So, I’m finally done my grading and am now moving onto frenetic packing, tidying, and collecting up ALL the knitting to take with me (I can finish 5 projects before 2011, right?), before leaving on a bus tomorrow for a series of 2-or-3-days-at-a-time-in-one-place also known as the Christmas holidays. Which is going to be great, but then, there is the packing. (Also, I’d like to say thanks to reader Becky who thought that when I said I was ‘grading’ I meant grading knitting designs for sizes in a written pattern, as opposed to exams and essays which is what I was actually doing. Admittedly, I’d probably have preferred the patterns I think.)
Naturally, I thought this was a good time to finish up the last of my 2010 book reviews. Because when else would one sit down and clear a few careful thoughts for blog readers curious about knitting books? Well, during insane gift-shopping season, of course! (Unless of course, you already did all your gift shopping. In which case, I have some errands for you to run if you’re not doing anything.)
Vampire Knits presented me with a bit of a challenge. On the one hand, I love vampire stories. Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Absolutely. Dracula? Yeah, bring on the gothic. True Blood? well, the books sure made for decent commuter reading, I’ll say that much. And I am big-time in support of fannish knitting. Heck, a large portion of my recent design repertoire came from fannish inspiration. Viper Pilots socks, anyone? For goodness sakes, I’m working on a Buffy-inspired collection of mittens and gloves. I’ve knitted my own Ravenclaw scarf and love the fact that there are thousands of knitters who have found their entry into the world of knitting by making their own Harry Potter house scarf. Bring on the fannish knitting, I am all over that.
On the other hand, the author of this particular pattern collection makes no bones about being directly inspired not so much by vampire texts in general, but by the Twilight series of novels and films, specifically (there are patterns with intarsia-letter motifs for pillows spelling out “team Jacob” or “team Edward.”). I absolutely loathe the Twilight series. Come on folks, as if it’s not bad enough that there are flocks of young people steamrolling past actual literature to get to Stephanie Meyer’s books to the tune of millions and billions of dollars, it makes me weep to think that there are enough people now who are holding up Twilight as the best vampire stories EVAR OMG and haven’t even given BtVS a fair shake because, okay fine, the makeup and production values in Season 1 were pretty crappy. I mean, they should at least be going off to read Dracula first, but since they’re probably not doing that, the very least they could do is watch the entirety of Season 2. And 3. And 5. And the last 2 discs of Season 7. And the musical episode. And the silent episode. And, you know, the WHOLE SERIES.
::cough:: But I digress.
All in all, I have to say, this is a decent set of patterns. The cover sweater, the ‘Lore’ hooded cardigan by Cirilia Rose, has been getting a lot of attention for good reason – it’s an effective but not overly intimidating sweater knit in bulky wool (Peruvia Quick) that also looks pretty comfortable. And really, most of the patterns are like that. If you’re looking for a set of advanced beginner patterns for someone who might not otherwise be inspired to take up knitting but likes vampire things, or someone who likes vampire things but might not have bought this book, it’s worthwhile.
I quite like this “Under the Cover of Midnight” cowl/hood (below), a chunky cabled knit which looks extremely cozy as well as stylish. And tempting given the current chill in the air.
The ‘Bloody Socks’, above, are also pretty approachable for someone new to sock knitting, essentially a cuff-down heel-flap sock with a simple motif down the front. (Though I scratch my head at making them ankle socks, especially when the chosen yarn comes in 420-yds skeins. Does removing most of the leg make them easier? I don’t know.)
All in all, it’s a collection mostly meant for women, with a few patterns for men including a sweater and a couple of scarves. There are sweaters, shrugs, cowls, gloves, socks, and home accessories – even a corset. The yarns used in the samples are mostly recognizeable labels, from Knit Picks or Bernat to Louet and Berroco. And where it is warranted, there is a range of sizes. The cover sweater, for example, goes up to 48″ in bust circumference.
So, if you’re looking for something fun for a vampire-fan who would or could sink her teeth into knitting, this offering would be just fine. And at the end of the day, anything that helps more people appreciate knitting is just fine with me.
Stay tuned, when I’ll offer this book and one more from my previous reviews as a blog giveaway for the new year! And, as usual, keep the knitting close by!