Animal Hats by Vanessa Mooncie, photography by Chris Gloag and Rebecca Mothersole, pub. The Taunton Press, 2012.
This book contains 15 adorable patterns for hats that resemble animal heads. Most have earflaps; the cat and the pig do not. (The pig does, however, have a fetching curly tail.) The ones with earflaps mostly have cords at the ends of the flaps, with pompoms or tassels at the ends of the cords, but the penguin and the dog have buttons to secure the flaps to the hat.
There are only two sizes for each hat: child and adult. Nonetheless, they seem to fit a variety of heads, as evidenced by the staff portrait below. I do wish dimensions were given for the hats themselves. It would be helpful to know beforehand whether the hat I was working on had a chance of fitting my oversized noggin.
Though this is mainly a pattern book, it includes a basic techniques section which describes everything needed to make the hats---from basic knit and purl stitches to intarsia to embroidery, pompoms, and sewing up.
Also, this book contains a helpful section on lining your hat either with polar fleece or a knitted lining. Instructions are fairly clear, but as a non-seamstress I would be nervous when following the instruction "Stitch the darts where indicated on the pattern template." I see the indication, but I don't know what it means to stitch a dart. Am I supposed to cut it out and then stitch it together? But as a non-seamstress I would probably just knit a lining.
The photography does a good job of showing each hat from various angles, and the model truly looks good in each of these silly hats.
Many of the hats have a pointy crown, perhaps because of the back seam. Seamed hats, you say?
Well, some of these hats feature intarsia, which is most easily worked flat. I'm not sure about the reasoning behind the others.
The koala, for instance, at top center, looks distinctly pentagonal, yet its nose is knit separately and the eyes are buttons.
This book is full of cute designs. When I knit one for my sister in Minnesota, I will probably convert the pattern to knit the majority of the hat in the round.
Which one should I choose? I love the lion (reminiscent of Luna Lovegood's hat in one of the Harry Potter movies), but the elephant looks wonderful in tweed, and they all bring a smile to my face!
Kangath reviewed this copy of Animal Hats from her library. All opinions in this review are her own.
Swedish Sweaters by Britt-Marie Christoffersson, pub. The Taunton Press, 1990
This is a wonderful, rich book. The first section is a study of museum pieces and other 19th century sweaters, replete with charts, gauge information, sweater type, and in some cases even helpful hints for construction. The second section contains full patterns for sweaters inspired by the historical garments and in many cases how they were developed.
The first section is most interesting to me. An experienced knitter could easily reproduce the garments with the given information; a budding designer could use the interesting shapes and techniques, like the author has, for inspiration. The sweaters are not modeled, but they are displayed in such a way as to show important details.
The second section contains interesting patterns derived from the historical examples in sometimes surprising ways. The photograpy is adequate, the sweaters are modeled, and the writing clear. The sweaters and scarves range in difficulty from basic to experienced.
A fascinating book for any knitter, whether or not they are particularly interested in Swedish knitting.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Swedish Sweaters. 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 Taunton Press or Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
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