Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Review: Custom Knits

I don't do many knitting book reviews on here because quite honestly, I don't buy a lot of knitting books.

However, the Sunday of Columbus Day, Chris drove up to North Jersey and we hung out for a bit at Stix-n-Stitches fondling their yarn and perusing their books. They had a display copy of the new Wendy Bernard book Custom Knits that we thumbed thru--and I fell in love.

Now I've always dug Wendy Bernard's stuff. She's the designer of the uber-popular Tomato (which I am guilty of knitting--minus the mini-Texas houndstooth checks) and Sahara sweater that everyone and their mother knit a few years ago.

Plus she does many of her sweaters in one piece. I have yet to knit a sweater (for me) that you have to seam together more than just an armpit hole for.

When I was making an order for some other stuff and needed to spend a few extra bucks to get the free super saver shipping, I figured what the hell? We're not starving until January when Dr. Mad Scientist quits his job to concentrate on becoming Teacher Mad Scientist full time, and as much as I love the man, I could write out the ISBN number of this book for him and ask for it for Christmas and he still wouldn't get it for me!

But on to the "review"!


In short, this book has many likeable things.


Simple sweaters mainly with details. I like that. I'm a big fan of stockinette boredom.

I mean I love colorwork and really admire the people who can a.) knit it and b.) wear it and pull it off--but I'm just never going to knit a Eunny-vamped-out-bodice-hugging-low-cut-colorwork vest.

I like my knitting a bit more boring.

But that's not to say the patterns in this book are boring. They're not. They're all about the details.

Be they the cable in that first picture or the vintage ribbon snap liner on this caponcho (pronounced kay-paun-cho) thingy that I'm oddly attracted to even though I think it would make short stumpy pear shaped me look even more short stumpy and pearish.


It's not really called a caponcho...she calls it a Not-a-Poncho-City-Cape. I like caponcho, it rolls off the tongue better!

The book also gives you options with nearly every pattern on how you can easily modify the pattern to your own likes.

Quite honestly, I'm experienced enough where I can do that on my own, but sometimes it's nice to have someone else spell it out for you.


You can see an example of this in this picture where the cover sweater has been modified to not cut quite so deep into the cleave.

On the subject of cleave--another bonus of this book is that it has sizing ranging for women sporting pancakes to women sporting muskmelons and possibly some other fruit bigger than a muskmelon. I don't even know exactly what a muskmelon is, but it sounded like a good large big busted fruit. The sizing ranges from X-Small to 3XL (and that's just one pattern I randomly picked out of here--but that gives you a ballpark idea of the size-range in the patterns they're all like that!).

Speaking even more of cleave, this book might be responsible for drawing more horny men into the realm of knitting.



Many of the models in this book are pants challenged. Making it great to peruse with your resident horny man--you're scoping out sweaters while he's checking for camel toe!

But don't fret--the photographer was nice enough to throw in a picture of Pedro The Pool Boy's geekier whiter pool boy cousin, Peter. A little scrap of man-meat for us if for some reason you get tired of looking at all the great knitwear!


Check out how pasty that guy's thighs are compared to his calves! Hee hee!

To conclude, I try to stay clear of bandwagons, but I've had my moments of weakness (Tomato, February Lady, Tulips Baby Sweater...) and I wouldn't be ashamed to hop onto one of the sweater bandwagons I'm sure this book is going to spurn.

I fretted about posting pictures from the book on my blog due to copy write blah, blah, blah--but all of these pictures can be found on The Place That Shall Not Be Named. That combined with my craptacular skills of taking pictures of pictures seems to work. Maybe TPTSNBN actually sought permission before posting theirs though. Whatever, don't be a loser, if you like the sweater and want to knit it--buy the book! Very cheap on Amazon! And cheaper on Knitpicks right now if you can wait for them to a.) get it in stock and b.) you can wait for their shipping to get it to you.



Blogger Kim said...

