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A Handknit Romance: 22 Vintage Designs with Lovely Details Paperback – February 28, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Black-and-white illustrations and photos of the original garments Atkinson used as a springboard accompany their fine-gauge knit updates, allowing the reader to appreciate how she makes retro details relevant to a modern wardrobe. Time-travel has rarely looked so good." - Yarn Market News

"All the patterns, even the beaded tunic with no lace, are very feminine and pretty." - Pam MacKenzie, New Jersey Home News Tribune

"Sooo pretty! If you like lace, you are going to be very pleased." - Knit-O-Matic

"Timeless pieces that are sure to become treasured family heirlooms.... Gorgeous designs." - Knit 'n Style

"If you love couture fashion knit with a classic vintage look, you will enjoy A Handknit Romance." -

"A Handknit Romance by Jennie Atkinson is a book to fall in love with." -

"There are jackets, skirts, camisoles, stockings, day gloves, sachets, jewelry, lots of lace and beaded's a dream of frothy girly goodness." -

"My gosh: just lovely. It's a nice variety of patterns...not a large number of each 'type' of pattern, but the range of possibilities is wide. They're lovely to look at, too. Just paging through this book is a sensory treat." -

"Beautiful garments." - The Detroit News

Praise for Jennie Atkinson's previous title, Romantic Style: Knits and Crochet to Wear or Display:

"The trend in knitting today is towards svelte, stylish, sexy hand-knit pieces. Even bulky winter sweaters are knit with shaping and sexy details. Another book in this arena is Romantic Style by Jennie Atkinson, a collection of over 20 patterns based on 1930s glamour. The majority of these patterns are knitting patterns, though there are a few crochet patterns (mostly for accessories) towards the back.

'Cotton Camisole' is a simple, easy-to-wear camisole with a shaped bust and spaghetti straps. 'Beaded Cape' is really a capelet--simple in shape, falling just past the shoulders, and with a spray of beading on the hem. 'Butterfly Dress' is the cover garment--a sheer, delicate lace slip dress. 'Beaded Jacket' is a sleek, vintage shape speckled with beads. Seed stitch pattern accentuates the hem, collar, and cuffs, and a wide satin ribbon at the waist makes it feminine and flattering.

'Beaded Shrug' is a fluffy mohair lace design with 3/4-length sleeves that lead up into a delicate hood. The hood is edged with beads for a subtle hint of glamour. 'Chevron Lace Top' looks like a 1930s blouse perfect for a day at the country club. Ribbed hem and cuffs give it shape, and a button neck that is not meant to be buttoned gives it a playful edge. 'Bed Jacket' is too cozy to be relegated to the bedroom. It features a hugely oversized collar (goes well past the shoulders), a tie closure in front, and triangle edging. If that is not enough for you, try 'Dressing Gown,' the floor-length version with a nipped waist. 'Diamond Throw' is elegant but a bit dull--seed stitch diamonds outlined by eyelet lace. The 'Crochet Shawl' takes traditional granny squares but does it in a modern mix of silver-grey, grass green, charcoal, cream, and grape. 'Lace Shawl' is a quick knit with medium-sized needles and a wide weave." - Knit Picks by Alyse Wax

About the Author

Jennie Atkinson worked as a fashion knitwear designer for many years. Her designs are classic and feminine, focusing on shape, color, and stitch detail. She has worked as a freelance designer for the home-knit market, and her designs have been featured in Rowan magazines, Vogue Knitting, and The Knitter magazine. In 2006, Rowan Yarns published her book Beads, Buttons and Lace: 20 Romantic Knitting & Crochet Designs. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, with a Masters Degree in Design History. In addition to design work, she also lectures on fashion and knitwear history.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Interweave (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596687797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596687790
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Millamant on February 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From time to time, buying books by mail order from a description fouls up. Such is the case here: I have to admit that if I had seen this book in a shop, pretty as the garments in it are, I would not have bought it. Probably, I am not the intended target, though from the description I thought I was. In fact the description of the clothes is reasonably accurate, but two vital pieces of information are withheld, firstly that the designer has an inexplicable obsession with making garments knitted from crochet cotton, and secondly, the sizes are all extremely small.

