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Book Review: Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman — and Contest!

Brave New KnitsBrave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere by Julie Turjoman, Rodale Press, 2010, 242 pp.

This is one of those books that invites both browsing (for the large variety of lovely patterns highlighted by Jared (of BrooklynTweed) Flood’s wonderful photography) and ‘sit with a cup of tea or a cappucino and enjoy’ reading (the multipage profiles of each of the designers.)  As both a knitter & a designer, I found the designer profiles very interesting and engaging. Because of the latter, it’s more than just a pattern book.

Milk Maiden

Milk Maiden Sweater

It’s also a reminder that, with today’s social media, designers are selling themselves as a brand, not just their work.

The book is structured such that each designer’s profile runs before the pattern, as opposed to grouping all the bios and all the patterns together.

The book is divided, however, into Part 1: Garments and Part 2:  Accessories (including socks, mitts, hats, etc.

Of the patterns, there are:

  • 4 pullovers (one of which is a children’s tunic)
  • 6 cardis & jackets
  • 2 vests & camisoles
  • 1 shrug
  • 3 hats
  • 1 flower pin
  • 2 mitts
  • 4 scarves/shawls/neckwarmers
  • 3 socks
  • 1 blanket

Yes, that adds up to 27, not 26;  a tam & a pair of mitts, by Wendy Bernard, were grouped together.

Sizing on the sweaters generally ranges from XXS, XS, or S to XL, 2X or 3x.  The majority are XS/S-2X.  Lace and cable patterns are charted.  Detailed schematics are included for the garments.

Sockstravaganza socks

Sockstravaganza socks by Kirsten Kapur

Yarns chosen for the patterns run the gamut from large companies (Rowan, Berroco) to indie dyers (Sundara, Woolen Rabbit, others).    (An expansion of the designer bio component would’ve been to add indie dyer/yarnie bios.)

Pattern complexity ranges from easy (the blanket pattern) to more advanced (Kristen Kapur’s lovely cabled and stranded Sockstravaganza socks), with the vast majority being considered intermediate (simple lace, cables, knitting in the round).

My personal favorites include Kapur’s socks, mentioned above (they also happen to be the cover pattern) and the Milk Maiden pullover by Teresa Gregorio of Canary Knits.

Would you like to win your very own copy?  Rodale has generously provided a copy for a lucky reader!  Comment on this post by midnight PST Tuesday, Oct 19th, with your favorite blogger/designer.  I’ll use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Please leave a way to for me to contact you, should you win!

I received my copy from the publisher;  if you would like to purchase a copy, click on the book cover above.
38 comments… add one
  • Deirdre October 13, 2010, 2:10 pm

    That sounds like a great book, I have it wishlisted right now, your review confirms it’s presence on my list!

    (I live in Ireland and do understand if you can’t ship to here)

  • Tamsin October 13, 2010, 2:32 pm

    This looks just perfect for some fall and winter knitting. I love the Milk Maiden Sweater!

  • Deborah October 13, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Sounds so inspirational ~ favorite designer ~ you of course, love your designs, especially love the names you give them too!!!

  • kala October 13, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Choosing a favorite is hard but I think I have to go with Melissa LaBarre of Knitting School Dropout!

    -kala on ravelry

  • Elizabeth Rislove Etler October 13, 2010, 3:24 pm

    The more I’m seeing from this book the more I really hope to acquire it and have some time to knit the patterns in it someday!

    I love many designers, but I think Kirsteen Griffen-Grimes and Marnie MacLean have to be two of my very favorites… especially when it comes to garment design. 🙂

  • amy m. October 13, 2010, 3:40 pm

    So many great patterns! Would love to try them and just enjoy the photos and knitting ideas!

  • Jolene (JoboDesigns on Ravelry) October 14, 2010, 11:36 am

    I Love Ysolda Teague’s designs… she has a great sense of humor and a great sense of style too 😉

  • lori October 14, 2010, 12:04 pm

    I’m with the Ysolda crowd too. 🙂

  • Sarah October 15, 2010, 8:03 am

    It looks like a lovely book. My favorite designer included is Jared Flood!

  • Joyce October 15, 2010, 8:37 am

    I would love to win this book! It’s really hard to name a favorite designer! Carol Sunday and Anne Hanson would both be on my list though!

  • Esther October 15, 2010, 4:57 pm

    Ooh, too many designers to name. I like Ysolda Teague, among many.

  • Amanda October 15, 2010, 5:24 pm

    I’d love this book too! I am a fan of Wendy Bernard. Her patterns are very flattering and her sense of humor is right on. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  • Kateri October 15, 2010, 7:43 pm

    My favorite designer is Jared Flood 🙂 I’d love to have this book! I’m reachable at katerimc at gmail dot com


  • Heather N October 15, 2010, 10:26 pm

    I heard about this book on the knitmore girls podcast. I instantly looked at it on ravelry and I so am wanting to get it. I like Jarod Floods patterns in this.

