I’ve been looking at Knitting With a Smile by Inger Fredholm online since it came out, but always hesitated buying it because it’s pretty darn expensive.
But I had an Amazon gift certificate so I ordered it last week. It arrived over the weekend, so here’s my review.
It’s a softcover spiral-bound book, full color, 120 pages. The Amazon price is $43.95. You can have a look at some of the pages of the book on the author’s website, a feature I appreciate. The book contains 36 original patterns for sweaters, shawls, dresses, hats, mittens, etc.
First the good:
The book is beautifully photographed and very nicely produced. It reads like a workbook and scrapbook of musings and observations, along with the knitting patterns. There’s a recipe for Swedish cinnamon buns included. I’ve enjoyed flipping through it and enjoyed reading most of the text.
I don’t really like any of the patterns. I realize that this is subjective and your mileage may very well vary. A lot of the patterns are based on traditional Swedish designs — I recognize some traditional motifs. But I do wish the designs were knitted at a much finer gauge. On the colorwork the motifs are so huge they look gaudy. I would like to see some designs using traditional motifs at 8 stitches/inch or finer. There are several different sweaters based on one single motif, one is a pullover, one is a cardigan, and one is a coat. All are knitted at the gauge of 23 sts/4 inches.
There are a few fair isles in the book and they use 2-ply jumperweight shetland, which I’m used to knitting at 32 sts/4 inches. These designs are knitted on larger needles and the gauge of one is 23 stitches/4 inches and the other 25 stitches/4 inches — way too loose for the yarn, I think. I don’t care for the colors chosen for much of the colorwork — I am no doubt spoiled from knitting Starmore fair isles.
There are two very simple lace shawl patterns. There is one pattern for a lace dress for a little girl that I think is adorable. The same pattern has been reworked for adult sizes, and I don’t like it nearly as well. There’s a lace cardi and a lace sweater and skirt set.
The writing is opinionated. Consider this quote from the section about lace: “A light thin lace shawl is always ‘right’ in fashion, but today we would not even think of knitting a wedding shawl thin enough to be drawn through a wedding ring like the old folks did!” Perhaps the author does not knit fine gauge lace shawls, but I know plenty of people who do. I think this statement is very telling — perhaps the author thinks that modern knitters are not interested in extremely fine gauge traditional knitting, but rather easier items based on traditional designs. I think she’d be surprised to find how many traditional knitters there are out there who would welcome a book of fine gauge designs.
Bottom line, I don’t think the book is worth the purchase price and I wouldn’t have gotten it if I didn’t have a gift certificate. I don’t regret getting it for free, though. I am extremely interested in traditional Swedish knitting and although I think this book has not done the best job of translating traditional Swedish patterns for modern knitters, some people may enjoy knitting the patterns. I did note that there is one review of the book on Amazon and the reviewer thinks the book is well worth the money. So as I said, your mileage may vary. Take my review for what it is — my opinion.
Hey guess what? I’m knitting a sleeve!
The First Heifer Raffle Drawing!
This afternoon I drew names for the first round of prizes in the Heifer raffle. The winners are:
Alison L. wins the wonderful instant sock yarn stash donated by Sheri Berger, The Loopy Ewe.
Sharon H. wins the adorable cat shawl pin, donated by Rosemary Hill of Designs By Romi.
Congratulations and thanks to all! All winners have been emailed and have responded.
I am delighted beyond words at what a success this project has been so far — we are well on our way to raising (and exceeding) $10,000 in donations. Pat yourselves on the back!
Wake me when my baby chicks get here.