Let's be blunt. The models in this book look about twenty and have no breasts. (One girl is so thin that the stockings she is modelling are hanging in bags around her knees; if she stood up, they would fall down.) I am forty-eight and have a 45 inch bust. Despite attempts to convince us that modern knitters are all groovy twenty-five year olds who knit in pubs, I strongly suspect that I am not atypical in size and age. Sour grapes? Call it that if you like, but while one can bellyache about the choice of models, the fact remains that none of the patterns in this book is sized larger than a 42 inch bust. It is extremely annoying to spend money on a book and find that that only a few accessories patterns are going to be useful to you.

I don't blame the author for this, and I also acknowledge that a lot of the patterns she has designed would look stupid on a woman with my top-heavy figure. But I do think it is about time that efforts were made by publishers to put sizing information into the descriptions--after all, half the point of making things for yourself is that you can produce items that actually fit you. If I had been given that information, I would have marked the book down as unsuitable for me and moved on.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Martyabd on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lovely pictures - that is why I purchased it in advance. It was widely reviewed and had good words regarding its vintage roots. All true. What they don't tell you is that the actual bust size only goes up to 42 on each and every shirt/sweater/dress pattern, compared to other designers who understand that knitters sizes are diverse. Yes, I am sure that there is a way to find out how to "size up" (only 1 size more is all I needed). But that isn't what I pay good $ for. If I purchase a book, I need it to have as much detail as possible for my projects to be successful. 9 out of 10 designers do a great job including a wide range of sizes on their projects. Unfortunately, this one did not. I hope that she will do so with her next book...or perhaps create a website with "size up" instructions. If you do, you will create a fan for life :-)!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By madame on September 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was so disappointed after reading the other reviews. To agree with another reviewer in stating the obvious, I too will PURCHASE items simple in construction and design, and for far less than I can make them!

I knit, crochet, sew, bead...on and on. I select patterns out of the norm for challenging, thought provoking items. There are hundreds of thousands of simple fast, uninspired designs for those who want these items,and at least a zillion and two for free on line. There are precious few patterns of inspiration and challenge. I appreciate an author/designer who will share her hours of figuring out these designs, and offering them to us for a mere pittance considering the time involved. As for sizing up...really... how difficult is this, and changing yarns from cotton to wool? Use the gray matter that sits atop your neck. These things are not difficult. DO a SWATCH and measure.

So in a nutshell, use your skills and make something outstanding instead of making the next ordinary scarf, sweater, or shawl. If you want something you can whip up in a day I'll see you at Macys. This book is sorely needed and we need more books that assume we are intelligent, motivated, and driven. Not more that assume we are lazy, boring, and need to be lead by the nose in everything we do!
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Cikk on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Absolutely gorgeous book of vintage INSPIRED designs. I cannot stand the misuse of the word vintage - again and again and again. JA designed these items, so they are not vintage designs. I almost didn't buy it cos of this misuse!

It's gorgeous, but as someone else said, she is a little too obsessed with knitting with toothpicks and crochet cotton. I am currently knitting a summer top in four ply cotton - did the back over last summer and hope to finish the front this summer. It will be beautiful - and wearable, as it's light enough for the heat. I don't need to churn out knitting, in fact I don't bother with making workaday items when I knit and sew - what's the point of making anything less than special? So I plan to make a couple of the tops slowly, taking my time. They grow, bit by bit!

Sizing is limited as already noted. Not a problem for me, but anyway, if I were much larger, I would not even think of knitting some of these ultra fine knits, as it would take twice as long and also very fine knits cling too much to bulges.

I don't like the amount of derogatory comments on the models. It seems to have become fine to comment on people's thinness even though it's absolutely not fine to comment on people's fatness. Not fair. It is not necesarily a fact of aging that one grows wider, so let's not equate young with thin.... It's hard for patterns to be within a huge range of sizes without losing proportions and having miles of instructions to follow. If the book isn't within your size range, return it.
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