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Knitting Book Reviews

Knitting in the Sun
by Kristi Porter

Just give me a minute to catch my breath–that wrap on the cover is absolutely breath-taking. Okay … Now, as a usual thing, warm-weather knits aren’t my favorites. I like cuddling into warm, cozy knits on a chilly day, and the last thing I want to do on a hot day is put on a sweater, even the lightest of weights. I have to admit, though, that this book has some really lovely patterns for those folks who need something to occupy their fingers for the summer, or who live in warmer climates year-round.

Each chapter is sorted by types of knits–accessories, sleeveless tops, short-sleeved tops, and so on. (Incidentally, I’ll just insert here that I love the “double" table of contents–there’s one version that gives thumbnail photos of each pattern, and another version that gives the names. Handy and clever for a knitting book!)

Most of the patterns are of the shirt/sweater variety. Lightweight shells to wear on their own or with jackets. Sweaters with sleeves both long and short–some are simple, some are lacy–and there’s an entire section for cardigans. Really, it’s a nice variety of garments.

There are hats–light, airy, hats to keep the sun off your face. Lacy wraps for when you just need a little extra something against a cool evening or the office air conditioner. The bag-cum-blanket for trips to the beach is pretty ingenius. Several skirts to choose from. Sleepwear. There’s even a beach chair.

The list of designers is like a who’s who of up-and-coming designers (some of whom I’ve heard of and some I haven’t, but will keep an eye out for). Eileen Adler, Sarah Barbour, Heather Broadhurst, Rachel “Ivy" Clarke, Carol Feller, Faina Goberstein, Stefanie Japel, Janine Le Cras, Dawn Leeseman, Lisa Limber, Anne Kuo Lukito, Marnie MacLean, Jairlyn Mason, Jillian Moreno, Kendra Nitta, Amy Polcyn, Susan Robicheau, Sarah Sutherland, Julia Trice, Katherine Vaughan, Tonya Wagner, and the author herself, of course, Kristi Porter.

The photography is beautiful. Artful without suspiciously hiding details. (And, honestly, the cover photo with the girl on the beach with the Aran Wrap? It’s the perfect juxtaposition of artistry and practicality where knitting pattern photos are concerned. Gorgeous to look at, but you can clearly see the details of the wrap.) There sure are a lot of photos at the beach, which is making me yearn to get sand between my toes, but they’re beautiful.

The “special techniques" section at the back is pretty perfunctory–this is not the kind of book that really shows you anything new, so much as giving you options for techniques you already know. There’s not a whole lot of text, either; it’s solidly packed with patterns and photos, and no extraneous nonsense. I already told you how much I liked the two-way Table of Contents, and it’s also got a thorough Index. (You know how I love thorough documentation.)

My one real problem, and it’s not a particularly big one? The way the book is formatted, each pattern is preceded by a full-page photo of the finished object. Since some patterns use an odd number of pages, and others use an even number, that means that that full page varies from being on the left or on the right page. Which means that, sometimes, you get see the last page of one pattern on the left, and a completely unrelated, full-size photo on the right. Normally that doesn’t phaze me, but for some reason, flipping through this book, it threw me off every time. I wish that they had put the “title page" for each pattern first, or that they had something unique in the margins to help denote that, starting with this page, they were talking about a new pattern to avoid the confusion.

Nit-picking? Well, sure. But does it keep me from liking the rest of the book? Nope. Not at all.

Reviewed by Deb Boyken

Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at
http://knittingscholar.com .

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