Thursday, 17 February 2011

Review of Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B Anderson

Book Depository Link; Ravelry Link

Impressions: Spiral bound inside a cover; the author encourages readers to leap right in and knit what inspired them. However the chapters are actually arranged thematically. Starting with Squares and Rectangles you're looking at relatively simple garter stitch squares sewn together to make items and while a little rough and ready. Then it moves to baby sets where more complicated stitches get involved. There's also some embroidery. The chapter on Nursery items has some very sweet bits and pieces that could be made quite quickly but I'd say a few are quite fiddly. On the Go baby has some pacifier clips and other items for out and about. Playtime has bigger toys than the nursery items.

Overall it's sweet, the photographs are cute and do show the items fairly well, the instructions appear clear and fairly straightforward, most appear to be well laid out (not having knit any of the patterns myself I can't really comment on the ease or non-ease of use!) and while some don't fall into my aesthetic many of them are cute. This book got a lot of people quite gushy about it, words like "sweet" and "cute" were scattered about with abandon! While some of the items may date, the photographs look pretty classic with minimalistic settings in relatively neutral backgrounds. If you were looking for something a little different from the usual this would be a good book to get.

The texts is a little small and the two-coloumn layout can break the flow of the pattern. Some of the headings are a little faint. While the information about the embroidery isn't bad the layout of lettering isn't really entered into (an issue with the hanging sachet with bebe written on it, particularly if you want to change the lettering). Published in the US this does occasionally use US terms and the crochet would be US terms as well. Double check before launching into the edging!

Types of patterns: Stuff, including clothers, for babies

Number of Patterns: 40, however some of these are slight variations on themes.

Split of patterns: mostly accessories and toys there are also a fair number of baby clothes here too.

Size Range: newborn to 24 months

Colour/Black & White: colour photographs; mostly black text with some colour enhancement.

Schematics: For the garments

Target Audience: Parents and people looking for baby gifts

How to knit guide: yes, broken into two pieces, the basics; near the front; and some more advanced techniques after the patterns.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: I'd rate them as pretty classical.

Comments on patterns: The squares and rectangles chapter isn't a bad place for a beginner knitter, though you would need to know how to sew for this one. The Squares and rectangles baby set are pretty doable within the abilities of most and could possibly cure some of their fear of full garments. Basically you knit several garter stitch scarves and sew them together. What could be simpler? There's a Cardigan, a hat and booties.

A Hanging sachet uses some embroidery detail but that's really up to the maker

Grumpy Old bear is made of multiple garter stitch squares. yarn leftovers make him a scarf; and a cardigan finishes off his ensemble.

Patches is a patchwork blanket that can be made by a group, decorated by pompoms, the designer changed direction of the squares. Throwing in a few corner to corner ones would also add in some interesting texture and be good practice.

The next chapter is Baby Sets: Circles and stripes stroller blanket begins the chapter. Crocheted on and embroidered on circles add to the interest. There's also a matching Stroller Jacket and Mittens. To finish out the piece there's a Chubby Bunny, using leftovers!

The Flower Cardigan and Hat set uses applique to add in the piece and i-cord for an interesting stem that forms loops for the buttons. A matching hat also uses playful i-cord.

Baby's Texture Blanket - using tonnes of colour and a variety of stitches this is a very varied piece.

A cozy book pillow (cushion) and slippers are quite cute, the cushion has a pocket in the back for a favourite book) a boatneck striped jumper rounds out the piece, with some surface embroidery that echoes embroidery on the cushion.

Pure and Sweet layette, with cardigan, hat, booties and blanket this is intended for newborns, add in a bunny rattle and your're set

Nursery Goodies is the next chapter: Opening with a Garden Mice Mobile this has a set of five mice playing around a purchased unit, it has flowers and mice in all sorts of strange contortions.

The ubiquitous Baby box covers make an appearance, a wipe cover with pompoms and a tall tissue box cover ditto.

The Clothesline is clever with two jumpers, a t-shirt, jeans and umbrella decorating it.

Peas and Carrots are a pair meant to be cushiony.

On the Go, Baby has a variety of pacifier clips: flower, Elephant and Frog

Fruit Loops Bag is a felted bag for carrying all the essentials, with embroidered flowers, it has several pockets and would probably be a useful bag for a lot of other purposes.

Quick Knit Mini-tote. Cliched pink bag with sequins because "little girls love sequins and love pink"

Cupcake Baby set, made in cream, white and with a cherry on top of the hat and cream and white stripes on the scarf this is a rather cute Hat, Scarf and Mitten set.

Frenchie - a hat with a fair bit of colourwork, mostly due to knitting in rows, some surface embroidery.

The Last chapter is Playtime with a Cupcake Tea set, Cake Plate, saucers, serving plate, mini-cupcakes, sugar bowl, sugar cubes, teacups, teaspoons, creamer (milk jug); Tea Pot and Tea Bags

Dotted Chickens - stuffed spotty chickens.

Three Pigs and a Wolf - cute three huts too and a black pot.

Buy/Borrow: I do admit to liking some of the patterns, they have enough quirkyness to appeal to me but really it would need to be a very special baby to get that much work out of me

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has copies in stock.

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