I really cannot resist sharing with you a recent discovery of mine. If anything is going to persuade people to hunt out their knitting needles again and "get clacking" (sorry - the puns seem to be coming thick and fast this time) it must surely the new additions to the "Twenty to Make" series published by Search Press. Already available are "Knitted Aliens" and "Knitted Mug Hugs" (cosies for keeping your cuppa warm) but what I really cannot wait for are "Knitted Vegetables" and "Knitted Fruit," both available soon. The designs in themselves are absolutely delightful - from knitted leaks, cauliflower and mushrooms so realistic they cannot help but make you smile, to strawberries and a pineapple which would not look out of place in anyone's fruit bowl! What is really clever, however, from a retailing point of view is that all the designs are appealing enough for experienced knitters whilst at the same time simple enough for a determined beginner to achieve quickly and easily. As the series title suggests, each book contains twenty designs. Each pattern is in itself a complete project but they can all be mixed and matched. The simpler "long" designs are knitted on two needles in the normal way. The "round" ones use a set of four double pointed needles but, as the introduction helpfully suggests, this need not be too daunting if the simpler ones are produced first. Each project occupies a double page spread with a large, close up photograph of the knitted article. Patterns are set out clearly with materials, needles and making up instructions in an at-a-glance format and the retail price of GBP4.99 per book of twenty designs is bound to make these super books very popular indeed.-Needle & Handicrafts Knitted fruit? Obviously you cannot eat it (unless you are a clothes moth) but think of it as the modern equivalent of Victorian wax fruit. Great to look at displayed in a bowl and surely a great conversational piece! It is also cuddly, just the thing to adorn tables at sales of work as an original gift and perfect for harvest home displays. You can use up all your oddments of yarn and have fun with recycling. Choose from all the traditional favorites of apple, pear plum etc as well as exotics such as pineapple, sharon fruit, pomegranate, papaya and mango. There are some other ideas too such as blackberries covered with shiny beads, a lemon slice and even an apple core. My own favorite has to be the unzippable banana (just add a 7A" yellow zip) that reveals the creamy white fruit within. Each project takes two pages and has a large photograph of the finished item as well as written (no charts) instructions, a list of what you need and an inset close-up. There is a list of abbreviations, needle sizes for US as well as UK and one UK supplier of yarn. This is not a book on how to knit, but a fun book of projects for anybody who can - you don't need to be an advanced knitter to tackle these small but satisfying projects. Susie Johns has also brought out a companion to this book called Knitted Vegetables so you can expand your repertoire to include such delights as a nice fat butternut squash, corn on the cob, leafy artichoke, large pumpkin and more.-Myshelf.com It's easy to think of these little books as novelties, but they have much more to offer. Susie Johns' detailed patterns are a fun introduction to toy knitting. The instructions are clear and concise, and the smaller fruits and veggies knit up so quickly that your confidence grows with every stitch. These books offer good value, with 20 patterns apiece. The yarn quantities are small - great if you're trying to use up old stash. There's no reason to not mix things up too - a fuzzy blue banana would certainly be a conversation starter! If you've young children to knit for, a basket of knitted fruit and veg would make a lovely gift, with a very worthy healthy eating message to boot.-Simply Knitting
About the Author
Susie Johns is an experienced crafter, specialising in papercrafts and embroidery. She contributes regularly to a number of craft magazines and is the author of a range of books on practical subjects, such as collage, painting, drawing, papier-mache, crochet and embroidery. She also teaches craft workshops.