I Know What Boys Like

Keeping an Amazon wish list helps, though. Reference

Well, as promised, here are some of the textile related things that Mr. Penney got me for Christmas.

Christmas books

Knitting for Him: 27 Classic Projects to Keep Him Warm

When I first saw this book on Charles’ site, I was interested. Being a combo of Rowan and Taunton, I figured the odds were that it was going to be a good book; and it is. To my eye, there aren’t any clunkers, design-wise. Everything is wearable and should be able to hold a knitter’s interest, which is the conceit of the book. My main reason for wanting the book is that there are a variety of collar treatments in this book that I have not seen elsewhere. (I don’t so much get knitting books for the actual patterns anymore, but rather the inspiration and ideas that they can provide.)

My only real quibbles with the book are the ease that they use in patterns and some of the styling in the book. All of the pullover and jacket patterns follow one style for shaping and ease (6 to 8 inches of ease in the chest and no tapering in the body,) while all vests follow a different shape (about 2 inches of ease in the chest and tapering in the body.) I thought they could have mixed it up a bit more in that area, especially for the pullovers.

My problem with the styling has to do with how the one model is made to look in some of the photos. There is a younger and an older model in the book that are both styled to what I believe is supposed to be hip, with shoulder-length, bedhead hair, untucked, wrinkled shirts, etc. On the younger model towards the end of the book, it comes off well. But the older model? Well…. To me, there is an age one reaches where “hip” stops looking “hip” and starts looking “homeless.” Of course, I do get accused being too much on the conservative side of these types of things.

New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One

This book is based on one simple idea that it seems no one thought of before, the stitch increases to accommodate the heel of the foot don’t have to occur as the usual gusset or short row heel. That is pretty much it. It is a simple, but spectacular idea. Cat Bordhi has worked up eight ways of doing this, with a few sock pattern examples along with a master pattern for each one. The example patterns are to show how the sock architecture (I refuse to use the word that is made up for this because jargon makes me cringe) can be incorporated with stitch patterns.

I have started the Master Spiral Coriolis pattern from this book, though I have not gotten to the actual shaping yet. In doing this pattern, I do find the referencing of other areas of the book (to do step 1 go to page X, to do step 2 go to page Y) distracting and burdensome. I think it could be better organized. It starts to get like those software manuals that people complain about in this respect. I think the organization is the key to the success of the Schurch sock books.

The Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designer: Menswear

One of the things I want to do this year is to sew myself at least one pair of pants and at least one shirt. This is one of the books I am using to help me get there. I really can’t review it for you too much, as I am still a bit of a novice for sewing; but I have gotten some good information from the book already on what I am about to try.

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Style, Quality, and Taste

As you already know, I am a fan of Project Runway. This is my reading just before going to sleep. I am about two-thirds of the way through it. (I am a very slow reader. I practically move my lips when I read.) Everything is in very short sections, so it is easy to pick up for the few minutes I spend reading before I turn my head and start snoring in Mr. Penney’s ear. I don’t believe there are any jaw-dropping revelations in this book, just stuff that isn’t always easy to admit.

There is one more fiber related gift the Mr. Penney got me for Christmas. I will show you that one later.

5 thoughts on “I Know What Boys Like

  1. Every time I see a patternmaking book I want to have it for my own library!

    And on top of that I visited G-Street Fabrics in Falls Church yesterday. Lots of menswear wools in there, and of course lots of gorgeous fabrics for everything else too. This store was better than the Potomac Mills location I usually visit.

  2. I have not seen “Knitting for Him” and will have to take a look at it as Al is typically not fond of most patterns for men. I have the Cat Bordhi book, too, have not tried any socks yet. Some of them are inspiring and I like how she shows them in 2 different yarn weights. Thank you for the helpful and informative reviews.

  3. I’m with Alice, I’ve been wanting that book since it’s release. Shirts are actually really easy to make, I’ve made dozens and dozens through the years. I’ve done pants a few times, but the belt loops always mess me up. Pockets? No trouble. It’s those damned little loops. 🙂 I designed my first project at 8 years old: a magician’s cape with secret pockets inside. In satin. Scary.

  4. I agree with you about the Cat Bordhi book – it’s ingenious, but every time I decide to try it, I just think, ‘short row heels are so simple, why go to all this trouble!’ Maybe I’m just lazy…

  5. Thanks for the excellent review on Cat Bordhi’s new book. I’ll get it eventually. The whole idea of skipping around in the book for instructions really turns me off though.

    And you know I adore Project Runway too. I finally saw the episode where Jack had to leave. I cried! Oh the poor guy. I think he would have gone far.

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