Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stylish knits

In “One Ball Knits Accessories: 20 Stylish Designs Made With a Single Ball, Skein, Hank, or Spool,” (Watson-Guptill Publications, $16.95) authors, designers and sisters Fatema, Khadija and Hajera Habibur-Rahman have really distinguished themselves in the one-skein project field.
Patterns reminiscent of Turkey, China, Victorian England, the Old West, India lend a worldly flair to the book, while dusty rose, rich royal red, robin’s egg blue, blood red, deep crimson, emerald green and cornflower evoke the colors of an Indian bazaar.
The first 27 pages are devoted to “one-ball basics,” which even a fairly experienced knitter will find invaluable — all the information you need, all in one place. There’s a metric and U.S. size chart, how to read schematics, templates and charts, finishing information and large, visual illustrations on how to knit cables, string beads, whipstitch, do the kitchener and whip stitches and so much more. After knitting for many years, I finally was able to understand the concept of cables and the kitchener stitch in logical terms.
Particularly stunning are the Moebius Shawl in watercolor tones of sand, eggplant and seafoam and the Scarlet Handbag in a twisted stitch that looks like a half-cable or almost a paisley design. I have never seen such a high-quality handmade purse. It looks like a Coach bag.
There are patterns for a Panja (hand jewelry) and Crystal Bead Necklace and Earrings and Flower Pin felted brooch, which incorporates felting and beading techniques.
This is a divine book for a beginning knitter with an eye for fashion to dip her toes into the craft. And she isn’t relegated to learning by making a scarf or potholder, but rather exquisite little works of art.

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