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Review: A Handknit Romance

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First, the facts:

Title: A Handknit Romance: 22 Vintage Designs with Lovely Details

Author: Jennie Atkinson

Published by: Interweave Press, 2012

Pages: 136

Type: Patterns

Chapters:

(Not so much chapters as a list of patterns)

Handknit Romance

The In-Depth Look:

I love clothing with a vintage look. I think it’s one of the reasons I enjoy period dramas like Downton Abbey and all those Jane Austen adaptations so much. There’s something truly lovely about old clothes. They have a level of detail to them we just don’t see in this age of hoodies and jeans. They’re bewitching and enchanting … and as a rule, wholly impractical.

So, imagine a book filled with patterns with that vintage feel, that level of detail and yet totally wearable.

The author writes in the introduction, “I love looking around vintage fashion fairs and marvelling at the seemingly endless variety of wonderful fabrics, colors, and textures that make up the garments and accessories found there. My particular favorites are the pieces that originate in the decades of the early 20th century…. Hours of careful handwork went into making some of these garments, and creative techniques for decoration and texture abound: minute embroidery stitches and delicate beadwork; finely worked knitting and crochet; intricate cobweb lace. … The garments in this book have been inspired by the colors and textures of these vintage pieces, and by their styles, details, and delicacy. When conceiving this book, my aim was not just to recreate vintage style in knit, but also to encourage knitters to use creative finishes shown on the clothing and accessories of past eras.”

What follows is an assortment of 22 patterns and tips on how you might like to personalize them. There are small, accessory patterns like gloves, bags, and jewelry, but also garments like jackets, skirts, and camisoles. It’s a nice variety of patterns–not a large number of each ‘type” of pattern, but the range of possibilities is wide. They’re lovely to look at, too. Just paging through this book is a sensory treat.

Two things worth mentioning, though. Since many of the patterns are inspired by the early 20th century, they lend themselves to, shall we say, slim figures–especially the flapper-inspired patterns. There are plenty of accessories, though, that would fit any figure.

Also, the yarn in most of the patterns tends to be fine gauge, which I know knitters are sometimes afraid of. The author says, “I have chosen to use fine yarns for the pieces included here as it gives a delicacy that cannot be achieved with heavier yarns, and also allows for far more detail…. I realize fine yarns mean the pieces will take longer to knit and therefore demand more commitment from the knitter, but I really think it is worth it to achieve the same precious quality found in vintage clothing. All the sample garments for the book were knitted by me, so I can vouch for the fact that none is very difficult to make–although some require more patience than others.”

I hope you don’t let those stop you, though. This book is a treat, and you can check it out at Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

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

My Gush: Just lovely.

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