Wednesday, April 07, 2010

No-Bull Book Review: Knitting 24/7 by Véronik Avery

It is indeed a red-letter day when the UPS man brings me a copy of a brand-new book by my pal and girl-crush Véronik Avery.

I couldn't wait to get my sweaty little hands on a copy of Knitting 24/7: 30 Projects to Knit, Wear, and Enjoy, On the Go and Around the Clock (Stewart Tabori & Chang 2010) and a review copy arrived late last week.

I'm in heaven.

Knitting 24/7 is designed for the busy knitter: people who are passionate about knitting but never seem to find enough time to knit due to pesky little details like day jobs, family obligations, and chores. As Véronik puts it in her introduction:
I designed the projects in Knitting 24/7 to be portable and to make use of our "extra" time -- those nooks and crannies in our lives when we are busy, yet our hands are free to practice our craft. Many of us like to knit while we travel, wait, watch or listen, and times like these call for projects that can be easily stowed in a bag and contained in our laps. They also call for easily memorized stitch patterns so that charts are not needed once the pattern has been established.

Ostrich Plumes Stole

The book contains 30 projects designed to fill those little bits of time that knitters have -- while watching hockey practice or sitting in the car line or commuting on the bus -- with interesting, stylish, but do-able knitting.

Modern Pillow

The book is divided into three sections: A.M., P.M. and Weekend, each referring to different times when a knitter may be able to sneak in a few rows. (Each section begins with a brief list of suggestions for ways to sneak in more knitting -- in line, waiting for the pizza to arrive, while watching a movie.) A.M. begins with a gorgeous pair of stranded mittens knit in Harrisville Shetland:

Patterned Mittens

as well as lounging socks knit in DK yarn, a cute wool skirt (well, for those with trim little butts), a button-front "grandfather" vest, a lightweight transitional scarf shown in merino/tencel,

Transitional Scarf

a shawl, lovely arm warmers,

1965 Armwarmers

a cabled beret, a fetching colorwork pillow, and a pair of mesh kneesocks. (So many of these would look terrific in Black Bunny Fibers yarn, no?)

Arrowhead Kneesocks

P.M. begins with a cute spiral cloche with large button,

Spiral Tweed Cloche

a clutch with a clever knot at the handle, a pretty shrug, a fine-gauge turtleneck, a linen market bag, another lacy scarf, a slouchy hat, a pretty stole and a pair of slippers -- one version for winter and one for summer.

Weekend features a very smart-looking fleur de lis hat,

Fleur de Lys Hat

an acorn-styled tea cozy, a pair of toe-up socks, a pretty mesh tank top for layering, a striking striped cowl and mitts combo,

Redwork Cowl & Mitts

another pair of stranded colorwork mittens (I love this pair, too),

Heilo Mittens

a headband, a bookmark, lacy cable socks, and lovely red cabled gloves.

Cabled Gloves

If you're looking for a tally, that's:
  • 2 pair of mittens and 1 pair of gloves, along with 1 pair of armwarmers and an armwarmer/cowl combo;
  • 4 hats & 1 headband;
  • 3 pair of socks, plus 1 pair of kneesocks and slippers (with 2 variations);
  • one turtleneck pullover;
  • one vest;
  • one skirt;
  • 3 home dec items (pillow, tea cozy and bookmark);
  • one tank top;
  • 2 bags (clutch and market bag )
  • 2 scarves;
  • 3 wraps (shawl, stole and shrug).
Olive Heather Skirt

Yarn weights are all over the map, ranging from fingering weight (e.g., for the pullover and some of the socks) to sportweight (e.g., the lovely St. Denis Nordique is used for bookmark, beret and headband), to heavy worsted (cloche & tea cozy) to chunky (the shrug). Techniques used in the patterns include lace, felting (one pair of the slippers), cables, and stranded colorwork, as well as a few stockinette items like the pullover sweater. Most of the items are one-size-fits-most, although the pullover is sized from 30.75 inch finished circumference to a 48 inch finished circumference, and the vest goes from 32 to 52 inches finished circumference -- generous sizing.

Fir Cone Shrug

As usual, it's a gorgeous book from cover to cover. It's paperback, about 128 pages, all color, with mouth-watering photos by Thayer Allison Goudy. The book contains a very brief section of special techniques but otherwise doesn't waste time on how-to-knit instructions. There are schematics and diagrams where appropriate as well as charts. We see nice clear shots of the stitch patterns, and close-ups of pattern details are thoughtfully included. With a MSRP of $21.95 (available via the link for a mere $14.93 as of this writing via Amazon), this lovely book full of beautiful patterns is worth every penny!

Leafy Knot Clutch

There is a certain knack to creating patterns that are easy and accessible to knit, but which are elegant and sophisticated-looking -- it's nowhere as easy as it looks. Thank goodness for us multi-tasking knitters that Avery has this knack. Knitting 24/7 is full of gorgeous but do-able patterns, great for making for yourself or giving as gifts.

All photos copyright 2010 by Thayer Allison Goudy.


Craig said...

Your girl's done it again! The designs are beautiful.

Congratulations to Veronik!

Carol said...

Gorgeous! Love all the patterns you've shown. I'm putting this right on my list to buy.

Barb B. said...

Great review, thanks Carol. And you are right, it isn't easy designing this kind of thing. Those designs have that lovely "handmade" look as opposed to the dreaded "homemade". Lovely stuff. The DIL will be getting this for her Bday for sure.
Barb B.

Ali P said...

I has a jealous that you have a copy and I doesn't...YET!

I am very excited to get my hand s on this book.
I am thinking it would make and awesome gift for a certain Virginian....

elizabeth said...

I love her patterns; I'm slowly working my way through Knitting Classic Style! The Graphic Hoodie was my Olympic project and I've just started her Fair Isle Cardigan.

Thanks for the preview!

JelliDonut said...

STOP! Stop tempting me with yet another knitting book. Dammit. This really looks like a good one and I swore off buying any more knitting books until end of the year. I LOVE that Modern Pillow. And that skirt... Arghhhhh! Where am I going to hide anymore new knitting books?

Anonymous said...

Holy cow. SOLD.

Kathleen Dames said...

I always enjoy your book reviews. This looks great - thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Must. Have.

Needles And Ewe said...

So many beautiful patterns. I am always looking for projects I can travel with!

Unknown said...

Okay, this book looks awesome! THANK YOU for your detailed review. I'm so going to buy this.

Deniz Bevan said...

Gorgeous stuff, congratulations Veronik! And yay for Montrealers :-) I'll link to this on my knitting blog