My first book review of 2009 is a selection which has been waiting for me ever so patiently for the last few months of 2008. This is Melissa Leapman’s follow-up to Cables Untangled, Continuous Cables.
Having read both Continuous Cables and the earlier Cables Untangled, I must admit I have higher praise for this latest effort. While CC had a strong stitch dictionary and no lack of ambition, stylistically I didn’t quite go for the all-over cable pattern effects that the first book tended to emphasize – but then again, you might love it. In this newer volume, Leapman uses cables with more diversity, placing them alone in single panels, in combination with other patterns similar to the aran sweater style, as well as a few all-over patterns thrown in for good measure.
Some good examples of the placed single motif are in the children’s pieces, of which there are many. This may well be a selling point for some knitters – often knitting books concentrate solely on adult garments and toss in one or two children’s pieces as an afterthought, but here there is a fairly equal division between knitting for adults, children, and for the home.
First off, how about some baby blocks? I think these are brilliant. Useful, suitable for an infinite variation of colours, and a nice small canvas to practice single cable patterns as well as toy-making. How often can you say that about a project?
The children’s sweaters offer similar appeal, using different combinations of cables on a relatively smaller canvas than would be required for an adult piece. This wee baby sweater does have a pretty gnarly cable on the front, but just think…Once you’re done the front, it’s stockinette and straight on until morning. The pink girls’ sweater below is one that caught my eye. I might even be inclined to up-size it…why must the adorable come only in child size?
I did mention there are some style selections that may or may not agree with you, depending on your preference. For example, this Swirl Pullover almost hits the mark for me but not quite. I love the texture at the sides, but the extra-large centre cable isn’t for me.
On the other hand, I quite like this tank top sweater, made with the improbable yarn selection of ‘Cornucopia’, a 100% corn yarn. Who says cables need to be wool-only?
The women’s sweaters fit a bust size of about 34 ins on up to 48 ins or so, depending on the desired amount of negative ease. There are quite a few blankets and throws, as well as two ‘beginner’ cable pieces at the beginning of the book – a hat and a throw pillow. The opening pages devote a lot of attention towards technique and explaining to you Why Cables Are Easier Than They Look. I’m a big fan of that. And the stitch dictionary at the end? Well. You’ll have to read that for yourself, it’s enough to make you drool over all the twists and turns. And I can’t stop thinking about the hooded cardigan sweater on the cover.
All in all I think the stitch dictionary combined with a good diversity of patterns makes this a fun selection to have in a knitting library. Having said that, I’d recommend having a flip through the book in person before making your decision. I think any book which relies on a single stitch technique is going to depend on some stylistic preferences, which may not match your own. And if you want to come over and tell me what colour I should knit the cover hoodie in, please do. I’ll have tea waiting.
Happy cabling! More reviews to come in 2009.