Book Review

cover
One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs
by Iris Schreier

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The migration path from one-skein wonders to high-yardage projects is not always gradual or smooth. After we've made a few triangle shawls and simple lace scarves, we may grow restless for something a little more substantial—but we're still not ready to take on a full sweater.

Skill isn't always the issue. When dealing with luxury yarns, price can be the biggest motivator for limiting our splurge to just one or two skeins.

The Artyarns Backstory
Artyarns is the poster child for one-skein splurges. Many yarn stores keep their Artyarns skeins in little baskets by the register, knowing we'll be unable to resist.

These hand-dyed hanks contain splashy silks, decadent cashmeres, and frothy brushed mohairs from the fashion mills of Italy and Japan, often stranded together in intriguing combinations. Some have even been peppered with sequins and sparkles.

The Book
Choosing just one such yarn is difficult. That's where Iris Schreier's new book One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs is particularly useful. Schreier—the founder and owner of Artyarns—has assembled some 25 projects that combine two skeins of yarn. Most of the projects pair two different yarns for nuance and contrast, but some simply rely on two skeins of the same in order to complete a more substantial item.

The Pieces
All the projects are, as the book's title suggests, for scarves, shawls, or shrugs. This includes cowls, collars, shawlettes and wraps. These are beautiful things like a keyhole scarf by Lisa Hoffman featuring a ruffled end that, when pulled through the keyhole and tugged open, creates a flower. Or Michelle Miller's fast-knitting, perfectly sized cable cowl made from two strands of Ultrabulky Merino held together.

Then there's the cover garment, a luminous green capelet by Brooke Nico, which makes perfect use of Silk Rhapsody and Silk Rhapsody Glitter. Schreier didn't just curate, she also contributed several patterns of her own to the book.

The Skill Level
The projects range in difficulty from rank beginner (I prefer to describe them as "easy projects that let the yarn have center stage") to intermediate and, in a few cases, advanced. The patterns rely mostly on step-by-step written instructions—I counted only four charts in the book. Abundant photographs accompany each piece.

The Downside?
One + One's only drawback works to Schreier's advantage. While each pattern provides a total yardage and yarn weight in case you want to substitute something else, many of the yarns used are so nuanced and specific that you won't get the same results with anyone else's yarn. And in those cases where the yarns are stranded together, the substitution challenge is even greater.

If you're open to the adventure, fine. But otherwise, if you fall in love with what you see, you'll pretty much need to use the yarn specified. All the yarns are from Artyarns.

Which should come as no surprise since the book was written by the owner of a yarn company, and that's how books work. Yarn companies are not in the business of selling patterns, they're in the business of moving yarn. I suspect this book will succeed in doing just that.

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