First, the facts:
Author: The Studios of Classic Elite Yarns
Published by: Taunton Press
Type: Patterns. Lots of patterns.
1. Women’s Knits
2. Men’s Knits
3. Children’s Knits
Pattern Size Range: Such a wide range, it varies widely per pattern.
The In-Depth Look:
I didn’t actually count them, but the cover promises 100 patterns, and they meant 100 patterns. This book is just jam-packed with patterns.
They are broken into four sections: patterns for women, men, children, and accessories.
For women, there are 39 patterns, and they cover quite a variety. There are simple, slim-fitted tanks and basic pullovers. There are bulky, pieces for layering. Sweaters with cables. Sweaters with color. Pullovers. Cardigans. Shells. Jackets. Shrugs.
In other words, pretty much everything except for skirts or dresses. If it’s a sweater-like garment of any kind, there’s going to be at least one in here. Some, like the Everyday Pullover or the Sleeveless Tee are pretty much as simple as you can get. (I mean that in a good way.) Others are more complicated, like the Large Flower Pattern Cardigan with its intarsia color blocks and textured backgrounds. I love the Seed Stitch Blazer, which stopped me dead in my tracks as I did my first, eager flip-through of the book.
Really, trying to describe the breadth of pattern types would take me forever. (You heard me tell you there are 100 patterns, right?) There are samples of just about every type of knitting, here. Intarsia. Slip-stitch color work. Fair Isle. Well, okay, there’s only one pattern with stranded colorwork. Lots of cables and textures. Nice, clean lines to most of the sweaters. Some are bulky, quick knits. Some are finer, lighter knits. … Except for elaborate colorwork, I can’t really think of a general style that is NOT here.
Now, for men. I count 15 patterns, and they are great patterns.
Unlike the women’s section, these are fairly straight-forward. That’s not meant to be a back-handed compliment. Since most men that I know are fairly conservative about their clothing shapes and colors, you really wouldn’t expect funky, cutting-edge kinds of patterns. No, you want a sweater that will make it out of the closet once you’ve finished knitting it–but you want it to be stylish. You want sweaters with interesting texture, good colors, nice details around the neckline–and that, all of these patterns have.
Every sweater in the Men section is a pullover. The necklines vary between crew necks, turtlenecks, and V-necks. Most of them are textured in some way–either with all-over stitch pattern, or with cables. (Oh, such lovely cables.) A few of them have stripes, but mostly–these are basic, classy, textured sweaters. Really nice sweaters. As in–I don’t see WHY any of them would ever be left at the back of a closet. They’re too nice for that.
Now, this is a family book, so we mustn’t forget the children. In fact, they get 24 patterns–more than Dad. (But then, don’t kids usually have more clothes than their fathers?)
These–as you’d expect–are cute little patterns, for cute little kids. But that doesn’t mean they’re the overly-twee kind of cutesy. Most of them are pretty basic in shape, but with bright colors, or extra little touches like a knit flower or a sparkly ruffle. Some of the patterns are the children’s versions of the adult sweaters. The Large Flower Pattern, for example, or the Multi-Striped V-Neck Pullover (which also comes with a matching stocking cap that is adorable).
I like this children’s section because the patterns are playful and look charming on their models, but they also look eminently wearable, the kind of sweaters happy children wear. (Or am I just being influenced by the smiling, happy faces?) No, I don’t think so–they’re nice shapes and look easy and non-fussy for wearing. Things you can tear around a playground in.
Okay, the Accessory Section? Well, they’re okay. Pretty basic. Nothing hideous, but nothing that made me go “Ooh!” either. There are 15 of them. Scarves, a couple hats, some mittens. They’re fine. Nice. Practical, and in pleasant colors, and in shapes that will keep your hands, neck, and head warm.
So–things I liked? Well, really, there’s a lot. Really nice patterns. And a LOT of them. Good photographs of them–which is important. There are good schematics, and the charts are nice and big and easy to read. And the sweaters are listed in the table of contents AND in the index. Each pattern is labelled with a “Skill Level” and has notes for “Special Techniques,” “Notes,” and “Pattern Stitches” in the basic information–so, basically, you know right away if a pattern seems within your skill set. Never a bad thing.
Negatives? Um. I didn’t love every pattern, even though there’s really nothing I can say bad about any of them. And, really, we’re talking a hundred patterns–you can’t love everything, right? Some got a mental shrug of “Nice,” while others got a “Ooh, nice“. There is a difference, there, but not a single pattern warranted a mental shudder followed by a quick turn of the page (grin).
I would have liked to have had the designers’ names listed with each pattern, too. They’re listed at the back of the book, but personally, I would have liked to have seen them listed right there next to the pattern, so I could say, “Ooh, pretty,” and know immediately to whom I owe the pleasure without having to refer to page 217. The designers are many, too. Some of the names you might recognize? Deborah Newton, Kathy Zimmerman, Melissa Leapman, Sally Melville, Michele Rose Orne, Annie Modesitt, just to name a few.
If you’re looking for instructions, this book has very little “extra” material. A couple of pages of instructions and a list of abbreviations, but it pretty much assumes that you know the basics. Because, of course, they’re cramming in as many patterns as possible into a 220-page book–there really isn’t room!
So, is it worth it? For $16.47 over at Amazon? Well, considering the cover price is $24.95, that works out to just under $.25 for each pattern. Sounds like a bargain for me! Especially when you consider that you can be knitting out of this one book for years to come.