Harsh review follows below, people. Don't read if it you are squeamish. Note that you can click on any photo for a real-sized, detailed view.
Americans are good at inventing cool stuff, but the Japanese are expert at refining our ideas. After comparing Lace Style from the good old USA and Elegance Knit (ISBN 4-529-04273-1) from Japan, I am embarrassed to admit that the American version looks, well, not good. Well, awful, actually.
I thought the patterns in the former wobbled between ugly, pedestrian, and impractical. With considerable disappointment, I realized there wasn't a single thing in the entire book that could even approach third string on my Makes My Fingers Want to Dance with Needles knit list.
NOTE ADDED IN EDIT: Interweave Press was highly annoyed by this review and demanded I remove the images from this post. I am sure that if I had posted a glowing review, nothing would have been said. So I have done what they asked and replaced the pictures with links from other reviews where possible, or page numbers where not. They removed the pictures from their web site so I couldn't link to them. Sorry.
Under-12 might be better for two obvious
reasons that unfortunately are shown here.
What's with the weird, saggy hem?
Is she holding it up or pulling it down?
The collar looks really peculiar, flooping
around behind her head.
And wide lapels went out in the '40s.
especially those who are color-blind.
You just know that the collar didn't work--
it's hidden under the long hair.
knitting this sweetie. What a pattern!
And look at that dainty neckline!
Simple sweater, but the placement
of the lace panels is perfect.
but this is an exception to the rule.
Another inspired use of pattern and trim.
Notice the following points in the Japanese designs:
- The exquisite attention paid to detail around the edges. The American sweaters seem to fade out there, as if the designers just got tired of the entire process.
- The lovely shaping--not a baggy, saggy item in the entire volume. The American sweaters are either too tight or shapeless. Feh.
- There is no fear of complexity here, something rife in American knitting books.
- These styles are timeless, graceful, and elegant and can be worn by any age group. American designers seem to forget that there are ladies over, say 40, who want to make sweaters for themselves.
The price for the Japanese full-color book with 21 stunning patterns is $9. Budd's Lace Style also contains 21 patterns, is also paperback, and costs $24.95 (KnitPicks has it for $16.95). Even with shipping from Japan, Elegance Knit is cheaper.
I am not purposely being nasty, but I am getting tired of book reviews that pull their punches. You know what I mean. The reviewer makes nice remarks about the photography, gushes about the famous contributors, lists the projects, and then spends a few lines exclaiming about the index. Time for a change, I think.