Aran Knits by Martin Storey, photography by John Heseltine, pub. St. Martin's Griffin, 2012.
This book contains 23 patterns for cabled garments with contemporary twists. Since the book has very little accompanying text, this review will follow suit and jump right into the patterns.
The cover features Isla, whose collar and waistband are all in one piece. The rectangular sleeves require no shaping, but the body is shaped. I might do a sleeve first if I were working this piece, to get used to the pattern.
The first pattern in the book is Morag, a cute, cropped, short sleeved sweater. All the patterns in this book (with the exception of the 5 Berry patterns) are named after people (loosely speaking) or places. Morag is a creature who inhabits Loch Morar, similar to Nessie of Loch Ness. This piece is knit from the bottom up, with arms emerging from the body after extra stitches are cast on each side.
The patterns are often shown next to mood-setting photos, perhaps even photos of the very objects which inspired the design. This scarf is Moira, whose cables have extensions which are tied in knots at each crossing.
Murray is another scarf, not quite as long as Moira, but still over 5 feet long. It's one gigantic horseshoe cable done in chunky yarn, so it's the perfect quick knit for a new cabler.
Bonnie is an open beaded vest with a simple yet unusual collar. It would be a good alternative to a shawl for cool evenings.
At left is Cora, one of my favorite pieces from this book. I particularly like the organic way in which the collar corners are formed.
Women's garments are sized to fit a 32 to 42 or 46" chest, and Men's garments to fit 36 or 38 to 46 or 58". All hats are given in one size, "to fit an average size head" (you know how I feel about that). The mitts and socks are both given in two sizes.
Schematics with minimal measurements are given for each garment, neck and armhole measurements being the most conspicuous omissions.
The Fiona hat is a sideways cable tam with a tassel. Wonderful! I'd also like to mention Adair, whose wide border does triple duty as fronts, collar, and waistband, and Lara, an appealing, understated piece whose cabling is limited to trim on the cuffs, waistband, buttonband, and pockets, and a single strip on each sleeve.
Skye (below) is a pretty little piece, with front sections which can be tied, draped, wrapped, or pinned. Another good alternative to a shawl for those of us who have trouble keeping them on.
There are no charts to be found in this book, but the written instructions seem clear and the definitions are thorough. The lovely photographs show the items from many angles.
This book is a good one for knitters new to cabling, or anyone who appreciates good design with classic cables. The designs have just enough creativity to make them interesting.
Martin Storey worked for the trendsetting knit design team known as Artwork before moving to Rowan, so he has a good feel for blending innovation with tradition. I look forward to his next project.
Disclosure: St. Martin's Griffin sent Kangath a free copy of Aran Knits 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 St. Martin's Griffin or Martin Storey.
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