September 11, 2012

Knit Your Own Cat

KNIT YOUR OWN CAT by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2011)
GENRE: Craft - Knitting

This book is adorable. Even if you're just figuring out how to purl, it's adorable. Even if you've been making argyle socks since you were 12, it's adorable. It's just adorable, from concept to execution. Here's why. Knit Your Own Cat does something that many concept-knitting books don't do - it engages the reader emotionally. What does that mean, you might ask. Well, it means that even as your knitty juices get all a-flowing, inspired by the detailed, pristine patterns, the wee yarn cats charm with their cocked heads and wispy whiskers and delicately formed paws. Their little faces have a ton of personality as they look winsomely out at you from their understated photographic boxes, as if they were asking you to bring them home from the pound. The amount of feline body language these patterns capture is impressive, from the gently curled figure of a napping Blue Russian to the languidly raised paw of a Devon Rex. It's a little uncanny and very charming.

One thing to note however, is that these cats are not projects for beginners. The average needle size is a 2 and there is a great deal of shaping done on a very small scale, not to mention changing color-ways and piecing the little critters together. The experienced knitter will find this book to be clear as glass and full of fun challenges, but the beginner is likely to get frustrated. That said, Muir and Osborne include a lot of lovely information about each of the breeds, as well as their reasonings for using certain techniques to achieve the desired effects, so it's a friendly, fascinating, educational book, even for knitters who are still working their way up the skill-ladder. Unassuming and quiet, Knit Your Own Cat is a lovely, specific little book that takes full advantage of the natural compatibility between knitters and cats. I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

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