Sunday, 20 February 2011

Natural Nursery Knits by Erika Knight

Book Depository Link; Ravelry Link

Impressions: It's beautifully shot. However to me it does come across as trying a little too hard. Interspersed among the beautifully shot photographs of the garments are some shots of nature which seem to be there purely to enforce the green theme while ignoring some aspects of the production of some of the yarns involved (Cotton is often quite water hungry and while the growing of Bamboo is sustainable the processing to form the yarn isn't always that clean); there is a mention of using organic but no discussions of why. The one-page piece on plant and herb dyes includes some info on some medicinal uses for the dyes, which makes me a little uneasy as it's in very general way with no ideas of proportions or dilutions, and no warnings about possible interactions with other drugs.

This book is laid out in a pictures first pattern next format. I'm always a little wary about this layout, it sometimes comes across as padding and in this case I did feel that it was. It's full of the usual suspects for babies, mittens, blankets, toys, booties, etc. I would have been happier with more action shots. Most of the items are depicted in fairly neutral colours.

And then I passed it around at the Fibre Fun Friday. Oh man did the photographs come in for criticism. Many of them were questioned for their usefulness for portraying the garment, and in several there were questions about suitability at all, then again some of the people looking at the photographs are photographers themselves and can be quite critical about the thinking behind photographs. The general impression was underwhelmed. Many folks also questioned the usefulness of many of the patterns

Types of patterns: Baby patterns

Number of Patterns: 20

Split of patterns: blankets, toys, garments, ornaments

Size Range: 0-3/9-12 months

Colour/Black & White: all colour

Schematics: no, charts are only for colourwork

Target Audience: Fashionably green or folks looking for fairly classic mostly cotton baby-wear.

How to knit guide: no

Experimental/Classical/Modern: fairly classic design here.

Comments on patterns:
Cellular Blanket is knit in Milk Cotton and is described as both insulating and breathable, the yarn is DK

Teddy Bear - knit in Aran Weight yarn from British Wool and with gingham cotton paw pads and ears "can easily be customised to coordinate with baby's nursery"

Initialled Washcloth - knit in hemp yarn, DK weight, from comments I've seen about hemp I'd be inclined to wash this one a few times before use and testing on an adult first might be advisable. Has a useful alphabet of capital letters that could be used in other projects.

The Classic Cardigan is not depicted anywhere on a child. Looks good but I'd like proof.

Hare Doorstop is stuffed with Rice and Cotton and with that mix you would need to ensure it keeps dry! Knit in DK yarn (the sample is knit in hemp), lined with muslin, this would be good practice for learning how to create a lining for an item.

Scented Cushion - knit in 4ply Cotton this is more a scented sachet than cushion as it's 14cm x 14 cm; lined and stuffed

Rabbit Rattle - the introduction mentions baby alpaca yarn but the materials list talks about Organic Cotton... a circular rattle with a rabbit head attached.

Hat and Boots - again not photographed on a baby, these look well, striped hat and boots with a ribbon loop attached on the inside.

Fairisle Papoose - not for a beginner really if knit in the cotton suggested - cotton can be hard to get not to look uneven when you're not familiar with the technique. This is knit in DK. The Fairisle is nicely understated and only two-colour, so if you're willing to put a bit of concentration into this it could be good.

First Blanket - made in Bamboo dk weight yarn, worked in garter stitch with a saw tooth edging, which is sew in afterwards.

Dress and Pants - the dress reminds me somewhat of hospital gowns. Actually modelled, but not from the front! Worked in 4ply milk cotton

Recycled Rag Basket, small and large - using rags construct a moss stitch basket, sew together.

Sweater and Trousers - jumper with a pocket and shoulder buttoning and trousers with a pocket as well, unmodelled. Knit in DK weight cotton

Bootees and Bonnet - cute bootees with a lacy pattern that look like summer shoes. The "bonnet" is the hat depicted on the cover of my edition.

Lace Cushion - knit in Dk cashmere-cotton with a lot of texture and lace this would possibly be a great present for the mother!

Bird Mobile - knit in dk organic cotton "these are assembled with shiny natural buttons,


  1. I've been trying to find this ebook and discovered your review.

    I haven't had the opportunity yet to try every pattern but so far, I've been very pleased with the finished results of all the ones I've done. Especially the little cardigan which you say was not photographed on a child. (It could be noted here that many of the clothing items are not photographed on the child in this particular book. I think that this could to keep in theme with the theme of the photography.)

    Here is a link to a photograph of the set I made on a newborn:

    My only correction to this pattern would be that it doesn't allow for the sleeves to be full length so I usually add a few stitches to each end of the sleeves. Other than that, it's gorgeous and everyone I've made it for has absolutely loved it.

    Thanks for such a thorough review!

    1. very cute project.I do prefer when books don't have stuff modelled, or only show pieces, I'm often very suspicious that there are fit issues. Thanks for the comment, I'm glad you liked it.