I’m borrowing an idea from Julie over at Samurai Knitter and giving a review of “French Girl Knits” by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes.
I have a few rules for buying pattern books: 1. Clear instructions. 2. More than 80% of the patterns should look like something I’d want to make. 3. Seamless please. I dont mind doing some seams, but seamless makes life easy. 4. Will these be designs I will wear more than one season? If I made a top for this summer would it be something I’d want to wear next summer?
For me, this book fit the bill. There are only 3 patterns in this book I wouldnt make and in a book with 18 patterns, that’s not bad. I’ve only made one sweater and one jacket. Clear instructions and good tips are important to me. Score two. This book has pages dedicated to top down, bottom up, raglan (both top down and bottom up), top down set in sleeves, tips on substituting yarn, grafting in mohair (if you’re into that sort of thing), side to side seamless construction, and there is a page with tips on knitting to fit your body type. From what I’ve seen and experienced so far, the pattern instructions are clear and concise with diagrams and charts where needed.
Most of the patterns in this book are seamless. Knit either from the top down, bottom, up, or side to side. This is good for me since I’m lazy and seaming isnt my favourite thing.
Sizes are important too. Most of the patterns go from 31-33 inch bust up to 46 inch. A couple go up to 49. I’m not an expert, but the patterns seem easily adjustable to a larger size if needed. And, from what I can see, the patterns would look good on most body types.
The patterns are easy to read and the author has fun with the descriptions. Some border on cheesy:
Example: The Louisa top
“One benefit of being in the knitting design world is meeting lovely kindred souls from all parts of the globe at yearly trade shows. Those gatherings could be rather soulless affairs without this communion. Double happiness occurs when someone has feminine uber-delicious yarn and luscious designs that make every fiber of your French-Girl sing with girly joy! ‘Yes, I will make a pink frothy dress’
“My husband and I initially chose Cybele for our daughter’s name, much to the horror of his mother, who wanted no grandchild of hers associated with a heathen goddess of the rowdy bacchanals of early Roman mythology. We decided on something more conventional-we called her Rain. I have always tried to imagine what Cybele would have worn (surely not the usual flowing goddess robes.) In this French Alps-inspired garment, the look is more mountains than Mediterranean.
A little on the corny side, but not too bad.
Overall, I think this book is a good buy. When I bought it, I did get a really good price on it because I had a 40% off coupon for Borders (I love my manager). I dont know if 18 patterns is necessarily worth 25$, that’s one of the few cons. The patterns are good, the layout and photographs are nice, and there are lots of good tips and instructions.
There you have it. I’m almost finished with the Paloma top. Two rows left on the body and the sleeve edging. Then blocking. Even though I knit Eastern Combined and had to rip out a few times, the pattern was written so well that there was no ambiguity to what I was supposed to be doing. Instead of lots of shaping rows you use different needle sizes. There is no seaming. It knit up fairly quickly once I got past some of the lacy ribbing. It would be easily customizable.