I convinced myself that I needed some more books in my knitting library since I’m a bit short on material and inspiration when it comes to babies‘ and toddler’s stuff. A trip to Amazon.de revealed quite a few books although I was a bit miffed that half of them had the words ’simple‘ or ‚easy‘ or – even worse – BOTH on the cover. What’s wrong with those people?! I am – like loads of other people out there – an experienced knitter and I usually don’t do easy or simple. I want a good book, with clear instructions, nice pictures and I like my patterns on the challenging side or at least on the not-boring side. In the end I decided to have a look at the following editions:
The first two books arrived this week and I cannot keep my opinion about them to myself.
Well, you might have suspected it. This is a typical Debbie Bliss book. It’s very nicely done in ways of photographing, type setting and book binding (hard-cover). Especially the pictures are way beyond cute but that’s to be expected – it’s babies, after all. But – and there had to be a BUT – the instructions are in my opinion vague at best. There are no schematics to indicate the shape and cut of the garments and no charts for the lacy and cable parts. And the pictures really don’t care much about showing how the garment is constructed but more about the cuteness. To me, that’s a major turn-off.
Bliss devides her patterns into three categories: Simple (here we go again), Cozy and Special. The garments themselves are covering everything from shoes, hats, little jackets, blankets and more complicated stuff like Fair Isle cardigans. They are all cute – no question about that but a lot of them don’t strike me as overly practical. Maybe that’s why she dubbed the third part ‚Special‘ so nobody would get any ideas about the washing and caring and about how long a baby would actually be able to wear the richly embroidered jacket until it has grown out of it.
Well, to make a long story short: since I really do not care for her way of writing down the instructions this book will be sent back to where it came from. Even 20 Euros are way too much for getting yourself into a hissy fit over some unclear instruction.
This one is not quite as exclusively done when it comes to appearances. It’s a practical soft-cover in the typical Interweave Press square book format. As the book title suggests only yarns from organic wools and cottons are used although they might easily be substituted with different yarns since the yardages, weights and gauges are given with every pattern. Each of the 22 patterns is accompanied by a little sketch showing the garment and its construction and alongside a ‚cute photograph‘ you have always one picture showing the shape of the garment clearly. Now, that’s more like it, if you ask me.
Patternwise you’ve got everything from little booties, mittens, hats, stuffed toys up to jackets and blankets in there. With most patterns Ms. Harding gives alternatives on how to customize a garment either for a girl or a boy. And she does not go the obvious way of using the clichéd color scheme blue vs. pink which I find utterly refreshing. She cleverly uses embroidery, lacy edgings and direction of button bands to distinguish between her boy and girl versions of a garment. For the momies she’s got three sweater patterns and one shawl in there that are equally clever as the baby stuff.
For the more complicated cable patterns and for the purl/knit-stitch patterns Harding uses charts. Why she doesn’t see it necessary to include one for a lace edging I do not know. The instructions are far more detailed than the ones devised by Debbie Bliss. And to top it all off the book even has an index to quickly find your way through the 128 pages of patterns. This one definitely is a keeper.