Then through my letterbox (or more accurately, through my open window, yes the postie is still in shorts. Weird) dropped two books for me to review :: Simple Knitting by Erika Knight and The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss.
I have to say that when I opened the envelope and pulled out the Erika Knight book I actually gasped and my mouth watered. It's simple lines and beautiful styling throughout has echoes of Japanese craft books. Clean, minimalism is the order of the day here, underlying the message of the book :: Simple Can Be Very Stylish, and even the most novice of knitter can produce mouth-watering results.
It's a 'learn to knit' book, and unashamedly so. It is a masterclass how-to-knit workshop in one book, and almost half the book deals with the how of knitting before the projects (20 in all) even begin. The idea, evidently, is that you begin with the first project and complete them all, progressing in ability as you go. Projects start from beginner, to easy, intermediate and experienced, building up a repertoire of skills as you progress.
As someone who is fairly confident in knitting I think this book would suit anyone from a total none-but-want-to knitter, to those who have mastered the basics, all the way down to someone like me who has taught themselves to knit with each self-imposed project as I have gone along. As such there are many holes in my knitting knowledge which I am happy to have filled in with this book, and with it's easy-on-the-eye illustraions and text, and easy to understand instructions, I can quite happily find myself picking up all those tips that so far I have skimmed over in my desire to 'get on with projects'.
The projects themselves range from :: Muffler, dishclothe, cushion, notebook, shopper, throw, hats, mittens, two and four needle socks, hot water bottle cover, tea cosy, V-neck sweater and a cardigan that looks like it's walked straight out of Marks and Spencers.
I'm of the firm conviction that books always make excellent gifts, and this is no exception - so if you know anyone out there who wants to knit, has just started or who wants to progress, then this book would make a fine gift this christmas. Any crafter would love to have this on her bookshelf (or more likely coffee table). All in all an excellent book.
Simple Knitting by Erika Knight RRP £16.99, Amazon price £10.53
Moving on to the The Knitter's Year. This is the first book I've ever owned by Debbie "moss stitch" Bliss that wasn't for babies. Unlike the previous book, this book is crammed with (52!) projects from the get-go, and is divided instead by season rather than ability.
The style of this book is definitely a shabby chic look, bordering on Cath Kidston-esque (there are subtle reference to Cath Kidston in the photographs, and they do share the publisher, quite a clever ploy to enhance cross sales there, I thought) - this eye candy will appeal to all Granny Chic lovers out there.
The projects, too numerous to list here, are a good range - from basket, flowerpot covers, egg cosies, baby cardigan, gloves, peg bag, scarves, cushions, bags, flags (yes, really), socks, beret, tea cosy, mug cosy, slippers, bootees, hot water cover, christmas stocking, you get the idea. It's a book you can dip in and out of for gift ideas, or for something a bit different from the run-of-the-mill knits out there, and there are a couple of projects that are in my cross-hairs for when I finally find time from decorating marathons and knitting basic winter warmers. I am loving the slippers and the beret and some bags look like a fun knit too (I don't know why, but any slouchy bag designed for carrying knitting in always has me wagging my tail).
Again, this would make an excellent gift for all level of knitters, perhaps in conjunction with the Erika Knight book. It is a colourful foil to the linen and cotton natural tones of Simple Knitting, and really makes one want to start knitting something out of it straight away.
I would say that all the projects do call for Debbie Bliss' own yarn (naturally), but these could be substituted with a bit of yarn shopping (and in my book an excuse for yarn shopping is actually a bonus).
The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss RRP £15.73 Amazon price £13.24