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Customer Review

87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great source for gift projects, annoying book design, November 15, 2008
This review is from: Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really like this series of books and this one-skein approach, and this is another good one which would be a great source of knitted gift suggestions. Unfortunately, it suffers from some annoying book-design choices that affect usabililty. Also, there are numerous errors [see the errata at Storey Pub's site [...].

I like practically all of the patterns, most of which are a bit on the refined side, with a bit of something special (except for the four bulky-weight patterns). There are many lacy and texture stitches. Except for a couple of baby items, none of the projects are playful or silly, and none have an in-your-face handmade look. (Depending on what you are looking for, is either good or bad.) Of course, your results may vary, for example, the Silk Delight Scarf looks special to me, but if it were made out of thick and thin funky colored yarn instead of luxury silk, it might look crafty instead. I like also having so many patterns in a single not-giant book, and I think I will get some good use of it.

One-skein projects are not necessarily quickly-made projects, because some skeins have lots of yardage (there is a lace stole which uses 875 yards of super-fine yarn). However, given the one-skein limitation, the projects generally are for accessories or baby/child sized items. There are 20 scarves and 13 hats, 8 gloves or wrist warmers, 9 purses or bags, 5 cowls, 4 socks, 3 shawls or stoles for adults. For babies there are 7 hats, 3 socks or booties, and various other items like a blanket, toy rabbit, 2 tops, etc. For adults there are a few spa items, a table mat, a vase cover, napkin rings, two necklaces, etc. There is one adult garment, a vest.

I like the way all the projects of the same weight are grouped together. Yarn weight ranges from super-fine to bulky, but 2/3 of the book seems to be lightweight, fine, or super-fine (more yardage in a skein).

Many of the patterns have charts, but just flipping through it seems to be less than half. Rest of them should have been charted also for those who like charts, the row-by-row word salad of knitting abbreviations lacks clarity.

I do have a few serious complaints about the book design that greatly hinders its usability:

- The layout guarantees that you have to be flipping back and forth, because the color photos of the projects are in the front, before all the patterns. There are NO photos or project illustrations in the pattern section of the book (not counting the charts in some of the patterns). The first book in this series, 101 One-Skein Wonders, did have small photos of the projects on the first page of the projects, so you could see what the text was talking about. Why didn't they do it this time? This is simply annoying and show lack of consideration for the reader.

- Lots of useful information is hard to find. For example, in the color photo section of the projects, they could have given the type of yarn used and the designer. Also, it would be nice if there was a single page or two that listed yarns used for each project and yardage (ordered by weight), so that I can find projects suitable for a particular yarn that I happen to have available. Yarn brands are not in the index either, so I have to page through the patterns to find if there is a pattern that uses a particular kind of yarn.

- They have a good section telling about the designers at the back, but in it they don't say which patterns each designer did. You have to go to the index for that.

- It continues in the absolutely awful trend of printing text with muted shades of ink, which greatly diminishes the readability of the text. In this case, grayish blue and sage green are used.

- The inner two inches of each page (closest to the binding) consists only of a decorative green rectangle. Often in book design, this is where sidebar content would go, or in the first 101 One-Skein Wonders, this is where the photographs of the projects went. In this book that portion of each page is almost completely unused, and it is visually ugly to have the left page and right page interrupted by this wide contentless rectangular blot. They could have saved the paper and ink and shipping resources and made the book smaller. Or better yet, they could have actually put some content there, like project photos, charts, and diagrams, or a sidebar telling interesting things about the yarn being used, etc.

The unfriendly aspects of the design of this book compete with the joy of the set of patterns, hence 4 stars instead of 5. Maybe the publisher can do better in future editions? It is still very much worth getting, and would be a great resource for knitted gift projects.
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