Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Learn to Knit, Love to Knit: The Review

I got a nifty book as a birthday present- thanks Husband!
Here's what I think of it.


First off, overall this seems like a great book.  For me, most of the designs are appealing.  They have pretty details and modern shapes.  I think many people could find something to like here.



The advanced patterns include quite a few colourwork designs, and many also incorporate embroidery, which is quite neat.  This is a new frontier for me so it will be fun to explore!

Small digression- it seems if I come into possession of a pattern, it automatically becomes more appealing, even if I wouldn't have been drawn to it before...do you know what I mean?  Or is that just my weird brain?  I think it's partly just because it grows on me the more I see it!  (Plus, I don't have to pay to use it, haha!)


Pros:
  • There are quite a few designs- 20 in all, and they are quite varied.  It's not clogged up with novelty/useless patterns either- 19 out of 20 are wearable designs, and there is one bag.
  • The photography and styling is very fun, young, and colorful.  It's beautiful to look at.  I would describe the book as having a 'cute' aesthetic, which I love of course, but isn't for everyone. 
  • I love that it doesn't hold your hand too much-  I believe beginners don't have to sit around making easy scarves for a few months before they can move on.  This book has a great progression of difficulty which I believe would be much more challenging and satisfying for an ambitious beginner.  (This was the problem I had with Knitty Gritty- the projects ranged from super easy to easy).

Cons:
  • I craved more pictures.  What does it look like from the back?  I want to see it with the model standing!  Of course I realise a book doesn't have infinite room for pictures.  Some designs have more pictures than others though.  I think I've been spoilt by Ravelry a bit.  But...more pictures please! :) 
  • There are no schematics of the patterns.  I also would have liked a little blurb describing the construction and features of the garment.  Is it seamed?  Is it top-down?  You'll have to read the pattern!   (Call me lazy if you want, but I want that blurb).  Most of the patterns seem to be knit flat from the bottom up and seamed (I believe this is the more traditional way- I look forward to giving this a go!). 
  • This is a book for beginners, but I would highly recommend using another resource to fill in the gaps.  I found when I started that learning from a book was very hard- I wished I'd used knittinghelp.com's videos from the start.  However the photos are very clear and nicely put together.
  • A few patterns reference optional crocheted details, but that's not taught in the book.  You'll have to go elsewhere!  No big deal, but just another reason I think this book needs supplementation.
  • This isn't a problem with the book, but the designs aren't all represented on Ravelry.  I think it's missing out on a chance to get more exposure.  However, I think they are all gradually getting put on Ravelry, hooray!  It's just taken a while- almost none of them were on there when I got the book, but now some are.

Unfortunately, I can't comment on how well the patterns are written considering I haven't knitted anything from it yet!
The garments each come in five sizes, ranging from 30" bust to 40".  Some patterns' size ranges start at a size lower than others, which is slightly odd, but won't affect most people. 

 The book contains:
-a scarf and mitten set
-a bag
-wristwarmers (seen on the cover)
-a ribbed hat
-a hand puff and collar set
-four sweaters
-five cardigans
-a lacy collar
-two sleeveless tops/vests
-a tam and snood set
-a pair of socks
-a cape

This is my favourite pattern:

A cropped cardigan (my fav!) with bobbles and cables.  Too cute!
Isn't the colourwork on this cardigan sweet?:


(My excitement about the pattern was slightly dampened upon realising that only the the main sections of colour are charted.  The extra embroidery is left out!  I suppose we're supposed to just make up the rest of it our own.  That's a bit frustrating.)

I could see myself snooding it up in this:

Both these patterns are included.  Pretty!
 The first pattern in the book is a scarf and mittens- I think they've managed to make a basic beginner's pattern look a bit special and charming:


The final pattern is a cape- another example of colourwork with embroidered details on top:


There is so much here for a beginner or advanced knitter to get inspired by.  I think most of the designs are really lovely, and could see myself in many of them!  I counted, and I want to knit 14 out of 20 of these designs...  not bad right?

Okay, just one more:
Love it!!  But I wouldn't be able to resist adding lots of waist shaping! :)
So... did I convince any of you to buy this?  Is anyone on the fence about learning to knit teetering yet?  Go on... knitting is so much fun!


The book/pictures credits are:
 LEARN TO KNIT, LOVE TO KNIT by ANNA WILKINSON, published by Quadrille (£14.99, paperback)
Photos © LAURA EDWARDS

I did not receive any compensation for writing this review :)

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