Wednesday 3 August 2011

Little Red in The City Review

A while ago, I promised you a more in depth review of Ysolda Teague's latest book, Little Red in The City.

Before I go any further there are a couple of different purchase options that need to be pointed out.  The first method of purchase is to buy the book directly from Ysolda's website for £20.00.  This was the method I chose.  Included in this purchase are the PDFs of the book.  This includes the patterns as well as the techniques part of the book.

You can order the book as a digital version from Ysolda's website and that costs £17.00.  You can also buy the book from Amazon, where it is priced at £17.00.  What I am not sure about is whether you get the digital version included with the purchase via Amazon.

When I bought my book I got the digital version uploaded to my library on Ravelry.  This is particularly useful as I do tend to scribble on my patterns.  In the case of these patterns it is very useful indeed, as you have to enter the stitch counts yourself from the tables provided.  This do-it-yourself approach is incredibly clever as it lets the pattern be read in the most simple manner and you can add your own variations based on any amendments you might make after learning how to fit your pattern to your body.  It also means that the the author can create patterns with 15-17 sizes that are actually legible.

Now on to the actual review, which I have posted, in part, on Amazon.

This book is a work of art.  It is beautiful to look at and Ysolda's trademark whimsical stamp is on every page.  I love at least three of the seven patterns and quite like another couple, but these patterns are not the main reason to buy this book.  This book is a wonderful resource for knitters who have got a reasonable grasp of knitting other people's patterns, but are sick of them not looking quite right.  Every page of the front half of the book is dedicated to giving tips and tricks to improve technique, and adjust fitting of knitting patterns in a way that flatters.  The techniques involve such varied subjects as how to choose the right yarn to working out where to put waist shaping.  It also covers short row shaping, darts, and the importance of swatching properly.  I have learned several new and clever tricks to help with knitting that will improve all of my knitting and not just how my garments fit.

To help explain the techniques described, each of the patterns at the rear of the book is broken down into sections where you can insert your own measurements and calculations.  You are given hints on where to make changes to the pattern if you want to change the fit to one of the many sizes covered, which range from 28" - 60" busts. Each design is shown on two quite different sized women who are NOT models, but the author and her friend.  There are many worked calculations so that you can follow the step by step instructions without being very good at maths.

I plan to knit Melia, the hooded cape, which I already have the yarn for.  I plan to use some chocolate brown Fez.  However, it is too warm to think of these sorts of knits right now. I'll start it when it cools down a bit.

I also have ordered some yarn to make Laika, which is the lace patterned cardigan.  I've ordered the 4ply merino yarn already, but it is on back order, so I may have to wait a while.  I was told it would be some time in August, so while I have to wait, this will probably be my first knit of the book.

My favourite pattern, though, has to be Cria.   I wish the yarn was easy to replace, as the recommended yarns are either expensive or have to bought overseas!  I may have to save up some before I get to this one, anyone know of a cheap sport weight yarn with some silk content?

I know that this review has a very large absence of photographs, but if you want to have a look at the pictures from the book you can see them on Ysolda's Flickr PhotoStream, or on Ravelry.

I do recommend this book very highly, but I wouldn't recommend it for people who haven't knit at least a couple of garments before, as I think you would have information overload.  If you understand how a garment is put together you shouldn't have any problems.

Hopefully when I get my Laika yarn, I'll share my thoughts on the pattern writing too.


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