Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Leafy Knitting Goodness

Something very unusual happened the morning when  I downloaded my copy of Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos of Never-Not-Knitting.  Instead of the usual casual glance over my shoulder to check whether I was reading facebook or checking my blog stats AGAIN JTH seized the IPad and began scrolling through The Entire Book, he was really enjoying it.  Now this is more than a rarity  it was (until this morning ) a Never Event in the chopkins household.  JTH is quite happy for me to knit, will even admire some newly acquired skill "Look! i-cord" politely but he is most definitely not interested in knitting books.  However, he loved this one and once I got my hands on it I could see why.

The photographs are beautiful (JTH also remarked on the model)

The sweaters are arranged in tempting piles and the accessories casually draped about

The artistic poses still show clearly exactly what each piece looks like (don't you just hate magazines where the shot is so pared down you cannot see the clothes they are trying to portray?)

More beautiful pictures at every turn

Elegant layout (there are even instructions on how to knit the tiny leaves)

And clear charts (instructions in words too but so much easier to knit from a chart)

The book is truly a thing of beauty.  But if you have read one of my reviews before you will know that I believe in trying out a pattern or two before passing judgement.  I chose to make the oak trail cloche hat

The yarn is the inky blue alpaca/silk mix that I bought a few weeks ago at La Droguerie.  The construction is quite unusual, one of the things that attracted me to the pattern.  The band that ends in the oak leaf is knitted as a long narrow strip and then the stitches for the hat proper picked up along one long edge.  The oak leaf is incorporated into the body of the hat as you begin to knit in the round on a short cable needle.  My hat was finished in no time.  Alana advises changing to DPNs as the crown narrows but not having DPNs in the right size I switched to magic loop method which worked perfectly fine.  The instructions were clear and everything went together easily.

Once made it was a very snug fit.  I knew the band was the right circumference , the advantage of knitting with a cable means you can try on as you knit, but it just felt a little small.  I slept on it (metaphorically speaking)  I hate frogging and avoid it at all costs but in the cold light of day I knew the hat would be better for another inch in the body.   So I frogged back to the beginning of the crown shaping, added another inch and recommenced the crown.  It was actually done in no time and this time, after a soak in Eucalan a perfect fit

(worn here with the motif a little further to the front to make photographing myself easier!)

If you would like to see more of this leafy loveliness, there is a thriving Ravelry group where there are knit-a-longs for almost every pattern and my friend Claire (who told me about the book in the first place) has already finished the twigs and willows cardigan and has begun another!

Love it - love it- love it (book and hat).




Caron said...

Oh my God, I LOVE the hat! If I could knit, I'd knit it in the grey. Gorgeous xx

Tracy said...

I very much like your hat but I am also very taken with the illustration of the scalloped cowl. It looks like a lovely book to work from.

Alli said...

Lovely review Catherine! I think Alana's designs are wonderful too - now I definitely can't wait to get my hands on this latest book!