Book review and giveaway: Tudor Roses

Friends, are you – like me, currently – in need of something new and pretty to look at? Well, allow me to present to you the recently re-released Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore.

Have you all heard of Alice Starmore? Well, if you have not, boy howdy are you in for a treat. A crazypants treat filled with cables and colour work and ambitiously knitted eye candy of all kinds. Her books were originally products of the 1980sΒ and 1990s, and in the last decade have had a new lease on life in re-release form. There’s the Book of Fair Isle Knitting, Aran Knitting, and now more recently Tudor Roses. (See all the patterns on Ravelry here).


(I’m going to give you some fairly mediocre photos-of-pages here, but you’ll get the gist)

Alice Starmore’s pattern books are all themed, and all heavily researched. If you read her books on Aran knitting or Fair Isle knitting, you’ll have a kickass knitting historical reference book in your hands at the same time as a collection of ambitious and gorgeous patterns. Tudor Roses is themed as a collection of knitwear inspired by the wives of Henry the Eighth and other royal women of the same period. This is evident in the style and motifs used in the patterns.

Here’s Elizabeth the First, with lovely wide cuffs and a textured detail on the body:


This one is Margaret Beaufort, which I quite like and feel like if I could pull off the model’s hairdo at the same time, we’d have casual Fridays cornered:


And I quite like this stranded colour-work wrap for Lady Mary:


The show-stopper has got to be the Katherine Howard cardigan, which, again, can I get some of this styling going on:


All of these patterns are statement pieces – they’re definitely not everyday knitwear, both in style or in technique. For many knitters this will not be their cup of tea for just that reason. For me, I really like having books like this in a knitting library, to give something really complex and absorbing to shoot for.

For example, the Katherine Howard cardigan is, on the surface, something I would never touch – I love cables, but less so 2-colour cables, and the colour selection is something you’d need to get just right to make it a part of your wardrobe. But then that starts to lodge in my brain and I think hmmm, well but the dark navy really works, and actually over top of jeans it could be pretty comfortable but also a pretty unique style piece.

I took the liberty of checking Ravelry and there are some lovely Tudor Roses projects out there. I really like this Anne of Cleves pullover project (great teal colour choice), and yep, there are some lovely Katherine Howard cardigans out there.

If you’d like to have a copy of Tudor Roses for yourself, I have a giveaway for you! To enter, please leave a comment on this post saying which Tudor Roses pattern you like the most. I’ll be back on Friday to announce the winner – some time after 11am EST.

Enjoy! And happy knitting this evening.




  1. this book is in my Amazon wish list for-ev-er.

  2. Samantha Varty · ·

    Love the coloured wrap!!

  3. the katherine howard is by far and away my favortie – but being realistic (so very hard to do when faced with all starmore’s lovely patterns), margaret beaufort would be the one i would tackle..let’s say first … because who could stop at one!

  4. Anne of Cleves is my favorite!

  5. I love the designs in this book and have drooled over a few for years. I never thought I would be an experienced enough knitter to knit one. I actually might be able knit Elizabeth the First. Thank-you for this great giveaway.

  6. Definitely the Katherine Howard, or maybe the Margaret Beaufort, or possibly . . . .

  7. I really love that Katherine Howard Cardigan – I do not think that I could pull it off, but that would be such a statement piece to knit! What a lovely collection!

  8. Absolutely Beautiful Patterns!

  9. terrie Walker · ·

    Katherine Howard, what a jaw dropper! Thanks.

  10. Pam Playter · ·

    I love Mary, Queen of Scots!!! Nothing like a challenge as we dredge through winter!!!

  11. Celeste D · ·

    I love the Katherine Howard cardigan. I don’t know if I could pull it off, but I would definitely try.

