Archive for category Medium: Knitting

Pride & Preju-Knits || Trixie von Purl

As fans of both Jane Austen and knitting, we found this book an absolute delight. It is packed full of thoughtful and ingenious knitting projects and every time you look through its pages you will stumble across something you haven’t spotted before – whether it’s a pianoforte or a picnic basket. If the idea appeals, you’ll be pleased to find that this isn’t something that will only occupy you for a weekend. There’s so much detail, and so many projects, that you could probably keep yourself busy for a year,

The temptation is to dive straight in – but be warned: this is not a book for the faint-hearted and is likely to leave the novice knitter stumped. You’ll need a lot of technical skill, especially for the dolls themselves, and a lot of equipment. For the skilled knitter, this is a book that will offer you many enjoyable and rewarding projects but is challenging enough to last a long time. We are both reasonably competent knitters, but found some of the instructions hard to follow and are still not quite sure if there’s an error in the hem of one of Elizabeth Bennett’s dresses. If you find that you don’t have the necessary skills, this book will be frustrating, but don’t be too quick to cast it aside. It is likely to serve as an inspiration and will give you the motivation to learn the necessary techniques.

Nevertheless, whatever the outcome, this is still a book that’s full of delights and we can see ourselves, even if not working through from cover to cover, at least having a few of the characters by our side when we re-read the books.

SM & MM

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Very British Baby Knits: 30 stylish designs fit for a royal baby || Susan Campbell

As a proud grandmother for the first time, I have been on the lookout for patterns which appealed and did not look too difficult for someone who hadn’t done any knitting for almost thirty years. (My children’s grandmothers were both demon knitters, so I feel it is obligatory for me to knit now!) At the launch of a book on an entirely different subject, I spotted this one in the Search Press catalogue and was immediately drawn to the lovely photographs on the cover.

Don’t be put off by the themed attempt to tie in with the new Princess Charlotte and royalty in general, these are timeless, contemporary patterns – no danger of looking like a 50’s throwback. If you are a serious Royalist, then it may well appeal even more. The author has been designing knitwear for a very long time on her farm in Norfolk and it shows; as she says, “No design of mine will have to be squeezed over a baby’s head and no baby will have to be stripped almost naked to facilitate a nappy change”.

The instructions are clear and a returning knitter like myself is easily able to produce results approximating to the photographs. I am not yet attempting the more complicated toy rabbits, delightful as they are! That said, this is not a beginner’s book as such, so skilled knitters should love it too.

MM

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55 Christmas Balls to Knit || Arne & Carlos

Scandinavians have a wonderful ability to be able to take themselves completely frivolously and yet seriously at the same time. I’m stereotyping because the cover illustration of two men in sweaters that would be the envy of Sarah Lund suggests nothing less than a bit of fun. Ever wondered whether Gilbert and George dissolve into helpless giggles as soon as they’re behind closed doors? Well, these two do, surely!

I want to get this up in time to encourage you to buy it before Christmas and get to work so that your tree can have an authentically Norwegian feel to it. ABR’s knitting correspondent is currently on a gap year but as soon as she’s back, I hope to have a proper assessment of the book’s delights.

Our knitting correspondent adds:

“We live and work in an old train station in a rural community in Norway” – the first thing you learn about Arne and Carlos, and that explains it all. A book dedicated to knitting instructions for Christmas baubles might seem a little mad, but I think it’s brilliant. I am a novice-knitter, and even for me the instructions are simple and easy to follow. None of the baubles are complicated – you’ll just need a bit of patience as the patterns are sometimes a little intricate. There are charts for each design showing you how many stitches are required from top to bottom – you’ll have to make each one four times though, in order to create the ball.

Arne and Carlos cover the basics, so even a beginner will pick up what to do easily. There’s a small amount of crocheting involved as well, and that is clearly explained. I’ve also enjoyed Arne & Carlos’ quirky introductions to the chapters of the book and explanations of how they can up with ideas for designs. 55 Christmas Balls To Knit is just a fun and quirky book, and now I want to have a go at all of the balls… though it might take me until next Christmas before I’m finished!

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Knit Your Own Royal Wedding || Fiona Goble

I have to admit, most things to do with the impending Royal Wedding make me want to poke things in my eyes. There is something, however, extremely charming about this book, which offers you the chance to knit the entire cast – including the corgis – plus a range of outfits and accessories. There’s even a kit to create your own balcony for the newly-weds.

This is not a challenge for the faint-hearted and a fair amount of patience will be required. Those with no prior knitting experience probably ought to practise the basics before embarking on it. The book is aimed at all skill levels, though, so novices can be confident there isn’t anything too complex.

Once you get down to work, the book is set out clearly, and explains the basics, from casting on to knitting, purling and casting off, plus other techniques and tips. Goble makes life easy by listing all the things you will need to create each figure before you start, and the step by step instructions ensure you work logically through each person to get all the parts together.

The book will probably only hit a niche market, and its appeal will diminish as the hype around Kate & Will’s wedding passes, but it’s still quirky. The fundamental things it teaches means you’ll be able to knit a range of figures for any occasion!

[DHM]

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