Book Review

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  Felted Knits
by Beverly Galeskas
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Beverly Galeskas is the owner of Fiber Trends, the pattern company whose felting patterns set the course for the industry. Interweave made a brilliant move wooing Galeskas to write this book, because she is simply the best resource for felting today.

Far more than just a collection of felting patterns, this colorful book is a treatise on the art of felting, from picking your yarn to testing swatches, knitting and felting your project, assembling the pieces, and blocking them to perfection.

Galeskas' writing is conversational, personable, and easy to follow—it's almost as good as being in one of her workshops.

Under the Covers
The book is divided into two parts, an overview of felting basics, and then the projects. Projects are further divided into five categories: You Can Take it With You (bags), Warm Heads (hats and berets), Warm Hands & Warm Heart (mittens, a muff, and a vest), Warm Feet (slippers, moccasins, and booties), and The Comforts of Home (a rug, pillows, tea cozy, hot water bottle cover, etc.).

Rank beginners have all the information they need to get started, including a well-illustrated technique tutorials at the back of the book. More experienced knitters can jump straight to the patterns, which all follow a clear, logical flow of thought.

Intelligent Insight
Within each pattern section, Galeskas points out common pitfalls and helpful workarounds, such as how to avoid holes around mitten thumb gussets, and how to create a smooth crown on brimmed hats. This is the kind of helpful information I wish I'd had when I first began felting.

I was also excited to see that Galeskas gave three pages to the discussion of which yarns are best for felting. And having tried many of the yarns she mentions, I can vouch for the intelligence and wisdom in her comments. Very refreshing!

Swatch, Swatch, Swatch
A fan of the swatch, Galeskas makes a compelling argument for test-felting swatches of your yarn prior to beginning a project. In one example, she shows a picture of two identical projects, knitted in different yarns, and the completely different results they produced.

Again, it's very refreshing to see an author pay this level of attention to yarns with no evident vendor bias.

Galeskas also discusses the top-loading vs. front-loading washing machine dilemma and explains how to felt by hand if you have no washing machine at your disposal. And for those of you interested in needle felting, there's a section on this too.

A Valuable Investment
If you only counted the pages without reading them, you might think that $21.95 is a bit much for a book this size. Don't be swayed: There's more insight (and useful projects) here than in most books twice its size.

Note from Clara:
I note with sadness that Beverly Galeskas passed away on December 29th, 2010. She will be dearly missed.

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