First, the facts:
Title: Knitted Jackets
Author: Cheryl Oberle
Published by: Interweave Press, 2008
4. Materials and Techniques
Pattern Size Range: A wide range, anywhere from 38″ to 55″ depending on the pattern.
The In-Depth Look:
Here’s how the author begins the book: “Put on your jacket!” For centuries this sage advice has been heeded in cultures around the world. Jackets are worn for warmth, for work, and for style. A jacket is often the outermost layer of our appearance to the world and so it is indeed a special thing. A jacket can identify one as part of a society or distinguish one as an individualist.” (Emphasis is mine.)
I like this quote, because I like the idea. There is a difference between a knitted jacket meant to be worn as outerwear and one meant to be part of an outfit. Or one that’s a sweater. A daily outfit changes so often, you can switch from casual to dressy to serious to playful all depending on your mood. But outerwear is more constant–it tends to be something you wear every day, every time you leave the house for months at a time. It’s defining. It’s like the difference between buying eccentric, trendy furniture or buying classic furniture and dressing it with eccentric, playful throws, pillows, and artwork on the walls.
So–when you pick your outerwear, do you buy classic “furniture” or the flash-in-the-pan, trendy stuff?
The subtitle of this book is “20 Designs from Classic to Contemporary,” so it covers most of the possibilities.
There are classic, basic jackets like Box Top (one of my favorites), and The Wrapper. Just simple, warm garments to throw on when it’s cold and that will go with anything you’re wearing underneath.
Then there are “classic” as in, classically-inspired, like the Norwegian-styled Bergen, or the Edwardian Day Coat. These are jackets that aren’t strictly knitted duplicates of other styles so much as being inspired by them. The long, roomy Dakota on the Side looks cozy and elegant, as does the Wabi Sabi.
A lot of these patterns have an international flair. Tyrolean. Andean. Norwegian. Native American. Baltic. Japan. England. Irish. There are cabled patterns. There are lace patterns. Color work. Stitch texture. Big, boxy jackets. More fitted jackets. Cropped jackets. Long jackets. Heavy jackets. Light jackets.
Do you get a sense of the variety, here?
Now, there is a trick about knitwear meant to be used as coats and jackets. If things aren’t done just right, they tend to look like … sweaters. In this regard, some of these patterns are more successful than others. Some look like, well, jackets, some frankly look more like sweaters–though, as a rule, they tend to be roomy sweaters. The kind that you could layer over a complete outfit and go for a walk. (As opposed to the fitted, slimmer sweaters which seem so popular lately).
This alone makes this book pretty refreshing. The sweaters come in a good range of sizes, and the shapes tend to be “comfortable” rather than fitted. I’m not saying that that these are shapeless, or unflattering–I’m just saying that they’re roomy, and that that is perfect for outerwear but not necessarily what you want while you putter around the house. It’s a Knitted Jacket book, though, so, well … of course!
Overall, I think this is a really nice collection of patterns. Cheryl Oberle obviously worked hard to cover a wide variety of bases, so that there’s something in here for almost everyone. (Well, every woman, anyway. All the patterns are for women, not children, not men.) The book is nicely organized, with the patterns listed in the Table of Contents and with an index at the back highlighting techniques. The photos are detailed, clear, and attractive, without being so “arty” that you can’t see the details or shapes of the jackets.
This book is available at Amazon for $15.21.
This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!