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Last-Minute Knitted Gifts Hardcover – October 1, 2004

147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hoverson was skeptical when her editor asked her to come up with projects that could be knitted in 10 hours or less, but after some research, she was delighted to find numerous simple projects that were "inspiring, challenging, and fun." Following introductory chapters that discuss color, fiber, tools, and patterns, the patterns themselves begin. Divided by the length of time it takes to complete each project (some less than 2 hours!), the book shows off a wide array of gifts. The quickest include angora baby booties, a kerchief scarf, and potholders. If the knitter is able to take a little longer, there's time to make leg warmers, hats, and scarves. Sweaters, knit toys, and a felted yoga bag take only 4 to 6 hours (provided, of course, that the knitter doesn't abandon the project for a year or so). Lush color photographs make every one of these items look like a winner, and the directions are clear and easy to follow. A list of books for further reading is a nice touch. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Knitwear designer Joelle Hoverson is the owner of Purl, an upscale knitting supply store in New York City's trendy SoHo neighborhood. Since opening in 2002, Purl has been featured in Oprah Winfrey's O magazine, Lucky, and Time Out, as well as on Martha Stewart's syndicated television show. From 1996 to 2000, Hoverson worked as a senior style editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She holds a master of fine arts degree from Yale University.

Anna Williams is a freelance photographer based in New York City. Her work appears frequently in Martha Stewart Living, Oprah Winfrey's O magazine, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Real Simple, In Style, Elle Decor, and other national publications.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; 8th Printing edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584793678
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584793670
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 164 people found the following review helpful By Sally Holloway on November 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully presented book, it was a real treat to open it up with it's eau-de-nil facing pages and quality paper. It would be a beautiful gift itself!

The book opens with the assumption that the reader already knows something about knitting but does cover such basic ground as gauge, equipment, and yarn types. It does this is in a concise but complete enough way. Then there is an extensive section on colour that manages to cover the basics in a non- condescending way and add some useful takeouts such as suggesting that we twine yarns together to see how they look rather than just hold the skeins adjacent.

...and colour really is Hoverson's thing - you can tell this even without being aware of her background as a fine arts student and stylist. The colours and photographs are stunning. Probably my favourite is some fluorescent, fuzzy, red bootees on a citrussy background - stunning combo.

The patterns are grouped into sections based on how many hours to complete the item - maximum of 10. They range from basic to interesting, nothing super challenging - it is after all, about instant gratification. There are items for the home, for children, men and women. You can sense the guiding hand of Melanie Falick in the editorial - there are echoes of Weekend Knitting throughout. Despite this, the two books complement rather than compete with each other. Hoverson has a younger, edgier aesthetic.

For my money the book is more about inspiration than a desire to get stuck in to any of the patterns. Having said this, there are a number of really useful stash busters such as fingerless gloves, some neat new takes on scarves and throws, and some cute bags - including a felted yoga mat bag.

Overall, I'm thrilled with this book, it's one I know I'll return to often for inspiration and renewal. Joelle Hoverson makes only passing references to her shop Purl, but it's enough to make me yearn for a trip to New York!
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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaufman on January 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I should start by saying I adore this book. The patterns are universally tasteful, unique, and gorgeous. Your friends and family would be thrilled if you made any item from this book. Another reviewer said color is Joelle's thing, and that is true. As far as color and design go, the book is truly inspiring.

That said, I can see two areas for improvement that prevented me from giving a 5-star rating: First, the photography, while beautiful, is sometimes less than helpful for the knitter. Sometimes items are shot in such isolation that it's difficult to envision them on someone, sometimes there are no shots of the whole garment laid out so that you can see the final shape. Sometimes shots are not of the whole item at all, even if they are modeled.

Second, there are quite a few mistakes in the patterns. Joelle has posted all the pattern corrections on the Purl website, though, so as long as you're aware of them it's no problem. You can find the corrections here:


All in all, a tremendous first effort by a talented designer. Highly recommended.
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78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Aviva N. on December 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Like some other readers, I found this book visually enticing--but when I went to use it, the flaws became more apparent.

There do seem to be some problems with the pattern directions--I am an intermediate knitter, and so I could catch some of them, but other patterns just left me flummoxed. I'm also not a super-fast knitter, so most of the time estimates were way too low for me--a three-hour project might take me six, for instance.

Another problem for people at all levels is that most of the patterns use luxury yarns, and some are used in quantities that are far too expensive for the sort of quick pick-up gifts this book purports to offer. Substitutions aren't always easy to make unless you are sufficiently experienced to figure out gauges and yardage--or have access to a yarn store with helpful personnel willing to figure it out for you.

That said, there are some gems in this collection: the pashmina cowl (which I made with a less expensive but still very soft alpaca/silk blend), the hats, and the handwarmers do make nice gifts. I also appreciated the streamlined, classic styling--no kitschy reindeer intarsia or riot grrl bikinis here, making this a welcome contrast to many other knitting books out there now.

In short, I recommend this book to more experienced knitters who want to make elegant gifts and don't mind splurging on some lovely high-end yarns. The rest of us might want to reconsider.
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102 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Regina on October 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joelle Hoverson is the owner of Purl, a lovely yarn shop located in downtown NYC. In addition to being beautifully photographed, this book is really well organized (by the length of time each project is estimated to take) and well written. I buy lots of knitting books and while they often contain a lot of valuable techinical and instructional info, many of them tend to be disappointing when it comes to their patterns. However, that isn't the case here: most of these patterns are things I would LOVE to make.

A lovely, unique book!
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Linda K. on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Knitters should beware that the first edition of this book contains many errors in many patterns. The corrections are on the Purl Soho website and I believe they are on the 4th edition of this book to correct the many, many errors. Also beware that the 2nd and 3rd editions, although they have some corrections do not contain all of them.

Although many of the patterns are beautiful, they should have been tested/edited more closely. I spent a lot of money on this book and expect the patterns to correct. It's not unusual to have 1 or 2 errors in a book of this size but this one seems to contain an inordinate amount.
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