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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review #10: Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel

Happy Hallowe'en! 

I thought today would be fitting to share with you my latest book is, after all, Hallowe'en. 

The book(s) in question are books that I have purchased (or someone bought me for a Christmas and/or birthday present) for my own fibery library. I have been given no money or other non-monetary forms of payment for my book reviews. The reviews are based on my own experience(s) and opinion(s) and may not necessarily coincide with the thoughts and opinions of other fiber enthusiasts (though they certainly may). I may also throw in some other fun information, if I can find it or if I know of any. We'll see where we end up...

There's the disclaimer. Woo-hoo!

Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel

Photo from Amazon

The Basics:
Author: Alison Hansel (website, Ravelry Designer Page - please note, the website is not updated often)
Publisher: Wiley (May 7, 2007 - 1st ed.)
Paperback: 176 pages
Language: English
Cover Price: $14.99 USD/$17.99 CAN (and it can be found on Amazon and other various places)

Charmed Knits was one of the first pattern books I bought after I started knitting. I was a total n00b in the knitting world when I picked up this book. As a result, I still have yet to make anything from the book. We'll get into that in a moment. 

First, let's talk about Alison Hansel. Alison Hansel started knitting in 2001 while on pregnancy bed rest (twin boys). She started blogging about her adventures in 2002 (when the twins started letting her knit again). She lives in Boston with her (very understanding) husband, the twins, and another child that she has dubbed "Wee L" (and she's a girl)...apparently her husband wouldn't let her name the baby girl, "Fred." 

The book, itself, is set up in some common groupings: Weasley Knits (knits inspired by the Weasley family), Diagon Alley (everything the young wizard needs from your favorite spots), House Colors (knits inspired by the four Hogwarts houses), The Magic of Giving (inspired by those in the Harry Potter universe that give the gift of knitting to others - Mrs. Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Dobby the House Elf), and Home at Hogwarts (clothing for casual life). 

Each pattern is given a "rating" that is based on difficulty. "First Year" patterns are for beginners that know the basics but want to try something new. "Ordinary Wizarding Levels - OWLs" patterns are for intermediate knitters. "Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests - NEWTs" are for experienced knitters (like Mrs. Weasley!). 

Something else to note about this book: not every pattern is an Alison Hansel pattern. Other contributing designers include Kerrie Allman, Anne Bergeron, Heather Brack, Eileene Coscolluela, Megan Curtis, Amber Daniels-Cook, Jenn Jarvis, Lauren Kent, Laura Miller, Shannon Okey, Andi Smith (yes, the same Andi Smith that wrote Big Foot Knits), and Alison Stewart-Guinee. I suppose you could say that this book is a conglomeration of sorts. 

So, what do I think of the book? I bought it, didn't I? I love that every pattern can be connected to Harry Potter, even in my mind (and I am...well, let's just say that I'm pretty hardcore when it comes to Harry Potter). I see Dobby's Socks and I can imagine Dobby working tirelessly on them, each individually...absolutely no chance of Second Sock Syndrome because, well, they're not supposed to have a mate :) I find the ornaments adorable for any tree. It is truly an unauthorized dedication to the knitwear in the Harry Potter universe. Also, the projects don't necessarily scream "HARRY POTTER" at you unless you're familiar with the books and/or movie...and even then, you can tailor them to your own needs.

As I've become a better knitter, projects in this book got pushed to the wayside for some reason. There's no real reason for it. It's not like they're beneath me or anything crazy like that. I'm not that good. I honestly don't know what caused it. Perhaps I'll be revisiting them soon. I own the book so I can get around to it whenever I want :) 

In short, if you're a fan of Harry Potter, this book is lovely. If you like "school spirit" types of things, you can adapt patterns in this book for your needs (like the house scarves and hats, for example). You can make monogrammed sweaters, bookmarks, and a bunch of other fun items. This book doesn't have to be for Harry Potter lovers (but it helps!).

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