The patterns are designed by Susan Campbell, an experienced knitter that has introduced herself as a veteran in the design of baby clothes. The book has thirty designs divided into collections ranging from baby clothes to toys and accessories, intending to be classic and not fussy. The projects are described as easy-to-follow for knitters of all abilities.
Upon the opportunity to review the Very British Baby Knits: 30 Stylish Designs Fit for a Royal Baby I enlisted help. Let’s face it, I’m not a very good knitter, in reality I’m so slow that my lack of progress has materialised in only ever 2 finished scarfs. However my MIL is brilliant and you probably have seen her work here and here. As I like to fully road-test books given for a review over the blog, with her help and the collaboration of the Shaftesbury Knit and natter group we are off with a very compressive book review. So without delay Knit & Natter take over;
Book General overview
- Beautiful book, very well laid out and nicely presented.
- Pleased to see a “measure ruler” at the front as many knitting patterns do not provide one these days.
- A lot of patterns for £12.99 when single patterns cost £2.50 each.
- The patterns look easy and make you want to try them but on closer inspection they feel rather repetitive. For example: 4 shoes, 4 hats etc with the majority in gather or stocking stitch.
- As a group we couldn’t decide who the book is aimed at. The patterns look simple as though for a beginner but when you read the instructions or try them it assumes a higher lever of knowledge, and terminology not explained in the book. Example: Sew up using “mattress stitch” on page 22. Cast using “thumb method” on page 36 or “french knit” or make an “i-cord” on page 63.
- The more experienced knitters in the group found the patterns rather boring and old fashioned, not challenging enough.
- It was felt that the american market would love it because of the designer royal connections.
- Amateurism drawings at the back of the book, page 118. Look like a rushed afterthought (* Editor note: With my personal sewing experience I like the technical drawings to be accurate representation instead of ‘pretty’ illustrations and I think that is the issue the group is referring.)
- The group felt the content of the book is not consistent though out the patterns. For example: Some patterns ask them to “finish on a w.s row” while others don’t even though it appears to matter which row you finish on. (* Editor note: I can understand why this is important as a beginner knitter myself I rely of instructions a lot more)
- Confusing terminologies
- Abbreviations: For example: page 124 says: “M1” by picking up the horizontal loop before next stitch and knitting into back of it. See page 66 and 86 for “m1” definition. (* Editor note: At the end the book there are present a list with all noted abbreviations)
Two members of the group (Ro & Trish) tackled the “Anmer” sweater pattern in different sizes while Trish also knitted the “highgrove” pants (trousers). Both knitter’s found the sweater instructions very confusing and clumsy with a few errors. No issues to report on the trousers.
They did liked the final result and by using their experience as a guide when pattern wasn’t clear had achieved a lovely result.
You can try a free pattern from the book, the Windsor Cardigan.
* Editor’s note: Personally by designing classic shapes the author needed to use interesting yarns and colours combinations to make the pattern’s more appealing. It was a missed opportunity by styling with traditional colours (pinks, blues and beige’s) as the whole concept of the book is lovely. I like the idea of having the outfits grouped in collections as a little capsule wardrobe.
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book has been provided free by Search Press. All opinions represents the views of the group, while editor’s note opinions are my own. The book now belongs to Shaftesbury’s knit and natter group. As I mention previously instead of review copies giveaway the books go to local community libraries. This review contain an Amazon affiliated link
If you fancy joining their Knit & natter knitting group, the Tuesday group meet in Shaftesbury Library every week from 10am to 12 noon. The Thursday group meet in or outside, weather permitting, our wool shop ‘Knitting Well’ in Swans Yard, Shaftesbury every week from 2pm to 4pm. Everyone is welcome to join either or both groups for informal chats while knitting and to exchange hints and tips etc, it’s just a lot of fun.