First off, I cannot possibly be anything but completely biased in my reviews of these two books, and here’s why: they’re just that good.
Lynne Vogel has done it again — an instant classic. And not only that, but it’s designed to give you the freedom to knit what you really want to knit, using a base pattern as a jumping-off point. From the introduction:
I’ve knitted hundreds of sweaters but have never knitted the same one twice. Most of them sprang from the same roots, but something always changed: the yarn, the size, the shape; usually all three. As I spoke with other twisted sisters, I found that, as handspinners, most of us had to adapt either our yarn to fit a pattern or the pattern to fit our yarn.
This is one of the more frustrating parts of knitting with handspun yarn if you’re just getting your feet wet. I attempted to solve some of that frustration in Spin to Knit, particularly in the Faux Fair Isle sweater pattern — by making just the yoke in handspun, for example, you know you’re not going to run out halfway through the sweater and be stuck without more of the same “dyelot” — or “spinlot,” if you prefer. But Lynne and her Twisted Sisters take it a step farther, brilliantly.
A sidenote: Some of the sweaters in the book were on exhibit at a gallery when I was down to take pictures of Lynne’s dyeing class for Spin to Knit, and I can attest that photos don’t (cannot) do them justice.
There’s valuable sections on knitting with handpainted yarns and calculating how much yarn you’ll actually need. But the cornerstone of the book is the Knitter Fitter system, comprising the Fitter List and the Sweater Map. The List is measurements you need to know to get started, and the sweater map, not surprisingly, shows you where you’re going with those measurements.
If you like using noncommercial yarns, if you’re a spinner or just a fan of handspun, you will adore this book. If you’ve got a massive stash that varies in yarn shape and style? You can use this book to help create some truly one of a kind stashbusting sweaters. No matter what your personal knitting style and yarn preferences, The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters will give you both great information and inspiration to use. Order it now.
Kristin Spurkland’s The Knitting Man(ual): 20+ Projects for Guys is my new best friend and here’s why — page 33. The British Checks Sweater. By golly, I’ve finally got the perfect background pattern for my Kauni cardigan! The Fassettish flowers I had in mind were not doing the trick for anything other than a border, due to the annoying amounts of blank space between them even after fiddling around. Thanks, Kristin. You rock. Now for the whole-book review:
As they say in the infomercials — but wait! there’s more! And I’m not just talking about the photo of Jesse Sternberg, owner of the original “Born to Knit” tattoo, pictured on page 2, although that is pretty cool. All the patterns are gorgeous (I want to make the Modern Fana hat for myself) and for the most part, very masculine.
Sometimes I consult my boyfriend on these things; sometimes he just blurts them out — the one problematic pattern, in his opinion, is the sleeveless hoodie on the cover. I won’t tell you what he actually said, but suffice it to say, he thought it perhaps suited for a particular male demographic to which he does not belong as someone dating a woman. Capiche? Yeah. Personally, I think it’s cute, although I’d do it with 3/4 sleeves, because short sleeves on a sweater like that would look dumb on me. So — a recommendation, if you also have a mouthy boyfriend. Take the dustjacket off (the actual hard cover is manly, manly shades of grey and black), then consult him on what you should knit first.
Mid-review update: My shop partner’s husband, Dave, just walked in right now, spotted the book, and yelled something remarkably similar to my boyfriend. The only quotable thing he said? “I hate the cover.” But he did admit that it’s a cool book otherwise, and that he think the sweater on page 66 should be the cover shot instead. He liked a lot of the projects, particularly the seaweed blanket and the hats. (Dave should seriously do market research for publishers, his unvarnished review was hilarious. I wish you could have been here to experience it).
The Heirloom Sweater is just that — Kristin’s interpretation of a sweater her aunt knit for her dad. It’s adorable, and presently residing some years in the future on my to-knit list. The tasty Rowan yarns she used are on the stash-acquisition list, too. There’s hats, mittens, socks, scarves… a little something for everyone, and different techniques, too. So whether you like to do colorwork, or stitch patterns, or plain ol’ stockinette, you’ll no doubt find something to love.
All in all, a wonderful book, full of ideas for the men in your life (and for you!) Order it now.