Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham, photography by Adrian Buckmaster, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2005.
This is the first book in the Loop-d-Loop series. I have already reviewed a sequel, Loop-d-Loop Lace. Both books are organized much like the magazine Vogue Knitting, where Teva worked as staff editor for a while. There's a gallery of images at the beginning of each chapter, followed by the patterns.
This method has its drawbacks when the patterns are not accompanied by sufficient photography, but whoever did the layout for these books did an admirable job of ensuring that photos of the most crucial pieces of each design were included for the knitter's reference. Nonetheless, I often found myself flipping to the instructions (the pattern page numbers are included in the gallery by their respective photos) because of something in Teva's provocative text. I do appreciate the ability to glance through each chapter's designs and to see them next to each other, but it's a mixed blessing.
The designs themselves are gorgeous, larger than life, each fully committed to the exploration of one technique. The puff sleeve bolero celebrates the ability of knitters to shape the fabric as they work (as opposed to tailors who must cut and sew). Teva uses at least three different shaping techniques in this virtuosic piece.
I also love the yoke vest, another exercise in shaping. Originally developed for boutique production, its bulky gauge makes for quick knitting and the full-fashioning marks make it obvious that the piece was knit by hand.
Another outstanding design is the bobble u-neck, which features bobbles the size of meatballs.
Those designs and a dozen others are part of the first chapter, "Cycles---Explorations in Circular Knitting: Tubes, Spirals, and Round Shapes." The next chapter, "Planes---Adventures in Texture, Stitch Patterns, and Directional Construction," includes demure sweaters, charming children's clothes, and costumey blouses that somehow look like they all came from the same designer's imagination.
The yarn-over steek vest features a giant uncut wound steek up the front. Many of Teva's designs make use of bulky yarn in engaging ways and would not look the same done at a smaller gauge.
Unfortunately, the use of bulky yarns makes it hard to size up by changing yarn weight, and the given range of sizes is quite limited---most of these sweaters only come in two or three sizes, and only one size for the hats.
Chapter 3 is entitled "Waves---Experiments in Color, Pattern, and Composition," and contains a pattern for the most charming hooded capelet, shaped with yarn-overs.
Instructions for the designs pictured below are also in this chapter: fair isle patterning worked on the bias or with short rows, a color block sweater done with zippers instead of intarsia, and a child's sweater worked from the center out. With these and the other patterns in this chapter, Teva unleashed her imagination from tradition. But her design sensibility kept close watch on its wild scamperings and made sure, for instance, that the sleeves of the fair isle short-row pullover matched the body, though that meant they wouldn't match each other.
Unless you plan to use this solely as a coffee table book (where it would not be out of place), I suggest you download the errata page (depending on which edition you have) since many previous reviewers have found errors in the patterns. There don't seem to be too many errata compared to other recent books, but errors can be frustrating to encounter, especially when unexpected (as they usually are).
With this book, Teva seems to have bridged the gap between high fashion and practical knitwear. Some of the garments which appear to show off too much skin are actually vests.
Most if not all of the models in this book are actually friends and relatives of the designer. Photographer Adrian Buckmaster worked well with stylist Kristin Petliski and hair and makeup artist Angela Huff to make them look like professionals.
This book is an absorbing study of the possibilities of design---of limitation as well as freedom. It's visually stunning and artistically revealing.
I can hardly wait to see what Teva comes up with next.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed a copy of Loop-d-Loop from her library. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Stewart, Tabori & Chang or Teva Durham.
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