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Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (Last Minute Gifts) Hardcover – 24 Sep 2004
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About the Author
Knitwear designer Joelle Hoverson is the owner of Purl, an upscale knitting supply store in New York City's trendy SoHo neighborhood. Since opening in 2002, Purl has been featured in Oprah Winfrey's O magazine, Lucky, and Time Out, as well as on Martha Stewart's syndicated television show. From 1996 to 2000, Hoverson worked as a senior style editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She holds a master of fine arts degree from Yale University. Anna Williams is a freelance photographer based in New York City. Her work appears frequently in Martha Stewart Living, Oprah Winfrey's O magazine, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Real Simple, In Style, Elle Decor, and other national publications.
Top customer reviews
Looking at the title, I would assume the operative word here is "gifts", and maybe my definition is different from Hoverson's, but the "gift appeal" of some of the featured items is more than debatable. Essentially, Hoverson offers an eclectic selection of small, easily made knitted items, divided into different chapters, according to roughly how long it will take to make them. There are 32 projects in all (not counting variations of a basic pattern, like the selection of hats or the soft toys). This number, though, sounds more impressive than it actually is. 8 of the projects are scarves, that old, old stalwart of knitted gifts, last-minute or otherwise. Another 8 are presents for babies and small children, from angora baby booties to a snuggle blanket. Baby clothes, by merit of their size, are always quickly made, and they even might come in handy as last-minute gifts if you suddenly found out your dinner hosts have a baby and you are tired of bringing a bottle of wine. Still, these particular items are best described as listless - we've seen it all before, and a lot better. And that, exactly, is the problem with this book: Most of the designs are just that little bit too simple, and even though Hoverson uses beautiful, colourful and exquisite yarns (most of them not readily available in the UK), most of the items are lacking that certain "wow" factor which would turn them into desirable gifts, and not just last-minute products of sheer desperation.
Yes, there are some lovely patterns, too - a truly beautiful silk camisole, for example, and the hand/wrist warmers have proved to be in great demand among all my friends. On the other hand, you have such ridiculous items as pompoms and linen tassels and "sweater and stocking minis" which, according to Hoverson, have almost unlimited decorative uses - most of them in the bin, I fear.
The other parts of the book fail to impress, too. There are the prerequisite sections on "knitting basics" - yarns, needles etc. - and a supposedly new approach to colours, but most of it is just so much hot air, or rather, an exercise in belabouring the obvious. Mind-numbing sentences like, "a row counter is a tool that keeps count of the rows worked," abound, and the revolutionary new perspective in regard to colours boils down to a simple "you don't have to stick to the colour stated in a pattern, you can use any colour you like." There is also a list of Hoverson's favourite (knitting) books, and a section on suppliers - which should come in handy if you are ever in the States, or New York in particular (where you will also find Hoverson's own shop). If, like me, you are knitting in the UK, it's simply two wasted pages.
"Last-Minute Knitted Gifts" does contain some nice designs, even some useful ones. Its inspirational value is limited, though, as none of the projects offer any real creative twists or anything out of the very ordinary. Make sure to have a look at it before you buy, otherwise you might be disappointed.
I knitted the Rabbit Lovable Toy and was so impressed with the instructions and finished product. I'd never been interested in knitted toys but this design was just amazing. I used Blue Sky Alpacas as recommended which is a fabulous yarn.
Although many of the yarns are from the US most are easy to obtain on the internet or quite easy to substitute. This book is easily my favourite knitted gift book and the first I turn to when looking for a knitted present to make.