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Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Knitters Year by Debbie Bliss

Anyone who has caught the knitting bug will know that knitters never like to be without a project on the go. So what could be better than a compendium of 52 handknit designs that will take every knitter all the way through an entire year? Each of the projects in The Knitter's Year has been designed to be made in a week or less, with some being as quick to knit up as a rainy afternoon or a couple of evenings. Designs include homewares, accessories and things to wear. They range from a sumptuous yet simple chunky scarf, which takes a few balls of yarn, to the adorable Easter-bunny egg cosies, which can be made using remnants of yarn leftover from larger projects. Divided into the four seasons, the book features spring-time ideas such as a floral corsage and some fingerless gloves, plus homeware items including a shelf edging and lacy bolster cushion. Following are summery projects like a beach bag, simple tank and string shopping bag. Moving into Autumn, Debbie gives ideas for a back-to-school iPod cover and simple beret and scarf. Finally Winter, where knits really come into their own with snug socks, slippers, and even ideas for Christmas gifts and tree decorations. The collection provides a blissful year of inspiration from a leading knitter to either make for yourself or to give as a special gift.
Debbie Bliss is a popular name in knitting and when I received this book I was eager to start looking at the designs included. As stated above, 52 patterns are included, 13 per season. The patterns cover a wide variety of items: scarfs, bags, socks, cushions and baby cardigans to name but a few.
The book starts with a great few pages on yarns: the types of yarn with great descriptions and also hints on when buying yarn. However, the only yarns covered are Debbie Blisses range of yarns. There is also a list of standard abbreviations used throughout the patterns.
I am an average knitter. My nan taught me when I was younger and I have knitted scarves, dolls clothes, knitted dolls and even a waistcoat. However, when I opened this book I was immediately amazed by some of the ideas included and I plan on trying some of the ideas out. The first pattern in the book is for a basket, the pattern clearly written and then is followed by a page on how to make it up. However, there were a few items in the making up stage that I feel could have had an explanation included (e.g. I do not know what buckram is and would of liked some explanation so I would know what I was looking for when shopping for it). However, I think the instructions for making the basket were very clear and precise.
The patterns include many traditional, knitted items e.g. egg cosies and wash cloths but also more modern items, e.g. floral corsages, i pod cases and bead necklaces. There is a pattern idea in the book for most people and many of the ideas would make great presents for anyone who loves giving handmade presents. There are patterns in the book where you would need to buy balls of wool to complete the project but then there are also patterns where you could use up oddments left in your work bag.
The book really encouraged me to get out my knitting needles again and start to create. It would of been great to have a section in the book explaining the sorts of needles used and a quick description of how to knit stitches however these are available in many other knitting books and so was not a necessity.
Thank you to Quadrille Publishing for sending me this book to review.

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