Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Books by Debbie Abrahams

25 Cushions to Knit: Fantastic Cushions for Every Room in Your Home by Debbie Abrahams

This book has 6 chapters, Urban Cool (5), Shaker Style (6), Playtime (5), English Garden (5), Modern Minimal (5) and Techniques.

The photos in the techniques portion are well done, and there are good instruction on how to knit with beads.

This book was written in 2004, but I don't find the patterns particularly modern. They are pretty, and some would look great in my home, but none of them get me itching to run to my yarn store. It is hard to provide a lot of inspiration with projects that are mostly square. (There are some other shapes in this book, including a cube.) So while I'm happy to have looked at the book, I will not be photocopying any to add to my queue.

100 Afghan Squares to Knit - Patterns and Instructions for Afghan Squares for Blankets and Throws by Debbie Abrahams

I am thinking that Debbie Abrahams likes to knit things that are square.

Forget the Aran Afghan made in fisherman's wool. The squares in this book are full of beads and color. There are 100 square patterns (as are in the title) and they are shown in a number of different configurations. Some of these 100 squares are slight variations of the others. For example, #2 is a flower. #3 is a flower with some beads on the petals. #4 is a flower with circles on the petals. #5-7 are also variations on this theme. Yes they are different squares, but really are tight variations on one theme.

I wish that the afghan examples were photographed so you could see the entire blanket to get a sense of the overall pattern. It is hard to tell how much you like something when you see a blanket folded over the edge of a crib. I also wonder what the back of these afghans look like. When I do stranded knitting, the back is not so pretty.

I don't want you to think that I do not appreciate these designs. I like these afghans much more than I liked the cushions from the previous book. I would possibly even purchase lithograph or rock-a-bye-baby from a store. Abrahams has a supreme sense of color and distribution to make a blanket interesting without being overwhelming. And this book can also teach you how to knit with sequins!

I think that a better title would be 13 colorful afghans, and the 100 squares you need to complete them. You can mix and match these squares to your heart's content, and it always helps to see great examples of the finished product. I was just hoping for more variation for the next time I do a charity knit-a-thon. I do not know what to expect when I read the sequel to this book (100 more knit squares) but we shall find out in the next paragraph.

100 More Afghan Squares to Knit by Debbie Abrahams

This sequel is similar to the previous book. There are a number of interesting squares with colorwork, and the final afghans are pretty. I still wish I could see an entire afghan, so I could better judge if I would like to create it.

I feel that the real design here is the afghans themselves. I LOVE these finished projects. I would have liked to see suggestions of other arrangements of squares. Some of the charts are very inspired. The leaf (#93) is my favorite.

I find it interesting that in Abrahams' Design book (reviewed next), she talks about using non-symmetrical graph paper but does not use it herself in this book. This isn't meant as a criticism, just an observation (I use symmetrical graph paper in my charts).

Design Your Own Knits in 5 Easy Steps by Debbie Abrahams

First glance, this is going to be my favorite book of hers that I've read so far. It goes though things that many people might wonder.

The book includes 48 pages of knitters graph paper (proportional since knit stitches are not square!). (This is less helpful when you check out a book from the library, but would be useful to photocopy!) I also like that the title of the book is knit on the cover.

The five steps:
  1. Inspiration, stitches and yarn
  2. Ideas onto paper
  3. Knitting a swatch
  4. Mapping out the design
  5. Getting Knitting
Abrahams does really nice knitting charts, and there is a good section in this book on how to turn your design into a knitting chart. The instructions are clearly laid out, and it is easy to find the section of the book that will help you the most. The basic shapes section is superb for helping you figure out how to construct the garment that you want.

I would be interested in adding a copy of this book to my personal library, especially if I want to start designing more complex garments! It is an excellent resource book.