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New Ideas for Today's Knitting Hardcover – 5 Feb 2008
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My initial impression was that this is a book published five to seven years too late, after the love affair with novelty yarns ended. Of the twenty-three designs, over half are made in part or completely with novelty yarns including a memorable three-quarter length coat in yellow faux fur and a barely-there, backless mini-dress constructed with a ribbon ladder yarn and an eyelash/chenille blend, finished with a 10" fringe around the bottom. But perhaps the most impressive "knits gone bad" example is the red, fun fur ensemble comprised of jacket, beret and boot toppers.
There are a few halter and tank designs that may appeal to the younger knitting crowd, made from cotton and bamboo yarns, so popular this spring. Empress Halter showcases Schaefer Yarn Company Laurel's beautiful hand dyed colorways in cotton and Sophisticated Tank makes use of bamboo yarn's drape. FYI for those unfamiliar with the term colorways, it means the color(s) chosen for design or yarn. So if the colors are all autumn colors, then the person who hand dyed the yarn may call that colorway (color palette) "Forest in Autumn."
Tops in New Ideas for Today's Knitting range in finished bust sizes of 28.5" to 64", with the average range being 32" to 38".
Armchair Interviews says: Heed this reviewer's comments.
They go on to write in the introduction that innovation is the concept of the book. They note that many of the designs are alluring and can be worn by only the most daring. They aren't kidding which becomes rapidly evident. Having established this isn't your grandmother's knitting pattern book; it opens with a "Mellow Yellow Faux Fur Coat." Along with pictures of a model wearing the coat in various ways, the authors give detailed directions on making it over the next six pages. They also include adjustments for medium and large sizes.
A sexy black dress layout begins on pages 12 and follows the same general format. The dress is a short one that ends just a little bit below the waist. Fringe is attached and that hangs to just about the ankle on the model. Like the fur coat, there isn't any explanation of the size of the model so one doesn't know which version is being depicted. Crisscross straps make up the open back of the dress and prove again this isn't your grandmother's knitting book. Chances are it isn't your Mom's either.
This same format continues with the "Softly Scalloped Nightie," the "Teeny Weeny Bikini" depicted in red, "The Summer Holiday" top which is also depicted in red, the "Cabled Tube Top" and all the other designs and instructions. In all there are 23 designs in this book with many covering four to six pages of model pictures and detailed instructions. In each case, there isn't any explanation of the actual size of the model or the garment being shown.
At the back of the book there are a list of abbreviations and symbols under the heading of "general directions." Considering the complexity of the outfits including this very basic info was a bit of a surprise. The general directions go on to define common knitting terms before leading into a one page index. At the front of the book there is a list of companies with their complete links that supplied the yarn for these designs if you are unable to purchase yarn locally.
I originally saw this book on the New Arrivals shelf at my local library and grabbed it for my wife. She knits, crochets, and does a number of other craft things and sells the results through her own business as well as donating some of the finished products to local charaties. Since she has been doing this sort of thing for over twenty years, I know she knows what she is doing in the craft world. I thought it might be a book she was interested in. She wasn't.
Beyond the fact that she wasn't seeing anything new or special design wise, my wife's biggest criticism of the book was that one needed to look like a model to wear many of the designs. While she felt they were possible to make, she felt that one had to be supremely confident in one's body, to pull any of these looks off. She felt the introduction understated the situation regarding the issue. Many of the designs show a lot of skin and she made a point of mentioning that to me along with other comments about the suitability of many of the designs.
I wisely kept any possible comment to myself. Having read the book, I agree with her assement. One would need to be supremely confident in one's own body to wear many of these designs. While that is noted in the introduction, there is nothing like seeing some of the models and what they are wearing.
Unlike the cookbooks where I do try out recipes, I won't be doing so with these designs. Therefore, those who read and rate reviews strictly based on hands on experience by the author of the review will no doubt feel compelled to criticize the review.
All I can say is that occasionally, along with being able to keep my mouth shut, I am aware of my limitations.
Kevin R. Tipple (copyright) 2008