First, the facts:
Authors: Sally Melville & Caddy Melville Ledbetter
Published by: Potter Craft, 2009
(It doesn’t really have chapters, just patterns, and a couple essay/tributes mixed in between.)
Pattern Size Range: XS to 2X
The In-Depth Look:
I liked this book so much, I immediately bought a copy and made a swatch for one of the sweaters. It’s been a while since a knitting book and I clicked together so very quickly.
Despite the title, this book is (thankfully) NOT about cute little matchy-matchy outfits for moms to wear when they’re out with their daughters. In fact, I actually think the title is the worst mistake in the entire book–very misleading. Because what it IS, is a book written by the brilliant Sally Melville and her daughter Caddy Melville Ledbetter.
Every pattern in this book comes from one of the brains of this mother/daughter team, and while I don’t love all of them, there are a lot of them that I do.
Like, the Gray Cardigan, which is the one I immediately started digging through my stash for. The Knit-Across Sweater looks like a fun knit and a comfortable wear, and the Scarf-Closing Cardigan is just creative–who would have thought of tying a cardigan closed with a coordinating scarf, rather than using zippers or buttons? And the filmy, mohair Classic Shirt really captures the tailoring details of your favorite, white cotton shirt. There’s a Sophisticated Hoodie to which I would be more than happy to give closet room. And the Mini-Dress (which is really a sweater) is a fabulous use of color-blocking.
There are a slew of creative accessories to go with the sweaters. The Tabbed cuffs are a creative look at the ubiquitous fingerless gloves, and there’s a pattern for Spats, too. (I’ve loved the look of a gentlemanly pair of spats for, well, forever, and the idea of converting them into a pair of legwarmers? Brilliant.) I love the casual look of the Two-Way Shrug, also, that almost looks cape-like, while having sleeves. I love the interweaving look of the Garden Party Scarf, and think the ribbon-laced Corset Belt is lovely.
There are a couple patterns I don’t like very much. And I can’t honestly see the point of a “pattern” for a headband or a necktie, but with so many of the patterns in the book being ones I like or really love, it seems poor taste to nitpick on a couple that make me say “eh.”
The knits are all beautifully photographed for this book, and by “beautifully” I mean that they’re not only easy on the eyes, but practical representations of the knits being shown. No weird postures or props to distract you. The Table of Contents lists out every pattern, and they are also listed in the Index at the back.
Let’s not forget, either, the chapter on Knit to Flatter and Fit–a very helpful explanation of the hows and whys some shapes, styles, lengths fit certain body types better than others. There is information in this chapter that I don’t remember ever reading before, and I need to go back and study it because, well, it’s going to be worth re-reading it a few dozen more times.
As I said, I pretty much bought a copy of this for myself on sight because I liked it so much, and it’s been a while since a book of knitting patterns made me want–or need–to do that. I love the way these two designers bring their own viewpoint to bear on basic styles, and how they both interpret classics in her own, special way. None of the patterns are dull. None are unwearably weird. They’re creative. They’re well thought out. They’re stylish.
This book is well worth the $19.77 amazon.com is charging for it.