Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock, edited by Stephannie Tallent, photographs by Nick Murway, pub. Cooperative Press, 2013.
This book contains 29 knitting patterns by 27 designers. Mostly shawls and sweaters, with a handful of glove and mitt patterns and a few sock and hat patterns, the designs are inspired by the fashions of the various time periods as well as the graphics of Saul Bass.
Despite the inclusion of several strong designs, Hitch disappointed me: the book design, the photos, and the supplementary text.
I wanted the cover to be more reminiscent of Saul Bass---perhaps arranging the circle insets differently or substituting a solid color background for the trees would help. I love the strips of film which show up behind the table of contents, but putting them behind the italicized pattern intros makes the text difficult to read.
The photos are uneven. This is perhaps my biggest problem with the book. Some of them hit the mark: the model poses in a way that seems to be lifted from Hitchcock films, while details of the knitted item are clearly visible. But in many of these photos, the background is too close to the model or otherwise distractingly present, and the image quality leaves something to be desired. In the least ideal photos, important design features (such as the lace pattern of the Miss Fremont Shawl) become nearly invisible due to poor styling and/or lighting.
A couple of the projects and even one of the dresses donated by Deering Vintage are wrinkled. This amateur mistake is easy to avoid. The project photos set the tone of any pattern book, but inadequate photos are particularly disappointing in a book inspired by film.
Hitch is a pattern book, after all (although many of my favorite pattern books can double as coffee table books), so I'll discuss individual designs.
Dani Berg's Alicia Tam and Mitts, shown in one of the most successful project photos at right, make a lovely set. Stephannie Tallent's Exacta Hat is a clever, customizable take on Rear Window. All the hat and hand covering patterns in the book are sized for two or three sizes, which is excellent.
I had a tough time deciding whether to feature Stefanie Pollmeier's fetching Rio Gloves with their slip stitch ridges or Katherine Vaughan's Stella Gloves, (below right)---I admire both designs. The Stellas have a visually irritating jog on the palm, but the stitch pattern and the buttons are cute as can be, and there wasn't a photo I liked of the Rios.
The sweaters are all generously sized---many in seven or eight sizes, with a span of 27.75" - 60.25". But I had a hard time finding one I wanted to feature. Three Second Kiss features a Bohus-inspired color work band which to my eye just looks messy. Cypress Point and Greenwich Village don't fit the model well (look at Linda's photos on the pattern page for contrast) and the Eleven Hundred Dollars sweater is not shown at the most flattering angles.
Brenda Castiel's Riviera Nights Stole is lovely and simple, though I think more care might have been taken to avoid that weird bump at the bottom between the two halves of the shawl. I looked at the pattern but I can't tell what causes it exactly. It looks bigger than the one row of Color A called for.
Still, this piece deserved much better photography!
I loved the "Wear it like Grace Kelly" scarf-tying tutorial, and I wanted more of that kind of thing throughout the book. A filmography listing the ten films referenced in the book is the only other added attraction. I was sad. I wanted more. Nobody knits all the designs in a book, so we rely on these little tidbits to sustain us.
Barring that, the patterns could have been organized so as to tell a story. For instance, the Madeleine Gloves and the Judy Henley might have been placed next to each other. And the text for the Annie Pullover contains a shameless spoiler for The Birds. If we've seen the film the spoiler doesn't add anything, and if we haven't, well, it ruins part of the suspense.
Stephannie's Thornhill Cowl (right) is my absolute favorite piece in the book. There were several good designs besides the ones I named in this review, and the charts and generously sized schematics are all clearly done. But the photography was a low point, and the lack of supplementary material about Hitchcock and his films disappointed me.
Disclosure: Cooperative Press sent Kangath a copy of Hitch free for review. 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 Cooperative Press or the designers.
This is the body of my Garden Windows cardigan, all ready for a sleeve. The shoulder stitches are on scrap yarn and I'm ready to pick up stitches at the underarm. I used the "backwards-e" cast on for the underarm stitches.
First I put the held stitches on a knitting needle, then I count the underarm stitches and make sure to start picking up at the halfway point. I insert my needle in second row below the underarm edge for a seamless look. This does not create an uncomfortable ridge inside the sweater, as you might imagine.
I start two rows below the middle of the underarm cast-on row, pick up the number of stitches called for, knit around the top of the sleeve, then pick up the last half of the underarm stitches. Of course if you have any special tricks like picking up a couple extra stitches and then decreasing them on the next round to avoid gaps where the picked-up stitches meet the live stitches, feel free to implement them here.
There are also alternative cast-ons for the underarm stitches. I found the "backwards e" cast-on to leave very little ridge after I picked up the second row below, and picking up that far down seems to eliminate any problem with gaps. Any provisional cast-on would also work for a seamless look. The Chinese waitress cast-on was recently recommended, but I haven't tried it myself.
Below is a photo of the child's version of Garden Windows as seen from inside the underarm. The ridge curls up and is not noticeable to the wearer. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good photo of the outside, but it really looks seamless!
My Garden Windows mother-daughter cardigan set is finally out! I really love this design. Worked in Daily DK from Willow Yarns, it features a circular yoke worked in garter stitch stripes, with window frames formed from slipped stitches.
These two sweaters practically flew off my needles---worked in one piece with the yoke pattern repeated at the cuff, it was great meditative knitting with always something to look forward to.
My daughter is wearing the size 4. She loves the cropped look and 3/4 sleeves. To replicate the look on a less diminutive body, simply start the cuff and waistband earlier! This pattern is really flexible that way---you could also knit it past the hips for an open tunic.
Universal Yarn Company published my Hagakiri Tee in February, but I've been so busy that I'm just now getting around to posting about it.
My husband loves the waist shaping and peek-a-boo underarms, and I am particularly pleased with the sleeve caps (after five attempts!).
"Hagakiri" means "twig pattern" in Estonian. The lace is an Estonian pattern which looks like a branch with twigs coming off it at angles. The twigs are done in decreases, so you need to see a close-up of the pattern to appreciate it. The lace wraps around the shoulders and provides a striking stripe down the back. This tee takes only a few skeins of Cotton Supreme. It works up quickly yet is full of interest!
I'm a little late posting this, and if the winter greens are finished in your part of the world, you'll just have to print this recipe for next year.
Nobody in my family enjoys collards, so my son recommended we make pesto from the ones we got from our CSA. After telling him collards aren't pesto greens, I looked it up on the internet.
And it turns out they are.
Here's my version of the recipe, tweaked to please my little family.
1. Blanch greens in boiling water to cover for 1 minute; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well.
2. Roughly chop garlic. Toast pecans in dry pan over low heat. Process garlic and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add greens, olives, cheese, herbs, salt, and 1/2 cup oil; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Add more oil if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
We had this the first night over rice pasta with black olives and extra parmesan. Yum! But spread on pitas, topped with mozzarella cheese, and baked at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes it was a real hit. If you're looking for a new way to eat your greens, give this a try!
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