Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review: Love to Knit

The books I'm going to review arrived in the mail yesterday! It was very exciting.

I have five titles to play with, and thought I'd start with Love to Knit: 25 Quick and Easy Projects You Will Love to Knit by Bronwyn Lowenthal (128 pages, 200 color illustrations, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-906094-03-4).

This book was actually first released in 2007, prompting me to ask both, "How did I miss it?" and "Why didn't you tell me about it?"

Lowenthal's profile says she is inspired by vintage clothing, so I figured it would be right up my alley.

To be honest, when I first opened the book I thought, "Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into?" because the first pattern isn't very much my style.

Actually, it's those fingerless gloves you see on the cover, and I'm of the thin yarn/fitted gloves school when it comes to fingerless mitt. But nine people have made them on Ravelry, and they all look lovely, so what do I know?

Happily, things improved rapidly from there and I can truthfully say there are several patterns I'd like to make.

From Head to Toe
I know it's a cliche, but the book really does cover that much territory, with some home accessories thrown in for good measure.

And can I just veer off again and say I always know when I'm looking at a British pattern book because of the egg cozies?
Seriously, do you guys really use them? Because I don't remember seeing a single egg cozy when I was on my Junior Year Abroad in England (although I did eat several soft boiled eggs).

However, these cozies have cute faces and embellishments, which make them stand out. Since they are reminiscent of those adorable Wee Hats I was obsessed with back in December, I quickly turned the page.
In contrast to the Wee Hats, the cozies are knit flat and seamed, making them good for a beginner.

Good Gauge! You are quick!
As you might suspect with the "quick" in the title, the patterns do tend toward accessories.
But, really, you don't get a "quick" sweater, unless it is those Twinkle ones at 2 sts/inch that were popular the other year.

The yarn gauges called for range from around 5.5 sts/inch to 3 sts/inch, with many of them in the 4.5 range. Even the patterns that call for Kid Silk Haze have you hold it doubled.

I think all these 4 to 4.5 gauge patterns are very nice because, despite this being a common yarn gauge, I always seem to have trouble finding nice patterns at this gauge when someone comes into the store. It's also nice because they should work up quickly with out all being super bulky.

The patterns also seem to be a nice mix of appropriate for a beginner (the egg cozies and some of the arm warmers) to interesting for an experienced knitter (the lovely shawl on the cover, among others).

My Choices
There is an adorable pair of "Two-button Small Socks," (pg 28) which I've already added to my Ravelry queue for Summer of Socks 09. I think I'll try to use my stashed Panda Cotton. But be warned, these socks have a sort of argyle construction, with the instep and sole worked separately flat and then seamed. I think it must have something to do with the lace pattern.

Based on the two sock patterns in the book, I'd like to track down Lowenthal's Love to Knit Socks book to see what other designs she's come up with.

I'm wondering whether I can combine the "Cute Bow" (pg 38) with the "Ribbed Belt" (pg 40) and make a new set for my Ultra-Femme sweater. Currently I'm using a black satin ribbon that I cobbled together from my meager ribbon stash. It's already starting to look beat up, so a replacement is needed.

I also think the "Lacy Shawl" (pg 46) shown on the cover is lovely. It calls for eight balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze. I don't know if I'm feeling ambitious enough to make a project of this size ( it's 63 x 25 inches!) at the moment, but I think it would be nice in denim blue, or maybe green because of the leaf motif.

Some of the hats and tops are nice as well, but these are the three that I'll be adding to my Ravelry queue for more immediate consideration.

Other Stuff
In addition to the expected section on technique, which covers casting on, working the stitches, seaming, etc., there is a fun section on embellishing your knitting with directions for sewing on sequins and Swiss darning.

Oh, and there is a good, clear discussion on the importance of gauge and how to do the math to figure out how much yarn to buy if you substitute.

In the end, Love to Knit is a nice addition to the library. I suggest you at least check it out.
Fifteen of the 25 patterns are in the Ravelry database, so you can get a look at some of the patterns from the comfort of you home.
You can buy it from Amazon, or check with your local yarn store or book shop.


  1. Great Review. I think I missed this book too. You've made me curious.

  2. I think it's really a great book, really a great review...

  3. just give me the thumbs up if we should be carrying this book at Knitting Central. you know we don't want to miss a great book!!

  4. Wonderfully thorough review, Ann! I haven't seen this book, either, but my tastes steer away from books with mostly accessories. I'm more a meat and potatos (and cables) girl!!

    I will do what you suggest, though, and check out the patterns on Ravelry. Thanks again for reviewing this book for us!