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A Fine Fleece: Knitting with Handspun Yarns Hardcover – 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The patterns included are *fabulous*. Beyond fabulous. They're rich and intricate and have a nice mix between smaller things and to-die-for sweaters. The photography is amazing and inspiring, and for a closer look at each garment, there are diagrams and stitch charts provided for every wearable. (One of the previous reviewers commented that the photos weren't clear -- not all of them, no. But the charts make up for that, plus some. And the photos are inspirational, so it's all good with me.)
Each pattern gives you not just the required amount/wpi of the handspun yarn needed, but also gives a commercially-spun equivelent AND shows the knitted item in BOTH variations (hand/commercially-spun), so you can see how the handspun aspect changes the nature of the fabric (if it does)...it's an amazing extra that the author gives us.
Speaking of extras -- the sizing on these patterns ROCK. Being one of the Large Chest Brigade, it's often hard to find books that go beyond the 32 - 34 - 38 sizing for miniature people and get into the sizes more realistic for my...uh...front additions. Not a problem here. I think the smallest size I've seen has been 48", and that RULES. I loved the author just a little bit more than I did before after noticing that little (big?) detail.
I've been paring down my Stuff lately. Getting rid of a lot of the extraneous posessions I've been hoarding. Knitting books are included in that.Read more ›
The photographs, however, which should clearly illustrate the stitches and techniques, are in such soft focus that they are almost useless for that purpose. In some instances, the entire project is fuzzy because the photographer has focused on a prop instead of the sweater. Are the photos pretty? Yes, very pretty. Are they helpful? Absolutely not. I checked the photographer's Web site and found that she is known for photos with a shallow depth of field. I think the book designer or publisher should have looked into this before selecting her.
The designer made another choice that reduces the value of the book to spinners -- the primary customer base. There are no photos of the handspun yarn used in each project. The reader must deduce what the yarn is like from the brief description.
Am I still happy that I purchased the book? Yes. But it would have been so much better had the designer or publisher made different choices.
The beginning section on spinning and wool characteristics is a good intro to new spinners, or wannabe spinners. It was good information to get new spinners thinking about spinning for a big project. I've been spinning for years and it didn't have any new information for me, but reading it got me whipped up to start spinning with one of these projects in mind.
However. The photographs, while beautiful and artsy and fun to look at, leave a lot to the imagination - not a great thing in a knitting pattern book. They're teaser photos - look good in the picture, but if you come to a question in your knitting you won't be able to figure out what you're doing by looking at the picture. I don't think there are more than a couple of patterns with good photos you can really tell what the pattern looks like. I'd expect this would be a struggle for a person who hasn't had a lot of experience knitting cables. I've been knitting them for years and I still need to refer to pictures, it's really a shame they aren't more available. "Harriet" has a diamond lace pattern, but you would never know that the bottom third of the sweater has an entirely different lace pattern.Read more ›
Why even bother to have photos if they're useless or misleading as to what the finished item will actually look like? The person responsible for the photography shouldn't be working with knitting books. People who like the looks of the photos may be disappointed in the results, and people who are turned off by the photos might have actually liked the patterns if they'd been properly photographed. Frankly, I think the book would sell better if the photography showed what the sweaters really look like. I don't like buying knitting books when I can see the photos don't reflect the real pattern. I would never have purchased this book after looking through it. It was only after seeing some finished sweaters from the patterns that I decided I would actually be interested in making some of them.
Photography aside, the patterns themselves are very nice. But be aware that they're very boxy designs (no waist shaping, regardless of what the photos appear to show). If you like boxy cabled sweaters, you will probably love this book. If you prefer waist shaping, you'll need to figure out your own modifications or look elsewhere. The smallest sizes start around 37-38", so it's not good for women who need extra-small sizes unless they like a lot of ease, but they do go up to around 50-52", so it's nice for larger women.
Bottom line: If this style of sweater appeals to you, there are some great designs. If you like fitted, shaped sweaters, you may be disappointed. Either way, ignore the photos and study the schematics.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful book to own for a knitter ---stunning patternsPublished 20 months ago by Patricia A Matthews
I was surprised by the number and beauty of the Aran cable knit sweater designs included here. I bought this for one in particular mentioned on Ravelry and was thrilled to find... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Dangerous when Cooking
If it hadn't been for all of the gorgeous sweaters I had seen on Ravelry, I doubt I'd have bought this book. Read morePublished on July 4, 2014 by Jeanne H