On a scale of knitting abilities from “hopeless with yarn” to “knitting gold with eyes closed,” I am right there as a “I’m doing great until row 20….or am I at row 22?” kind of knitter. Yet, I love to knit. Even if I have unraveled and re-done the pattern at least two times.
Dover crafts has been teasing Fangirl Nation with craft books for review. One book that got my knitting fingers itchy was the INSPIRED SHAWLS by Laura Zukaite. The beach themed book seemed like a great fit for a SoCal crafter to check out.
Knitting (and crocheting) pattern books are what I considered a bonus level field to boost knitting/crocheting skills. Unlike a website sponsored by yarn companies or some random but pretty Pinterest post, these books are designed and created with a certain style, a theme, and a skill set. The book will usually contain the patterns with tantalizing pictures of the finished garment, along with abbreviation guides and tips.
The designer, Laura Zukaite, has a style that can best be described as modern and youthful. The shawls featured in the book are not just meant to be huddled in during the winter times. These bold statements are meant to be worn with style. Especially for those crafters who live in almost perpetual warmth and sunshine, the shawl designs in this book can still be knitted under the sun. With pattern names like Nazca and Salento shawls, these scream to be knitted in the shade of summer with a margarita!
A quick flip through the book is already inspiring enough to check out the “fancy” yarns in the craft stores. Many of the patterns play off of mojair, beaded silk, and merino yarns. All of these yarns are pretty light and great for the hot weather. Even better than checking out the craft stores is to head to your local yarn store and check out their supply. Using the Los Angeles Yarn Crawl as my excuse to wander into new yarn stores and check out new yarns, I was able use the book as guidance from the experienced stories on yarn. It was thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of the staff at A-Major-Knitwork that I decided on a wool blend called Marina, which is part of the Manos Del Uruguay yarns, a non profit organization which assembles women in co-ops to bring economic and social opportunities to rural women. As shiny and gorgeous as the book is, one will not really know the book until one knits a project from it.
The pattern that I will be using the Marina blend on will be the Palm Leaf shawl, a project that I will hope to share the results on before the end of the year!
As the book is pretty much all shawls, there is no worry about any size alterations. I did notice that although the book is geared for all skill levels, the book can be daunting for novices. There is no chapter explaining techniques. It goes right into patterns. There is also a hefty bunch of charts to practice from. The designs and suggested color schemes are full of crisp shapes and various edges that combine Zukaite’s aesthetic with Southwestern flair. The patterns are like a blend from her original designs (which can be seen from her website) and the organization, AMA Connection, that she co-founded.
The pattern book does get straight to the point but it would have been nice to see more stories or quips on what inspired the designs. It is definitely curious as to why the shawls were named what they were. It would have made the whole book more personal to learn if Zukaite had traveled to these areas and became inspired, for the patterns in this book encourage travel and creating memories.
Although as much as I would enjoy taking this book and knitting project to the beach, it is highly doubtful that I will be able to keep the sand from the yarn.
INSPIRED SHAWLS by Laura Zukaite is available now from Dover Craft.