I flipped through this book the other day at Barnes & Noble. I agree - lots of really great sweaters. I, too, might actually buy this book.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like this book has some great sweaters in it. Hint! Hint! Ok, so they through in a Hunk for us women....but what is wrong with his leg? It looks like it is bent and twisted. Love, Mom

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Alisha said...

I love the pool me think of Mad t.v. with the skit with the lady that was all gross and tan and the cabana boy would come out and danced in his speed o. I just place a hold on this book at the library. It is on order and I am first in queue!!!

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Carol said...

Always buy yourself a present if it matters to get the right thing. My hubby and I do that all the time. "look what you got me for my birthday!" etc.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous whichendisup said...

Ya know, I was kind of wondering who they thought their audience was with some of those pictures! But, there are some really nice project in there.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Muskmelon = cantalope = justanother word for it but would extrapolate that its girls that have larger than average girls. Im giving away a copy for my fish contest but bought one for myself - no lie, I named the poolboy Carlos (caliente!) and his skinny whitey friend Fred.

5:43 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

I love the book too. I'm oddly drawn to the caponcho (love that!) myself. I have the yarn for it. It's tempting.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I like that fact that Wendy shows you how to alter the pattern to fit you. Not just your size but your style. That way, we could all make one and each one would look different. I've been haunting the local bookstore looking for it and I guess I'm going to have to break down and buy it on Amazon.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I just bought my Christmas present from Marky Mark. I usually give him explicit instructions for a few things and he picks one. This time he said go ahead and get it now :) If I'm lucky I'll get something little under the tree.
That book looks great.

7:58 AM  
Blogger JRS said...

Wool sweaters + bikinis = wtf?! But photo styling aside, it looks like a great book. Thanks for reviewing it. Being overseas, I can't usually flip through books and I hate to order them without really knowing much about what's inside. This one looks like it would be worth it.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Great pics! Victoria has a secret ... she knits ?? ;)

I did like the caponcho, but I'm still working on squares ;). I'm thinking it wouldn't look so great in patchwork.

8:36 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

i just bought the book also. bikinis notwithstanding, i think it has a lot of classic sweaters that won't go out of style.

btw, i think you are in the clear on the photos b/c you are publishing them as a review. criticism is an exception to the dreaded C word. (i am not a lawyer, yada yada)

i love that the book isn't all raglans like Fitted Knits was. honestly when the book comes in the mail, i may destash fitted knits. this book is what i wanted that one to be.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Rosi G. said...

Loved your book review! :D
Dude, that guy is translucent in the background!

I like that short-sleeved colorwork sweater. Very cute.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I flipped through a copy at my last knitting group and was put off by the overly-sexed-up styling of the photos. But I love Wendy's work and her encouraging advice.

As for using images in a review, that's usually a totally acceptable use.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

hahahahahahaha!!! I had belly laughs with tears when I saw Peter! I showed hubby and he belly laughed with me.

6:50 PM  
Blogger weezalana said...

Excellent review! I just picked up that book myself for the same reasons - fab classics with great details.

And huh, you're right, there is an abundance of pants-challenged photos! I didn't notice that at first, because you know, I always walk around the house in a sweater and underwear...

11:07 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

Great review! I bought this book right away, partly due to the muskmelon sizing...hehehehehehe! Seriously, I love that she has classic styles, with cute details, and a full range of sizes!

1:55 AM  
Blogger Mag said...

I like the sweater in the pool boy pic, but I won't make it and really won't wear it.
It is a well put together book.
I don't have a problem with all the exposed flesh. It all looks good, even Mr. 'Pasty" thighs. :-)

10:22 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thanks for the great review, Bezz. I regularly go to book stores to keep up on what's in print for the knitting world. I have been very underwhelmed for a while. Patterns are either too complicated, too tiny (I wear sweaters because I'm cold and I do wear pants!) or too ridiculous to make. Great to see a book with sweaters real people can make and wear.

6:36 AM  
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8:31 AM  

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