This is a rather special post, because This Is Knit has been asked to review Jean Moss’s new book, Sweet Shawlettes. We’ve been chosen by the Taunton Press to take part in a worldwide blog tour, and we’re delighted to participate.
Jean Moss is a legend among knitters: she’s renowned as a designer and teacher, and she’s perhaps best known for her clever couture work. This book is unabashedly frivolous in the very best sense – there’s frothy lace and vibrant intarsia in here, cunning techniques and lovely embellishments.
The patterns, of which there are twenty five in total, are divided into four sections: Country, Couture, Folk and Vintage, each reflecting the inspiration behind the designs. If you’re looking to learn new techniques, this collection would be a very good place to start: there’s a wealth of them, from intarsia to lace to entrelac, and most of the patterns require just a skein or two of yarn.
Some of the patterns are truly spectacular, like the Ceilidh Shawlette, which combines snuggly softness with surprisingly simple colourwork.
As you’d expect, the quality of the pattern information is high: clear instructions, including a guide to possibly less familiar techniques at the back of the book, good schematics and a very comprehensive index. Charts are given as well as written instructions in most cases where it would be useful.
When asked to review the book, we decided that the best option was to knit up one of the patterns, and we weren’t disappointed. The Arabesque Scarf comes in two lengths, one 50″ around, the other 36″. We knitted the smaller, in Malabrigo Silky Merino (the colourway was Amoroso), which took less than one 137m skein.
This is a Möbius scarf, with an intrinsic twist achieved by picking up stitches from the bottom of the cast on. This makes for long rounds, but this scarf was a fast knit, taking only a couple of evenings. The feather and fan pattern, worked over twelve stitches instead of the more familiar eighteen, is just interesting and just relaxing enough. At about 4″ wide, this small version would make a lovely splash of colour at your neck. The pattern’s easy to follow and the pictures are clear and helpful.
In fact, one of the chief attractions of Sweet Shawlettes is the quality of Alexandra Grablewski’s photography. The pictures are beautifully shot and illustrate the patterns very well. It’s so useful to be able to see what your knitting’s supposed to look like by examining the pictures, and this is consistently the case here. You can see other images of all the designs at Jean’s own project gallery at this link, as well as over on Ravelry.
But don’t take our word for it – the great thing about a blog tour is that you can easily find out what other knitting bloggers think! You’ll find the entire schedule at the link in the first paragraph above; yesterday’s review was by Amanda France over at Joli House, where you can read an interview with Jean Moss, and you’ll find tomorrow’s at The Knitting Institute.
Finally, would you like to win a copy of Sweet Shawlettes? Just leave us a comment, telling us whether your own knitting is most Country, Couture, Folk or Vintage, and why you’re thus inspired. Since it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, you can take a bit of time to think – any time before 1.00am on Tuesday 20th March will do. We’re really intrigued to hear…!