Tuesday, September 28, 2010

REVIEW: Brave New Knits

Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere
by Julie Turjoman
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Rodale Books (August 31, 2010)


Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere is like a Who's Who Book of popular personalities from the sizzling online fiber world.  Julie Turjoman has brought together these 26 talents in the first ever collection of original patterns from blogland, each complete with an indepth interview. 

In this technology age, most knitters look to the internet first for knitting information, inspiration and patterns.  I am certainly no exception and will be the first to admit I have a long list of favorite designer-bloggers who I stalk on a regular basis.  I also spend hours perusing Ravelry for new projects, as well as pattern and yarn information - especially for feedback from those who've already tried them.  Ravelry is such a big part of the knitting community that it's cofounder, Jessica Marshall Forbes, was asked to write the foreword of Brave New Knits. 

Brave New Knits is comprised of 26 must-have patterns organized into 2 categories, Garments and Accessories.  The patterns really come to life and shine through the detailed photographs by knitting celebrity Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. Contributors range from established designers like Norah Gaughan, Wendy Bernard, Jordana Paige and knitgrrl Shannon Okey, to rising stars such as Melissa Wehrle, Connie Chang Chinchio, and Hilary Smith Callis.  I was happy to see Ysolda Teague, one of my personal new favorites, included. 

Brave New Knits isn't just about the patterns however, each one is preceded by an interview with the designer.  These 3 - 4 page biographies are one of my favorite parts of the book, as they reveal a lot about their design philosophy and passions.  Thought you already knew everything there was to know your favorite knitting personality?  Think again!

As for the patterns, Brave New Knits spans the spectrum from shapely sweaters, delicate shawls and fun jackets to fingerless gloves, stylish hats and must-knit socks.  Detailed directions and charts inspire both beginners and experienced knitters alike.  Some of my favorites:
  • Milk Madien Pullover by Teresa Gregorio (aka CanaryKnits) ~ a sexy little sweater inspired by 16th Century Dutch artist
  • Button Tunic by Julie Weisenberger ~ designed to fit 1 - 6 year olds, this top-down tunic is knit in the round and showcases some fabulous buttons that you may've collected over the years
  • Woodsmoke Scarf by Jared Floods ~ when I first flipped thru the book, this was the first pattern to catch my eye, it looks great dressed up or down and is on my short-term "to knit" list
  • Sockstravaganza by Kirsten Kapur ~ the cover photo socks... need I say more?
  • Lubov Scarf by Kathy Veeza (aka Grumperina) ~ Lubov means "love" in Russian and I Lubov this scarf!  Great for your single skeins of luxury fiber, the scarf features a gorgeous diamond motif.
The internet has truly added a whole new deminsion to the knitting world and Brave New Knits is an extension of this.  Our circle of knitting friends used to be made up of those from our hometowns and surrounding communities, but now our friends span all across the globe.  We can connect through blogs, forums, KALs, photos, FO reports and more.... all with a quick click of the mouse!  Join in the fun and get yourself a copy of Brave New Knits today!  My only gripe?  The thin glossy paper it was printed on... it quickly shows wear from lots of touching, something we all do with pretty knitting books.

About the Author:  Julie Turjoman was in search of a new hobby when she wandered into a yarn shop 20 years ago.  Hundreds of skeins later, her original hand-knit designs have been published in Interweave Knits and Twist Collective magazines, as well as the book Vampire Knits. She writes, designs, and blogs from a room filled with yarn in her home in the San Francisco Bay area.

CONTEST! Would you like to win a copy of Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere? To enter:
1) Follow Lapdog Creations publicly (see "Followers" on the right hand side bar).
2) Leave a comment here telling me who your favorite knitting blogosphere personalities are and what is it that you love about them.
To get an extra entry, send your friends here to enter and be sure to have them mention your name.... blog, Tweet, Facebook and text away
Winner will be selected by random number generator and must be a public follower of Lapdog Creations in order to win.
Deadline for entries is Tuesday, October 5 at midnight.

Errata for Patterns: The Orchid Thief Shawlette by Ysolda Teague


SissySees said...

