Monday, November 23, 2015
Review and Giveaway: Carol Feller's Short Row Knits
So, short rows are basically magic.
....and, as I remember thinking as a newbie knitter, they can seem about as impossible as magic. Not so much the technique itself (I tend to be pretty fearless about that kind of thing- just string, ya know?) but figuring out how to add them to a design and make them do what I wanted was absolutely boggling. I remember asking for advice in the old livejournal "knitting" community, about how to calculate short rows to make a set of costume devil-horns curve properly (I don't recall getting a satisfying answer, but I DO recall being made fun of in the "knitting_snark" community- geeez guys! ;-P Man, remember the livejournal knitting scene? Way back before Ravelry? Good times. But I digress...)
Enter: the book I wish I'd had then. Carol Feller's Short Row Knits!
You may know Carol from her awesome Craftsy class on the same subject, which was responsible for introducing me to short-row set-in sleeves (which I've only used once so far, but I know I'll be back for more.) This book is a thorough exploration of the whole world of short rows- starting with four methods described in detail, along with recommendations for which method is best for which applications. I'd tried three of them before - wrap and turn, Japanese, and yarn-over. I hadn't tried German, though, and Carol claims it's the most invisible method for short rows in garter stitch... something that has stymied me before. So I thought I'd give it a whirl...
Not bad! Admittedly it looks a bit odd in the picture because I didn't center the short-rows... I'm a sloppy swatcher, I'm afraid. But there are no weirdly prominent bumps on either side of the garter stitch, and the few I did in the stockinette look pretty good too.
After discussing each method, Carol walks you through all the common uses for short rows- creating shaped shawls, adding darts and other "make this sweater fit better" features, turning heels, and making cool 3-D shapes like balls. She also gives you tips for designing with short rows - sketching the curve you want out on knitters graph paper, for example, to help you decide where to place them- and for modifying existing designs. All around, a great a thorough introduction to a very useful technique!
The projects themselves are lovely- Carol's sweaters are always to die for! The fact that they're educational to boot is really just a bonus.
My only wee complaint: I would love to see more diagrams of some of the projects, such as the shawls, that would let me visualize exactly how the short row wedges are coming together (or even just flat shots.) This book is designed to help you learn project-by-project, but it's unlikely that very many people will actually make every single item, so being able to visualize how the project comes together without actually knitting it would help readers learn the lesson from each item without actually having to knit each one. There are a ton of useful diagrams in the techniques sections of this book, though, and the garments have schematics which is helpful as well :-)
So whatdya say? You want a copy? Good news!
I've got one copy to give away to a lucky winner! Just comment on this post before the end of November and let me know your favorite way to use short-rows (or if you haven't used them at all, what use you're looking forward to!) On December 1st I'll pick a winner at random!
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of this book by the author and publisher. However, all opinions are my own.