Most helpful critical review
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Could have been better
on 6 September 2013
The book is well presented: using easily obtainable and colourful sock wool produces very effective shawls, and if, like me, you have large quantities of stashed or leftover yarn, the designs will spark ideas for some very colourful shawls. The lace is exceptionally well photographed, and several of the patterns are new and very interesting.
But - and it's a big but - some of the instructions are a disaster. They begin well (the illustrations of a tab start are the best I've come across) but the chart for the shawl I'm making is so unnecessarily complicated and unbalanced that I've had to rewrite it completely. This is a double-triangle shawl - after the first two pattern repeats you would expect to be able to work without reference to the chart, wouldn't you? Not on your life - because the beginnings and ends of each row in each triangle aren't symmetrical, you'd have to consult the chart for every knit row throughout the whole shawl, and woe betide you if you forgot which row you were on.
Once I'd written my own version, it works perfectly; I'm using three separate balls of muti-coloured sock wool, keeping to the same basic palette of red/pink/cream with sparks of contrast; shading from deep at the beginning to pale at the edge and blending in two-row "stripes" as one ball ends and the next begins. It's looking quite promising. (Later addition to review: the "sunset" shawl was a great success, and I liked the stitch pattern so much that I'm on the third variation, adding deeply pointed borders, which make a satisfactory, and easy to block, hem.)
To be fair, I wouldn't have started this shawl without the book, and it has so many good things in it that I'm glad I bought it and it's worth the money. If you're an experienced knitter with a good grasp of how lace patterns work, you might well enjoy this book, but if you're fairly new to the craft give it a miss for now.