Book Review

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One-Skein Wonders
edited by Judith Durant

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"This book has been created for all those knitters and crocheters who find themselves with just one ball or skein of a very special yarn but only a vague idea of what to do with it." That's the very first sentence you read in this book, and it stays true to the very last page.

Setting the Premise
Others have addressed the one-skein premise in their own books—most notably in Barbara Albright's Odd Ball Knitting and Leigh Radford's One Skein. But in this case, Judith Durant uses a far more literal interpretation of the one-skein concept.

She has collected 101 patterns from yarn stores across the country, all of which can be accomplished with only one skein of yarn. The yarns she uses are not just those with extraordinary yardage—these are average everyday skeins we all have stocked away in our stashes.

Meeting the Designers
The designers who responded to Durand's creative challenge all worked in association with a yarn store, each of which is listed on the pattern and described in more detail in the Contributors section in the back. This may have been part of the compensation for the designs, and it's done in a discreet and appropriate manner. Reading the Contributors section is like mapping out my next dream road trip—these are some fun stores.

The mere fact that this book holds 101 patterns is in itself impressive—regardless of the fact that most of these patterns are short and easy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and vision to bring together this many works from different people and to present them in a cohesive way. I hope Durand feels duly proud of her accomplishment.

Compromise for Cost
To keep the price low (the book's SRP in the U.S. is $18.95), Storey Publishing printed this book on non-glossy paper with green and brown ink. In the very center you'll find a section of glossy pages with full-color images of all the projects, but that's it. These are such small, simple projects—and there are so many of them—that I didn't feel at all cheated by the lack of gloss and color. I think the cost compromise was well worth it. You'll also find a brown-and-white image of each project in the margins of the pattern itself.

Easy, Manageable Projects
Overall the skill level for these projects ranges from rank beginner to advanced beginner, with a few intermediate projects for a little extra challenge. These projects tend to be very small: baby clothes, doll clothes, flowers, headbands, barrettes, bookmarks, purses and bags, scarves, hats, mitts and mittens, socks and booties, assorted cozies, shawls, and many other items you'd imagine only require one skein to complete.

Stylistically, the designs are fairly mainstream and utilitarian. Some have an added touch of whimsy, but they never get capital-a Artsy. I'd call them useful and easy to complete items, perfect for last-minute gifts and to give you more experience with a yarn before you invest in 20 skeins for a full-blown project.

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