  12. I could see knitting the Katherine Howard cardigan; I don’t have much of a waist, but this one could fool people into thinking I’m quite shapely. 8^D

  13. I LOVE that Katherine Howard cardigan! I don’t know how I’d wear it, but it looks like it would be so fun to knit.

  14. Rebecca Jensen · ·

    I love the Anne Boleyn! The detail work on the back makes this sweater. Thank you so much for sharing the inspiration–I would love to have a copy in my library!

  15. I adore Alice Starmore books and knitwear. They are all so gorgeous but I especially love the Margaret Beaufort sweater. Now like you, if I could just get my hair to look like that, I’d be all set.

  16. I adore Alice Starmore books and knitwear. They are all so gorgeous but I especially love the Anne of Cleves sweater. Now like you, if I could just get my hair to look like that, I’d be all set.

  17. So many of these are quite pretty. I think the elizabeth the first is lovely and would knit it with fitted sleeves instead of flares to make it my own:)

  18. I cannot decide between Katherine of aragon or Elizabeth the first. Both are just so gorgeous although in completely different ways!

  19. Love Margaret Beaufort sweater.

  20. The wrap is my favorite

  21. Ooh, I love the “Elizabeth of York” vest. I think the same motif would be gorgeous in a pillow as well:-)

  22. I love Alice Starmore! I have all her books, started collecting them in the ’90s. I wonder why she hasn’t done anymore for a long time.

  23. I really like the Margaret Beaufort pullover, but I am always a sucker for cables and turtlenecks. I also am a huge fan of Alice Starmore’s books mostly for all the information she packs in. Great reads…not just pattern books.

  24. Thank you so much for this give away. I would love to try the Anne
    Boleyn cardigan, it is just so beautiful.

  25. I just adore the Katherine Howard cardigan!

  26. When the first Tudor Roses was published, (1998) I knit Elizabeth I, and bought yarn for Katherine Howard, though I’ve still not been brave enough to attempt it. I still love it, and also the Lady Mary wrap, which was not in the original book.

  27. Whoa, so hard to choose. Tops would need to be Mary Tudor (not my favourite of those Tudor queens), although I’d probably start with Anne Boleyn.

  28. They are all so gorgeous. I love the Anne Boleyn cardigan- so feminine and classy.
    I have wanted to add this book to my collection for a while now.

  29. A beautiful book. The Jane Seymour would be my style.

  30. I think I’m all about a Margaret Beaufort. I’d love to take on the challenge.

  31. Definitely Elizabeth of York! Or Anne of Cleves…or all of them.

  32. busyworke · ·

    I am absolutely in love with the Katherine Howard. The faux Farthingale is gorgeous!

  33. Margaret Tudor is my choice – I’m small so most of the colourwork cardigans would swamp me (the vest though I might think about). The details in Margaret Tudor are small enough not to overpower, and I do love a good cardy!

  34. Mary Beth · ·

    This has been ambition knitting for me since I got back into knitting almost a decade ago. I still don’t know if I’m ready to tackle the Starmores yet, but when I do, I want to knit Mary Tudor. Or Margaret Tudor. Or both. Or all!

  35. The Mary Tudor definitely looks challenging. The model wearing it with the long hair is
    likely blocking the collar with her hair but I kind of like it that way – with no collar.
    Realistically, I’d probably knit Eliz the First and just drool over the photos of the rest (and
    enjoy reading the history.

  36. This has been a book I have wanted for a long time. My favorite has always been Anne of Cleves. Even her color choices are stunning!

  37. Wow, those are amazing patterns! How timely, PBS has a series based on the secrets of the wives of Henry VIII. I particularly like the Catherine Parr sweater, just enough color work to make it interesting and not terribly difficult,I hope!

  38. LYNDA in Oregon · ·

    Anne of Cleves, all the way. (Not only did she manage to escape Henry with her head intact, it’s a gorgeous sweater!)

  39. I love the Mary Tudor cardigan. Though it would probably take ages to make!

  40. crazy4cables · ·

    I am a sucker for bell cuffs!! Elizabeth the first just took my breath away!!

