. Nice but not quite nice enough for me to hunt it up. Several of the pieces I liked weren't really things I should knit for me, either they were styles that aren't me or needed too much tweaking to make more me. I like lace but a lot of the lace work would require too much planning to wear. To be brutally honest the book was on my wishlist before I saw it, it's now off.

This book contains some of my pet hates, in particularly arty photography that focuses on the model and not on the piece, and many of them are photographed out of context so you can't tell how they look while being worn or being used. This is a major fault with many knitting books.

Where found: Cork County Library has it and I got it through Borrowbooks