Pacific Coast Highway Paperback – Import, Sep 1997
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I have this book and I am currently working on the Grant Avenue vest. I have the original Scottish Campion yarn, bought years ago before it became worth more than its weight in gold. A couple of notes--I bought the proper yarn amounts in Campion as stated in the instructions--enough to knit the largest size listed. Owing to having the loosest gauge in the world, I am knitting the SMALLEST size so it won't be a circus tent (remember to KNIT YOUR GAUGE SWATCH!!!) So, in theory, I did all the necessary prep and am knitting to gauge. Despite this, I ran out of one color of yarn (Brass). This distresses me because if I had been knitting a larger size, I could have been totally sunk. I was lucky in that Shetland Spindrift color Old Gold is a dead ringer for a substitute.
In searching for substitute yarns, I came upon several online charts. About 3/4 of the Campion colors have Spindrift equivalents, but some do not. A specific example is Delph, heavily used in this vest. The suggested color is Cobalt, but since cobalt is also used, in this case, the substitute won't work. Another way to make up colors is to watch for them on eBay, which can also cost big bucks. In this specific case, AS has actually posted a kit with pattern for the Grant Avenue vest at [...], so if I didn't already have the materials, I would have bought the kit.
Lastly, This book is patterns only--NO TECHNICAL INFORMATION. So you need to know how to work with steeks, do fairisle stranding and cable work already, have references you can use or an experienced knitting buddy to guide you through.
So, I can say I am glad I have this book. I love it. I will use it and knit from it. If I was starting from scratch--well, I MIGHT buy it. More likely I would use the money at virtualyarns to buy a kit with a pattern. That would be a lot easier that trying to make these designs up with substitute yarns or bankrupting myself trying to find the original yarns. As much as I love this book, there are so many great projects out there from cheaper books. So, if you are a Starmore junkie, go for it. If you are just curious, find something cheaper.
I see the disappearance of a lot of great Starmore books as a cautionary tale...get it while it's in print for you may have to pay a fortune later. I've seen Pacific Coast Highway sell for 600 dollars US.
If you can see a copy, you'll find lovely, timeless designs, gorgeous detail and fit with a winning color palette. It is definitely worth learning to substitute yarns.
She also has an excellent color sense. Many other books have good patterns, but the examples are made with the ugliest color yarns imaginable ("Latvian Mittens", "Ethnic Socks and Stockings", Zilbourg mitten and sock books, etc). Starmore chooses colors that really do lend themselves to the sweater pattern. These definitely are heirloom sweaters.
My only regret is that Amazon does not show the pictures of finished products (especially to spend that kind of money for a pattern book sight unseen). If you are lucky, it will show the table of contents, which does you no good on this kind of book. If we could insert images into this review box for others to see scanned snippets, that might be helpful in a pinch.
If you have an account, you would be wise to look at the finished products of these sweaters on the Ravelry website (where you can find errata as well). Then you can decide if you wish to take a 2nd mortgage out for this book.
ps. If you love these sweaters, check out the Camper sweater series as well.
The book includes 16 knitting designs, eight of which are textured patterns, and eight of which are colorwork. The designs are all photographed against scenery from California's Highway 1, and they are named accordingly, such as "Golden Gate" and "Bodega Bay." Three of the patterns are for children, and one design is a blanket.
Given my sky-high expectations for any Starmore book and the current price tag of 85 dollars, I'll review this fairly critically. I thought 8 of the designs were nice or OK, but not special enough to knit - such as the somewhat unoriginal texture-work of Golden Gate and the impracticality of the Grant Avenue vest. The book had 4 patterns that I would love to knit, including a children's sweater, a truly striking women's colorwork cardigan, a gorgeous blanket, and the textured unisex sweater "Irish Beach." 4 of the patterns were not really appealing at all.
Some of the designs fit the models rather poorly, and thus the knitwear wasn't really showcased as well as it could have been. In addition, some of the sweaters were knit very long which was rather unattractive (in my opinion) and could be much improved simply by making them shorter. However, in general there were lots of photos so you could really tell what the finished pieces look like.
The book contains Starmore's usual (in my opinion) easy to follow instruction and the very readable charts of her recent publications. The charts are large enough that I don't think enlarging them is necessary.
Overall, this isn't Starmore's best work, but if you can afford it, it's certainly a nice addition to your knitting library.
The patterns are all Aran and Fair Isle sweaters for adults and children except for the Point Reyes Baby Blanket. This baby blanket is adorable. It's a shame that Alice Starmore yarn is no longer made but Jamieson, Rowan or Simply Shetland are good substitutions.
I wish there were more hours in the day so that I could knit every project in this book. The patterns are very clear and the book is a great resource.
I highly recommend this book for intermediate and experienced knitters. However, if you are a beginning knitter and want inspiration and beautiful eye candy, this book is for you, too.