Book review: A Stitch in Time 2
Vintage knitting has always been fabulous but with the likes of Kate Middleton in her 'post-wedding' knitted bolero and Michelle's Williams' wardrobe in 'My Week with Marilyn' giving the style a whole new boost, it looks like vintage is back in a big way. Enter a glorious new vintage knitting book to get you casting on in style.
The idea of knitting something vintage can be utterly terrifying for those tempted to pick up the needles. Happily the brand new A Stitch in Time 2 by queens of the vintage stitch Susan Crawford and Jane Waller, will get a chic piece on and off your needles with the minimum of woe. And what a glamorous and rather lovely book it is.
What's it all about? Weighing in with an impressive 400 pages, this is the vintage knitting bible you retro stitchers have always longed for. It leads you on a fascinating journey pattern by pattern through knitting history from 1930 to 1959, with a modern twist that gently brings the patterns up to date.
The first thing that strikes you is the models in the jaw-droppingly lovely photos are real people. No stick-thin skeleton draped in the knits of the past here. The book's ladies are fabulous, stylish and normal sized.
To prove this the book begins with a section on perfecting vintage fit. Big boobs, broad hips, longer body, narrow shoulders are all catered for. Along with this, though the book isn't a guide to learn how to knit, there are also a few on the basic techniques you may not have in your current knitting knowledge. All explained with excellent pictures and instruction.
Above: a peek into the book (Image © Gavin Crawford)
What are the patterns like? There are a huge variety of patterns to choose from in the 80 featured in the book, all split into decades with fabulous pictures and well laid out instructions. From the dainty and stunning to the useful, shawls, hats, mits, dresses and fair isle fabulousness.
Each shows materials (specific yarn from some of the UK's smaller sellers, which will give knits a real homegrown feel), plus a good variety of sizes, info on which size is shown in photo, and, my favourite part, a copy of the pattern it was originally based on.
"the broad stripes give the coat is very slimming effect which is most becoming"and
"one never tires of ribbing"
are amusing and rather sweet. They give the whole book a feeling of a link to the designers of the past and the people who wore them. Rather than taking the old and making it totally new.
What else is there? The book finishes with a personal measurement chart, and a list of UK yarn resources to find the perfect yarn for your project.
Who is it for? A Stitch in Time 2 is a classy gift for any knitter who wants to cast of something with retro chic. There are projects for every level from beginners to the more seasoned stitcher, and with all sizes and shapes catered for there's going to be something in its lovely pages for everyone.
At £35 its not a throwaway book, but once you get a peek at the patterns, techniques and pictures in there you'd be hard put to make yourself give it as a gift, and may end up having to buy one for yourself too.
[All images from the book © Susan Crawford and Jane Waller]