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  Debbie Bliss Celtic Knits: Over 25 Designs for Babies, Children, and Adults
by Debbie Bliss
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Debbie Bliss is a genius at designing adorable knits for toddlers and children. It's no coincidence that she's authored numerous pattern collections exclusively for kids. In her spare time, she also runs a London boutique and designs for Baby Gap.

This book marks her second foray into the adult pattern world, and many of the patterns actually look like enlarged versions of her kids' designs. Not that this is a bad thing, but in some cases it doesn't seem to come off right.

Under the Cover

The book is well composed, with rich photography and an easy-to-follow layout. One design element I particularly like: Each pattern section has a different-colored background, so you can easily see where one ends and the next begins.

The Patterns

The cover reads, "Over 25 designs for babies, children, and adults." Well, there are actually 24 basic designs, two of which include socks, and one of which is a twinset. So it's not over 25 by much.

Also, there are no introductions -- Bliss jumps right into the pattern without giving any background on the inspiration or motivation for each garment.

The patterns cover a decent range of styles and techniques -- colorful Fair Isles, elaborate cables, and a few good starter patterns too. In addition to the contemporary colors, Bliss has also given these designs a comfortable fit and styling. The Longline Aran tunic, for example, has an open neck and a looser, longer fit than what you traditionally see.

A Few Peeves

Bliss' patterns tend to be very detailed, measuring down to the quarter-inch. Instructions can go on for pages, listing the details for each stitch, row by row. For some, that may be a bit off-putting. At a minimum, it requires good concentration (coupled with good record-keeping).

My other issue is that Bliss seldom includes diagrams of each knitted component of a garment. If you're knee-deep in instructions, it definitely helps to have a bigger picture of what the end result is supposed to be.

A Must-Have?

If you're a fan of Debbie Bliss, as I am, you may get a sense of deja vu with this book. She doesn't embark on a wild new journey here, settling instead for a style that has brought her much success in the past.

If you're looking for children's designs, you may be better off checking out her earlier books. In particular, "Baby Knits" and "Bright Knits for Kids"are, in my humble opinion, greater reflections of her true talent.

If you're looking for an adult-sized pattern, like the general feel of Bliss' patterns, but aren't smitten with any in this book, you might be better served by checking out the patterns from the Rowan design company. If you're not familiar with Rowan, "The Best of Rowan" offers an excellent introduction.

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Previous reader comments
"I have to just say that I love this book. I have other Debbie Bliss books (two of her baby books), but I really think this one is special. I've made two things from it (the cabled girl's smock and the lace scarf), but the fair isles are also gorgeous. I agree that having a graphic regarding the shape/dimensions of the knitted pieces would be helpful, and I personally wish that especially her fair isles were done on circular needles (I plan on just converting the pattern). But really, it's a beautiful book that I found quite inspiring." Sarah W., 12/16/02

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