Book Review

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  Knits for Babies and Toddlers
by Fiona McTague
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There's a lovely new children's knitting book on the market from Rowan designer Fiona McTague. If you're looking for a wide selection of patterns for babies and toddlers, from beginner to expert level, this may be for you.

Beautiful Inside

The first thing to note about the book is its sheer beauty. Pages are filled with high-quality images of the knitted garments both on models and alone, plus colorful drawings that add a playful feel.

What You Get

You'll find more than 25 designs, including pullovers, cardigans, jackets, hats, booties, blankets, and a few adorable stuffed animals.

At first glance, some of the underlying themes seemed like a repeat of Debbie Bliss designs. But looking closer, I saw a subtle distinction.

For example, McTague's picot-edge cardigan and bootie leaves all interior stitchwork and colorwork behind, relying instead on the simple edging and luxurious cashmere yarn.

The toy dog is one of the most adorable knitted stuffed animals I have yet to see. (She uses Jaeger Persia, which I'll review later this year.)

The Mechanics

McTague's patterns are clear and well-illustrated with color charts where necessary. She doesn't include schematics of the finished pieces, but she gives very clear close-up photos of the finished objects.

Most of her patterns follow the "row-by-row" approach, which requires a little more attention and better record-keeping.

When in Rowan, Do as the Rowans Do

I've already mentioned that McTague is a Rowan designer. As expected, the patterns in this book call for both Rowan and Jaeger yarns.

Although the patterns only indicate the number of skeins required, there's a list of all the yarns used, with pictures and details about fiber content, yardage, and weight per skein.

Instead of being tucked in the back of the book, as is standard, she puts the list right up front. I like that!

Learning Tool?

Most pattern books include a small section that reviews basic knitting stitches and techniques. Normally I just gloss over them, but the instructions in this book were so beautifully illustrated that I found myself reading every single one.

She skimps just a tad on the issue of how you hold the yarn in your hands. The tutorial features the yarn in your right hand, and for left-handers she recommends simply looking at the tutorial in a mirror.

As a "left-handed" knitter (yet a right-handed person in every other way), I know that it isn't that simple.

Stock Your Shelves

Overall, I like this book. It's a good mix of fine-gauge, well-sculpted patterns and very easy patterns for rank beginners.

If you like Debbie Bliss or Zoe Mellor, you should check this out.

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