Thursday, September 18, 2008

Casual, Elegant Knits Blog tour

This summer, I had the opportunity to meet Faina Goberstein. Faina is a knitwear designer (and a college math instructor) in California. It just happened that I had an appointment in Nashville while Faina was there on vacation. We met for a cup of coffee and she gave me a copy of her new book, Casual, Elegant Knits, co-authored with Dawn Leeseman. We had a super time together--we have lots in common! I promised then that I would do a book review as part of her blog tour.

What makes this knitting book special? It's not trendy, and the colors chosen are basic and approachable. The 24 patterns each offer something useful and clever. This is a book filled with good design and classic ideas. There, that's it. I said the word. Classic. The one thing that struck me, again and again, were how many useful, sophisticated patterns there were for those of us who are looking for dependable items for our wardrobes.

Many times, I've been swept up by a pattern that looks exciting to knit--lots of color or texture...but maybe isn't something I'd actually wear. These patterns are all well-designed, with clever details and innovations, AND they'd fit admirably into most anyone's closet. Faina asked me which photos I'd like to feature in my review, and I chose only a few of the designs I'd like to make. (I happen to own a beloved felted beret that I've had for the last 15 years. I might need a new one...and a basic skirt or tank? Always a good addition!) There are hats and bags for men and women, two saucy and sexy skirts, a variety of scarves, gloves and purses...and several great looking sweaters and tanks.

The patterns are laid out very clearly, with schematics and charts as well as clearly written out descriptions and finishing techniques. The photos show off the sleek shapes and patterns of each design well, and the models look like real people. When I look at these, I can imagine myself easily in these pictures, because the colors, styles, and even poses are not too "arty"or trendy. That goes a long way towards making this book a useful reference for more than one pattern and more than one season of knitting.

Dawn and Faina co-wrote this book, and they did a great job of creating a single "look" throughout. That style has a fashionable European sophistication that is sometimes missing from American knitwear design. My mother always encourages me to pick classic, tailored, well-made clothing because it will last a long time and always look right, whatever the occasion. If you're looking to create knitwear that fits these high standards, Casual, Elegant Knits is well worth the purchase.

Tomorrow, the blog tour for this book ends with Simona Merchant-Dest. Wander over and check it out!

Psst! You may notice my review here on the blog is a lot less formal, than, say, the book reviews I do for Spin-Off magazine. Do you like to read book reviews on my blog? Should I save those for magazines instead? What do you think?


Blogger Nancy said...

Book reviews are good, but maybe blog reviews as a tease for the magazine piece which pays for dogfeed?

September 18, 2008 at 12:21 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

It's your blog, it's your call. I was intrigued that as I read I was thinking, you know, that sounds like something Martingale would publish. Went to the Amazon page, and tadaah! Martingale! Good people to work with.

September 18, 2008 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Faina Goberstein said...

Joanne, thank you very much. I wish we could have some coffee again.

September 18, 2008 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Good book review - I now intend to buy the book whereas before probably not.

September 23, 2008 at 12:03 PM  

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