Big knitterly smiles for stitch patterns both charted and written out, and for providing any extra techniques needed in a pattern, like YO at the Beginning of a Row, as part of the pattern, complete with an illustration of the technique. --Jillian Moreno, knitty.com<br /><br />Once upon a time, shawls were just for grandmas and maybe a few girly-girls who loved things that were frilly and lacy. I, however, didn't fit into either category. But then I started knitting and after I knit my first capelet (and, after that, my first lace shawl), I discovered that shawls and wraps didn't have to be just for little old ladies or prissy girly-girls. They can be light and frilly or fun and colorful. And, best of all, they're a whole lot of fun to knit.
In Nature's Wrapture, designer Sheryl Thies presents a collection of 20 wraps that were inspired by the shapes, textures, colors, and patterns found in nature and she offers such a wide variety that every knitter is sure to find something that fits her style.
From the white, lacy Snowflakes to the simple, hand-painted Fall Colors, Thies fills the collection with unexpected styles in eye-catching colors. Of course, there are some of the basic shapes: a few rectangles and triangles and even a cape (and a poncho or two, too). But there are other shapes that you may not have seen before: U-shaped pieces that come together with a shawl pin, rectangles that button together, wraps with armholes, pieces with ties and clips, tassels and I-cord. The pictures even show different ways to wear the designs, to dress them up or dress them down or to fit your mood or your own personal style.
The instructions are detailed and straightforward, with diagrams, illustrations, and charts where needed. But they're not all intricate patterns; there are some easier patterns, too, with less shaping and sewing. Some are made of lace, but others were designed using simpler stitch patterns.
My only complaint with the designs in Nature's Wrapture is that many of them may be a bit too unexpected. While there are plenty of U-shaped (or V-shaped) designs with backs and long front panels (which, I m sure, will stay put much better than the usual rectangular or even triangular shawl), there aren't as many basic looks. I would have loved to see a few more classic-styled wraps because once I finish all of the work involved in knitting a pretty shawl, I'd like it to stay in style for a long, long time.
Still, there are plenty of designs here to suit every knitter's style and experience level. So whether you re a relatively new knitter who's looking to move beyond scarves or an experienced knitter who's looking for a dainty new lace shawl, you'll find that you don't need to be a granny or a girly-girl to enjoy the wraps in Nature's Wrapture. --Kristin Dreyer Kramer, nightsandweekends.com
When a publisher sends me a book to review, there's generally one or two patterns in it that I'd like to make. But, when Martingale & Company sent me Nature's Wrapture: Contemporary Knitted Shawls, I had a pleasant surprise: I want to knit every pattern in the book. Seriously. No, really. Seriously.
Sheryl Thies's latest book contains patterns for 20 shawls, wraps, scarves. She has looked to nature for inspiration for these patterns. You'll find designs based on nature's colors, contours, textures, and naturally occurring patterns. The patterns have names such as, Snowdrift, Flames, Butterflies, and Heavy Rain.
Nature's Wrapture begins with a section on skill level. I am very happy to see the designer encourage knitters to try patterns outside their perceived skill level. This is something I've tried to do, and I think more knitters should. There's also information about yarn selection and what gauge swatching. Yes, she strongly urges one to swatch, something other shawl designers tend to downplay. She explains why this is important as well as the correct way to do a swatch.
Then come the patterns. All are beautifully photographed. Each is well written and very easy to follow. The designer does not assume knitters have information they may not have. And, these aging, tri-focaled eyes really appreciate the fact that the type is larger than in many other pattern books. Schematics are provided, which is helpful as some of the patterns may have shaping with which some knitters might not be familiar. Some patterns include charts, but written instructions are given as well.
The book concludes with the expected technique section. For those of us who hate seaming (and there are some patterns that require seaming), the instructions are clearly given, and I can even understand what I'm supposed to do based on the diagram. I don't know about you, but I've often found it hard to see what I'm actually supposed to be seaming to what. Okay, maybe it's just me.
Scattered throughout the book are Sheryl's notes, which give suggestions on how to adapt the pattern and even different ways to wear the finished project. In fact, one of my favorite things about Nature's Wrapture is that Sheryl encourages knitters to adapt her pattern to their own likes and dislikes. I've read posts from designers who have been upset because a knitter changed something about his or her pattern.
As much as I like the book, there is something I'd change. In most cases, no indication is given as to what weight the suggested yarn is (laceweight, sockweight, etc.) My displeasure with this may be caused simply by the fact that I want to knit so many patterns from the book; if I only wanted to knit one or two, it probably wouldn't have bothered me. Many knitters would be able to determine this based on the photo, gauge, and needle size. However, not all knitters have experience in making such decisions. The Craft Council of America yarn weight chart is included, however, and hopefully, less experienced knitters will make the effort to use it to determine their yarn needs.
If you enjoy knitting wraps, you should consider adding Nature's Wrapture: Contemporary Knitted Shawls to your knitting library. My problem now is deciding which I want to knit first. I know I want Snowdrift for me (love the cables), but I'm going to knit something from this book for my sister-in-law for her birthday. Maybe I'll do Flamers. Ooh, Butterflies is nice. And there's . . . --knit-a-while.com
Twenty shawl patterns inspired by the sights, sounds and colors of nature. I expected most of patterns in the book to be of the triangular shawl type, but I was excited to see a big assortment of shapes and styles of wraps. I am smitten with the triangular shawl, "Heavy Rain," with a stitch depiction of rain drops on a ground of reverse stockinette, and beads dripping off of the edge--original and lovely, and not difficult.
Big knitterly smiles for stitch patterns both charted and written out, and for providing any extra techniques needed in a pattern, like YO at the Beginning of a Row, as part of the pattern, complete with an illustration of the technique. --Jillian Moreno, knitty.com
About the Author
Sheryl Thies retired from a 35-year career in health care to follow her artistic passion and spend more time outdoors. In addition to designing, she enjoys teaching and has authored and coauthored several Martingale & Company titles.