I’m a little embarrassed at how behind I am when it comes to blogging, especially book reviews. One of the books that has been patiently waiting for review finally gets its due today: introducing The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet Volume II, by Hunter Hammersen (Pantsville Press 2013). I loved Hunter’s first Curiosity Cabinet book and I was excited to hear there would be a foll0w-up. Even better, Hunter asked if she could use some Black Bunny Fibers yarn for a project in the book. That means I was fated to love this book for a lot of reasons.
Curiosity Cabinet vol. 2 is, like its predecessor, a handsome paperback book chock-full of beautiful photos. In her previous book, Hunter explained how a Victorian curiosity cabinet was “a collection of wonderful objects brought together to inspire, delight, and inform.” Instead of collecting shells or leaves, though, Hunter “collects” knitted motifs and turns them into gorgeous patterns. The unifying theme for Curiosity Cabinet vol. 2 is vintage butterfly prints which are reproduced alongside the patterns in the book. It’s fun to see how Hunter uses the prints as a jumping-off point.
As I said before, all of the patterns in Curiosity Cabinet vol 2 are for accessories, and they are presented in pairs, with both items inspired by the same vintage print. For example, the first pair of patterns in the book were inspired by a print of a butterfly called Vanessa Antiopa. The curved sections of the butterfly’s wings are echoed in the swirling lines of the Vanessa Antiopa sock,
while the rich purple color of the wings shows up in the handpainted yarn used for the Vanessa Antiopa cowl.
A soft blue species called Polyommatus Argiolus inspires a sock with a columnar lace pattern
as well as clever mitts made of a long strip, artfully wrapped and joined.
My favorite pair is obviously the Lycaena Virgaureae; the orange butterfly inspired this lovely shawl, knit in BBF Devon yarn:
as well as socks that echo the dropped stitch with added cables (knit in BBF BFL Luxe sock yarn):
There are a total of 18 patterns in the book: half are sock patterns, and the other 9 include three hats, three cuffs (i.e., mitts), two cowls and the shawl. Other standouts are the Metopsilus Procellus Cowl;
the Danima Banskiae Sock;
the oh-so-cuddly Erasmia Pulchella Hat, knit in baby alpaca;
and the Delieas Eucharis Sock.
Things I especially like about the book in addition to the patterns: lots of beautiful, clear and well-lit photos of projects from multiple angles; large charts (no squinting required to see these babies); the abundant use of handpainted yarns; socks that come in multiple sizes (as many as four per pattern, including to fit size 10.5-inch feet — yay for accommodating larger-sized feet!); high quality paper and color; nice layouts.
You can order the print book from Amazon for $20. 82 as of the time of this writing (link is here), or go to Hunter’s site (link at the top of the post) to buy direct, or even download individual patterns or the entire collection via Ravelry (PDF of the entire collection is priced at $18.95 — just a smidge over a dollar a pattern).
So if you are a fan of handpainted yarns, especially those luscious semisolids; if you love accessory knitting; if you like to play with different cable and lace motifs; or if you love butterflies, then I’d suggest you check out this book posthaste.
Good news: Hunter was kind enough to provide us with a copy of the printed book for a giveaway. So leave a comment to this post telling me which pattern is your favorite, and make sure you include a way for me to get in touch with you — if I can’t find you, I’ll have to pick another winner (Ravelry name or email is fine). Leave your comments by Friday, October 11th at midnight and I’ll pick a winner.
Photographs copyright 2013 by Hunter Hammersen, used for review purposes and with permission.
There’s still another week or so to enter the gigantic Summer Search raffle! For every five dollars you donate directly to Summer Search Philadelphia, you’ll get one chance to win some of the amazing prizes donated by wonderful fiber folk. Details are here.