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Lacy Little Knits: Clingy, Soft & A Little Risque Hardcover – July 1, 2007
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My favorite pattern by far is the Diagonals in Flight Cardigan. It's lovely from beginning to end and the models are gorgeous older women. I just love that!
However, I have some concerns about the book in general. I am cautious about any book that serves mostly as a brochure for a yarn company. Although I like many of the designs, this book is just that. The yarn company's website is given for further reference after each and every pattern type. To access their free bonus patterns they want to send them to you via e-mail rather than publishing them on their sight. Not for me. I also checked out the prices of some of the author's yarns and found them to be excessively pricey. Not surprisingly, yarn substitution is discouraged by the author. Had I known that these patterns were written for a specific yarn, I would never have purchased the book. For me, any pattern that assumes the knitter will knit only with a certain yarn, and that yarn only, isn't worth looking at. I believe that patterns should be written according to a stockinette gauge in order to finally fit an actual body, not to cater to and show off a yarn which may or may not be around next week. My personal quirk.
This brings me to my second concern. In many of the patterns, the gauge is measured over the pattern stitch. That means to me that a knitter either has to knit an alternate small project or two, for which there are no directions, and then calculate the gauge from that, or else has to do a lot of extra knitting with expensive yarn. Additionally, measuring gauge over a pattern stitch, especially an open stitch is incredibly difficult--this in a book that says it's for creating "hassle-free lace designs."
The author says that she's thrown out the rules, the line by line directions and charts and will teach knitters how to intuitively understand how to build the next row. I didn't find this to be the case. Indeed, there were no charts, but the directions were actually quite line by line and not at all intuitive. The concept of lining up pattern repeats or offsetting by one stitch every other row isn't intuitive, but simple common sense that nearly every knitter already has.
Finally, if you're a lace knitter, know that this book doesn't deal with actual lace patterns, as far as traditional lace patterns go. They're highly repetitive, use yarn overs, and feature very loose knitting with very expensive luxury yarns, but they're not true lace, in the sense of comparison with Shetland lace or classical lace. The techniques used include garter drop stitch, yarn over chevrons and triangles, scribble lace slip stitch, and some simple garter stitch laces.
All that being said, the tops are really quite lovely. All stitches are simple, but as stated above, they are used with very nice results. There is simple shaping and the stitches used create a body hugging garment in many cases, thus the "clingy" subtitle. I don't know about the "soft" part, but there isn't anything risque unless they're worn without undergarments. It's a pretty book and it provides some nice inspiration for me. The photography is nice and the models are pretty and normal looking. I especially like that part.
Bottom line, if you're not willing or able to use the exact yarns given in the book, some at $20+ per skein, you may be in for a difficult go of it. Even if you do use the exact yarns, the differences in how each person knits could set you up for a failure. The prospect of a flopped project at those prices is horrific to me, but perhaps there are other knitters who are braver than I am about that. As for me, I'll make my own lacy creations loosely based on the photographs and diagrams, but out of my own hand spun yarns, and the tried and true wools and cottons that are so readily available and that I love so much.
So yes, I feel more than a little ripped off. This book should have been called Lacy little knits by artyarns or something to that effect. Exquisite little knits was different. Her designs used a mix of yarns by different manufacturers. Much more user friendly.
There are some very pretty things in here, the prettiest is actually the cover look. There's also a ruffly lacey cardi which is cute. But I don't really like some of the designs - there are a tad too many modular thingies.... shrugs, shawls and so on - and I am not a fan of modular knitting, so if that's your thing, you will like this book - taste differs!
PS Conservative ladies, don't worry - unless you wear the two cardis mentioned above and a very strange halter top over bare skin, nothing in here is at all risque. Unless European and American meanings differ greatly....