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March 24, 2006

Review: One Skein

What, me? Have an opinion?

CUPCAKES. What more do you people need to know? There are cupcakes. Go buy the book.

Oh, still here? You want a better review? Okay. This is a cute little book that seems to be along the same lines as Interweave's other recent products, such as Scarf Style and Wrap Style. The patterns are somewhere in between classic and trendy - not so conventional as to be "yeah, whatever, I've seen that a million times" and not so hip as to be "nifty, but I'd never knit it." In fact, I don't think there were any patterns in this book that I'd say I'd never knit, although of course some were more exciting than others. I'm am particularly excited about the silk sleeves, cabled socks, asymmetrical cable hat, unisex gloves, and leg warmers. Oh, and did I mention the cupcakes? There are cupcakes. They are adorable. I cannot even begin to express how adorable they are. Well. Let's just say that they are almost as cute as a kitten or a Tink.

I haven't actually knit anything from the book yet - I just bought it last night - but I've read through many of the patterns and they seem to be clear and decently written. Approximate weights of yarn (worsted, bulky, etc.) are given along with suggested yarn for each project. And I have to admit that I love that the models are read (well, holding) books like Kierkegaard and Madame Bovary. (Also, I seem to have spelled "Kierkegaard" correctly on the first try, so no need to revoke my "Overeducated and Proud" card yet, thanks.)

I do have a few minor qualms, although none of them are enough to make the book not worth buying. For one thing, the whole last chapter contains projects designed to use up odds and ends of leftovers. From multiple projects, apparently. Which is nifty, but... not one skein. At all. And that bugged me. Also, their definition of a skein seemed to be a tad loose - a few projects used yarn that comes in abnormally large skeins, so you might need to get more than one if you want to substitute. And at least two used two strands of yarn held together, so you'd have to wind you skein into two balls or something. Not a huge problem, but not exactly what I want to be doing with a one-pound cone of cotton, you know?

There were also some things missing, it seemed. Barely any lace, for one thing, and it seems like that would be an obvious one to include: you can get a shawl from a skein of laceweight, or a scarf (a la Branching Out or Dayflower) from a skein of fingering or sport. There was one project using laceweight, but it was... a tank top. Huh? (Okay, it was actually sort of cute. I might have to try it.) I think they could have easily cut out one of the four cabled scarves and include a lace one instead. Also, what happened to socks? There's one pair, which I LOVE: worsted weight cabled short little house socks. But no regular socks out of sock yarn, and there are plenty of sock yarns that will make a whole pair.

Another issue, related but not directly about the book: How do we feel about these knitalongs that Interweave has started making for their books? I mean, sure, knitalongs are fun. I like knitalongs. And I'm not necessarily opposed to designers or publishers getting involved in running knitalongs for their work. But the way Interweave is going about it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It just seems sneaky or something. I mean, they're using Blogspot instead of their own domain. And a generic Blogger template. It's making it look like it's not related to the publisher. Yay viral marketing. Hmm. Thoughts?

(Of course, it occurs to me now that it's vaguely possible that it is NOT related, and that they just link it from the book site. But I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that Interweave is starting these knitalongs. Right? Someone let me know if I'm being all righteously misguided here.)

Posted by Kat at March 24, 2006 04:58 PM

I'm not a big knitalonger so I'm not righteously misguided, but it does seem like a sneaky ploy to create false buzz and get more people to buy the books. I wouldn't have a problem if the blogs were hosted at the Interweave site, or if they were labeled as being sponsored by Interweave. The beauty of blogland and KALs is that they are organic and spontaneous. I'll be suspicious of any KAL that is not sponsored by a known blogger.

Posted by: Kat at March 24, 2006 06:43 PM

I think you're spot on about the knitalongs - start here: http://www.oneskein.com/ and check out the link to the knitalong...

I had a very similar reaction to the book - it felt like cheating to have the using up leftovers chapter. Wouldn't that be a different book?? They could certainly have done that part differently. And you bring up great points about socks from fingering weight, laceweight projects (like... lace), and so forth. Mostly liked the book, but it feels like they ran out of oomph and ideas and wandered toward the end...

Heh, I forwarded a link to that same kitten picture to several people - it was fabulously cute!

Posted by: Chris at March 25, 2006 12:31 AM

I agree, I generally like this book - bought it a few weeks ago. My favorite - the circle rug!

Posted by: christine at March 25, 2006 09:54 AM

Can you imagine if you put all three (Tinks, kittens and cupcakes) in one geographicla location? There's be so much cute, we'd all need implode....

Posted by: Lene at March 29, 2006 11:21 PM

Ok, clearly it's too late for me to attempt to make sense. I meant "we'd all implode". And I *can* spell 'geographical', but apparently only if I concentrate real hard. Sigh...

Posted by: Lene at March 29, 2006 11:23 PM

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