Book Review: two knitting books

by kath_red on 11/08/2007

in Books, knitting+crochet+yarn

Fitted knits: 25 designs for the fashionable knitter, by Stefanie Japel, published by North Light Books. [see Stefanie’s blog and the knit-a-long for this book]

This is such a beautifully presented book, and the patterns and styles are all so elegant and gorgeous. Very simple to follow patterns, with illustrations where needed outlining shaping and clear instructions on tricky bits like trim, shaping (theres a lot of shaping) and edges etc.

Yes there is a lot of shaping in these patterns – hence the name “fitted knits” no baggy bodies or droopy shoulders here. All the patterns are meant to accentuate the womanly figure. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any chunky knits or big coats, even these have fitted elements. For example the ‘thick and thin cardigan coat’ uses a gorgeous chunky yarn for the main body, with a contrasting finer yarn for ribbing 3/4 up the sleeve and an extra long ribbed waist band. The ‘long coat with chevron lace’ has fitted raglan sleeves with bust, waist and sleeve shaping.

My absolute two – make that three favourite styles are the ‘back to school u-neck vest’, which has a long waist of ribbing which ends just below the bust and a tweedy stitch with bust shaping at the top. Very flattering. And the ‘cosy v-neck pullover with deep ribbing’ another pattern that uses the deep ribbing for shaping half way up the body and further up the sleeves with a cute high v-neck. And the ‘short sleeved cardigan with ribbing’ which uses a bulky yarn with ribbing, borders and structure to shape it.

The third main style of sweaters in this book are the short/ballet style sweaters. These are super sweet. Mini cardi in bulky yarn with shaped bust, flared sleeve cropped cardigan in a really chunky yarn, and another cropped cardigan with a dramatic scoop neckline, there is also a really cute short puffed sleeve cardigan with a slightly flared waist and mandarin collar.

This patterns in this book are meant to be altered to your personal measurement. The key is measuring yourself correctly and trying on the knitted garment at each stage, altering the increases or decreases until it fits.

This is going to be (already is) a great resource with patterns to suit all ages and styles – a good resource that is likely to last a lifetime.


Never knit your man a sweater*: *unless you’ve got the ring: 22 handsome projects for every level of commitment, by Judith Durant, published by Storey.

This book is based on the knitting myth that as soon as you knit your man a sweater he dumps you. So well … you should start with small projects and work up to the sweater – which is what this book does. Even though its all about a woman knitting for her man -the patterns in this book could of course be for men who knit. Each chapter has a witty title relating to the stage in the relationship and how much knitting time and effort is appropriate for him. Like “burger and a movie scarf” and “I met his friends vest”. Even though all of this is a little cute and slightly annoying. The patterns in the book are good.

“the burger and a movie scarf” is a noro yarn using block stitch – looks harder to knit than it is and is sure to impress. The “looking good laptop cover” in slip stitch, dark grey merino wool – is nice – a good gift for anyone uses a laptop. There are small projects in increasing difficulty, like hats, ipod socks, and the other sort of socks too and gloves and mittens and vests leading up to the crazy cable knit cardigan/sweater. Some of my favourite designs (that I might knit for my man and my man might actually use) include the scarf and laptop cover (already mentioned above), a very nice “keep his head warm watch cap” which an old fashioned style rib fishing beanie in merino wool knitted in the round. I really like the “flip your lid diamond mittens” which are those cool fingerless gloves with the mitten cover that flips over when needed. I was not too keen an any of the vests, I found them all to be a little nice, neat and conservative. But I liked the “part time living cotton classic sweater” – I like the firm fit of this design, showing off the mans broad shoulders and comes just to the hips – very stylish and simple.

Lots of good patterns in here for me to knit for themselves or to knit for your man (dad or brother too). I personally found the books premise a bit too cute and gimmicky – but once you get past that there are some good patterns – something for most tastes, ages and levels.

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