I have been reading Kate Davies blog and following her designs for a while now, but hadn’t quite gotten to buying any of her books, though I have been lusting after Yokes since I saw some of the patterns on Ravelry.
Last week though, Mr. QuiteAYarn surprised me with her Book of Haps and Yokes, just because 🙂 (Yes, he is definitely a keeper!)
Book of Haps is her most recent production, and is a collection of essays about haps as well patterns for the same. Haps, for anyone who has not been following the discussion on her blog or the pattern releases on Ravelry, are a variation on shawls. How exactly they vary from just regular shawls is the subject of a couple of the essays, so I won’t ruin the surprise here. Davies, who was an academic before she was a designer and yarn producer, puts together a very good book. The essays are scholarly enough to be interesting, but don’t devolve into minutia. There is some interesting historical information as well as some sociology on yarn-based topics. All in all, a great read if you like to think about your knitting. Then there are the patterns. There is a variation on a traditional hap, and then quite a few haps for contemporary wearers. The designs were contributed by a variety of designers, so there are a lot of different looks – something for everyone!
Then there’s Yokes – the Kate Davies book I have been wanting for a while now. It does not disappoint! Like the Book of Haps, Yokes starts with some essays. In this instance there are essays about yoke sweaters, including lopapeysa, Bohus, and Shetland, as well as a few other places. After the interesting and well-written essays, there a quite a few patterns for yoke sweaters, and one cape/poncho. Although in this instance the patterns all appear to by designed by Davies, there is a great variety of styles – again, something for everyone!
I haven’t knitted anything from either book yet, though I have my plans. All the patterns appear to be clearly written and with a good variety of sizes for the sweaters. Both books are of good quality with nice heavy paper and well made. The photos are especially good. They manage to both be artistic and to show the knitted items so you can clearly see them. Sometimes knitting books have beautiful photos, but the sweater is waaaaaaaayyyy over there, so you have no real clear idea of what the darn thing looks like. Not these – beautiful and helpful photos all around.