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.
Loop-d-Loop Lace by Teva Durham, photographs by Adrian Buckmaster, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011
This is the book to learn lace with. It goes from mesh and eyelets to more complicated designs with bulky yarn for instant gratification, fine yarn for extended pleasure, and some of everything in between.
This is also the book to expand horizons. Interesting pieces worked in fascinating ways in exotic stitches for stunning results. Simple constructions with a twist. Unusual solutions to age-old design problems, like the top-down eyelet shirt that is shaped with specially treated yarnovers.
This is the book, whether you're feeling impressive or uninspired, to keep on your coffee table. Glowing models in gorgeous garments, tidbits of wit and history, and Teva Durham's methodical encouragement. I learn something new every time I pick it up, and I've already read it cover to cover several times.
The first couple chapters contain charming and inventive designs such as a military-style jacket, a leather cord belt, knee socks, pillow covers, and bloomers. But I want to highlight the designs that come next, starting with the Samplers chapter.
The cover sweater, the milanese shower bolero, features four distinct yet related lace patterns. The stitches progress from the Shower Stitch on the lower bodice to the Milanese Stitch on the sleeves and are separated from the Wing Stitch on the upper bodice by a raised line of stitches. The ruffled border is actually a variation of Bear Track lace.
The skirt of the shetland shawl dress is a Shetland shawl placed on the bias. A shawl with spaghetti straps is sure to stay on! I am always looking for other ways to wear the beautiful lace patterns that adorn these shoulder coverings.
The gorgeous tiger and snail folkloric blouse has the makings of a fable in its name, but that is not its only attractive aspect. For one thing, it's red. I love red lace. The sideways snail shell edging is worked first, then stitches are picked up for the body and sleeves. There are cables around the drawstring neckline to act as ruching. Teva was inspired by Eastern European dance costumes when she designed this piece, and it shows both in the shape and the extraordinary level of detail.
The Thistle Bodice below is from the Doily chapter and is a virtuosic reinterpretation of Marianne Kinzel's Balmoral doily. The thistle's calyx is featured several times in the doily and takes center stage in the top, manifesting itself at three major focal points.
The patterns are clearly written and well laid out, with plenty of white space around the charts and clear schematics. Measurements are given only in inches. Although there are two sizes for the sock, there is only one size each for the two hats (17 1/2" and a very stretchy 19"). Skirt sizes go up to 2X (52" hip) and most sweaters go to XL or 2X, with notable exceptions being the eyelet tee which is offered in Girl's 4-5T through Women's Medium and the rose trellis blouse which goes to 5X (60" bust).
Adrian Buckmaster's photography is masterful, capturing both the knitterly details and garment "story." Close-up pictures of swatches are also included throughout.
Most impressive of all is that Teva finished this book after the death of her three month old baby boy. In her words, "I know that it is in the nature of humans to create and invent . . . extraordinary objects despite the limitations and trials of everyday life. This is perhaps our best quality."
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed a copy of Loop-d-Loop Lace from her personal 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.
I love the Palm Leaf Wrap I made, and I finally have photos of it to show you. It was especially important to me to get photos because in a few weeks I won't have the actual object. It's intended for someone else, someone who loves everything I knit. (No, not you, sweet husband.)
I ended up seaming every other leaf as suggested in the pattern for the "capelet fit." I especially enjoy the way the leaves cuddle my shoulders this way.
Look for a review of the book this came from, Loop-d-Loop Lace, in a future post.
This is my unblocked version of Teva Durham's Palm Leaf Wrap.
And here it is pinned out for blocking.
Because my son keeps fish, I happen to know the pH of my tap water is extremely basic, so I dissolved a couple tablespoons of acetic acid along with a drop of gentle detergent in cold water to wash the wrap. I regularly do this with red and purple yarns to prevent bleeding because of our water's pH. This tip came from Jill Draper, when I had trouble with a dye that wouldn't stop running when rinsed in plain water.
After washing, I laid the wrap out on a couple of towels which were on a carpet remnant on our carpeted floor. I carefully pinned each lobe of the leaf and the two points below each leaf. I can hardly wait for it to dry.
The Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica that I used is a slightly lighter weight than called for in the pattern. It's a thick-and-thin yarn (just what it sounds like) which I thought would lend rusticity to the design. It's also kettle dyed, resulting in subtle tonal variegation which adds dimension to the color. Plus, I just love the company and its fair trade values. Recently I've been trying to stick to buying fair trade or organic yarn.
It's not a sacrifice.
I don't have a photo of it yet, but I finished the Palm Leaf Wrap this past weekend.
I guess bulky lace can get done rather quickly.
I've been using Knitter's Pride needles for this and the frock coat. Both needles were the same color as their projects, but these raspberry size 13's remind my husband of walking stick insects in their camouflage.
More about Knitter's Pride needles (and a photo of the finished wrap) soon.
Hi! I'm Kangath---
knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
Click here to join the Kangath Knits email list
for insider updates and special deals.
Ruth Roland is a top Baton Rouge, LA music lesson instructor on TryMusicLessons.com!
Amy Herzog Designs
Knit and Tonic
The Sexy Knitter
Sheep to Shawl
Trappings and Trinkets
Two Sides of the Same Stitch