  41. Tina Ludwig · ·

    I love the Elizabeths. I think I would tackle Elizabeth the First and then try Elizabeth of York.

  42. I think the Elizabeth the first pattern is smashing.

  43. I have a copy of this book and I love to just look at it and revel in the glory of these patterns! I also got a Virtual Yarns kit for the Henry VIII sweater for Christmas, and just looking at the pattern card and the box of yarn brings me such joy.

  44. Catharine Parr. I have wanted this book for a long time.

  45. The lady Mary, definitely.

  46. Margaret Beauford for me!

  47. For love of knitting, the katherine howard is my favorite!

  48. I love the Margaret Beaufort. It reminds me of a sweater my grandmother knit for me when I was a teenager. This looks like a beautiful book.

  49. Debbie Guest · ·

    The navy sweater is amazing

  50. Bonnie Keating · ·

    Definitely Katherine Howard. It is a show stopper of a piece!

  51. Oh,oh, oh, so lovely! I would choose either Anne of Cleves or Mary Tudor. Although half way through all that cabling I might change my mind!

  52. Mary Queen of Scots, I love the tailored look and yet it would look good with denim and boots.

  53. It’s funny that knitters watch the same PBS shows. The Elizabeth the first sweater would be my choice for a daily wear sweater, with modifications. Alice Starmore made the most wonderful collection when this set was assembled, bold, strong statements. The equally brilliant point of her designs is the flexibility to use them with subtle mods, for daily wear.
    I’d love to own the book and share my creations. Best regards and thank you for the opportunity.

  54. anastasia · ·

    I love this book! It is right up my alley!!

    I would start with Elizabeth the First, I have a similar pattern By Alice Starmore queued & I love the detailing on the sweater while managing to look simple. The patterns in this book would be perfect knitting while I watch the many historical dramas out there.

  55. I like Katherine Howard and Katherine of Aragon. Not sure which would be my first choice, but I’d love to have the book to study them more closely.

  56. Jessie Johnson · ·

    I remember when I first learned of this book: I began looking at photos of the projects and immediately decided I MUST OWN THIS BOOK! I was soooo disappointed when I found out it was OOP. I searched for used copies, but soon realized that the price was way out if my range. How wonderful to know it is back in print and I finally have an opportunity to own this masterpiece! A Katherine Howard may one day be mine.

  57. Katrina Hunt · ·

    Oh my! The Elizabeth of York vest is sooooo beautiful! A perfect autumn project. Mmmmmmmm autumn leaves and firelight.

  58. All are beautiful, but my favorite pattern is Margaret Beaufort.

  59. I really like the Elisabeth the first. The detail in the front is really pretty!

  60. Melody Pelton · ·

    Great book, I have always heard of the wonderful designs of Alice Starmore. She is one talented designer. I love the stranded colour work of the Mary Tudor sweater and the lovely Elizabeth the First and Elizabeth Woodville sweaters. I would have a hard time choosing which to knit first. I also love seeing what you have on your needles.

  61. Ooh, love the Elizabeth I or the Catherine Parr.

  62. I really really love that stranded colour work of Lady Mary….

  63. Katherine of Howard for sure. I’d wear it as is, maybe even wig a bigger peplum 😘

  64. Wow! This is amazing and maybe one day I will have the time and the skill to do it? Aiming high I would go for the Katherine Howard cardigan.

  65. Funny coincidence. Travelling back to the USA for Xmas with family, we dropped by a used bookstore. I picked up a copy of Sweater Quest which is about a year long quest to knit Mary Tudor. It was quite a fascinating read, full of Starmore and her legal battles, Fair Isle knitting history, and more. I showed it to my MIL who in turn showed me her original copy of Tudor Roses, cause SQ did not have a copy of the pattern in it. Mary Tudor was breathtaking, so my fave.

    Check it out, you might enjoy it.


    Mary Anne

  66. So many gorgeous ones, but I think the Anne Boleyn one is my favorite. Though tomorrow I’ll choose another one perhaps.

