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  Knitting Emporium
by Jo Sharp

Jo Sharp has a definite poetic side. Her designs are classic but always with a bit of mischief and romance. This book is no different.

She launches right into the patterns after only a brief lyric interlude at the beginning, in which she mentions all the names of her patterns in one mini-story. As usual, the patterns have such mystical names as Kashmir, Tashkent, Oriole, Solstice, Christobel, and Anastasia.

Lots of Options

What I like most about this book is that Jo shows her designs in more than one color combination. It's amazing how colors can either grab you or turn you off completely from patterns that are otherwise excellent. We all know we can change colors to suit our tastes, but it's very helpful to see the possibilities laid out in front of us like this.

Men and Women

The second thing I like about this book is that it clearly demonstrates how many of the garments are appropriate for both men and women. You get twice the bang for your book-buying buck.

The Patterns

The patterns are clearly written and include thorough measurements for the finished garment. Jo also includes diagrams for each piece of the garment. I like this because it helps you check your progress and discover any major mistakes before it's too late.

Written for Jo Sharp Yarns

All of her patterns are written for Jo Sharp yarns, and she doesn't provide equivalent yardage if you want to substitute. Although I respect her decision to do this, and I wouldn't hesitate to use her yarns for these patterns, it's still a little frustrating.

Fortunately, at the end of her book she includes detailed information on her yarn, why she strongly prefers it, how to care for it, how many yards are in each skein (aha, you can substitute after all), and a color card photo of all 52 shades.

Best of all, she includes a detailed list of where you can buy her yarns. This is perhaps the first pattern book I've seen that includes the URLs for shops, not just their addresses and phone numbers. This, I like!

On My "Buy" List

Overall, I recommend this book. It's physically beautiful, with heavy paper and rich, glossy photos.

It has several patterns that beginners can tackle -- a lovely but basic pullover, an equally elegant vest, and a stylish cap. Likewise, there are more challenging patterns that any intermediate-level knitter could enjoy.

A talented designer, Jo Sharp appreciates color and style. She deeply loves the land and people around her homeland in Western Australia. All these elements of her personality come through beautifully in this book.

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