Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Review: Twelve Months of Knitting

I like this book, and the more I look at it, the more I like it. Designer Joanne Yordanou offers three designs for each month of the year; of the 36 projects, most are garments for adults, from January's snowflake-motif Cross Country Ski Sweater to a bikini in March, to August's summer shawl, to the Evening Festivities Cardigan in December. Non-wearables include a lace bookmark and a felted bag (April), cotton placemats (July), and cute felted Turtle Dove Xmas ornaments. There are also two kids' sweaters (sized for ages 2 to 10) and one fancy Fair Isle dog sweater.

I certainly don't like everything in the book, but the things I like, I really like. Also, I appreciate that a good variety of yarns (and yarn weights) are suggested, many of them relatively affordable and/or easy to find (e.g., Patons Classic). Fans of Manos del Uruguay will find six projects to knit. There's even a calendar to help you plan your knitting, based on "general timelines for completion," which may or may not be useful. (The Doggy Doodle sweater will take you two weeks to knit, so don't wait till your dog absolutely needs it!)


Again, I must complain about the absence of cable charts. Don't people want their cable projects charted? I know I do. There are several cabled garments in this book, and some look rather elaborate, yet none includes a chart. I can't imagine it saves that much space to describe the stitch patterns in text rather than to provide a chart. Honestly, people.


(What do you think about the lack of charts? Do you care?)

Anyhoo, it's a pretty good book. Definitely worth checking your local library catalog, and maybe worth buying if you like the pictures above. Here, I'll show you my favourite project (will I ever knit a vest like this?):



Speaking of vests, I've almost finished knitting the front of a Gilmore Vest -- the back is finished, too. I'm using teal wool, thrifted and previously blogged here. So far, so good. It's really wonderful yarn, and once the 40 (!) rows of 1-by-1 ribbing (!) are done, it's a quick knit.

24 comments:

Linda said...

Hi! It's probably just me, but I have trouble keeping my place in charts. I find I end up writing out the pattern repeat so I can absorb/memorize it. That said, I DO think charts should always be included. Practically, they help me get "the lay of the land." Psychologically, charts break up the typography, making patterns a bit less overwhelming. (...so says I!)

KristenJ said...

I won't even knit a cabled or lace project without a chart. Gah!

LEO said...

Oh yeah, I completely agree with KristenJ. I won't even consider doing things like that without a chart. I'd much rather glance occasionally at a chart than bury myself in a page of text, constantly having to think, "OK wait, now where was I???"

confiance said...

I remember reading somewhere that knitting authors don't have the final say if charts and/or text is included in the book. Which sucks, but at least we can blame non-knitters for a problem.

That said, I was once a chart-hater, as the whole missing stitches thing confused me to no end but now? Now I love charts. And will write my own if I have to.

Kim U said...

I don't know why, but the bikini picture on the cover turns me off this book. Not because it's a bikini and I have no chance of wearing one but because really... who would wear a knit bikini, especially one that looks like a tube top? It seems like such a throwaway project, it makes me wonder about the rest of the patterns. I think I'll have to find a way to look past the cover, always good advice :)

And I _totally_ agree with you about charts for cables. I had such a bad time with some written instructions for a dog sweater that had complicated cables (small project, good way to improve skills) that I charted them out myself using knitchart (http://jacquie.typepad.com/Charts/knitChart.htm). I wouldn't want to do that for a person sweater, seems like too much work. I definitely wouldn't do a complicated cable project without a chart though.

Chris said...

Hmm - I like both text and charts. They can serve as sanity checks of each other.

canknitian said...

I'm definitely a chart person. I like having the text to check things against if I get in a real jam, but the chart is definitely what I rely on. I need the visual, you know?

Thanks for the tip on this book. I'll definitely take a look although I expect I'll skip the bandeau bikini. lol

FUZZARELLY said...

I prefer charts. Somehow seeing the pattern makes it real. On the other hand, I have used written instructions and survived.

I think that any good knitting book should include both.

djb said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Daphne said...

My fancy opinion on charts: whatev. Except when they're hard patterns. I end up memorizing them anyway usually (preferred) and am not such a super cable fan anyway. I love lace, though, and though generally I don't need a chart there, I still sometimes find a chart indispensible--and so will end up drawing one myself.

So I guess I change my "whatev." rating to a "depends" rating.

Wasn't THAT helpful.

Daphne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Engranon said...

Add me to the loving charts camp. I will even draw out my own charts for some patterns because I find it easier. The first time I used a chart, I freaked, but it got easier in time.

Stacey said...

Charts please!!!! Ever since I learned to read them they are so much easier then written instructions! I make my own charts if there are none. I like to "see" my knitting!

Cute vest - both the one you are making and the one in the book - reminds me a little of the Ivy League vest...

Michelle said...

I am totally chart dependent--I lose my place too easily in a sea of written instructions and abbreviations.

But I also have a nifty Mac program that will translate written instructions into chart form.

MLO said...

When I review any knitting book with patterns or stitch patterns, I automatically ding it if it doesn't have charts. You really need both because we all know how good non-knitters are as editors of knitting books.

Ryan said...

Although I've knit a few complicated patterns without a chart, I don't really like going on blind faith that I'm doing everything correctly. There is always the possibility that after I've knit several inches, instead of everything magically clicking, I'll be ripping out and starting over.

TheBunny said...

Charts are a must. Actually, I often need them for even less complicated cabling as I can read and process them faster than the text.

Seanna Lea said...

I always use charts. If it is really complicated I will take a large-ish post-it and use it to cover up the rows I haven't done yet. It makes it much easier to follow along when I only have about 50% brain capacity (like 3 a.m. or when I'm sick).

I didn't always use charts. The first couple of projects were just easier to read the words and look at a picture to see if I was really doing what the words said.

Kathleen C. said...

Add me to the throng of chart lovers.
I like text as well, but charts just lay the picture out right before my eyes, and I can see what my knitting's supposed to be doing.
If I don't have a chart I will often make one of my own. Especially with lace!

Catherine said...

I, too, believe that charts for cables and lace are an absolute must. I also subscribe to the post it method in order to keep my place in the pattern.

curlypurly said...

love your book reviews.

Susanne said...

Unfortunately, the lack of charts would have me putting that book back on the shelf. What a shame as I l.o.v.e. those cabled sweaters, especially the cardigan. I see no reason why they are not charted, I suppose there is a cost associated to having someone chart them out but I refuse to knit from anything not charted. I have attempted some charting myself but I feel for the price of the book, they should be provided.

nicole said...

i strongly believe in charts! i am trying to write a very simple one right now and it is harder than i think it should be, so i can understand why they are sometimes missing. this book looks very intriguing--thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

I thought this book had some cute ideas in it. Am attempting the Doggy Doodle sweater in just 2 colors only and found that there is an error in the number of stitches. Working the body of the sweater you end up with 56 (84, 112) stitches NOT 56 (66,92). Now I can't figure out if her stitch numbers are incorrect as I do the chest shaping and wonder if 42 (48, 74) is correct or not. Emailed Joanne and she admitted to the first error but didn't comment on the second area I am having trouble with. Anyone?