  67. Tie between the Margaret Beaufort and the Lady Mary…how many years till I retire and have time to do them all? Oh, 2027. We’ll, there’s always vacation time….

  68. What a lovely giveaway ! I’ve got her “aran knitting”, still have the Eala Bhan on my ‘to knit’ list, but am slightly intimidated by that much cabling…From the Tudor Roses, “Mary, queen of Scots” would be the first to go on the wishlist πŸ™‚

  69. Crystal S. · ·

    I love the Elizabeth the First pullover ❀️

  70. oof. that Katherine Howard sweater is gorgeous.

  71. Andrea Bozzo · ·

    I’m a cardigan gal so it’s Anne Boleyn for me!

  72. Barb Ross · ·

    I like Margaret Beaufort. The neckline suits me perfectly and l like the simple detailing on the front.

  73. I love them all. But I think I’d start with the Elizabeth the first and then maybe the Mary Tudor.

  74. I think the Katherine Howard sweater would be lovely and subtle and wearable in a couple greys and black… but would I want to do all that work and be subtle? If I did that many two-colour cables, I’d want people to notice!

  75. I read a book about the Mary Tudor sweater and have been intrigued ever since; however, that wrap above actually looks do-able!

  76. The patterns are truly lovely. I am caught between the Elizabeth of York vest and the Katherine Howard sweater. Thank you for the chance to own this lovely book. I am an avid fan of all things Tudor, having read almost all there is to read about the wives of Henry VIII.

  77. Margaret Beaufort is gorgeous – so understated and elegant !

  78. shellssells · ·

    My absolute favorite is Anne Boleyn! But they are all such classic sweaters!

  79. Meredith MC · ·

    I’m completely in love with the Katherine Howard. I would wear it in those exact colors- and I have the perfect skirt (and boots!) to go with it. The hair styles kind of remind me of the 80’s – all that volume is gorgeous- but then I’m a child of the 80s so of course I love it!

  80. I would love to start with Elizabeth I. Many thanks for such a lovely opportunity.

  81. Love the Katherine cardigan. Great for a renaissance faire in the fall πŸ™‚

  82. Gina Zahra · ·

    The Catherine Parr is lovely

  83. Kim Carter · ·

    I have coveted this book for a while. Would LOVE this!

  84. AdrienneS · ·

    Elizabeth I looks like something I’d wear. Some of the others would make a great challenge.

  85. Love this book. The color work wrap for Lady Mary is really calling to me!

  86. AnneMarie in VA · ·

    I have wanted this book forever, but couldn’t justify the out-of-print price! And how could you choose just one? Impossible!

  87. I love the Margaret Beaufort. There are so many pretty ones in here! Thanks for the opportunity!

  88. Ooooh, I’ve so wanted this book for ages!! So hard to pick a favourite, but I think it would have to be the Elizabeth the first sweater, closely followed by the Lady Mary colourwork. The Katherine Howard is beautiful, but wouldn’t suit my figure (or lack thereof!!) What a fab prize πŸ™‚

  89. Ann of Cleaves is my fave! Thanks for the drawing.

  90. I definitely love the Lady Mary Wrap. I am a huge fan of this time era! The colorwork would definitely be a challenge!

  91. Barb B in BC · ·

    Oh my goodness! Did you see Mary Queen of Scots?? Gorgeous! My favourite of the collection.

  92. I love the Elizabeth the first sweater. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy of this book.

  93. Mary, Queen of Scots, of course!!!
    Alice – Portlandia, Oregon

  94. I love Alice Starmore and I’m thrilled to learn of the reissue of this book.

  95. Love the Margaret Beaufort

  96. Anne of Cleeves!

  97. Lady Mary is GORGEOUS!

  98. I love Katherine Howard, but I think Elizabeth the First is probably more realistic (although the hairdos are intriguing as well!).

