Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Book Review: Knitting at Home by Leanne Prouse

For other knitting related news I got a new book!  Chapters (that is Canada's not as good version of Barnes and Nobles) was having a Boxing Week sale (which is a holiday in Canada-the day after Christmas).
So anyway, there was a sale: 30% off all hardcover books, and I caved in.

I present to you:  Knitting at Home by Leanne Prouse
 Now, I saw this book in the states and perused it but never seemed all that interested in getting it.  However I took a closer look at it while I was in chapters and fell in love with the wide variety of projects that are in this book.  I liked 98% of the books patterns (my criteria) so I got it! I mean, it was on sale and I figured if I didn't work out for me I'll just return it.
So, I brought it home and read it.  This brings me to the thing that made me fall in imediate love with the book:
There is something special about creating things for your home, about making a space your own comfort zone with handcrafted pieces made with love.
I really get this book.  Lately I have adopted the idea that I am actually a 1950's housewife stuck in this day and age.  One thing that really surprised me was that though this is a knitting pattern book there are two crochet throws.  This is becuase the authors mother would crochet throws.  Now I love this, partly because I crochet and these throws are wonderful and also because that is what knitting and crocheting is all about! Passing down the love of the art and the usefulness of object hand made with love.
I think this author, Leanne Prouse, really got it right.

When preparing for this post I began taking pictures of my favorite projects from this book and ended up taking a picture of each and every project (which I think tells you something)!  So I worked very hard to get a good variety of pictures along with my special favorite ones. Here we go!

1. A Room for Living
These are on my to-do list as soon as I find some lovely affordable yarn for them!  This will go on my bedroom door for sure!  I really love this mixture of knitting and embroidery in this project (and many other to follow) along with the influences of various culture and design techniques.
This is a floor pillow that is also embroidered.  Now, I am not a flower girl but this pillow sucked me in immediately! I love it!

These projects are both in the first chapter along with two throws (one knit, one crochet), a comfy pair of socks, cabled arm warmers, and two very comfortable sweaters for lazy days, errands or around the house.

2. A Room for Relaxing.
This chapter is all about having comfortable hand made things around you.  It contains patterns for four pillows, a felted ottoman, a cushion (basically a cool pillow), a felted tote, and four throws which vary in style and textures enough to accommodate every taste and style.  The throws are all knitted throws and are a suitable for knitters at every level of difficulty (even beginner). Here are some of my favorites:
(underneath that cushion is one f the throws-the Cable and Garter Stitch Throw- lovely!)

3. A Room for Sharing
This chapter is all about things for the kitchen, where we share stories and our time with others, and of course, food!  This chapter has lovely food accessories (tea(2), egg and cup cozies, and place mats) and accessories to keep you cozy as you enjoy one-anothers company (fngerless gloves and mittens, fantastic cables socks and a casual sweater with short sleeves-awesome!). Here are some pictures:
I love those cable socks!  They are more like slippers or for under boots than regular socks but I still love it!  I wish I could have gotten a picture of the Casual Roll-Neck Sweater, it is very stylish but practice.  I was so surprised when I really took a goo look at this book to discover that the sweater patterns were included because I really had no idea! Huge bonus because they are pretty fantastic.
Oh, I love the simpleness of the kitchen knitted projects.  They are very natural and refreshing but I can see them really amping up a kitchen with different color yarns. Maybe holiday/season coordinated placemats?!

 4. A Room for Retreating
This room is unique to everyone. For many it is their bedroom (especially teens), for some it is a library, craft room, or quiet corner of the house.  In my family this retreat room is our front room, whether it be for knitting/crocheting, reading or morning coffee.
This chapter includes three more pillows that I see more directed to the young teen/adult female crowd along with a pretty charming felted pouch: here is the picture of the pillows:
This chapter also has the lovely Persian slippers featured on the cover (which I must admit have grown on me; I usually do not like felted objects).  It also has another throw (very manly knit basket weave) and two hot water bottle covers that look lovely. See, see!

5. A Room for the Little Ones
Now, admittedly this chapter is not very relevant to me at the moment.  I have not had any interest in making children related knitted objects except maybe the odd baby blanket.  But looking at this chapter I see myself making every project from it for my little ones (mainly my little girl).
This chapter has patterns for four lovely knitted baby blankets and one beautifully detailed crochet blanket.  I think these are so varying that it will cover many styles and yet they are all lovely in their own way. It also has three dollies, felted boots, a felted bag, baby slippers, and two wonderful kid sweaters.

This is a picture of the two doll set: Jaqueline and Madeleine Dolls.  Also the girl on the left is wearing one of the sweaters which is very lovely if I do say so myself!
This is the other Jacket (wish they had sized it for adults too! I love it!)

6. It's the Weekend
I must admit, this chapter didn't make sense to me at first but then I read her discription for it:
Leave the working week behind and indulge yourself in some "me" time.
She goes on to mention family trips and just taking time to relax and enjoy.  How often we forget this or feel there just isn't time to relax, but it is so essential. Not only to keep going at work but it is crucial for healthy living and, honestly, not losing our sanity.
This chapter has thing for on the go (such as a shoppint bag, two scarfs, a hat and a travel wrap-great idea!) and for things to relax at home (four blankets of varying styles). Here are some pictures!
(This is my favorite scarf -the other one is more manly, though still uni-sex.  Also in the bottom left hand corner you can see the felted hat which I also really like. It looks great and very classic.)
This is one of her more traditional blankets. With this one she challenges you to be bold with your choice of color, and I must say I love it.
Okay, I couldn't resist putting this hat up.  Isn't it great?!


The last chapter is full of diagrams, basic embroidery guides (for the projects like Felted Bird Mobile, Floor Pillow and Persian Slippers), garment measurements, templates, etc.


So you may be asking yourself,
Why on earth did she put so much information in this blog post?!
 Well here is why, the information for this book on Ravelry is bloody terrible and I do not know when or if it will get updated.  I think that this is a pretty darn good book if not great and therefore I'm advocating it on my site.  I mean, it's my blog after all!
I hope this post was informative for you because not all of us are lucky to have access to books before we buy them (we may only have the option of buying them online with barely any review or pictures).  For instance I am often saying, "Mom, look! I've never seen this book/yarn/pamphlet in person!" Or there is some cases where it may be from across a see and I might just not be quite sure if it is worth getting online and paying for the shipping fees.  It would be times like those that I wish someone had made a super review like (in my opinion) this one. Though I am admittedly very biased. You have been warned!


p.s. Please feel free to comment on here, email me, or message me on Ravelry if you have any questions.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a great book! Can't wait to see it and feel it :) And can't wait to see some of these lovely objects around our house!

jamie said...

Hi! I found your blog from Ravelry. That book looks pretty snazzy! My sister got me a knitting book for Christmas called New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist. You might like it. :D

Also, I love reading your blog! Very informative and fun! :D

LeeAnn Schaefer said...

Hi Jamie!

Thanks for reading and commenting! I'm really glad you like my blog.
I have seen New England Knits at our bookstore! It looks fantastic! Let me know when you finish a project from it and what you think! I've always heard good feedback from those designers.