No-Bull Book Review: The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Vol. 3 & Giveaway!

Yep, she’s done it again; designer Hunter Hammersen has produced a third volume of her gorgeous Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series. I’ve written about the first two volumes; they feature beautiful designs, a carefully curated selection of (mostly) handdyed yarns, and fascinating ties to vintage nature prints. Let’s take a closer look at the newest volume (and then let’s give one away!).

hunter cover 3

Volume III of this lovely series focuses on marine illustrations for its jumping-off point: (volume 1 was inspired by botanical illustrations and volume II by butterfly-themed prints, in case you’re curious). Each print is reproduced in the book and inspires two patterns, one for a sock and one for another accessory. As with the prior volumes, the book starts out with a history section, explaining the history of Victorian curiosity cabinets, then discussing the sources Hunter consulted for her research into marine illustration. The history section is followed by tips on how to use the book and read the patterns; then comes the key to the symbols used in the various charts; and then it’s right into the patterns.

Volume III contains 18 patterns, 9 for socks and the rest consisting of three sets of mitts or wristers; one cowl; two shawls; and three hats. Each pair of patterns is named after the same vintage illustration and shares design elements; each color-coordinates, too! As with the prior patterns in this series, you’ll find thoughtful details, creative design elements and high-quality photographs to tempt you.

Conferva Villosa is inspired by an aquatic plant, with socks and hat containing branching stitchwork reminiscent of the stitchwork of the plant fronds.

hunter conferva sox

both knit in Quince & Co. solid-colored yarns (one of the exceptions to the hand-painted yarns used in most of the patterns).

hunter conferva hat

Bunodes Crassicornis is a marine animal with a crown and tentacles (I always learn something about nature when I read one of Hunter’s books!) and inspired the lovely socks with a waving textural pattern.

hunter bunodes sox

The Bunodes hat uses a stacked pattern that mimics the tentacles seen in the print.

hunter bunodes hat

Small shawls are still all the rage, so feast your eyes on Planorbis Corneus, which has a lovely crescent shape

hunter planorbis

with the rippling feel echoed by the socks (I love the detailing at the ankle):

hunter planor sock

Shawl-lovers will also enjoy the Fucus Asparagoides shawlette:

hunter fucus shawl

with both plain and lace portions.

My favorite in this volume might be the Serpula mitts, knit in a fluffy mohair with clever cables:

hunter serpula writers

As a designer, I always appreciate beautifully constructed details, like the shaping of the Pelagia hat:

hunter pelagia hat

and the elegance of the Zostera mitts, knit in aran-weight yarn:

hunter zostera mitt

As with the prior books, you’ll find great photography (by Zoe Lonergan), with multiple photos of each pattern, including close-ups of stitch patterns and design details; charted stitch patterns; and helpful notes in text boxes. I especially love that a good range of sizes are given for nearly every pattern, so those with feet or heads that aren’t the “average” size will have no trouble finding the perfect fit. One thing I’d love to see in future books: designation of what category or weight each yarn is. Yarn weights vary in this book, and I think it might help knitters avoid confusion should they have to substitute yarns. Put that one on my wish-list for the next book! And I do hope there’ll be more.

The details: Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet Volume III is a full-color, paperback book; 110 pages; 18 patterns, half for socks and the other for women’s accessories; all patterns are sized except one or two that are adjustable by knitting more or fewer repeats; yarn weights range from aran to laceweight, with a lot of sock and sportweight patterns; $21.95 for PDF only, $26.95 for print copy + PDF available via Hunter’s website or via this link through Amazon.

Have I whetted your appetite?

Leave a comment to this post no later than Saturday, Sept. 27 at noon EST and I will use a random number generator to draw the name of a lucky winner who will win a hard copy of Volume 3, courtesy of Hunter Hammersen! You must have a way for me to get in touch with you to win (either a Ravelry name or a readily available email address) or I’ll have to pick another winner.

And remember, Hunter is so generous that she has offered a free PDF copy of any of her e-books to one lucky winner in my Summer Search giveaway. You might want to make a donation to this wonderful nonprofit organization in order to be entered for a chance to win that wonderful prize (along with many other terrific prizes)….details here.

23 Thoughts

  1. virginia says:

    Oh man, pick me, pick me!! What a gorgeous book! Thanks for the chance to win! :)

  2. Jenni says:

    I’m in love with ALL of these patterns! Thanks for a chance to win! :)

  3. Deb says:

    Looks like another winner from Hunter Hammersen! Would love to win–thanks for the great, comprehensive review.

  4. Dawn says:

    So beautiful! Thanks for the chance!

  5. Ulrika Reinholdsson says:

    I own the 2 first ones and would love to win this!

  6. Anne Marie says:

    What lovely projects! Rav amchart

  7. aliceq says:

    I find all of her patterns so very intriguing, and would love to have the book!

  8. Sheila says:

    I just love Hunter’s designs. Pick me please!

  9. Margaux says:

    So impressed by Zoe Lonergan’s photos as well as the beautiful designs.

  10. Patricia Rand says:

    I would love to win this especially with xmas a coming

  11. Andrea B says:

    All perfect for fall knitting. alcbrooks on Rav if I am so lucky

  12. Judy11 says:

    Beautiful looking book I’d love to get m hands o and free is always appreciated ;) Judy11 on Rav

  13. Kelly-ann says:

    I love the pattern for the red mitts – looks like a wonderful book.

  14. Anita says:

    Hunter Hammersen’s designs are so clever and accomplished. Every book she publishes maintains a very high level of quality. Thanks, Hunter and Carol, for the giveaway!

    My Rav name is scifiknitter.

  15. This looks like an awesome book! And how generous of you and Hunter to offer it.

    wil4ds on Ravelry

  16. Josiane says:

    I agree with you: the Serpula mitts are absolutely lovely! I really like the socks on the book cover, too. Thank you for offering us a chance at winning a copy of this gorgeous book!

  17. Merry says:

    I saw this book in a yarn shop just this week. Love the socks!
    Wahoomerryf on ravelry

  18. Lisa says:

    Loving this edition, along with the previous books. Would love to win :)

  19. Julie Romano Ethridge says:

    Beautiful patterns! Would love to be the winner of this book!

  20. Catherine says:

    These are gorgeous, as I knew they would be. i love hunter’s aesthetic. If I don’t win I shall purchase this straightaway.

  21. janice says:

    These are gorgeous – had no idea another book was in the works!

  22. melanie says:

    What wonderful patterns! Please include me in the contest – thanks!

  23. Sandy says:

    Inspirational! Looking forward to seeing it up close.

Reply to Julie Romano Ethridge