knit(ting)books

so, in addition to the collecting of old craft books, patterns, and pamphlets, i also fancy love to snap up choice new craft titles. i’ve just added a few new and interesting books to my collection, all having to do with knitting…

recently acquired knitting books

knitprovisation by cilla ramnek: not really so much a book of patterns, but more of a book of inspirations and ideas intended to inspire. the photographs inside are of children and teens and are shot in a very flat, interestingly flaw-filled way that reminds me of avant-garde arty fashion magazine shots, and the whole book sort of has a very european or japanese aesthetic, i’d suggest. sort of a wabi-sabi feel, perhaps? there’s a sense of the ugly made beautiful in this book, which of course appeals to me personally: i am very often a champion of that which others might find offensive or declasse. in knitprovisation, ramnek often mixes found knit or crocheted textiles together to make “new” garments, or adds embellishments. the resulting garments have a very hand-hewn, folkloric, magpie sort of feel. this book probably won’t appeal to everyone, especially those who have a very minimal sense of style or those who expect everything to be “perfect” and “beautiful” in the traditional sense, or people who want explicit instructions on how to make something. but it might appeal to those who “think outside the box” and innovate when it comes to the process of creating.

knitprovisation by cilla ramnekknitprovisation by cilla ramnek

knitprovisation by cilla ramnek

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fitted knits by stefanie japel: if you have been a knitter and have been bopping around the ‘net for a few years, you probably know stefanie, the knitting maven who’s the blogger and designer behind her line of patterns, called glampyre knits. by and large, her knits are extremely stylish, practical, wearable, flattering, and relatively easy to knit. most of her designs feature a super easy top down raglan-sleeve style construction which often features the inclusion of “darts” and other full-fashioning marks that serve to make her knits fit a woman’s form exactly, in the way that darts and other shaping device work in wovens. what does this mean? no more boxy, unflattering knits. most of the designs have a minimal or classic feel, and at times a little Victorian sort of edge.

fitted knits by stefanie japelfitted knits by stefanie japel

fitted knits by stefanie japel

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twinkle’s big city knits by wenlan chia: twinkle has become the go-to designer for chunky knitwear with a downtown feel. chia’s new book is full of the aforementioned, in spades. all this chunk love has been illustrated in a dynamic mainstream fashion mag sort of way, with a lithe model leaping and writhing around for the camera to show off the giant-gauge goods. these big gauges aren’t for everyone, but those knitters who embrace the bold might just be so brash. my favorite knit in the book? the “incredible skirt”, with it’s graduating color and organic feel.

twinkle's big city knits by wenlan chiatwinkle's big city knits by wenlan chia

twinkle's big city knits by wenlan chia

edited to add on 3/2/2007: upon further examination of twinkle’s new book, i noted that sizing only goes up to 34″ (fitting up to a 37″ bust, according to the sizing notes on page 78). shame on you, wenlan chia! i think your sizing scheme is out of touch with current average sizes of women and also a bit size-ist as well. a slightly wider range of sizes (perhaps up through 38 or 40?) would have been a smarter move on your part, and would perhaps make your beautiful book more salable in the long run, to a wider audience of fashionable knitters.

12 comments

  1. S.

    Holy crap! That skirt is marvelous. I’m afraid that if I were skilled enough to knit, my wardrobe would look like one mondo craft project.

  2. Marlena

    I’ve cultivated a bit of an obsession with puffed sleeves lately (I am currently desperately seeking a slightly cropped, zip-up hoodie with puffed sleeves made with sweatshirt material, preferably kelly green, maybe with pink edging), so one look at that red cardigan from Stefanie’s book sent me straight to Powell’s to order. Thanks!

  3. Kait

    I was really excited about Big City Knits until I looked at it in Borders and noticed that the largest size the patterns are written for are a 34″bust!!:( I’m curious to know if anyone will buy it who needs to adjust it to a larger size. Being able to knit to a variety of sizes is one reason there’s no doubt I’ll buy Stefanie’s book. And because the patterns are gorgeous, of course! I hadn’t heard of Knitprovisations before, it looks intriguing, thanks for the review!

  4. Princess Pumpkin

    Thanks for the review of Chia’s book. I was just about to click ‘buy’ on Book Depository but I’m rethinking it now that I’ve heard about its sizing. Great photos though!

  5. Anne aka roxy

    34″ bust?

    Dang. I’m going to a Twinkle release party tomorrow night at StitchDC but I’m no way near a 34″ bust. More like 40″ LOL (and I’m Asian)

    Well, either way, thanks for the reviews. Your blog is pretty – keep up the fab work!

  6. fran

    http://www.classiceliteyarns.com/pattern_detail.php?patternID=36

    Hi
    Up to a 40 should be ok with the patterns. I thought the sizing was wierd but if you go thru the intro carefully there’s info about it – same as the above link. I have a 36 bust, made the hoodie in L, in Blue Skies alpaca Bulky, got gauge, and ripped it when I got to the neck as it was too big. My sis is a 44 and never wears anything made with bulky yarn as she finds it unflattering. But YMMV. Anyway, after making one bulky sweater and not liking the look, I found that it was much better to make bulky stuff using patterns with shaping, and I usually went at least a size too small to get that fitted stretchy look. This book does it for you.

    (PS I found your site trying to find info on Knitprovisation – thank you!)

    HTH,
    Frnacesca

  7. tricia

    fran: thanks for the link and information. i’m glad to see that it’s been clarified by wenlan/the publishers/yarn companies in more detail. i was a bit scared there for a while!

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