Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Runway Knits

I just picked up the book Runway Knits by Berta Karapetyan, who is the founder of Karabella Company. First let me say, this is a very pretty book. Underneath the book jacket is a plain, black, matte cover with simple red and white text. Inside are nearly 30 patterns separated into the categories Spirited, Playful, Demure, and Driven, all following a very short introduction.

The great thing about this book is that it doesn't waste any space on knitting instructions... so it's definately not for beginners (although there are a couple of easier patterns in it). In the back is half a page of abbreviations, a yarn substitution guide, and an index. The rest is
all patterns, and very nice ones at that. Before I get to those, let me just say I was impressed with the yarn substitution guide.

There are some people (I won't mention any names) who have their own yarn brands who use only their own yarns in their pattern books. This one is no exception. It is all Karabella (the author's son's brand). The difference here is that the yarn substitution guide assumes that you may not want to buy the Karabella yarns and doesn't seem to push you in that direction- this is in addition to the fact that it has a yarn sub guide at all! While it doesn't give you another brand name, the guide tells you the names of the Karabella yarns used in the book, their approximate weight, and a description; all for the purpose of finding a substitute with a similar drape, texture, and appearance. There is also a warning on substituting by yardage, not just by number of skeins (which might be obvious to most knitters who are knitting from this book in the first place).

Okay, on to the patterns. The book being called
Runway Knits, it is safe to assume that all the models in the book are tiny. A couple are even beyond tiny. However, there is some larger sizing in the book, as well as some non-sized items for everyone. Here's the rundown on the largest [bust] sizes for each pattern (because so few of us care about the smallest sizes):

38" - 4 patterns
39" - 1
40" - 5
41" - 6
42" - 3
44" - 1
46" - 1
No size - 7

You'll note this makes 28 patterns, but a couple of them are sets (hat/scarves) that make the 30 that the book claims. Here's the other thing: Some of the size 38" patterns are sooo good, it would totally be worth the time it takes to do the size-up calculations! Okay, I know... I sounded like a cheerleader there- but the more I look at this book, the more patterns in it I like!

Some of my faves are the Little Black Dress, Diamond Top, Leaf-Paneled Sweater, Seawave Turtleneck, Silky Turtleneck, Roman Candle Sweater, A-Line Jacket, and the Leaf-Drop Sweater.

The Little Black Dress is super-cute, but unfortunately would looks terrible on me due to my hips. It's knit mostly in stockinette for a size 38" (max) bust with lace sleeves, hem, and neck, in cotton.

The Diamond Top is also cotton. It's a fitted sweater (max 41") with capped sleeves and a simple stitch pattern.

The Leaf-Paneled Sweater is actually more of a halter top/mock-turtle-style for summer, also knit in cotton. The lace leaf pattern is very pretty and travels up the center and sides of this tunic-length halter (38" max).

The Seawave Sweater is a long-sleeve sweater in extra-fine merino wool for a 40" bust (max) and a wave stitch pattern. It is pictured in a jewel-toned sea-green color.

The Silky Turtleneck is also sort of a halter top/mock-turtle-style, but this time knit in silk with a lace-leaf or wave pattern and scalloped edges (39" max).

The Roman Candle is one of the bigger sweaters with a 42" bust, a basketweave cable pattern, long sleeves, and a high neck. It's knit in a beautiful red-hued merino.

And finally, the A-Lined Jacket is the largest pattern (which makes sense, it being a jacket and all- 46"). The cutest thing about this wool jacket is the extra-large buttons that adorn the front.

Basically what I am saying here is that I highly recommend this book as much as I can without having actually knit anything from it (I just bought it an hour ago). The knitting experience of this author tells me she is probably very good at writing patterns. She mentions in the intro that she has been knitting since she was 12 (in Russia) and her customers at her two yarn shops have helped her a lot in knowing what the customer wants (in terms of pattern-writing). If nothing else, go to B&N and look at the pretty pictures of the flawlessly made-up models in beautiful knits.

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