First, the facts:
Title: Knitting Classic Style
Author: Veronik Avery
Published by: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007
Pages: 143 p.
1. Fashion Mavens
3. Global Travelers
4. Thrill Seekers
The In-Depth Look:
The author says in the introduction, “For me, both fashion and knitting serve a common purpose–the opportunity for creative, wearable self-expression–and it was in that spirit that I created this book.”
Job well done, is all I can say.
The patterns in this book are exactly what you’d expect from the title–stylish, and classic. Or, rather, inspired by the classic.
Some of the patterns are, in fact, very traditional. The Fair Isle Cardigan. The Graphic Hoodie. They may be slightly modern “takes” on traditional shapes, but no-one would look at them and say, “Huh?”
Then, there are “traditional” patterns which are being repurposed in an entirely new way. Like the Corset Cover, whose Victorian forebears would certainly NOT have been seen wearing such a thing as an outer layer. Ditto for the Halter Swimsuit-Style Vest. For the 21st century, though, these modest garments make excellent layering pieces.
There are also the pattern updates–a Faorese pullover shaped with Raglan sleeves rather than using the traditional steek method. A twinset with an emblazoned turtleneck rather than a plain shell. The Llama Cardigan is a classic man’s sweater (I keep picturing college professors with pipes), but comes with a short-sleeve, woman’s variation. The cover sweater (the Aspen Top-Down Sweater) is inspired by cabled fisherman sweaters.
I’m sure you get the idea … traditionally classic patterns, but with variations in the shaping, or the way in which they’re worn, but still true to the style that inspired them.
There are lots of accessories, too. The rectangular Warm Shawl, for example, based on the simple shawls Orenburg knitters made for themselves. Simple, beaded pulse warmers. A simplified, monochromatic version of Argyle Socks. I love the Mohair Portrait Scarf, which imitates the look of lacy ruffs, and the Bicycle Socks are playful and lovely to look at.
And, yes, this is just a fraction of the patterns available. There are 35 in all. As seems usual, most are for women, but there are some for men, a couple for children, and some which are interchangeable. As a rule, the patterns are attractive and wearable–nothing too outré, or that looks too uncomfortable or too fussy. Quite the contrary, just about every pattern looks like something you could slip on and wear happily all day.
Each pattern is introduced with its inspiration–why the designer came up with this variation, what made her think it was necessary, or why she felt compelled to play with it. (I always appreciate that.) There are schematics and notes with each one, to help the knitter past the tricky areas. The photographs are good to look at and give a reasonable look at each pattern, along with close-ups of detailing. In other words, no obvious camoflauge to hide wonky sections. There is also an index–which is the only place you’ll find a listing of individual patterns.