Ann Hanson/Knitspot - love her functional lace designs. Cookie A - her sock designs are not mainstream! Irishgirlieknits - I'm just mad for Cotty, but also own several others... They're fairly straightforward with a twist!

moevans said...

This looks like a great book with awesome patterns. I am a fan of Jared Flood. I like his artistic photos and how he uses light. I've knit some of his designs, including the Girasole, which was fun and challenging. I love to snuggle up under it on the sofa. His designs are great, but his photos are what make me a fan! Oh, and I'm a follower already.

Bubblesknits said...

Great review! Mmm...Irishgirlieknits, Barbara Prime, Charlene Schurch, Cookie A....those are just a few. =)

I'm already a follower, too, but I'll be happy to tweet about it. ;)

Madame Purl said...

I'll second Ann - Knitspot. Her patterns rock and she has a great blog.

Kathy R said...

I absolutely love Anne Hanson's designs. I'm also getting intrigued by some of the Stephen West designs. I wasn't so crazy about some at first, but seeing more and more of them knitted up, I am itching to cast on, especially for Pogona. It's great to find all these designers though the internet.

Cat said...

I am an Anne Hanson fan too. I also enjoy The Yarnista too - Three Irish Girls make some oh-so-lovely yarns, don't they? Can I recognize a friend ... I believe she has a pretty big following herself - probably because her posts and experiences are 'real' - Chan Knits (bet you knew that?). (and she sent me over for your contest too)

Grace said...

WHat a great book, if I don't win it I will have to ask for it for Christmas, because it definitely contains some of my favorite designers!!!!

Grace said...

forgot about the fav blog personalities, Jared, Ann Ysolda Kristen Kapur, and a few others

Melody said...

I like Vicki Howell because Knitty Gritty inspired me to finally learn to knit. I like Cirilia Rose from Berroco style it's modern vintage. I like Wendy Bernard's classic with a twist style. I also like Eunny Jung Interweave Knits. I wish Icould do advanced work like that.

There are others but those are the ones that instantly come to mind.


gMarie said...

Well I love Carrie - IrishGirlieKnits, she has lovely sock designs that are reasonably priced and she's a geniunely nice person to boot! Plus she has a pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels!

I also love Kristen Kapur and Jared. Totally functional, interesting knits from both of them. g

Connie said...

That's a tough one to answer because there are so many. I read Now Norma Knits, Yarn Harlot, and Anne Hanson's Knitspot blogs daily.
The book looks wonderful and I would LOVE to be a winner.

Sue said...

Lately I've been doing lost of toy knitting so some of those designers are Alan Dart, Jean Greenhowe and Debi Birkin.

AllyB said...

Hey Nic, thanks for the review. I'm always looking for great new knitting books. The socks on the cover look like a sure challenge. When Bloglines announced that it would be shutting down I had to come to the realization that I had 173 blogs in my list. My favs are you, of course, Grace, KnitSpot, Grumperina, Knitty Blog...I could go on til I run out of room. LOL I mostly like podcasts now though, Fiber Beat, KnitMoreGirls, SticksandString, Stash and Burn...ok I'll stop but if you would like anymore, pm me. xxxooo

Kathy said...

Wow, I'm not sure who to choose. What makes a blogosphere personality? I love a lot of people that don't design - SpiderWomanKnits, TimesWeAreLivingIn; and designers that keep a low profile, mostly releasing patterns on their site - SmokingHotNeedles; designers that really work to share their knowledge - Stash, Knit, Repeat; the funny YarnHarlot; and a random mix of designers - Kristen Kapur, Mandy (myzigzagstitch), Ysolda, Knitting School Dropout, Connie Chuang. Oh, Bubbleknits sent me this way!

Thanks for the amazing opportunity - this sounds like a great book. I love it when the designers are more personal instead of just hawking their wears.

Mary said...

I've been waiting for my LYS to get this book! my favorite blogsphere designers are kirsten kapur (love her designs and younger daughter is close to my size so it's like I get to see what I'd look like in the patterns), wendy bernard (she's funny and hates sewing seams more than I do) and jared flood (beautiful designs and photography - true eye candy)

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