Book Review


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  Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson
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You've been busy with other things, distracted with the daily demands of your life, when you glance at your calendar. Gulp! A friend's birthday is in two days.

You'd love to knit her something special, but there's no time. Or is there?

Joelle Hoverson's new book proves that you can still knit a special gift, even when time is tight.


The Concept
The patterns in this book book are organized by knitting timeframe. Hoverson begins with gifts you can knit in less than two hours, then progresses to between two and four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours, and more than eight hours.

Timing was done by experienced knitters, so if you're still getting started or know you tend to knit slowly, you'll want to add some extra time to each pattern.

The Patterns
Although I can't say this book will solve all gift-giving dilemmas you'll ever face, it does provide some excellent options. Each section has at least one children's gift (including adorable angora baby booties, a baby bonnet, a pullover, children's hats, and stuffed animals), something for the home (such as a felted yoga mat bag, blankets, cushions, and a tea cozy), and something for grown-ups (sweaters, scarves, wrist-warmers, hats, a poncho, and leg warmers).

There are proportionately more scarves than other patterns, but this seems only fair because scarves are the perfect last-minute gift. Hoverson gives distinct color and texture variations even for the scarves—these aren't just carbon-copy patterns.

About the Author
Hoverson is the owner of Purl, a relatively new yarn store in New York's SoHo neighborhood. She received her Masters of Fine Art from Yale University before becoming style editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

She has also worked as a freelance stylist for such clients as Crate & Barrel, Gourmet, and O, The Oprah Magazine, all of which may help explain why this book is so beautifully styled.

(Special credit should also be given to photographer Anna Williams, whose photographs are perfectly aligned with Hoverson's aesthetic.)


Bringing Fine Art to Fibers
Hoverson approaches her projects with an artist's eye, paying unusual attention to texture variations and playing with color depth, saturation, and hue in each pattern. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Exploring Color chapter, where Hoverson explains basic color concepts and illustrates them in yarn and finished projects.

The Recommended Reading section was an extra gift, with 26 thoughtfully selected titles that span patterns, technique, color theory, and design inspiration.

This is Hoverson's first book, and there are a few glitches in the patterns. You can access a PDF of pattern corrections online before beginning any of the projects.

Comparable Cousins?
I've seen this book compared to Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting, which is interesting since Falick works for this book's publisher, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, and she edited this book.

Although Falick's book has a similar aesthetic and fast-knitting mission, she ventures into lifestyle territory, with recipes and party tips, while Hoverson stays on a pure knitting path.



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