Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Book Review: Ugliest Sweaters in the World, with Some Nice Surprises

Angela ffrench's Knitting and Design for Mohair (circa 1980) found its way into my hands at a recent used book store jaunt. The book caught my attention with its breathtakingly hideous sweaters. Maybe the extra f in ffrench is for ffugly?

Exhibit A: The Cover Shot. In some ways, this book must have been ahead of its time. It was only published in 1980, but it has that 80s look *down*--big hair, baggy sweater, skinny pants/leggings. I had some pretty crazy get-ups in the 80s (including a superbrite yellow version of this type of outfit), but somehow I feel like even I would've thought this cowl neck AND fair isle AND bright blue and red AND mohair sweater was taking the trend a little too far. I hope.

Exhibit B: For those of you have been waiting with bated breath for a pattern for a ginormous bath robe, I have your solution. This particular model seems to love her robe so much that she can't wait for nightime to wear it. In fact, the sleeves lead me to wonder whether this pattern could double for a graduation gown? If so, forget ordering the $500+ academic regalia I'm supposed to have as a professor, I'm knitting my own, baby! I just need approximately 5000 yards of navy blue mohair, and some velvet patches. (And I'll use this tam pattern).

Exhibit C: Don't you long for the days when mothers and daughters dressed alike? Due to the wonders of mohair, we could all wear sweaters large enough to hide our figure flaws or perhaps a small goat for extra warmth.

Ok, so the sweaters are sh*teous, but Knitting and Design for Mohair surprised me with the following:

1) A "build a sweater" section that includes pages and pages of sweater bits to mix and match--bodies, sleeves, collars, welts, cuffs, and so on. I think I'll be using the third chapter a lot--it has collars, cuffs, welts, and extras. I don't know what welts are, but some of these things could be useful if you leave out the 80s hair:

2) A complete mohair sitchionary. Even if mohair sweaters don't come back into vogue anytime soon, it never hurts to have some extra stitch ideas lying around.

3) A fair isle pattern dictionary, which might also come in handy. There's 9 pages of this stuff.
All in all, I'd highly recommend this book, both for its comedic appeal (hindsight is 20/20 of course), and for the useful design features. There are currently 35 used copies on Amazon--better buy them up because this book's out of print!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Absolutely hilarious. I love the bathrobe and the 80s hair.