Book Review – Knits of Tomorrow

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Details

  • Title: Knits of Tomorrow: Toys and Accessories for your Retro-Future Needs
  • Author: Sue Culligan
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596688360 (pbk.)
  • 2013 Interweave Press

Summary

A collection of patterns inspired by past advances in technology and science, e.g. sputnik, radio, reel-to-reel players, cassette tapes, robots, rockets, etc.

Contents

The book consists of twenty projects. Aids in the back of the book include abbreviations, glossary of techniques, contributors, sources for supplies, a bibliography, and an index. Full color photographs and graphs for knitting are included.

Review

I was waiting for this one to come out. I will readily admit to being a collector of old technology, and I actually own not only the standard collection of records, but also a functioning reel-to-reel player (complete with blank reels for future needs), a recently un-functional 8-track cassette player (I’m pretty sure it just needs cleaning inside, but I haven’t had time to open it up yet), a slide rule (here’s how to use one), and sundry other blasts from the past.

Knits of Tomorrow catered to my geeky whims with patterns for a laptop cover featuring the Bohr model of the atom (which is, like, so yesterday, but still very cool), an iPad slip case featuring the Sputnik satellite, and an iPod slip case mimicking a cassette tape. There are socks featuring the old radio towers of the 1930’s, a blanket with the cigar-shaped rockets from space race, and a fair-isle style dog sweater featuring something which looked suspiciously like everyone’s favorite metal dog. But what really made me sit down and knit was the ear-flap hat with intarsia head phones.

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I saw this pattern and fell in love. Audiophile that I am, I still long for my comfy padded monsters while cherishing my ear-buds for their convenience. Plus, since I happen to know some other people who share my affinity, I thought this hat might be my new go-to pattern for christmas gifts.

A couple of things (about the book in general and the hat pattern in particular):

First, the pattern was knitted in the flat, with a seam up the back of the head. Only there was no photo showing what the back of the head looked like. Or a photo of the front of the head for that matter. Only photos from the side. Suspicious. I happen to intensely dislike seams, so I knit my hat circularly. I successfully got rid of the seam, but didn’t realize I’d also need to get rid of the unmentioned seam allowance, and my hat ended up slightly on the large side (which is why you won’t find a photo of it on my head).

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only case of photos in the book which aren’t quite up to par for a professional publication. Poor lighting, a lack of different detail shots, and some of the items placed in awkward photo locations detracted from the patterns, both in an artistic sense and in a technical sense. I tend to like accurate representations of what I’m creating. If there’s a seam and a seam allowance, I want pictures.

Second: this book is heavy on the accessories. Socks, bag, blanket, pencil cup, door stop, paper weight. Many of them are very cute, and they definitely tend to fall on the kid friendly side of the spectrum, even to the point of a knit-able rocket-mobile of the sort hung over baby cribs. But if you are looking for geeky sweater designs, for kids or adults, keep looking.

Third: the patterns are very heavy on the color work. Lots of intarsia, some fair-isle. The motifs ranged from actual science (like Sputnik and the Bohr atom) to classic sci-fi symbols (phasers, flying saucers, etc.). However, for those of us who enjoy a structural challenge, textures, and what not, this book doesn’t have much to offer.

In the end, I requested that my local library purchase this book, but held off on purchasing it for myself. There are some great ideas, and I loved the theme, but this works better for me as an inspirational tool than as an actual addition to my pattern library.

Plus, this book lacked the one pattern I needed to really convince me that Knits of Tomorrow was a part of my future: a felted slip cover featuring fractal embroidery for my slide rule.

Just kidding.

My slide rule already has a cover.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

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