  99. Elizabeth the 1st is my favourite

  100. I am rather partial to the Elizabeth the First pattern, but I can’t rule out the possibility of some other pattern in the collection drawing my attentions away.

  101. I like the Anne of Cleves. Thanks for the chance to win.

  102. This is my first time seeing her patterns, and they are lovely and unique. Statement pieces for sure. I particularly like the Elizabeth the First pattern!

  103. Love the Margaret Tudor, but maybe I’d start with Elizabeth the first. Thanks!

  104. katinamontez · ·

    Meant to come here and say Katherine Howard because wow! But I’m also really fond of Katherine Part.

  105. I love them all! But I think my absolute favorite is the Katherine Howard. I would love to have this book….it’s also now on my Amazon wishlist for when funds loosen up (of course that’s if I don’t win it first!) Thanks for the chance to enter.

  106. I love Elizabeth the First. The cables are so dainty and beautiful.

  107. That Lady Mary is gorgeous, and not in the original book. I’d love to have a crack at that. Is it steeked?

  108. I like the Margaret Beaufort, but all the patterns are beautiful : )

  109. Margaret Beaufort is my favorite.

  110. “Sweater Quest” is Adrienne Martini’s thoroughly enjoyable book about knitting herself a Mary Tudor sweater. I read it and I would recommend it.

  111. Anne of Cleves for me – although the Elizabeth the First with the fitted sleeve another commenter suggested would be pretty and practical…

  112. Margaret Beaufort I just love this.

  113. I like the Elizabeth the First cardigan. It really looks nice in that gold yarn shown on your post and is very elegant without being too over the top in complexity (or at least so it looks in the picture!)

  114. rebecca scott · ·

    I love the Catherine Parr!!!

  115. I love the Jane Seymour. It looks like the perfect over a black dress cardigan.

  116. Yes please πŸ™‚

  117. I love the Jane Seymour cardigan.

  118. Katherine Howard, no question.

  119. The Mary Queen of Scots is something I would wear a LOT! I especially love redgum’s version, in bright orange with magenta accents ( Thank you for bringing this book to my attention. I haven’t delved into Ms. Starmore’s books yet. Time to be brave…

  120. Elizabeth the first. But best in these designs is their attention to detail and the use of various interesting techniques.

  121. Oh my gosh…those patterns would be an absolute joyful challenge to make! The Anne Boleyn has my heart in a flutter!

  122. I particularly love the Margaret Beaufort pattern. It looks both like an armor and a basquine, It feels at the same time cosy and royal.
    I would’nt go for the hairdo though. Looks like a “choucroute” we would say in France (we used this phrase when I was young which is quite a long time ago: too sophisticated and showy)

    Nevertheless Great choice!

  123. Sue Cheetham · ·

    Wow! What gorgeous original patterns, my fingers are itching to knit!! Now I HAVE to check out her other two books; thanks glenna

  124. I love Henry VIII and have a long term plan of making as a Christmas sweater, wearing it every year until I die…or out grow it πŸ˜‚

  125. Thank you for reviewing such a beautiful book! This is my favorite period in history. It’s definitely on my wish list.

  126. Margaret Beaufort hands down. Although with jeans and a messy do. πŸ™‚

  127. I think I’d want to make more of them than I have space for! I do really like the Elizabeth of York vest (I like wearing vests and waistcoats), so I’d probably make that first. Good to know it’s back in print and thanks for offering a copy.

  128. Hi Vera

    Congratulations, you’re the winner of the Tudor Roses book giveaway!

    If you could let me know your name and mailing address I will ask Dover Publishing to send it to you.

    Many thanks! Glenna

  129. I love that book! I just bought it and I’m so excited to make something from it!

  130. These are Dream sweaters, and by that I mean sweaters I dream about, but may never get on the needles. My favourite: Anne Boleyn.

  131. Jessemy · ·

    I have checked out St. Paul’s copy of Tudor Roses I don’t know how many times! i’m partial to Margaret Tudor, myself, with its thistle and rose motif.

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