Thursday, March 6, 2008

More library booty

I made another run to the library for more knitting books. (And to return the other ones, shamefully overdue). I was even greedier this time and got more books, so I haven't had a chance to look through all of them.

Great Knitted Gifts, by Andrea Shackleton and Gayle Shackleton, is the first one I'll review.
It has quite a few patterns, organized by themes, of circles, stripes, and flowers. For ex, there are different variations on dots and circles in gloves, hats, sweaters, scarves, etc, all in one chapter. All of the motifs are in intarsia / colorwork, and basically all the patterns are in stockinette. The color combinations are really well done, and some of the patterns have whole new alternate palettes, which is a nice touch.

All the patterns are designed for "sport weight wool," no brand or color specified. So I guess you have to take the pattern to the store and try to match the colors to what is available. They do recommend color photocopying the colorwork charts, which are in separate sections (to fit onto the book pages), taping them together, and using that while knitting. So maybe you're supposed to take that to the store.

Some of the patterns use the motifs in really cute, and I daresay, hip, ways. For instance, the Max Christmas stocking and Circles hat (flower and circle motifs, respectively):

Then there is some fugliness. Sometimes designers get pattern-happy and do too much. Like the Big Squares Knee Socks, which look like giant abscesses on her calves, and the Dot Sweater, which is much too much, and rashy.
Since I'm not going shopping for a dozen different colors of sport weight wool anytime soon, this book isn't too practical for me. Or really for anyone who doesn't have access to--and desire for stash additions from--lots of little bits of the perfect colors of yarn. It would be great if the authors, who dye and knit their own clothing line (Hot Knots), could sell kits to make their projects. The one good stashbuster pattern is for these wee clothes on a clothesline, which look like they'd use up lots of tiny remnants, and are too adorable.
This book is all intarsia, which means nothing is knit in the round, which means lots of ends to weave in, and lots of seams to sew. Also, there isn't much explaining how to do intarsia, so it's more for experienced intarsia knitters.

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