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Review: Tudor Roses


First, the facts:

Title: Tudor Roses

Author: Alice Starmore

Published by: Calla Editions, 2013

Pages: 175

Type: Knitting Pattern/Coffee Table


Not chapters so much as a list of patterns

KS: Tudor Roses

The In-Depth Look:

This book is like one of those myths you hear about–something beautiful and distant that is whispered about in awed voices but never really experienced. Alice Starmore’s Tudor Roses. One of those books that goes for hundreds as a used book. Something impossible to find.

It’s therefore such a treat to see her coveted, out-of-print books coming back into circulation, like her Fair Isle book, or the one on Aran Knitting that were brought back by Dover Publishing a few years ago.

This one, though? I expected something similar–a nice, useful recreation of the existing book just, you know, affordable this time. Something you didn’t need a second mortgage to get your hands on.

What I got instead, though is … amazing.

This edition may be one of the most beautiful knitting books I’ve ever seen.

The first reaction, before I even had it out of its Amazon box was “Wow, it’s heavy.” And then I actually SAW it and, well, “Wow” is the word.

This is lush and glossy and just quite simply beautiful. Rich with detail and absolutely gorgeous new photographs it’s … impressive. Stunning, even.

It’s not an exact duplication of the old, 1998 edition. It says right on the copyright page that it “is a revised and expanded reimagining” of the older edition.

Now, not being either a millionaire nor someone who thought ahead enough to buy the 1998 edition, I can’t compare this directly, but what I can tell you is that all fourteen patterns here are inspired to Tudor-era women. Comparing to the list on Ravelry, there are duplicate patterns (Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Parr, Elizabeth I, Elizabeth of York, Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard, Katherine of Aragon, Mary Tudor, Margaret Tudor), as well as four new ones (Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, Lady Mary, Mary Queen of Scots).

Since it is just the Tudor women, though, that means neither the Henry the VII or VIII pattern is here. This is a shame because they’re both stunning patterns that are otherwise unavailable, but … like she said up-front, this is a reimagining.

Each pattern is introduced by a little fiction autobiography–accurate in detail, but fiction in that they were written for the book by Jade Starmore. Each is also beautifully photographed–I mean, really beautiful, even if a couple of them are rather dark for seeing details.

I can’t speak to whether the patterns are identical to the original editions, or if they’ve been modified beyond possible yarn and color availability, but the patterns that are shown are gorgeous, they really are. There’s no question Alice Starmore is a master at color design.

The book–did I mention it’s big? As in, this is decidedly not a book you’ll be tossing into your knitting bag. Knitting one of these patterns means you’re going to be making friends with someone with a good copy machine because trying to work directly from the original … let’s just say I think this is by far the largest and glossiest knitting pattern book I’ve ever seen. It dwarfs every other book on my bookcase. (The only other one that comes close is The Principles of Knitting, and that one is only bigger in page count.) I wouldn’t want to be marking this book up with highlights or notes as I knitted a pattern, either. This is the kind of knitting book you display on the coffee table next to a vase of flowers and an artfully laid skein of coordinating yarn. Because it’s gorgeous. Just as beautiful as the patterns inside.

Truly, this is a stunning book. Maybe not the most practical from a knitting perspective because of its rather unwieldy side, but so what? The details and images inside the pages? Gorgeous. And (unlike the older edition) it’s readily available at Amazon.com or your local bookshop.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

My Gush: Wow. One of the most beautiful knitting books I’ve ever seen.

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  • Yarn Tangler December 9, 2013, 12:18 pm

    I saw the book on Amazon the other day and was tempted to buy it on a whim. Your review has convinced me I must. Thank you for the in-depth pictures of the projects. I see several on my “wow” list. And I’m really glad I have a good copy machine. ;-)

    Come over and visit me on my new “playing with fiber” site, http://www.unwindingyarn.com. I’ve been having a lot of fun setting it up and I”d love someone to let me know what they think so far.

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