Monday, November 24, 2014

'A Good Yarn' - A Book Review.

'A Good Yarn' by Katherine Poulton  is my favourite knitting pattern collection ever. EVER!!!
Maybe I should tell you why. Katherine Poulton and Lily Cole (both models -  read more about them here) set up the knitware company The North Circular in 2009 for London Fashion week, wanting "to return value to the hand made product, personalise the process of production, rekindle the relationship between the producer and the purchaser - knitter and scarf wearer, practically and digitally.We were both blessed with talented knitting grandmothers,so we grew up knowing the value of things made with love". 
They make the most amazing beanies, mittens, scarves, snoods, socks, etc - and have been my go to guide for inspiration for a long time now.
Late at night I often surf the internet looking for new release books. When I stumbled across this book my joy knew no bounds.... except, there were no reviews on it and these days I don't like to buy a book unless I know what some of the projects are in it and have seen a few photos. There are so many wonderful books out there but often they may only contain one 'must do' make. I'm happy to  borrow these books from the library but not necessarily purchase. My criteria to buy means that there must be at least three projects worth making - or two if they are spectacular.
So I wrote to the publishers explaining my predicament (it must have been a brave day) and asked if they could please send me a copy to review. And they did! Thank you Kyle Books.
The next question arose in my mind. When a book is given to you for the purpose of review, how do you fairly evaluate it without gratitude (that wonderful thing) getting in the way. I went back to my criteria for buying a book, how many of these projects would I make. I counted up the number of projects in 'A Good Yarn' that I would knit either for presents or for myself and ended up with the astonishing number of 22 (out of a possible score of 30). And I would choose to knit these over similar patterns in other books because they are amazing.
This is the most generous book. So many of the beautiful pieces from their collection are included! For instance, the beanie pictured above is sold on their site in a dip dyed version. I feel so rude even mentioning this next point but.... well,  we crafters can be thrifty - it sells in their shop for £89.00 whereas the book sells for £13.59. Hurrah for being able to knit!!!!!!!!
With so many beautiful projects, it would have taken all day to upload the photos. Instead I've only included a few which was a very difficult job.
Another reason for loving 'A Good Yarn' is that all of the yarn choices are eminently sensible. I borrowed a book from the library once where the projects were made up with all sorts of crazy, expensively branded cashmere. I later read a review on that particular book where totted up the expense for making one cushion - $200US. In this, no brands are pushed. Instead they tell you the ply, needle size and tension required. For a bulkier knit, they recommend using 2 strands of aran together - very simple.,
I am thinking about my nephews for the beanie above - they don't need to know that a girl was photoprahed wearing it.
This is one of my favourite patterns. I have a long neck and adore anything that I can wrap around it multiple times. A collar and a scarf - wahoo. I also want to make this one for my slightly younger brother but in a different colour because he may feel awkward if we wear matching clothes in our late 30's.
Of course the photography is beautiful and the best thing is, I'm sure I'll look exactly the same in as them in this beanie because that is how it works. Yes indeedydoo.
We have a young family friend at art school who this hat would be perfect for - but in black because that's what art students wear.
 And the Bobble Hat again. I love how it pops up here and there in different colours.
The Catch Shrug - this is in my top three list.

One of my favourite things to make when travelling are socks. However, I'm completely fed up with 4ply patterns. This one however, uses dk and is now at the top of the list. Once again, this book is definitely proving itself to be my new knitting bible.
 Houndstooth gloves!!!!
 This is another of my other absolute faves. A little while ago my friend bought something similar and I was secretly green with envy..... Actually I think she probably realised when I tried to wrestle it from her when she left.

The other reason I am thrilled to have this book is because my boys and various nephews have grown out of the other books I used to work from in both size and taste. And they aren't quite as keen on crochet toys anymore..... Having something contemporary to dip into for presents is great. 
I really, really, really love 'A Good Yarn'. The patterns are straight forward, beautifully styled and photographed and just so inspirational. It even has loads of tip boxes from experienced knitters. 
You can buy it here, here and here.
Lots and lots of love,
Kate xxx.
p.s. By the way, if you read my post yesterday, you would have picked up that I have not been well and all of these photos were taken from bed. Thank you so much for all of your thoughts - I'm now feeling much better.


  1. A rare thing to come across a book full of go to patterns, definitely one to check out. Thanks for the heads up! I'm more of a crocheter than knitter (says the lady who just finished a knitted blanket lol)After the holidays I hope to conquer knitting socks. Any tips? Feel better soon.x

  2. Thank you Kate, an honest review that I will remember once my knitting skills improve-2015 set aside to do so.
    Hope you are feeling better, a little behind with my reading.
    Your lovely kitty cat aided recovery I see-lovely picture.

  3. Thanks for the great review. I buy most of my books online and like to see what's inside first so reviews like this are fantastic.

  4. Hi Kate!

    Oh, thanks so much for sharing in detail about this book! Believe it, or not, but I had it already saved in my wishlist, however, without knowing much more about it.
    I remember reading about Lily Cole and North Circular a few years ago (hence my reason for saving it)!

    The photos and the projects themselves look very much like something that could inspire me to make!

    Thanks for your honest review!!!

    I will definitely have to get this book!!!

    Hope you are feeling much better!
    Ingrid xx

  5. I like a pattern book that you can use over and over. This seems to fit the bill very well.

  6. I wish i live there and can buy it, but in Argentina is not easy to find this kind of beauty in shops...I am not good with downloads books and I think this particularly is a treasure...thanks for share!!!

  7. Sorry to learn that you have not been well. I am glad that you are on the mend and hope you will be back to your best self as soon as possible. xxx



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