Thursday, April 13, 2006

Book Reviews or Who The Hell Do I Think I Am?

I'm saving you the trouble of saying, "who does she think she is" after reading this blog. Recently I received a bunch of books I ordered from Amazon and I've finally had a chance to read them. I thought I'd review them periodically just to give my opinion for whatever it's worth.

First up, "The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics". I really like the look of some of the sweaters in this book. Yet, I have to wonder, have the Yarn Girls ever considered the possibility of circular needles?! EVERYTHING is knit flat and seamed. Even the hat patterns. Even the raglan sweaters. Are they masochistic or are they secretly using circular needles for this stuff, writing the patterns flat and laughing at us as we try to seam their sweaters, hats, etc? If these two come up with sock patterns, be afraid, be very afraid.

The other problem, not insurmountable, is the yarn used. Of course you can substitute. But this book is touted as for beginners or advanced beginners. Beginners are terrified of yarn substitutions. I think the average cost for a sweater made from this book with the recommended yarn would be close to $100. I'm starting to think I shouldn't even bother buying books by anyone who owns a knit shop. Call me cynical, but there could be an ulterior motive behind the yarn choices.

Last problem, I promise. Sizes are not really specified. Measurements for the front of the garment are given and then you have to calculate the finished bust measurement from there. It seems like that should just be provided. I honestly couldn't recommend anyone spend money on this book when there are so many other better ones out there.

On to something more positive, you've all read it, you've all loved it too I'm quite sure. The Yarn Harlot's new book "Knitting Rules" . I loved it. She makes me laugh and sometimes cry. She comes across as someone you'd meet in your neighborhood. She comes across as regular knitter gal. She's not. She's way out of my league. She is Erma Bombeck or Will Rogers (20 somethings e-mail if you don't know who these folks are) brandishing knitting needles. She is just brilliant.

Okay, she doesn't need my endorsement, you are all reading her stuff every day. She probably got you blogging in the first place. I can honestly say that even though I found her blog first it was Crazy Aunt Purl that inspired me to blog. Read her entry today, you'll laugh so hard you'll cry. Somebody get her a book deal already because she deserves one.

I found out through Chris' blog that another Chris is looking for help with a project for the Humane Society. Since I am highly encouraged to find ways to support the Humane Society without bringing home more animals, I'm in! Is everyone out there named Chris, or Jennifer, or Kate? I've been tempted to change my blog world name to Nothatotherkate because there are so many of us out there.

Okay enough opinions back to knitting. Tomorrow the $&^%&*^ cotton sweater.


Chris said...

Hey, CAP inspired me to blog, too!! *insert eerie music here*

Heh, there are also an awful lot of blogging Kellee/Kellie/Kelly's. :)

The only reason I have even one Yarn Girls book is because I bought it at their shop and got it autographed there. I've never considered making anything out of it...

I think that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the Elizabeth Zimmermann of our age. :)

Knittymama said...

Oh, I have the same problem with the Yarn Girls! I have their kid knits book, and while the patterns are cute, they sure aren't cheap!

Aside from the fact that "Knitting Rules" is just hilarious, I can't believe all the little tricks. I want to make hats for everyone just to see if the hand trick really works for sizing.

Chris said...

Oh, it's too funny. I was going to leave you a message about the squares and actually left the message on Kate's blog. Talk about red in the face!
email me for the address
chrisknitz at insightbb dot com.

Chris said...

Oh great, now I am even getting your name confused with Renee's. I really need to go to sleep. Ask Chris, I am usually not so scatter brained. Well, maybe I am! Happy Easter.

Chris said...

Oh great, now I am even getting your name confused with Renee's. I really need to go to sleep. Ask Chris, I am usually not so scatter brained. Well, maybe I am! Happy Easter.

Jennifer said...

I HAVE noticed the Chris/Kate/Jennifer thing. When I was in school, there would be at least three other Jennifer's besides me in class. My friend decided he had to many friends with "J" names so he renamed me Barklabar.

trek said...

The next book on my shelf is Stephanie's (autographed!). I don't like the yarn girls - they are do snooty.

I just finished Beyond Stitch & Bitch by Afi-Odella Scruggs but I wouldn't be in a hurry to recommend it to others. It was okay but that's as much as I am going to say.

Tam said...

I'm with you on the Yarn Girls book. I like looking at it but I've never knit anything out of it. I knit EVERYTHING circularly, even if it doesn't call for it (unless there is some compelling reason why it NEEDS to be knitted flat). I think the rationale was that beginning knitters would be more comfortable knitting flat. I guess that's it, anyway. IMHO, it's a heck of a lot easier to knit something in the round (no purling) and then NOT have to seam it. That may just be me though. Keep up the book reviews. They are helpful!

Juls said...

Ditto! I really enjoy the Yarn Girls books, but even the adorable knitted dresses for little girls (kid knits book) is knit flat. Hello? It's a dress--yes, a big long tube! Maybe they think circulars are not "beginner" enough? I also agree about the high-end yarn. I spend a significant amount of time choosing yarn subs for any of the Yarn Girls patterns.