Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Hip" Graphic Knits

Hip Graphic Knits: Unique Patterns and Techniques for Adding Stylish Graphics to Your Knitted Designs (Domestic Arts for Crafty Gals) by Rochelle Bourgault & Lisa B. Evans

This is one of my favorite quotes from this book, "Disclaimer: No reindeer, snowmen, pandas or puppies were knit (or even sketched) in the creation of this book." This is a book that will allow you to explore color work in a wide variety of pattern types. Unfortunately, the charts that are used have very common themes that are used repetitively in similar ways across different items.

The book assumes that you know the knitting basics, but it will teach you in the world of colorwork. There is a discussion about turning photos into graphic knits. Each chapter begins with an explanation of the technique, followed by some patterns that will let you use it. And as you may have learned by now, I always enjoy a book that encourages you to create your own patterns.

The Patterns
  • Knitting with Stripes
    • Isadora Scarf - very basic stripes.
    • Bohemian-Chic Yoga Mat Tote - Will fit your yoga mat, with a strap to hold it over your shoulder. I like that the stripes spiral around the bag.
    • Stripped-Down Petal Rug - A short row circular rug, changing colors for each "petal"
  • Intarsia Knitting
    • Lux Pansy Stole - wrap with two large flowers
    • Marimekko-Inspired Felted Needle Case - very simple pattern, doesn't appear to be extremely fitted
    • It Is Easy Being Green Monogrammed Handbag - partially felted, there are leaves involved in the closure at the top of the bag. I actually like this one a lot.
    • The Butterfly Effect Cardigan - the butterfly wings span the front of the cardigan (so it is complete when it is buttoned.)
    • Harlequin-Patterned Backpack - felted, shown with bold colors. A good use of color.
    • Lily's Bordello Pillow - pillow with a large flower
    • Ice Princess Hair Wrap - Mixing colorwork with cables.
  • Fair Isle and Stranded Knitting
    • Cropped Cardigan - A classic Fair Isle sweater but with a shorter length. There are interesting cabled embellishments at the hem and cuffs that makes it cute.
    • Aztec Capelet - The chart only shows 2 colors, but the instructions call for 4 contrasting colors (this difference is noted in the pattern.) At first, looking at the picture, I wasn't sure if a variegated yarn was used or not.
    • Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch Belt -A belt with one loop, it appears to be backed with some fabric.
    • Ella's Argyle Dog Sweater - The title says it all.
    • Ella's Mom's Argyle Mittens - A little bit of argyle on the back of the hand going around your knuckles.
    • Pear Amour Leg Warmers - Pears and Hearts. These go from the ankle to the knee.
    • Tribal Sun Messenger Bag - fantastic graphic sun chart
    • Eve's Garden Cover-up Coat -Not very youthful.
    • Fire and Ice Men's Pullover -I don't see the ice, but in the geometric pattern I can imagine flames.
    • Peruvian Lovebird Hat -Birds around the brim, embroidered flowers on the front and back. The chart ends before the decreases for the crown (so you would be able to substitute your own pattern.
    • Baby, what's your sign? Zodiac Socks - A sock with the astrological sign on it.
  • Embellishing your Knitting
    • Moon Day Yoga Tank - Racerback tank. Colorwork is at the hem.
    • Star-Bellied Toddler Sweater -A large star on the front.
    • Mendhi Sleaves and Collar -Lots of embroidery here.
    • Audrey Hepburn Embellished Sweater - I usually find charts of faces to be pretty fun.
I looked at some knitting books where there are so many items in the photos that you cannot focus on the knit object. This book has silhouettes of people (think early Ipod commercials) so you can really focus on what you could be creating. That being said, I'm not sure I would call these patterns "Hip", although they are certainly graphic.

This book is good for a learning tool, but I would never buy it for the patterns. There are some beautiful charts, but the way colors are incorporated into the designs are fairly repetitive. I find the overall shapes of garments to be very basic and overall uninteresting. I LOVE knitting books that have spiral binding, it makes it so much easier to knit... but that is about all I love about this book.

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