Posts Tagged ‘review’

Book Review: She Makes Hats

she makes hats

About twweeks ago a brand new Raveler with no avatar, posts, projects, favorites, or any other info contacted me asking me to do a book review. I was skeptical at first, but after looking into the publisher, Asymmetrical Press, they do appear to be a legitimate (if small) company.

 

I agreed to take on the project, figuring that even with all the other things going on right now I would still be able to finish the book some time in March. Jesse from Asymmetrical sent me a copy of the e-book, and within a week I began to read She Makes Hats, by Robyn Devine. Off the bat I found Robyn’s writing style very conversational and personal, which I do tend to like. I enjoy stories where you really get a feel for the personality of a narrator, and she definitely comes off as a pretty typical 30-something.

 

Although she does start off by talking about learning to knit, this is definitely much more the story of Robyn’s 20s and 30s than it is a story about a knitting project. It’s not what I expected when I started, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Throughout the book, Robyn uses knitting a a sort of personal therapy while dealing with the challenges in her life. A lot of us do this, myself included, and I’ve definitely noticed it as a theme in other knitting books too. I checked out her website while I was reading and her other published book is a collection (with other authors) of life advice, so this seems in keeping with her established style.

The blurb I received before reading this book mentioned an effort to knit 10,000 hats for charities around the world. Robyn also mentions a decision in her early knitting days to knit 100 hats. As I read, I kept interpreting each mention of knitting or of a personal challenge in her life as build-up to the great 10,000 hats project. Eventually, she begins to talk about how knitting for newborns brings meaning to her life, and I thought, this is it! It’s going to be 10,000 hats for newborns! Imagine my surprise, then, when I turned the page and…nothing. That was the end of the book. It literally did not take me two days to finish this book because it is that short. I was baffled. So much build up and there’s not even an ending? It can’t be done yet! How does the project turn out? How did the project even begin? Is there not an organized project? I was so confused.

I guess I should’ve been paying attention to the percentage count in the corner of my Kindle. The shortness of the book and its abrupt ending probably shouldn’t have been as big a surprise as they were. Nonetheless, it made what started out as a light, enjoyable personal narrative into a disconcerting lack of a story. I was left unsatisfied and a bit lost. The fact that this story wasn’t what I originally thought it would be doesn’t really bother me, but the fact that it wasn’t any of the other things it could’ve been either does. It’s not a book about a knitting project, it’s not a book about knitting in general, it’s not a book about a personal journey or a great accomplishment, and it’s not a biography. I guess I just don’t understand what this book is.

 

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Book Review: Yarn to Go

I recently had the opportunity to read a not-yet-released book called Yarn to Go, by Betty Hechtman. Reading something before the masses is always exciting for a bookworm like me. I admit I was a little nervous about this one, because I’ve read some really driveling knit-themed fiction before. After a bit of a slow start with a character I wasn’t really warming up to (and she wasn’t even a knitter!) I was even more worried.

yarn to go

I have to admit it though, Ms. Hechtman sucked me in. The main character grew a lot more human and likable soon enough, and actually her portrayal of the little North Pacific resort town might be what really hooked me. I love feeling like I’ve been someplace new after a book, and she definitely does a good job of making me feel like I’ve seen the Monterey Peninsula.

While I had a couple of “main suspects” throughout the murder-mystery, and one of them was indeed the killer, I genuinely didn’t know which one it would be until the big reveal. Maybe I’m just not as experienced a mystery reader as some. It certainly made sense in the end though! She does a good job of tying the knitting into the mystery/whole story as well, rather than plopping it down arbitrarily on top of the storyline. Hechtman does seem to be writing a knitting novel for non-knitters though, and over-explained a tad much for my taste.

muffins

Yarn to Go also comes with a knitting pattern and a recipe in the back of the book. I skipped the pattern, as it is also designed for non-knitters. It is a good pattern for a total beginner, but less appealing to me. I did try the recipe though. I have to say they’re the richest, most chocolatey cupcakes muffins I’ve ever had. Definitely good served warm with a tall glass of milk.

All in all, a worthwhile read!

Book Review: Knit to Flatter

Last December I took Amy Herzog’s class at my local LYS and expressed excitement about her upcoming book. Well, it’s finally here! It only arrived today and I’ve already eagerly devoured the whole thing. A lot of it was simply recapping what we covered in her workshop, but it is nice to have it all neatly written in one place, with examples and photos for each concept.

knit to flatter

Book!!!

 

Another thing I really love about the book is that once you’ve figured out your body shape, there’s an entire section devoted to it – regardless of which shape that is. There are also mini-sections for other features you might need to consider, such as being larger or smaller than the industry standard B-cup, or having an unusually curvy or straight waist, etc.

catch

Not that any of those would apply to me of course. Nope, not at all. Ahem.

Also exciting is that each of the patterns included in the book is placed in the section for the body type it best suits, BUT with suggestions to modify it to fit the other body types. If there was any doubt in my mind about whether I’d gotten the right idea about my shape from the workshop, right there in the Bottom Heavy section was the sweater I’ve been coveting since December – Flutter. I’m in the unique position of already knowing for sure it will look awesome on me, because I’ve already tried it on! Time to go yarn shopping!

Fit to Flatter

Yesterday I was lucky enough to finally attend one of Amy Herzog‘s Fit to Flatter workshops. I won’t go into too much detail, because you really do need to take the workshop to get the full picture, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience. It was interesting to see that I’ve been instinctively knitting and designing for my bottom-heavy figure, in spite of the fact that my measurements suggest I should be a more proportional figure and I always assumed they told the whole story.

bottom heavy

As she pointed out, the initial, head-on impression of your body is the one most people carry around in their brains, so that’s the one that counts. The decidedly unflattering shot above shows that when you reduce me to a 2-dimensional amalgam of shapes, my hips are wider than anything up top. That means things with fancy details in the top half, like cowls

esmeralda lace

Esmeralda, by Christina Loman

or color work, or yokes,  or lace work help to balance my figure and flatter it. Because I’m so curvy (in the literal sense, if not the euphemistic one), wide, deep necklines also flatter – even if I wear a tank or something else high-necked underneath.

catch

Catch, by Christina Loman

Details that call attention to my waistline are also flattering, although a simple belt will do the trick there. I also got to try on the samples from a lot of Amy’s patterns, and learned that since Amy’s body type is similar to my own, a whole lot of the patterns from her upcoming book are going to look awesome on me. Can’t wait til it comes out!

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