Saturday, 29 June 2013

Classic Knits - Review



Classic Knits by Marianne Isager 

Marianne Isager is a Danish Designer and this is 20 plus patterns by here with emphasis on technique and playing with concepts rather than more complex designing.  I like her style and have bought a copy for myself (one of my first electronic knitting book purchases!)

Yes, there are things that I would tweak in the designs to make them more me, I dislike round necked cardigans, I don't wear summery tops without sleeves (if you saw my shoulders you'd understand why) unless I'm at home and I reckon if I made some of these tops I'd want to show them off. 

She believes in knitting in the round and in using her own designed yarn, but she also believes in her own style of gauge swatch which is often also a test swatch of what is going on with the garment, so you can see if the colours you've chosen or yarn will work with the pattern quite clearly.

She also believes in combining yarns to create a look she wants taking several light-weight yarns together and producing a heaver yarn and often interesting colour interactions and texture.

There are several garments I want to knit from this book and several I would be interesting in playing with to produce something more me.

The first top is Corsage, a buttoned semi-corset with a slip stitch detail to create interest.  I'm not sure that I wouldn't knit this a little large to make it into a waistcoat.

Next up is Cossak, knit in a rib with added thickness in the peplum my only gripe with this one is that the fur collar is mentioned as optional but there are no photos I could see without it.

Sugar is my style of summery cardigan, light and crisp and with a tapered rib  and cables to create interest.

Fisherman is a plain man's jumper with a rib to keep interest and a woven twill pattern at the cuffs to give it a little twist.

Monk is a hooded jumper with interesting texture created by using ribs in different ways, a touch of colour at the end of this one creates an interesting effect.

Elf is a one-piece baby outfit with a hood and is charming.  Colour blocks here make it interesting and added edging in a contrast to the other two colours makes it pop.  There's also a section of colour play at the front, which could be a great use of leftovers of the right weight.

Short Jacket is a jacket with a cross over front that uses reversible stitches to keep it double sided, it also uses Brioche Stitch and contrast edging.

Knit & Purl uses the trick of different weights and needle sizing so you could make boy or man sized garments, a jumper in the Gansey tradition, subtle enough for men but interesting enough for knitters.

Beach flowers uses embroidery to enhance a jumper that uses textured stitching to create something rather special.

Pearls uses seed stitch and slip stitch to create an interesting edging to a seed stitch cardigan.

March is another slip stitch pattern that could be used to use up leftovers, there's some colour lurking in this otherwise black, grey and white jumper that's designed with men in mind.

Zigzag top is one that I'd like to make for me, but with sleeves, using increases and decrease it's clever and without horizontal stripes it would probably suit most.

Zigzag jacket is interesting in the way it uses cables and colour and would be another choice for using up some leftovers.  I like how the colourwork works on this but the zip fills me with fear.

Mie's Jacket is designed for children and again uses interesting colourwork against a plain background, a great candidate for leftovers again there's also a matching hat

Waves is worked in a honeycomb pattern edge to edge, short rows shape armholes

Honey is also worked on a honeycomb pattern, and this is possibly the first top I'd like to knit out of this book.  It's a candidate for a variagated yarn or several in similar colours tied together by the neutral background.

Dashes is a top I'm unsure of, to be honest I'm never sure of horizontal stripes and the photographs of this one don't inspire me.  Then again the photographs of most of the pieces are not clear enough for my taste and not enough of the pictures are focused on the garments so I can see what they're doing.  It could be an interesting tank top/sleeveless vest with more subtle colouring.

Newsprint pullover uses a technique of adding in a contrast colour every few rows to create what almost looks like newsprint from a distance.  Another one designed for men

Newsprint top is worked in chevron stripes in the same idea and then seamed down the middle.

Black and white plays with African motifs and the newsprint concept, colour blocks and contrast edging

Relief is a textured jumper with contrast edging and a pop of colour above the rib.

My one gripe about the book would be the pictures, a few items I was a little unclear about the design and how the different elements combine, it's a minor gripe in certain ways but I like knowing how necks sit on the front of garments without hands being held in strange poses.  Yes the stylist can have fun but you also need functional photographs that tell you more about how the garment works for the knitter to decide how they want to work with the design.

As I said, I bought this one.

Dublin City Public Libraries are my employer but do not offer me any inducement, apart from access to these books and my wages which sometimes enable me to pick up my own copies of these books!

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