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Review: Romantic Hand Knits


First, the facts:

Title: Romantic Hand Knits: 26 Flirtatious Designs that Flatter Your Figure

Author: Annie Modesitt

Published by: Potter Craft, 2007

Pages: 143

Type: Women’s Patterns.


1. Above the Waist
2. Below the Waist
3. Accessories
4. Resources

Romantic Knits

Pattern Size Range: 28″ to 56″ (though it varies widely from pattern to pattern)

The In-Depth Look:

I wanted to love this book. I admire Annie Modesitt, and love her Knitting Heretic book. Her patterns are creative and clever, and … this book just didn’t do it for me.

It’s lush. It’s beautiful. The photographs are rich and evocative while still giving a good look at the actual knits (a huge, huge point in its favor). And, with a title like “Romantic Knits,” it’s not like I was expecting a book full of practical sweaters, or cute little cardigans to throw on for a chilly day.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I had been expecting when I ordered this book two years ago, but this wasn’t it.

It’s absolutely true that the patterns are clever. They are so beautifully constructed they could almost be said to have been engineered rather than merely designed. There’s a true master at work, here. The shaping in the cover skirt, for example, is absolutely perfect for accentuating a woman’s curves. There’s no denying that it’s a beautiful skirt, either–so long as you have the figure to be able to wear it. How can you not admire a knitted, spaghetti-strap tank top that has a built-in bra for support? It’s a knitterly masterpiece.

I like the lacy, wrapped surplice “Charade” sweater, and the details that go into “Notorious” with its fitted structure and flyaway sleeves is impressive, and the “Dark Victory” pullover sweater is gorgeous. How can you not appreciate the knitted picture hat? Or those amazing, sexy Silk Stockings? And the Cleopatra dress is very, very sleek

There are some amazing, awe-inspiring patterns in here. But then, there are also patterns which I think are, well, less than amazing.

“The Heiress” coat-length sweater with lace edging and embroidery, for example… it should be a pattern I love, but instead it makes me cringe. (Too long? Too much of a difference in colors? Too much lace? I’m not really sure.) The “Room with a View” sweater–well, same thing. I don’t like the color of the sample, but even if it were in a different yarn, I think the length is awkward, and think the faux-wrap makes this very petite model look overweight. Ditto for “Two for the road” which makes the model look plump, and whose double-ruffle neckline just looks odd. And the sleeves seem too short.

The calypso-inspired “West Side Story” skirt might work for a night club, I suppose, but I don’t like the ribbon-yarn “All About Eve” wrap skirt at all. (Or on “Jezebel,” which is way too well-named.)

See? This is my main problem with this book. Too many of the patterns seem to require a perfect-figure to be able to wear. The slinky Cleopatra dress is divine, but if you’ve got any bulges in the wrong place, it’s going to look dreadful. Some of the patterns seem to get so caught up in their clever construction, they’ve forgotten that looking good is important, too. (Jezebel seems a prime candidate here.)

I’m well aware that a lot of this is a matter of taste, but while there were obviously patterns in here that I liked a lot, and some which I admired while not being smitten by, there was simply too big a proportion of patterns that I didn’t like at all.

That said, Annie Modesitt is an amazing designer, and these patterns are technical marvels. Frankly, it’s worth looking through the book just for that reason alone, even if I don’t plan on doing anything more than just look.

This unique book is available at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here

My Gush: Beautiful to look at.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Carrie K July 10, 2009, 6:39 pm

    I have and love the book and the patterns, but you’re right, they do call for a flawless figure. Even the ones that are a wee forgiving are a bit too revealing. Possibly I’m not the target audience? Waaaah.
    .-= Carrie K´s last blog ..Cowell Smokestack, July Book Round Up, Pt Reyes Seashore =-.

  • Karen July 11, 2009, 8:11 am

    I went to a workshop with Annie and bought the book to get it autographed. I love to look at it, but I think you may be right. Two years later and I haven’t knit anything from it. I’m still glad I own it. Her techniques can be applied to other patterns.

  • Penny July 20, 2009, 5:45 pm

    I’ve looked at this book a few times at stores and at the library and always felt like you do. Ms Modesitt really has a skillful approach to design, but I’ve never found her designs to wearable. Her background in costume design is obvious and maybe that is where she should be trying to market her work. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that she has an average, middle-aged, couple of kids body like many other women myself included, and I’d like to see what she’d design for herself.

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