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Customer Review

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm in love with Erika Knight, 29 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Baby Bloom: 20 Irresistible Knitting Projects for Modern-day Mothers and Babies (Paperback)
And I'm in a swoon over her book Baby Bloom. She's given us totally wearable contemporary designs to knit for babies and pregnant women.
Erika's sheer understated class is imprinted on every page. For pregnant women there are seven items, ranging from ruff and tuff day wear to soirée silks. My favourite? A fantastic zip-up striped / fairisle cotton hoodie which unzips from both ends to make room for the bump. Suggested yarn is Rowan All Seasons Cotton - needle size 5mm, normally way, way, way too chunky for me, but I love it anyway. The hoodie is *shaped*, in at the waist, out again, so is totally wearable even when not pregnant. However, there are no schematics to show this, you have to read the pattern to glean those little details. I like reading patterns :)
For mindless knitting there's an incredibly useful, easy big soft unshaped wrap jacket, in rib, to stretch around the bump if required, and around a less than lean middle once baby is born. This in even chunkier Jaeger Chamonix.
This I really love: the wide round neck, set-in short sleeved T-shirt with side-splits and ties. In 4ply Jaeger Cashmina (swoon), but would work equally well in fine cotton or silk or wool. The front is slightly longer than the back and the side vents are in rib. She has it tied with suede ribbon. No schematics, but the pattern is well-written and tells all.
Two cardigans. This is British. We need, we like, we wear cardigans. In whisper-fine mohair (Kidsilk Haze), with round neck set-in sleeves, superbly shaped (read the pattern). The styling is immaculate, with no buttons but organza ties. This cardi won't stretch over a bump, but that means it can be worn afterwards as well. The other cardi is in a lacy, shiny cotton DK affair, deep V down to the ribbon tie around the waist (above the bump) and deep, deep ribbing. No buttons. It's all in the shaping again.
For dedicated evening wear make a superb three-quarter sleeves wrapover top in shiny 4ply (fine) cotton or merino wool, shaped with finesse and trimmed with beaded organza, or velvet, satin, or ruffles to change the look and feel of it. I would knit this with day-wear yarns and trims too. No buttons. And no schematics, but we're used to that by now.
The last design for women is the camisole, sleeveless and with a deep V-neck. The straps are wide enough to cover nursing bra straps. The shaping and detailing are superb again. The suggested yarn is Rowan Lurex Shimmer, but I can see it in any other kind of soft 4ply.
And what about the babies? Sizes are from 'early baby' to 9 - 12 months. In heavier yarns there's a chic chunky sweater, a chunky zip-up cardigan and a very chunky satin-edged shawl. Erika puts the same effort in styling into the tiny garments as well as the adults'. My favourites are an aran weight cardigan, fab pixie hat and a wonderful raglan sweater with buttons down the right front raglan seam. Embroidery optional - I think it would look best with its simple contrast trim.
The papoose, with or without pompons is infinitely variable in DK (Rowan Wool Cotton recommended), just right for tucking in the simple 'Night-time Teddy'.
The lacy bonnet is desperately sweet in Rowan Wool Cotton (DK), and Erika has it styled with big satin bows. My offspring would have had those off within miliseconds, but it still looks gorgeous without. Matching bootees are de rigeur. For traditionalists there is the beautifully shaped matinee coat in 4ply (sizes from newborn up to 3 - 6 months) and the heirloom silk shawl, trimmed with ribbon through the eyelets and much easier and quicker than it looks. For special occasions there's a divine wrap sweater in silk or cotton, with picot edging and embroidered with the same yarn. So subtle and understated but very effective.
I've left the best bit of all to last: Erika's shaping is second to none, and when it comes to baby trousers and pants, she is queen. To go with the chunky sweater - but frankly, they would look amazing with any of the other garments - she's given another pattern for short pants. I love all her others, but this time they are worked in one piece with incredibly clever shaping. She has designed them in Jaeger Cashmina with stripes, but other fine 4 plies would give totally different effects. I can see silk with the matinee coat or wrapover and soft cotton with the raglan sweater.
Are there any drawbacks to this book? Well, what may be seen as drawbacks I may see as advantages, but here they are: this is a true drawback, but is not necessarily a problem: as I've already said, there are no schematics, so one has to read the pattern - and know what one is reading, to work out what the shape looks like. For those of us happy to tackle shaping, that's fine. There are just a few projects which are truly suitable for beginners - like the chunky and aran weight baby sweaters, the chunky shawl and the big soft mummy-wrap jacket. Oh, and maybe the aran weight cardi for babe. The rest require some experience at least. Good. A fair number of the designs are knit in fine DK or 4 ply (fingering). Excellent! Finished chest width on women's garments for largest size range from 96cm (most of them) to 99cm for the hoodie, 100cm for the wrapover top and 106cm for the big soft wrap. That's not exactly stick insect sizing, but one could always size up with bigger needles or thicker yarn. I would be wary of that, as these are not simple shapes.
I want to knit every single item and I am not a little miffed that this type of thing was not around when I was that shape.
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