  • knittingdancer on Ravelry October 17, 2010, 6:30 am

    I like Jarod Flood’s patterns.

  • KJo October 17, 2010, 6:37 am

    My favorite blogger/designer is Beth Doherty of http://www.gourmetamigurumi.com/ Unfortunately she hasn’t posted in forever!
    Thanks for the chance!
    KJo on Ravelry

  • Jennifer October 17, 2010, 7:00 am

    I love Ysolda’s designs too.

  • Christine Haas October 17, 2010, 8:19 am

    I love the milkmade sweater but probably wouldn’t suit my figure. The socks are equally lovely and would likely do me more justice. 🙂

  • Sara October 17, 2010, 8:24 am

    Lovely book…

    Hmmmm…favorite designer…

    I just looked through your patterns and I like them a lot…but, I also love Kristen Kapur’s patterns…

  • Mary G. October 17, 2010, 9:09 am

    Oh, this looks like such a beautiful book to add to my rather picky collection!

    Favorite designer …. besides my self, ya mean? I’d have to say: Elizabeth Zimmermann or, for current, I’d have to say, Kristin Nicholas — I love her color sense …

  • tami October 17, 2010, 9:59 am

    I really enjoy jared flood’s patterns.
    (and yours, of course!)

  • Ilina October 17, 2010, 10:14 am

    Oh my, so many patterns I’d like to knit in one book! Hard to pick just one designer, but I really like Connie Chang Chinchio’s style.

  • Connie October 17, 2010, 10:17 am

    My favorite is the Milk Maiden pullover designed by Teresa Gregorio. This would be perfect for my youngest daughter!

  • Elisha October 17, 2010, 10:41 am

    Oh gosh, I am way too new to knitting to have figured out any favorite designers yet. Your mitts are lovely though!

  • Alystyn October 17, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Oh, it’s hard to pick a favorite! I think my current favorite is Georgie Hallam, her blog is

    🙂 Oh I hope I win!
    — Alystyn on Ravelry

  • Sue October 17, 2010, 2:16 pm

    This book has really caught my eye. I love the idea of a mix of excellent patterns with the interviews. I really can’t choose a favourite, I enjoythese designer’s designs and writing (blogs, ravelry and newsletters). As I have to choose – I really enjoy Anne Hanson’s blog and while I haven’t knitted one of her designs yet, I have a long list of her shawls and pullovers that I would like to make.

  • Emily October 17, 2010, 3:16 pm

    I don’t really have a favorite yet, but this book looks like it would introduce me to a slew of wonderful designers. Thanks for the contest!
    jenniem on Ravelry

  • Nicky October 17, 2010, 3:39 pm

    I have heard only good reviews of this book! What an exciting opportunity! I enjoy knitting Wendy Johnson socks and Evelyn Clark shawls.

    Thanks- livin4fishin@yahoo.com or livin4fishin on ravelry.

  • Chia T October 17, 2010, 6:39 pm

    I like the variety of designers and patterns. I hope I win! Currently, I like Jared Flood’s designs because they are simple and not overwrought. My boyfriend would actually wear his designs!
    monkalicious on Ravelry

  • Kristen October 17, 2010, 7:38 pm

    It’s so tough to choose a FAVORITE, but one that I really like is Anne Hanson of Knitspot.

    globalite on Rav.

  • Sarah October 18, 2010, 7:19 am

    I can’t decide between Norah Gaughan and Ysolda Teague. They are both so amazing!

  • Lara October 18, 2010, 9:08 am

    I like sarah-marie belcastro.

    -bookwormdjibouti on Rav

  • Wendy McElroy October 18, 2010, 11:03 am

    So many favorites. I love Wendy Bernard, both her blog (so entertaining) and her knits. Norah Gaughan makes beautiful pieces, as does Jared Flood, and so many more!

    (wendymc at ravelry)

  • Connie October 18, 2010, 7:11 pm

    Favorite designer, eh? Well, that would have to be you 🙂 Oh, you mean in the book, lol. It’s a great book, lots of excellent designers and patterns! I’ve thumbed through it at B&N, it’s fun reading and truly plenty “to-do” patterns, definitely worth adding to the library.

  • Lisa October 18, 2010, 9:30 pm

    Oh, the Milk Maiden Sweater does look to be something I should investigate. I like the prospect of learning about designers in tandem with their work.

    Thank-you for holding the contest and bringing this book to my attention.

  • Clare October 19, 2010, 1:49 am

    Beautiful! Of those mentioned, my favorite designer would have to be Jared Flood. I’m extremely fond of Cookie A. as well.

    Spindizzy on Ravelry

  • chana October 19, 2010, 10:37 am

    Oh, too many to choose! I’ve loved Anne Hanson’s designs for a long time. I also really like Kristen Kapur’s designs….which is not to say that I don’t love them all!

    This looks like a wonderful book.

  • Debbie H October 19, 2010, 4:41 pm

    My fav designer/blogger is Wendy Johnson. She and her cat Lucy are very entertaining. Debbie in Alaska

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