I bought these books a little while ago but having been putting off reviewing them and this week I realised why — I just don’t like them. I’ve been waiting for them to magically improve so that I can say nice things about them and it is now time to accept that this isn’t going to happen.
My first and biggest complaint is that there doesn’t appear to have been any sort of logic applied to the arrangement of stitch patterns within the books. Some sort of logical arrangement might have helped the editor spot the patterns that are repeated under different names. Not just similar patterns with a slight offset or a slightly different description of the stitches — the exact same pattern with exactly the same wording (and photograph!) just different names.
Similarly, there’s no way to find patterns by number of stitches or number of rows. This might not be such an issue with the cable and aran stitches but it makes the lace book very difficult to use other than to flick through for general inspiration.
The photographs are another issue or rather the swatches are. I know how hard it can be to take a good photograph of a swatch but some of the yarn choices and particularly colours of the swatches make it impossible to appreciate the patterns. I’ve knitted a swatch for at least one pattern so far just to try and see what it looked like which defeats the purpose of them including photographs in the first place.
The lace book also has no charts, despite one of the ‘useful’ hints scattered throughout being “Take the time to learn how to read knitting charts; it’ll make your knitting that much easier”.
To end on a somewhat positive note, I will admit that there are stitch patterns in the books that aren’t in any of the other books I own, I have used some of the stitch patterns and I’ve yet to find any errors in the patterns themselves. Not exactly a glowing recommendation but I’m afraid it’s the best I can do.
2 thoughts on “Book review – the Harmony Guides: “Lace and eyelet stitches” & “Cable and aran stitches””
I have the Lace & Eyelet book and the lack of charts is also something I feel inclined to bemoan to the highest possible degree! I find their absence utterly astonishing, and I hadn’t even come across the ‘useful’ hint!
I keep sketching out my own charts next to the description, and what very odd descriptions they are too! Why on earth use the terms of yarn forward and whatnot? I’m a continental knitter so I just need to know if they are talking about a yarnover or some other techy kind of thing to aid with the next stitch. Very annoying.
And you’re right: an indication of stitch/row numbers per repeat would have been just too useful for words.
I found that this must be a newer version of their previous effort – the pattern names and descriptions of this are the same to an older Harmony stitch guide I own. At least these photos are clearer, some of the pics in the older book are out of focus so you can’t tell if something is meant to be a bobble or an eyelet!
At least many of the stitch patterns are pretty, I used about three of them so far. One for advanced knitters, I’m afraid!
I had forgotten about the yarn forward/yarn round needle descriptions! I assumed it was the editor/publisher pushing back against a possible “Americanisation” of knitting terminology like some people insisting on using “cast off” rather than “bind off” but it does make the descriptions even harder to read.