Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Susan Anderson-Freed's book of 25 patterns has updated versions of very traditional patterns from Europe's Northern countries. All of the patterns use the two color stranded knitting technique known as fair isle knitting to knit up socks, hats, leg warmers, gloves and mittens. If you are looking for traditionally patterned accessories that modern women would wear, look inside this book.
Anderson-Freed's book is organized by accessory type. For each accessory item, there is a basic pattern and instruction given, then three or four color charts for each accessory type makes up the actual pattern. There is a base pattern for stocking hats, tams, mittens gloves, mid-calf socks, knee high socks, and leg warmers. All of the base patterns are one size. Some of the patterns come with suggestions on how to add width or length if necessary, but this is not true of the glove pattern. If you are looking for patterns for large or small people, you will have to do a lot of adapting of these patterns.
The photography is well done, showing attractive photos of beautiful knitted accessories. The glove pattern is knit from tip to cuff, and has suggestions for avoiding the dreaded holes at the joins. Personally, I would consider myself average size, so I am hoping to knit a pair of the gloves for myself.
Anderson-Freed gives nice background information about what inspired each pattern. She describes making connections between her computer science background and various landmarks she saw while traveling. Many of the patterns are named after nurses who helped to treat the author when she had cancer. The author also tells how she has used more yarns to knit up the various patterns than just ones listed in the book, implying that if you need to substitute, looking for suitable yarns in the right weight should still give the correct effect. Many of the projects feature multiple yarn colors used for the fair-isle backgrounds. Using multiple colors gives a lovely, modern effect to the traditional designs. Buying all of those different colors of yarn skeins can drive up the project price for a knitter, so the author suggests just using one dark color for the dark background and one light color when light colors are used.
If you love Nordic style two color stranded knitting, and have intermediate or better knitting skills, you will want to look into this book. The main drawback that I see is that the patterns are "one size fits most" and the suggestions for modifying the size are limited. Still, if you want to knit lovely, classic- yet-modern accessories, this is a nice book of patterns to add to your pattern collection.
FTC notification: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher. I received no compensation from the publisher or the book author for this review. All of my reviews are my honest opinion.