Review: French Girl Knits

I have wanted to look at French Girl Knits 9781596680692 by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes since the time it came out in 2009, but I only now have carefully looked at it. Most of the designs use seamless construction, building on Barbara Walker’s and Elizabeth Zimmerman’s techniques. The 18 patterns are nicely photographed, showing garments on models and showing details of the construction from a variety of angles. Griffin-Grimes includes short sections on different seamless construction methods: side-to-side, top-down raglan, bottom up raglan, top down set in sleeve and bottom up set-in sleeve construction. The book includes a few other tips, such as grafting mohair yarns and knit to fit. For all these sections, the book is worth checking out. Some of the patterns are very nice and have interesting construction. Other patterns are not at all to my liking, so taking up precious bookshelf space is debatable. As with any knitting book, remember to look for corrections online.

The patterns are all given French women’s names, which is less helpful than their subtitles, so I’ll ignore 245 a and go for b. Oh wait, that was like work. I thought the Cable-edged cardigan (Sophia) on the front cover was fine, and then I saw the back (haven’t found a picture online) and now I may want to make it. The Cable and lace jacket (Stella) also has interesting construction and it looks like it would move well. I like the Airy Shrug (Veronique) so well that I may purchase yarn for it this week.

Notes mostly for myself: Other patterns I like include Tunic tank (Nadine) and Short sleeved cardigan (Viola). The lacy tie-hem tunic uses KidLin Lace. I haven’t seen this yarn before and now I’d like to find it since I am unfamiliar with linen mohair blends. A couple other patterns worth noting due to popularity in Ravelry (but not of interest to me) are the Lacy cap-sleeve top (Delphine) and the Leather-laced cardigan (Wrenna).

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Review: Glamour Knits

Glamour Knits 9780307347206 by Erika Knight has a mere 15 patterns and little text. The patterns mostly involve ribbons, sequins or other sparkly elements. There are few patterns that I find at all appealing. If I made the Cable Vest, it would be in something other than Lurex Shimmer. I like the Lace Top except for the ribbon/organza bits. The Ribbed Shrug looks pretty ordinary and non-glamorous, which makes it more appealing than most items. Each item has 2 color photos, one worn by a model, and one with no model. I’m sure it saved a lot on production costs, but I find having all the pictures in the front and the directions at the back with purple-scale photos a bit awkward. It is like a common magazine layout, but the photos at the front are not labeled or numbered so it is not as easy as it should be to find the instructions when looking at the picture. Since there are so few patterns, it doesn’t take too long to flip through them all to find the one you want. A review on Amazon says the patterns are full of errors, which made any slight interest in this book vanish for me.

Review: Luxe Knits

Luxe Knits 9781600592836 by Laura Zukaite has some interesting techniques in it, but the designs are more high fashion than I wear. The garments are shown on impossibly skinny women in unnatural poses. The photography is artistic but it fails to actually show the garments properly. Pictures of accessories can mostly show the model in a whole outfit and you can’t see the accessory. Pictures may be sharp on the models face but out of focus on portions of the knitting. The descriptions may refer to elements of the design (such as the front) that are never shown. I really want my knitting books to focus on the knitting in the picture.

That said, the book is interesting to flip through. The original sketches are included and there are a couple of sentences about the design, so it is interesting to see the design process at work. The Shawl Sweater is an interesting design. You can see it in the preview linked above. The technique used for the Tonal Skirt and the Tube Scarf are interesting, slowing transiting through various colors. The scarf is even something I could consider making. The Herringbone Purse (not in Ravelry) has a nice look, if it was made half or a third the size. Zukait incorporates leather lacings into the knit as part of the herringbone and then they become the handles. The Cable Wristlets (not in Ravelry) are made on straight needles so Sari may want to take a look at that pattern (not being a fan of dpns). I like the effect of lace weight yarn as a simple semi-sheer panel inset in a deep v neck cabled sweater (Deep V Sweater) but I can skip the huge asymmetry of the hem. The Fitted Blouse might be nice, with its waffle on top and fitted ribbed bodice below, if only there were photos where the top wasn’t all stretched out by the models elbows. If I crocheted, the Half Moon Stole (not in Ravelry) might be tempting. The Peplum Cardiganlooks wearable by people I know. One more thing – wow the designer uses a lot of cashmere (and silk). Overall, the book is worth looking at but I don’t think I would ever make something from it.