Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Purls of Wisdom

Book Depository Link ; Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: accessories and household items

Number of Patterns: Scarf (4); cowl (1); wristwarmers (1); Hat (2); booties (1); baby hat (1); baby blanket (1); Baby Bib (1); Cushion (1); Hot Water bottle cover (1); Tea Cosy (1); Cafetiere cosy (1); Bracelet cover (1); cuff (1); i-pod cosy (1); Laptop cover (1)

Split of patterns:

Size Range:

Colour/Black & White: Colour photos, black and white text with some red enhancement

Schematics: no, then again none of the patterns really need it, there's also no charts for stitch patterns)

Target Audience:

How to knit guide: This book is mostly about how to knit with a few simple projects to get you started.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: classic with some modern twists. I'm not sure some of the cute is going to survive long

Comments: The cover quote from India Knight suggesting that it's "the only book about knitting you'll ever need." made me laugh "Gorgeous and essential" is the other half of the quote, which I would disagree with in part. The author herself nominates Barbara Walkers treasury of Knitting Patterns as her Desert Island Book! Pattern links are to Ravelry

It's one of those hip new knitting books that seem to be proliferating as publishers discover that there's a demand for knitting books. And yes, it's well illustrated (they use three colour printing with red as well as black and white) and several of the projects are challenging, however I would disagree with the ratings given to projects. Seriously, a plain pair of straightforward socks merit an intermediate, not a complicated rating with lots of don't worry's and panic nots in the instructions. I think people often overestimate complicatons and make things much more complicated than they really are. My best instructions to a first-time sock knitter, is to relax, find someone to point you at a simple sock pattern, preferably one that has plenty of people who have knit it and very little or no errata and just follow the pattern. What's the worst that can happen? That you have to rip it? So what. That it turns out with holes? Features I say, features. Trust in the power of the yarn and just knit it.

Deep Breath

The patterns are pretty basic but poorly sorted; "gifts for girls"; "gifts for boys"; "gifts for babies"; "gifts for the home" and "novelty gifts" are the various topics; she does talk about how to adapt the pattern to make it different.

Starting with Gifts for Girls you have a bramble stitch scarf. To my mind a scarf that's more unisex than gendered, the only way to gender it is with colour (and actually the photographs are of a neutral cream)
Lacy Scarf - a fairly regular scarf pattern in this (btw the pattern is written not charted)
Chunky Cowl, knit on 12 mm needles this is a pretty classic piece
Wristwarmers both with and without thumbholes
Classic Beret - actually without blocking on a plate you pretty much get a tam rather than a beret...
Cloud-nine socks - socks with a lacy pattern, she does suggest trying the plain socks first before these but rates them equally hard!

Gifts for boys:
Moss Stitch Scarf - knit on 12mm needles this is pretty unisex
Moss Stitch Tie
Diagonal Knot Stitch Scarf - knit on 5mm needles it's also fairly unisex
Twisted rib Beanie - a basic unisex beanie
Basic Boy Socks - basic anyone plain socks, knit with 3mm needles so pretty useful for any number of elaborate sock yarns.

Gifts for babies:
Mary Jane Booties: cute
Simple Baby Hat - knit in dk on smaller than usual needles (3.5mm)
Born under a star Blanket - knit in bulky yarn (6.5mm needles) this is a fairly repeditive but fairly spectacuar blanket
Bib - knit in dk cotton
Mortimer the Dog - cute but you'd need to make sure that the sewn parts are well anchored

For the Home:
Honeycomb Cable Cushion - good cable practice
Hot water bottle cover - knit in aran with 4.5mm needles
Tea Cosy - bulky knit, a modern take on a classic design
Cafetiere Cosy - again a bulky knit this fits between the top and bottom of the handles of the cafetiere and therefore fails my requirements for a Cafetiere Cosy.

Novelty Gifts - Covered Bangles - belongs with the "gifts for girls" really here. Indeed. Actually the virtue of this one is where the author suggests using a tension swatch and working out how many stitches you need, so a good pattern to start learning about adaptions

Lacy Bracelets - again "girls", these are often referred to as cuffs around the world

I-pod sock - a container for an i-pod

Laptop Case - knit with 10mm needles this is a big bulky cover.

Buy/Borrow: It's aimed at the late teen, early 20's market. If you have mastered the basics it's nothing new (perhaps the resources pages have some more details but apart from that there's really nothing new here) and the patterns aren't a real challenge. The cutesy girl and boy titles and I don't think that a lot of the patterns are as gendered as they are presented. It might be good for a beginner looking to try something new or refresh their mind about the techniques from school. It won't be joining my library.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies.

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