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Review: Classic Knits


First, the facts:

Title: Classic Knits

Author: Marianne Isager

Published by: Interweave Knits, 2009

Pages: 183

Type: Patterns.


1. One “chapter” per pattern

Classic Knits

Pattern Size Range: Varies widely–men, women, children

The In-Depth Look:

Ooh, I liked this book. Marianne Isager has a reputation for doing ethnic-inspired knitwear (like her recent Japanese book, or her Africa book of a few years ago), but they don’t always appeal to me personally.

This one, though? Classy and classic. The sweaters in this book look like they’re easily wearable, without being too “ethnic,” or too “creative” and yet they are creative.

Creative shapes. Creative stitches. Creative color combinations. The patterns in this book are fun. Cossack is a nice cardigan with a peplum–and an optional “fur” collar. Fisherman takes a standard gansey shape but uses a clever, slip-stitch instead of ribbing at the edges. Monk is as cozy a hooded pullover as you could want, but has a tassel on the hood and some intarsia triangles at the vented bottom. I love the way the honeycomb pattern on Honey works its way down the sleeves. None of these patterns are boring, and yet I’d give almost every one of them space in my closet.

A couple details I particularly like: The specifications for each sweater don’t name a specific yarn–instead, it gives estimated weights (i.e., 200 grams of laceweight yarn). No worries about discontinued yarn. Granted, all the yarns used are from Marianne Isager’s personal collection of yarn (and those specifications are given also), but I like that she’s not trying to tell you that you should use HER yarn. She’s telling you what you need (general) and then what she herself used (specific), and leaving the rest up to you.

I like that not only are there detailed schematics for each pattern (which is more or less a must these days), but in addition to the modelled shots, every sweater is photographed lying flat, so that you can get a good look at its shape. AND, not only that, there are detailed swatches photographed for each pattern, so you can see the stitch patterns clearly. When have you ever seen a book give that much detail?

It’s particularly appreciated here because, stylish as the modelled photos are, they don’t exactly do much for showing you the finished product. It’s a rare photo that doesn’t have the model leaning, or folding his or her arms. These things worry me a bit, but all that other detail in the swatches and schematics are very reassuring.

In other words, finally, a Marianne Isager book that I can not only admire for its creative vision, but that I an actually like.

This book is available at amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!

My Gush: I like this so much more than the Japanese Knits book. (No offense.)

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