Sunday, April 21, 2019
Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits
Recently I've been knitting incubator sets for the local preemie intensive care unit at our local hospital. These are tiny knits with 2-3mm needles (US 0-1) and fingering weight yarn. I was -really- looking forward to a quick knit project with big needles and speedy results. This book definitely fit the bill.
Due out 1st July 2019 from Stackpole books, it's 128 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. Author Barbara Benson is known to Ravelry users as vox8 and from her active youtube channel, WatchBarbaraKnit. There are 20 projects included: 12 scarves, shawls, a poncho, and cowls, 4 hats, 2 handwear projects, a vest, and a throw.
The patterns are listed in the table of contents by their designer names, and not by type of project. So"Shoot the Moon" is a shawl, "Asymmetrical Balance" is a unisex scarf, etc. It's not necessarily a detraction, since there is a visual index with page numbers at the end of the book, and also to be fair, no knitter in history has ever bought a knitting book without paging through all the patterns first. I did not check every pattern slavishly, but as far as I can tell, the book's 20 patterns are not available as single downloads on any of the regular sites (Ravelry, Patternfish, Loveknitting, and knitCompanion).
I chose Sparrow Grass Hat (p. 17) as my test knit, since I happened to have a couple skeins of the called for yarn (in acid yellow from my 'what was I drinking?!' impulse yarn shopping days apparently. I literally don't remember buying this yarn). Anyhow, a lot of the details appealed to me. The background is a rib, so there's no cuff to the hat, the stretch is 'baked in'. It's a plain shape and quick to knit (last minute gift right there). PS As the author says the pattern looks like spears of asparagus (it does!), and as we all adore asparagus here at our house, I named the resultant hat my asparagus hat. The project was painless to knit (disclaimer, this is absolutely NOT the designer's fault, but the yarn (Wool of the Andes superwash bulky) was extremely rough and felt like knitting a cactus). It softened up a lot with the wool conditioner when I blocked it... but use caution if you're knitting something that's intended to rub against skin). I know you're not supposed to use conditioner on superwash wool and the knitting police are gonna get me.. but this stuff was SUPER itchy and I didn't want to scare the folks on the bus commute and make them think I had lice instead of a scratchy hat). I found no mistakes in the pattern, and it knitted up very quickly.
I really like that almost all of the lace patterns included the stitch diagrams as well as the written instructions. This is not a how-to-knit book; it presupposes some familiarity with knitting and reading a pattern. None of these patterns are beyond the capabilities of a determined beginner, so long as you have access to some support from your local knitting guru. As an aside, I wholeheartedly recommend group knitting. It's more fun to knit together and you always have access to people who can help you if you find yourself trying to translate a 1930s Hungarian sock pattern without, you know, speaking Hungarian (yep, been there, done that).
All in all, an appealing collection of lace accessories including a fair number of unisex patterns.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.