Customer Reviews: Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
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on November 13, 2004
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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on December 20, 2005
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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on January 12, 2005
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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on October 1, 2004
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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on November 9, 2005
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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on April 4, 2005
As a new parent,, the title of this book was very enticing. I wanted to be able to continue to gift knit for friends, especially those having babies. As a "confident beginner" knitter, I was frustrated by the language in the patterns. More details are needed. There are excessive math errors (ie: leg warmers, child's placket pullover, men's cashmere scarf, silk camisole, hourglass sweater, and herringbone poncho patterns) throughout the book. I was given pattern corrections when I visited the author's NYC Soho knit shop, Purl, in November. Since then more revisions have been made as of January 2005. Save yourself time and frustration by going to [...] for book corrections. On second thought, you might want to wait and purchase this book if and when a second edition is published. Another FYI: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton used in the "children's cotton hat" has been discontinued. This yarn was the charm of this pattern.
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on December 12, 2005
I bought this book on impulse last week at my LYS out of desperation for inspiration with 2 weeks until Christmas and my creativity totally sapped. The inspiration has worked so far: I've made two of the "Kim's hats" in different colors and they both turned out lovely. With 2 more gifts to make I'm hoping this book will prove its worth (especially since I paid full price!).

I would really like to give this book 3.5 stars, because 3 seems a little low, but it isn't quite 4 in my opinion. I agree with some previous reviewers that the pages on pom poms and tassels and how to wrap your gift are a waste, and I don't really like the cashmere tea cozy (who on earth would actually use that?), but most of the other patterns are lovely items that would make beautiful gifts. The patterns aren't complex so this book may disappoint experienced knitters, but I think the author does a great job of reviving old ideas using new color combinations or unusual yarns. For example, the pattern for the angora baby booties is nothing special, but the booties knitted up in a fuzzy angora yarn makes them seem novel.
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on February 23, 2005
This book has some cute ideas for gifts but the patterns are full of mistakes!!! It's frustrating that they didn't "proof" the patterns before they went to the printer.

Good news: has the errata
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on January 24, 2005
I've made good use of this purchase. To date, I've made six of the patterns, and am working on the seventh. In general, I find the instructions to be well-written. The pictures are great--this is a fun book to mull over with a cup of tea, deciding what I want to knit next.

That said, I do see a couple drawbacks:

--some of the materials needed are hard to find. I wanted to knit the wrist warmers/fingerless mitts, but was completely unable to find 8" circular knitting needle, other than from mysterious online vendors! I had to improvise with the two-circular-needle method.

--I found one pattern mistake, in the pink mohair scarf: the pattern has the repeat asterisk (*) in the wrong spot.

--I'm a steady, fairly experienced knitter, but I found her estimated times too low. I finally figured if I doubled the time she suggested (i.e., "4-hour projects" really take 8 hours) I was just about hitting the mark. But all you really fast knitters out there will probably have no call to complain.
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on November 29, 2004
I LOVE this book. I have been knitting for about five years and usually I am hesitant to get every new book that comes down the pike, but a woman at my LYS suggested this for the man's cardigan sweater for my husband and I hate to buy a book for just one pattern, but I really liked it, so I bit the bullet and plunked down my $24.95, but then when I got it home, I fell in love with the majority of the patterns and have already made the men's scarf, the airy Kid Silk Haze scarf and the fingerless gloves. And have plans for the many others. I agree with the reviewer who likes a book that uses yarns that you love and it does! This is a great book and I plan on giving it as gifts for my close friends who knit.
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