Knitting Book Reviews

Knitted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make and Give
by Ann Budd

One of the things I’m enjoying most about this gig of writing book reviews is having a chance to look through books just like this. As I flipped through for the first time, I kept smiling and saying, “Ooh,” “Pretty,” “Nice!” from one pattern to the next.

There are a lot of them, too. I count 37 patterns, and that’s not separating out the ones that are listed as sets, like the hat/mitten set on the cover. Thirty-seven patterns. That’s huge!

And–I can’t remember the last time I said this–there’s not a loser in the bunch.

I can already think of at least five of these patterns that I actively want to make (like the ballet slippers, for example), and even the ones I’m not likely to need (I don’t think my dog would care for the catnip mouse), are still adorable.

You probably want specifics, huh?

There are a number of nice, basic patterns in here. Socks. Hats. Scarves. Dishcloths. Some are simpler; some are more complex. The Gentleman’s Scarf, for example, is a simple-looking scarf, but it’s knitted in such a fine gauge, the rows are 80 stitches across, as compared to the 26 stitches in the Transitions scarf. Neither pattern is exceptionally complicated, but the gauge makes a huge difference in the committment required to knit them.

The Texter Gloves, with their retractable thumbs to make sending text messages easier are clever. The Motor baby bunting is warm and cozy and has a slit for buckling the baby into a car seat. I love the creativity of the Neckwarmer Hat that can be worn around the neck or on the head. It’s the outside-the-box touches like these that make me appreciate these designs. They’re creative, but also eminently practical for what they need to do.

Not everything is for wearing, either. There are pillow designs, too. Napkin rings. A coffee cup holder to replace the cardboard ones you get with take-out. I love the Folded Tweed Bag, too, which is creative and yet practical. A bottle sleeve to keep your wine from dripping (and I bet it could be adapted to a teapot, too). A cozy for a votive candle holder. Oven mitts. How about a set of juggling balls?

Really, I LIKE this book. It’s fun. It’s practical. It has a complete table of contents, schematics where necessary, and illustrative-yet-not-camoflauging photographs.

Not to mention–though I SHOULD mention–a great cast of designers. Pam Allen, Veronik Avery, Nancy Bush, Gregory Courtney, Chrissy Gardiner, Kim Hamlin, Therese Inverso. Mags Kandis, Cecily Glowik Macdonald, Marta McCall, Kathy Merrick, Kristin Nicholas, Ruthie Nussbaum, Vicki Square, Jaya Srikrishnan, Elissa Sugishita, Judith L Swartz, Kathy Ticho. Jolene Treach, Kathy Zimmerman. Along, of course, with Ann Budd, who never disappoints.

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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