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Art of knitting?
on 26 August 2011
A generous 3 stars is all I am able to give this book. I really do not agree with the amount of high praise for it. The choice of patterns in this book is limited. At first glance it is pretty but there are only two projects I would make - the knitted blanket and the crochet blanket. There are many similar and prettier blankets free online on Ravelry, competing blogs and other sites. The knitted blanket although lovely is so simple a ten year old wouldn't need a pattern. Other patterns such as a hot water bottle cover are nice as a concept but there are just more attractive designs that I would make instead - knitting is an investment of time and money so unless I really loved a pattern I would not bother with it. The styling of the book is a bit misleading in my view as it encourages you at first glance to see the rather ordinary patterns as nicer than they actually are.
The yarn suggested for making the tea cosy apparently costs £55 according to an online review I read and according to a reviewer on here, if I understand correctly, it will cost £100 to make 2 cushions. This is just unnecessary. I realise one can use whatever yarn one wants but I find the whole concept of this book over indulgent. The less than subtle message is, if you can't afford to do it `right' then don't do it. After you have purchased the book of course (and that is the most affordable thing). It offers the dream, but unless you too can afford expensive yarn, that is all your knitting will remain; at least if you want it to look like the version in the book. The blog too is like this, an elitist message offering a luxury lifestyle for people to aspire to but really only available for a very rare few who have the ready cash available. Beauty is easy with minimum effort from luxury materials, a luxury yarn is already beautiful is it not? Some people have the artistry to make beauty from just about anything. There is self-satisfied note to this book which I don't enjoy.
I remember reading that Jane Brocket had no pretensions to be a designer as those skills were not really hers, rather, she enjoyed using patterns. I think it is a great shame that much actual talent is ignored while someone with a lot of support produces very basic and uninspiring patterns at their expense. A complaint made about the first book was that it had no patterns - there was a reason for that!
It is a glossy book with little of actual merit to recommend it once the shine has worn off. I also do myself find the idea of a knitted apron totally bizarre. That of course is a matter of taste. I am sorry to have fallen for the hype and will be passing the book on. (Perhaps to someone who doesn't knit but enjoys pretty pictures).