Friday, January 07, 2011

Review: Debbie Bliss' Design It, Knit It: Babies ....

... is definitely getting added to my rather eclectic (and large!) knitting book library.  Definitely!

I love designing for babies ... some of my best-loved, most successful designs are those for babies:

 Exquisite Edgar and Elegant Eliza dolls -- really easy for little hands to hold (and since they're made of washable cotton-blend, they can be wet-loved to death and still wash up well)
 Hearts a Poppin' blanket -- a beautiful blanket with just a bit of lace (so it works nicely for the boys!)
 Me and My Doll -- Irish Sweaters -- matching sweaters for little girls and their 18" dolls
 Patrick: An Irish Lad's Jacket -- want to try an Irish sweater ... this one is down-sized to knit quickly and warm the hearts of all the boys
Jillian's Jacket and Blanket Set -- easy enough for a beginner, this set is all garter!
So I was thrilled to find out that my public library had finally gotten a copy of Debbie Bliss' new baby book.  Today, I picked up Design It, Knit It: Babies from the library and have already ordered my own copy from Amazon.  Yep, it's that good. 

First, a disclaimer: I LOVE Debbie Bliss style -- classic, clean, gorgeous colorways.  Her books are well done and sincere ... it really sounds like she knows what she's writing about (not always true with the plethora of knitting books currently available).  Further, she always has a nice variety of designs -- sweaters, hats, blankets, leggings.  But additionally, her Design It, Knit It books (her first, Design It, Knit It, has been well-used around here!) share her thought processes when she's designing -- and designing for babies is quite different than designing for kids or adults.  As she quickly explains (the first sentence in the first paragraph):  "Babies are basically tube-shaped ..." points out the difference from the get-go.  Babies need comfortable ... non-fussy ... easy-on/easy-off styles that adults don't.  Babies need to have diapers included in measurements as well as chubby legs!

Bliss covers it all in this volume:
  • sizes and shapes
  • soft and gentle is necessary
  • color
  • small and perfect (for preemies and newborns)
  • rough and tumble (once they're toddlers)
  • specialty dressings
  • embellishments
  • accessories -- heads, hands and toes
She then caps her book with a chapter "design workbook" which suggests options for different necklines and styles, samples of knitters' graph paper (after all sts don't usually equal rows ... thus graphing on square paper doesn't really work, does it?), charts for alphabets and intarsia work. 

This really is a book worth adding to your library -- whether you have babies in the house ... due any day ... or just love to design for these wee ones.  Bliss does it again!

Enjoy the journey
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

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