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I’m not usually a fan of pattern books. I much prefer books that include techniques and other skill building activities. That’s why when Sixth & Spring Books sent me a review copy of Classic Elite Shawls, Wraps & Scarves: 20 Ideas * 3 Ways, I put it aside before looking through it carefully.
I often bring books to the group crochet and knitting classes I teach to share with my students. (After all, who doesn’t like looking through a book before buying a copy online?) Sometimes I bring books from my own collection, and other times I bring review copies I’ve received from publishers. On the last day of my spring knitting class, we were focused on shawls so I brought along my review copy of Classic Elite Shawls, Wraps & Scarves. One student immediately fell in love with it and asked if she could borrow it over the summer. In the back of my mind, I thought, “Hmm, I’ll have to check this book out when she brings it back.” In our first class of the fall, she returned with the book and another student immediately asked if she could borrow it. That’s when I knew I would have to give this book a much closer look.
Once I cracked open the book, it is so beautifully presented that I can’t stop flipping through it. Classic Elite Shawls, Wraps & Scarves includes the best things about a well-produced pattern book: a coordinated look, a range of styles, and a variety of techniques and skill levels to choose from.
The book’s idea is simple: 17 designers were asked to choose a single inspiration and transform it into three looks. The inspiration might include a texture, a stitch pattern, a motif, or a shape. Each section opens with the inspiration and brief outline of the three projects, which are often presented in coordinating colors and yarns. Each sample is well photographed and each page is laid out in the clear manner I’ve come to expect from Sixth & Spring.
The book includes 12 easy patterns, 42 intermediate patterns, and 6 experienced patterns.
In terms of patterns, there are 27 scarves (including 1 keyhole scarf), 12 variations on the cowl (including infinity scarves, gaiters, neckwarmers, etc.), 9 stoles/wraps, 4 capelets, 4 shawls, 3 shawlettes, 1 poncho, and 1 shrug.
The patterns are written with US knitting abbreviations, and 28 of the designs include one or more charts (typically, for lace or colorwork).
So besides, the layout and the concept, what makes this book special? Well, it’s the designs and the way different designers approach the inspiration. (Ravelry members can see all 60 designs on the book’s source page here.)
Here’s a sampling of my favorites.
Irina Poludnenko‘s Fun and Funky collection uses the inspiration of embellishments to create three completely different projects: the I-Cord Scarf, the Zigzag Scarf (using short rows and bobbles), and the Loop Scarf (using looped trim) (shown left to right, below).
With the Power Cables collection, Anastasia Blaes creates three dramatic looks by combining cables with three different yarns. Shown below, from left to right, are the Cabled Scarf (in DK/#3/light weight yarn), Cabled Neck Warmer (in chunky/#5/bulky yarn), and Cabled Wrap (in super fine/#1/sock/fingering weight yarn).
If you enjoy trying out new stitches, reading about the inspiration behind your favorite patterns, or tend to be more excited by visually stunning pattern books, I would definitely recommend this one. It’s geared towards intermediate knitters, but an advanced beginner could “grow” with it, and an experienced knitter will likely find a few patterns to catch the eye. And, of course, if you enjoy knitting scarves or other functional, (mostly) rectangular women’s accessories, you will likely find many to love in this book.
I’m actually keeping this one, rather than offering a giveaway. I feel pretty confident that it will come in handy as I start working on holiday gifts!