Thursday, November 15, 2012

A book review: Shades of Winter

In episode 23 we review Shades of Winter: Knitting with Natural Wool by Ingalill Johansson published by Interweave Press. I am posting my written review here. 
- Sharlene

First Impressions
This is a beautifully photographed, cohesive collection. The collection was photographed at Icehotel, Sweden. The images of the hotel and grounds in the photographs made we want to see and learn more about the hotel.

All the yarns used in the designs in the book are "Ecological Wool" described as being "natural colors of sheep's wool." The patterns use two yarn weights. The Swedish Yarns used are:
Marks & Kattens Eco Baby Wool (#2 fine)
Marks & Kattens Eco Wool (#4 worsted)

The patterns and book are divided into three color categories:
  • Natural White
  • Gray
  • Beige 
There are twenty-five patterns, with 5 patterns actually being sets of matching accessories, such as cap, cowl, wrist warmers, and socks.

Natural White
The Ribbed Cap and Wrist Warmers are great basics, good beginner projects and great for learning to knit in the round. The Lace Sweater is a beautiful tunic. The Texture Knit Cardigan is definitely something I would wear. There is also a vest version that I like as well. The Stockinette Dress is 60s-inspired and photographed quite nicely with white boots that give it an updated feel.

I love the Cabled Cap, Cowl, and Wrist Warmers. Also the Lace Shawl with crocheted edging.

The Short-Sleeved Vest is a great layering piece. The Garter Stitch Shawl looks cozy and warm.

I like the fact that Interweave uses Craft Yarn Council standards for yarn weights in the patterns. It is nice that patterns are offered in ranges from approximately 30" to 50" for the garments. There is a range of accessories and garments.  Knitters who don't like to follow charts should be aware that is the only option in this book. There are no accompanying written out instructions for sections that are charted. Many of the garments are styled and designed for more youthful figures, though a few sweaters may appeal to a wider age audience. The accessories may appeal to a wider age range as well.

It has been difficult as of this writing to find photographs of any of the designs in the book. There are few entries for this title on Ravelry. Given this difficulty, this will be a book you may need to seek out in person rather than ordering sight unseen.

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