Sculptured Knits – Jean Moss
Thought I would continue along with my quest to rid my library of books of patterns and review Sculptured Knits by Jean Moss (published in 1999 by XRX Books). This book is out-of-print, but used copies can be found on Amazon.
I’m giving this a big – Thumbs Down.
Before I’ve completely lost you my dear readers, let me tell you a bit about the book and the author. This is a book of 48 designs for women, men, kids and some home decor pieces. It is divided into decorative arts of the 20th century chapters, although I found it a bit confusing to go back and try to find a certain pattern as the chapters for me were not clearly defined. The sections are: Belle Epoque, Art Deco, Pop Art and Into the Millennium. One important factor that I never realized until I read Jean’s intro is that all the designs in the book are created in one color using textural stitches. Wow! How could I have missed that as that’s by far my favored knitting style.
Jean Moss lives in York and Mid Wales (or at least she did at the time of the book). She’s designed for Rowan and many international name designers. Jean is a very talented lady. She also teaches and did run some travel excursions.
My favorite patterns were the men’s sweaters and home decor pieces. XRX did a great job with the technical aspects of the book which is no surprise as they are noted for good techniques. I love the charted stitch patterns, schematic drawings and illustrations. A couple of the kids/baby projects were done in the variegated Colinette Boucle, but for most were done in basic yarns that could be easily substituted.
Chrysler Throw – Green version
Garbo Jacket and Skirt
This set has a nice jacket, but the mid-calf skirt made it a bit like a retro costume.
Sculptured Knits – back cover
What did I not like about the book? Some of the sweaters were a bit dated – some longish and had an ’80s vibe. Generally though not a bad book. I think the main reason I’m not planning to keep the book is that I probably wouldn’t knit any of the designs and I’m trying to be ruthless about what gets kept and what goes.
Jean Frost Jackets from XRX is my next book selection. It was published in 2003 after I left XRX although a couple of the photos were done on my watch. I’ve been thinking about Jean since I saw her at Stitches East a couple of weeks ago. She is now 88 years old and still going strong, although she has turned her teaching stint to her daughter Dawn.
Amazon’s review says that: These jackets are real-life knitting for women with real lives. My take on that comment is that the book is for real-life knitting for “working” women with real lives. For a “retired” woman, the book doesn’t fit in my current life. So for that reason I’m giving it: thumbs down, but not for the usual reasons. I’m not totally ditching this book. It’s going to a good new home – that of my BFF’s daughter, Kirsten.
By the way, this book is still a widely available trade paperback book and not out-of-print.
Jean looks lovely in one of the jackets featured in the book.
Jean Frost Jacket back cover
With 21 classic jackets, this book is a bargain. I love that she talks about the knitted pieces as the fabric as you would for traditional jackets.
In addition to the jackets, there a several spreads of texture and color stitch patterns if you are inclined to create your own jacket. The end of the book features info on fit, size, taking measurements and yarn. All you need to know to make a jacket that you can wear for years.
I love the Devonshire Jacket with a classic collar and a 3-color stitch pattern that looks woven.
The Copley Jacket is a simpler one-color piece. I include it because it is styled with one of my hats!
Two books (soft back) are on the table today. Both are from talented designer Louisa Harding. Both are out-of-print, but available on Amazon and elsewhere as used books.
Although the designs in these lovely collections are really nice and beautifully designed and styled (especially the Magical World for young ladies), I’m making classifying these books in the Thumbs Down category. My ruthless streak continues!
Modern Classics (published in 2006) has over 20 designs and even after 8 years they are still wearable and easy to knit.
Modern Classics by Louisa Harding
I did love a few of the designs. They would be ideal for anyone making classic sweaters that will be in style for many years to come.
Modern Classics Back Cover
The 2nd book, The Magical World According to Miss Millie (published in 2006) is a really fun and flirty collection of patterns. While the majority of the patterns are for little girls, there are 4 featured classic styles for little guys (look at the back cover). The sizing is for ages 3-10.
The Magical World According to Miss Millie
I love the thumbnail index that shows all 20 designs at a glance. Perfect for times when you are searching for a certain style.
Magical World Index
Love, love the pretty shades, bohemian styling and incredible photography.
Ollie & Lily styles
The Magical World According to Miss Millie – back cover
My next book is Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham. It’s also a book by Melanie Falick and published in 2005. In full disclosure, I know and worked with Teva and also know the photographer of this book – Adrian Buckmaster. They are both extremely talented – Teva in design and use of yarns and Adrian in photography. I’m a fan of both of them.
By the way, if you love the quirky styles and interesting designs in the book – it’s out of print, but you can get copies – including mine!
I’m giving this book – thumbs down.
Why you ask? It’s a beautifully created book – I would expect nothing less from Melanie. It has a well-thought out layout and interesting photos. My problem is that none of the projects appeal to me. They are a little over the top and slightly out of fashion. I’m being ruthless in my quest to reduce my overflowing library!
Below is a sweater that Teva original did for Interweave Knits that she is updated. She says it was very popular and I do agree that it looks like an easy one to knit and is one that would look good with jeans or something more dressed up. Teva does add clever details to all her projects and this is clearly one of her signature look.
Lace Leaf Pullover
The last photo is a clever scarf and I really like the braided effect. This doesn’t mean I’m making this book a “keeper”. I just wanted to end with a positive spin!