Book Review

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  Simply Beautiful Sweaters
by Beryl Hiatt and Linden Phelps
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It's a common practice among knitwear designers to be affiliated with a yarn manufacturer. For the designer, it adds legitimacy and financial backing to an often difficult career. For the manufacturer, it provides a priceless promotion of their yarns.

But there is a drawback. Because these designers' patterns keep referring to the same yarns, many collections end up looking the same. "Simply Beautiful Sweaters" is a welcome exception.

Knowing Their Stuff

Beryl Hiatt is the founder of Seattle's acclaimed knitting shop, Tricoter. Linden Phelps is her business partner, and over the years they have created a large body of original patterns for the shop.

This book highlights 20 of their most popular patterns, and includes priceless tips and techniques that only experienced yarn shop owners would know.

Easy Execution

Patterns range from simple pullovers to striped cardigans and tank tops. The writing tone is friendly and easy to follow, and the patterns are clearly written and well diagrammed.

Hiatt and Phelps give the designs subtle but easy-to-execute custom shapings that help conceal how simple the patterns really are. This is especially good if you don't want the whole world to know this was your first sweater!

But what really elevates these patterns from the realm of the mind-numbingly boring is the yarns they use. Hiatt and Phelps aren't tied to one particular vendor, so they're free to design for such exquisite yarns as Colinette, Noro, and Filatura di Crosa.

Not Just for Deep Pockets

If you're at all familiar with these yarn names, you'll know that they don't come cheap. Don't fret. If you're on a budget or just want to experiment with different yarns, each pattern also includes simple gauge equivalents for substituting yarns.

The Power of Simplicity

Sometimes designers go overboard in pairing complex yarns with even more complex patterns.

This book proves that if you let a good yarn do its thing, you'll have an attention-getting sweater without having to agonize over the pattern.

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Previous reader comments

"I bought a copy of this book myself last year RAM Wools in Canada. I am about to start making a sweater out of it. It's nice to know that yarn can make a relatively simple design marvelous. So glad you reviewed it."Dolores H., 04/05/2001

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