First, the facts:
Title: Alterknits Felt: Imaginative Projects for Knitting and Felting
Author: Leigh Radford
Published by: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Type: Patterns, how-to.
2. Felting Basics
3, etc. (One for each pattern)
4. Special Techniques, Abbreviations, etc.
Pattern Size Range: N/A
The In-Depth Look:
I need to tell you up-front that felting (fulling) isn’t my favorite knitting technique. It’s handy, I’ve done it, but it’s not usually the kind of technique I gravitate to. That said, when I flipped through this book at the bookstore a couple weeks ago, the patterns kept catching my eye, so that I simply had to take a closer look.
She starts by explaining the process of felting, and giving instructions on how to estimate shrinkage. She discusses the benefits of felting in a washing machine or by hand–and when you might want to felt handknits differently than store-bought knits. Not to mention needle felting. All of this is covered very succinctly in about 6 pages. There might be details that were left out, that someone more expert in fulling knitting fabric would catch, but I thought this was pretty clearly explained.
But then, the good part. The patterns. These cover quite a variety–bags, pillows, sweaters, hats, rugs, blankets, holiday decorations. I’m not entirely sure what the sequencing is, here, since the different items seem to be scattered throughout the book–there are bags at the beginning, middle, and end, for example. My guess is that the sequence is built on basic felting techniques, but there’s nothing that clearly says.
So, bags. There’s a Shibori-inspired bag with some nifty texture, an adorable circular coin purse (with some tricky shaping during the knitting process to make the finished, felted product to be an actual circle). The Simple Zipper Bag is exactly that, though I’d worry about my stuff falling out through the armholes (but then, I worry about stuff falling out of my bags all the time). There’s a huge (huge!) carry-all. And a linen Market Bag, with needle-felting picking out the details of the upholstery fabric. (How clever is that?)
Accessories: I really loved the Pleated Collar–felted with snazzy, pleated ridges–and the Shibori scarf has interesting texture to it. There’s jewelry, too. Needle-felted rings. Bracelets and rings made from i-cords. A necklace with beads. Not to mention buttons. There’s a photo of a velvet jacket with handmade, woolen buttons … yum! How about a Cloche hat?
Housewares: The Camp Rose Cushions and Chair Backs were very cool–what a great way to dress up a folding chair. Similarly, the Reverse Applique Rugis charming and interesting … but I’d be reluctant to walk on it (grin). An assortment of fantastic pillows. A blanket. A laptop/book sleeve from recycled sweaters. Potholders. How about some cute little stacking, square boxes?
Then, how about a garland for your Christmas Tree? (Or, really, for anywhere, if you don’t have a Christmas tree.) Ornaments? A tree skirt? Stockings that can also be stocking caps. Really, there’s such a nice variety of things in here. There are two sweaters with felted details, but I admit I wasn’t particularly fond of them.
Honestly, I liked this book. It’s creative. The patterns are attractive and playful–I’d be happy to give house room to any of these rugs, pillows, or knick-knacks. The felted jewelry would be a lovely addition to my jewelry box. It’s just a nice book.
This book is selling for $16.47 over at Amazon.
My Gush: Such nice variety of things, all felted. It surprised me how much I liked this book.