Book Review – Metropolitan Knits

Details

  • Title: Metropolitan Knits: Chic Designs for Urban Style
  • Author: Melissa Wehrle
  • ISBN: 978-1-59668-778-3 (pbk.)
  • Published: 2013 Interweave Press

Summary

A pattern collection emphasizing knitting on the urban edge.  Divided into three chapters entitled Heart of the City, Urban Bohemia, and City Gardens, featuring a well-rounded selection of patterns for pullovers, and cardigans, as well patterns for two tunics, a hat, a cowl, a tank, a shawl, fingerless gloves, and a scarf.

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

Yup.  I think I like this one.  Not only did I have a moment of “Ooh!  I want to knit that!” with practically every pattern in this book, I continue to stop and ponder a certain decrease here, pleating there, the photograph of the shoulder seam, even on the fourth and fifth read through.

This book is heavy on the details.  The photographs are nearly impeccable.  The brave knitter might venture knitting from photographs alone and eschew the written pattern entirely.  The pattern designs themselves have little clevernesses which make an understated sweater amply entertaining for a seasoned knitter.  A lace gusset here, shirred shoulders there, a picked-up-stitches border.  They add up to a garment that is a joy to knit and a joy to wear.

As you might have guessed, however, this book does not include patterns featuring color work.  Not fair isle, stranded, embroidered, or otherwise.  This book is a book for texture knitters, all lace and cables, and even a pin-tuck stripe.  And oh the textures!  Combined with the photographs, they seemed close enough to dig my fingers into.  Heavily embossed cables knotted up both sides of a cardigan, and a gossamer shawl knit with 100% silk yarn were both eye catchers.

The textures included are rich and abundant, but if color is where it is at for you, then this book will either convert you or turn you off.  Same goes for sock knitters: the closest pattern would be the fingerless gloves, and I’m not sure that a single pattern is worth the $24.95 (retail price) for the entire book.

As for sizing, the maximum finished measurement for sweaters at the bust ranges from 44″-52.5″ while the minimum is 30.5″-36.5″.  At least one sweater recommends negative ease on sizing, but it features a highly stretchy lace pattern.  Most of the garments feature some shaping around the waist, but are not form-fitting. 

Judging from the fit on the models, about half of the sweaters are designed to hit around the hip, which is my only contention. If you happen to be taller or shorter than the model used by the designer, then the sweater schematic measurements will hit in the wrong place for your figure.  When most of the sweaters in a book have approximately the same length, you have an entire book of patterns which will need re-working to be appropriate for your figure.  In the most unfortunate cases, a sweater designed to end at the hip becomes a crop-top.  As a designer, I have a certain limit when using patterns: if the work of adapting the pattern to my needs is equal or greater than writing a pattern from scratch, then I’ll just go ahead and write my own pattern.

To be blunt, most of the sweaters in this book seem like they would be great fits for those searching for petite patterns.  Talls, not so much.  I’m not excessively above average height, but some of my most favorite patterns in this collection would need significant modification by the time I accommodate my height and amend the details which first caught my eye.

Nonetheless, I still wish I had this book in my knitting library.  Some things are just a pleasure to own.  With its richness in texture, the diversity in details, the wit caught between subtle decreases and quiet shaping, this book could very well be one of them.

Happy knitting!

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