Sunday, 5 April 2009

New things

I have two new knitting books, now I've got more room on the shelf.

These, as you can probably see, are Sally Melville's new title, 'Mother-Daughter Knits', co-written with her daughter Caddy; and also Marianne Isager's 'Japanese Inspired Knits'.

They are both really, really good.

Anything from Sally Melville is always going to be excellent, she has a knack of producing well written patterns for extremely wearable garments - and in this book she tells us exactly how she does it. Not the pattern-writing, but the choosing of styles that are flattering to the wearer. The first chapter is titled 'Knit to Flatter and Fit' - and that is exactly what it's all about.

How to achieve - or appear to achieve! - a natural hourglass shape. How to decide what length and shape of garment will best suit you - and what to wear with each length and shape. How to measure yourself to determine your ideal short sweater length - how to measure for your ideal mid-length sweater - how to measure for your ideal big long sweater. And it isn't difficult!

(Now I know exactly what length I shall work Chamonix, when I get round to it.)

After that, there are 30 patterns - some from Caddy and some from Sally. There are three in particular that I really love, and plan to make. No Rav links yet - well, there are links, but no pictures, so my somewhat dodgy photos will have to do.

First, the Classic Shirt.

Simple, but with some lovely construction details - and very, very elegant. Finishing is going to be paramount for the success of this design, and as always Sally gives plenty of detail.

This pattern is written for Needful Mohair Royal, and Kidsilk Haze will be an excellent substitute. I can see this being worn and worn!

Secondly, the Mother-of-the-Bride Cardigan.

This is just gorgeous, and it's all about contrasts. It is written for two yarns of very different weight - Rowan's Kidsilk Spray (now discontinued, but still to be found) and Zitron Skacel Loft, for which I intend to substitute the remains of my Rowan Polar. I had some left after I finished Polly, and I also happen to have some Kidsilk Spray in Graphite, which goes perfectly with the grey Polar.

The back is worked in the bulky yarn and is short and fitted, the front is worked in the Kidsilk Spray and is fine, loose, and drapy. The sleeves are worked in both yarns - the top is worked in the bulky yarn, and is fitted, the lower part is worked in the fine yarn and is drapy. And most of the cardigan is lace, in several different patterns.

So there is the contrast between the bulky yarn and the fine one, the solid and the variegated, and also the contrast between fitted and floaty. I am very much looking forward to casting on for this one!

Finally, the Gray Cardigan. Another must-have, at least for me.

Sally tells a story of how a friend saw a perfect gray cardigan in a shop, but didn't buy it because she knew that she could knit it - except that she wouldn't knit it because it was just a gray cardigan. So Sally designed a gray cardigan that would keep the knitter interested, and really it is excellent.

The recommended yarn is Classic Elite One Fifty, worked at 20 stitches to 4" instead of its more usual gauge of 22 sts to 4". I think that Rowan Classic Extra Fine Merino will make an excellent substitute.

I'll write about the Marianne Isager book, tomorrow - this post is quite long enough. Suffice it to say for the moment, that this is the first time I've read one of her books, but it won't be the last!

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