Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Reviews

I am SICK right now, and although I'd love to be updating my other blog about our cruise, the pictures are on the downstairs computer and it's cold down there, and I just want to snuggle up on the couch.  While I have been knitting quite a bit, I don't have much to show.  I did recently though get some new books from the libary.  The library in my old town was small, but I think there was a knitter on staff as their selection wasn't too bad.  They had a display section near the front door where they put all new books, so it was easy to keep up with new knitting books.  Now, we're in this much bigger town.  The library is huge, and there's three branches.  I hate using the online catalogue, it's too ...clinical?  They do have display areas where they set out books on a topic, and I grab some interesting books that way.  The last time I was there, I was able to scan the shelves as I was looking for Cookie A's first book.  It wasn't in, but I did find some other gems!

"Knitting Plus" by Lisa Shroyer.  There is an extensive section on designing/altering for plus size figures.  It's actually a pretty intense section.  The patterns in the book are actually from multiple designers, which is nice.  They are arranged by the type of shoulder/armhole.  The designs are contemporary and classic.  What I find strange is the size ranges.  The sizes are not consistant.  For example, one cardigan (for which you'd want some positive ease), starts at 39 1/2".  Another more easy fitting sweater, starts at 47".  So, if the size small for the cardigan is meant for a 36" bust, then the loose fit sweater (actually, it's the cover sweater), would have 11" of ease...it does not look like that, and 11" of ease on a plus size body?  No thanks.  So just make sure to assess how you want the sweater to look and fit before choosing a size. 

I like the Barton Cardigan although the excess fabric on the back wouldn't look good on me with my swayback.  It also reminds me a lot of the February Lady Sweater, which (for my own reasons) gave me a real kicking.  I also like Passyunk Pullover, mmmm....on Ravelry, it's called the Passayunk Pullover.  I'm not sure about a yoke sweater on me, but I don't have any to compare it too.  I'd just have to watch that the neckline is not too high on my sensitive neck.  The Waltham Cabled Cardigan is charming and probably the most popular in the book, judging by Ravelry.  Vauxhall Tunic is a great fair isle option for women who don't want horizontal patterning that is the norm with fair isle.  This could also be adapted for a man's sweater.

"Knitted Wild Animals" by Sarah Keen.  I have my favourite teddy bear pattern, and I've made other stuffed animals (pig, dinosaur, elephant, alligator, bunnies...), and I love knitted stuffed animals.  However, I am torn between the quick and easy but often bland animals, and the more intricate but time consuming patterns.  These patterns seem to be a happy compromise!  They all evoke the "aaaahhhh" response, but at the same time, I'm not thinking "look at all the itty bitty pieces to sew together".  I also like the added touch of whimsical animal facts.  Watch the yarn recommendation.  It does say, in the pattern, "Light Worsted" and 3.25mm needles.  In the back, it does say that Light worsted is also known as DK.  I can't find anything that says what yarn was used for the patterns.  There is a small "learn to knit" section at the back, but it's very basic.

"Wendy Knits Lace"  by Wendy Johnson.  I like the variety of projects in this book; even the beginner projects are quite nice.  There's something for everyone.  I do have one BIG peeve with this book though.  There are no "flat out" pictures of the projects.  They're all arranged, styled photos.  In some of the pictures you can't really see the stitch pattern clearly.  I really like to see pictures of the details, or the shape, etc, so I can gauge my own piece and know if it's going right.  I am planning to make the Garden Party Cardigan, I just have to do a little math to alter the sizing to fit me better.  For some of the other patterns, I'm going to wait until there's more projects posted on Ravelry and hopefully better pictures.  And maybe I'll check her blog to see if there's pictures on there (I used to read it all the time, but got a little bored of socks all the time or shawls all the time).

What's your favourite new knitting book?

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