**If you are here for the Liberty Tana Lawn giveaway, just click here – after you’ve read the review, of course!**
I scored a copy of this lovely looking book to review, but as I am no knitter (well, I can do knit one purl one, but that’s as far as it goes), Karen Ellis of Kellis Krafts has taken on the job for me. Please welcome Karen to Very Berry!
Vintage Knits by Madeline Weston and Rita Taylor
I was delighted to be asked to review this wonderful book! It combines two of my greatest passions, knitting and vintage. I have been knitting for over 30 years -that makes me sound ancient…but I did start very young! I truly love everything vintage – the clothes, the jewellery, I even drive a vintage car!!
The book starts with a potted history of the knitted garment, from the 1920s, where fashion designers brought knitting into the forefront of fashion, through the 1930s that emphasised the feminine shape, to the 1940s and the war years where tailored and more practical knits were more popular due to fashion and the shortage of wool. I didn’t realise this is why Fair Isle-type patters were so popular, as you were able to use oddments of different colour yarns…see, you learn something new every day. Following on, the 1950s gave rise to the twin-set and the ever popular bolero.
Knit Vintage has been carefully thought out and includes a section called Vintage Details which focuses on how you can get the best out of your vintage inspired knits with buttons and beads as well as handy hints for the patterns in the book. It also gives some extremely helpful tips in converting vintage patterns.
Knit Vintage contains 24 patterns that have been sectioned into 5 exquisite chapters – Pretty Tops, Cute Cardigans, Starlet Sweaters, Twinsets & Two-pieces and Finishing Touches.
Every chapter introduces the styles that were prevalent in the eras and, more importantly, each pattern describes how you can best capture that vintage look and feel of the knit. The book also contains beautiful photography that shows off each garment in stylish surroundings, with excellent close ups of the intricate stiches and adornments.
The majority of patterns are knitted using 4 ply or lace yarn which really adds to the vintage feel and look of the garments. As the patterns have been updated from original vintage patterns there is a mixed bag of sizes – for the more petite woman you will have plenty to choose from. I am a size 14 and would struggle with some of the patterns…but I am on a diet, so this will help with the motivation!
Due to the intricate lace stitching, Fair Isle-type patterns and the fineness of the yarns used throughout, this book is aimed at a more experienced knitter. Also, some of the pattern instructions are open to interpretation, which only experience can teach you. Additionally, some of the patterns also call for crochet edging, but again, this really adds to the vintage look and feel of the garment. My favourite patterns are Kate Lace-Panel Blouse with contrasting crochet detailing and Hedy Tyrolean-pattern Cardigan (pictured below).
The wartime inspired, Betty Lace Stockings, really bought a smile to my face (pictured below) – as these are knitted on two needles (I personally do not like circular knitting) the sewing seam at the back truly captures the vintage look.
The pictures and garments in Knit Vintage are to die for and I have very much enjoyed this book. Madeline Weston and Rita Taylor have really captured the vintage style throughout 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. So, if you too, are inspired by vintage garments then this is without doubt the book that should be on your Christmas list!!
More about Karen:
“Kellis Krafts developed as a result of my love of knitting and crochet. There are only so many woollen wonders that a person can have in their wardrobe so that’s when I decided to share my passion and experience with everyone.
My specialities are handmade novelty knitted and crochet baby and children’s hats, mittens and scarves and booties, as well as the crocheted cute critter handbags…you can’t resist their cute features. I also work on bespoke projects for clients so come and have a peruse at Kellis Krafts – Handmade With Love.”