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Book Review: Heartfelt: The Dark House Collection

Today I have a little review of Kim Hargreaves’ long awaited new pattern collection.  But first, a quick progress report!  I’ve been knitting pretty exclusively on Thermal, with the result that I have finished the body and one sleeve.  I took a little break yesterday and today, because one of the tendons in my left hand was feeling odd, and besides I had to play the piano a whole lot this weekend, but I think I’m better now, so hopefully a completed Thermal is in the near future!  I took a photo, but it was awfully dark outside, so I’m pretty sure there’s no need to see it.  I’m hopeful that it will fit.  I think i was correct to knit the body too small, because Gloss stretches like mad when it is washed!  Now on to my review…

Heartfelt: The Dark House Collection by Kim Hargreaves

Every time I bring up Kim Hargreaves on the blog I get the same response: Rowan hasn’t been the same since she left.  I completely agree with that sentiment, as I find myself with little desire to own any Rowan books after she ended her long tenure there.  Kim has the unique ability to create designs that echo current trends while remaining timeless.  Her designs have a lady-like, feminine feel, and as a (hopefully) ladylike, feminine person they appeal to me tremendously.

This book contains over 20 of her designs, and is a nice mix of accessories and sweaters.  I’m pretty sure that some are designs that have previously been available in kit form, while others are new to this collection.  The beret above, which fits in well with the current slouchy beret trend, is crocheted with kidsilk haze and kid classic held together, and has a lovely beaded band. There are several lovely scarves as well, although I am unlikely to make them (I have enough in the queue!) but what really draws us all in, of course, are the sweaters.

I will make a brief note of all the unnecessary belting going on here.  It’s especially odd on the kimono styled sweater, which actually has a knitted belt, which is shown in one photo.  But never you mind – these garments all have shaping, so I know they aren’t being belted to hide something.  My favorite is the firstphoto – I love the detailing around the hem, the u-neck, and the lovely gathered sleeves.  The last sweater is made of Calmer, and I am excited at the prospect of making a cabled sweater from calmer, as I have heard so many nice things about the yarn!  Two sweaters are knitted in Bamboo soft, to lovely effect, and the chunky sweater is made of Rowan’s new Cocoon yarn – as an aside, I like this sweater better than most of the designs in the new Rowan Mag for this yarn.

Most pattern sizes begin with a 32″ bust, which makes me happy.  Sizing and schematics are standard Rowan ones – ok, but not great.  I wish that some of the patterns had more measurements listed.  In this case, I’m willing to trust that things will come out all right, but this would be a negative from an unfamiliar designer.

I am terribly excited about this book, and I hope that it sells well, so that she can release more books in the future.   It was rather expensive to ship to the US, with the not so good exchange rate, but in my mind it was very worth it – I know I will make at least 4 designs, and maybe more.  I highly recommend the purchase if you love classic (but not boring) feminine styles.