November 17, 2006

One-Skein Wonders review

Let’s just get it out of the way – I love this book. Over a hundred cute, approachable patterns were compiled from yarn shops around the country: that means 101 socks and scarves and shawls and hats and baby sweaters, all of which (theoretically) can be completed with a single skein of yarn.

“One skein” is a bit of a stretch in some cases, as a few of the projects call for some hefty skeins (500+ yards). This may surprise no one else but me, but it appears this book will not single-handedly provide the perfect project for every one of my solo skeins. Alas.

That said, it’s a very useful book, not least for its organization. I am, after all, a librarian-in-training, and I do love me some strict organization. The book is broken down by yarn weight, which is excellent if you’re looking for a project to fit a particular yarn, as I am. Less so if you’re looking to knit a particular kind of project, say a felted bag or lace scarf. That would require a bit of browsing.

The browsing, though, is remarkably pleasurable. The especially cool thing is that there are so damn many good-looking, straightforward projects, in such a variety of yarn and stitch patterns. For a fairly new knitter like myself, without a huge amount of experience with different yarns and patterns, it was a joy to see so many options all at once. The book is now positively bristling with post-its. So many ideas! So many colors! So many thrilling new yarns! [Insert stern reminder to self here regarding using up existing yarns, not buying new yarn].

Design and layout could be a bit better. Each project is accompanied by a not terribly helpful two-color photo in the margin. There is a section in the middle with glossy full color shots of most (if not all) of the projects, but they aren’t in the same order as the projects themselves. This necessitates a lot of flipping back and forth between picture and pattern to decide if you’re really interested. Plus, the pictures are shot the tiniest bit goofily.

Move beyond the goofiness. It will be worth it.

I can’t yet vouch for pattern clarity or accuracy. But I figure if I can cope with the staggering number of errors in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, I can certainly deal with anything this book got wrong. More details as I get on with the knitting.

First up, Easy Mittens. Perfect for that lonely ball of Malabrigo in the Carrot colorway!

Lastly, in poking around on their website I noticed that Storey Publishing (squeezably cute publishers of this book, the Yarn Harlot’s books and the Knit Hats!, Knit Scarves! books among others) has an opening for a Creative Director. Not that I was looking at their jobs.

They specifically say you should have an affinity for gardening, crafts, etc. (in addition to the zillion years of book publishing experience I don't have). Just in case anyone is looking for the coolest job ever.

No comments: