Its probably considered bad form to buy a book as a present for someone but read it yourself first before you give it to them. When it comes to knitting books I will freely admit to being guilty of this, my excuse? I’m just being thorough and making sure that the recipient (usually my mum) would actually like it. Its partly to assuage my guilt about this that I’m posting this book review, so now I can claim I read it first so that I could review it for you as well (making you guilty by association). Luckily my mum will never read my blog so I am unlikely to get found out.
The book I shall be reviewing this week is R. Taylor (2013) A Stitch in Time: Heirloom Knitting Skills, Search Press, Tunbridge Wells.
I discovered the book when I was looking for a present for my mum in my LYS, when I picked it up and saw the pram blanket on the cover I suspected it may well be coming home with me. The reason I was drawn to it so quickly was that the design for the pram blanket was almost identical to one that we had as children (although ours was peach – it was the 70s good taste didn’t really come in to it) and like one that Crafty Baby has now. Looking through the book I decided it would make a good present for my mum as it had enough in it to push her out of her comfort zone and get her to try new things but nothing looked too complicated that it might frighten her off. With this in mind I also picked up the wool that she would need to make the slippers also featured on the front cover.
Enough about why I bought it for my mum, why would anyone else be interested in it? Well, its not just a project book it also contains a stitch dictionary and interesting stories about the history of knitting traditions.
There are 12 projects in the book;
– a tote bag
– a hot water bottle cover
– a cowl
– a beret
– a baby blanket
– a cushion cover
– a cabled cardigan
– lacy socks
– a shawl
– a fair isle jumper for a child
– colourwork mittens
Of these I would be tempted to make at least 8 of them, much better odds than I normally find with project books. The photographs of the projects themselves are nicely styled and show off the knitted article rather than the model.
The stitch dictionary features over 150 stitch patterns and is broken down in to the following categories:
– colourwork (both slip stitch and stranded)
Each stitch pattern is accompanied by a colour photograph of a swatch, most of them are very clear but the royal blue yarn used in the textured stitch section doesn’t who off the patterns in the swatches as clearly as it could do, but that is a relatively minor niggle on my part.
The sections on the history of various knitting traditions are really quite interesting and feature some fabulous black and white photographs. Traditions covered include:
– fisherman’s ganseys
– alpine twisted stitches and Celtic knot work
– bobbles and cables on Aran sweaters
– leaf patterns on Victorian counterpanes and blankets
– lace knitting in Shetland, Iceland and Orenburg (Russia)
– colour work and the differences between Nordic, Fair Isle and colour work in the Americas.
My only other slight minus for the book was that the projects are interspersed throughout the book in the sections relevant to the technique used to create them but there is no quick reference to them, you need to physically search through the book for them as they aren’t even listed on the contents page. Other than that though I really liked the book, not only was it good enough for me it was good enough to buy as a present for my mum!