Sunday, January 28, 2007

In Praise of Yarnplay

I know that I have sung the praises of this book already, but I recently discovered that Lisa's book has received some unkind criticism over at (U.S). Personally, I love this book and have written a review (below) that is going straight to (Canada). If you don't have any opinions one way or the other, that is fine too. BUT if you like this book and want to support the author's work, how about take a minute or two and post a review at or

Yarnplay by Lisa Shobhana Mason is, as the title suggests, a book that encourages knitters to play with yarn in some new ways. I was sold on the book by the cover photograph alone, and I was not disappointed. I would have been satisfied with the purchase simply for three patterns in it: The Lorelei Tank, Poppy (the cover sweater), and the EBTKS (Everything But The Kitchen Sink) sweater. I have knit the EBTKS sweater and can honestly say that is was a very fun knitting experience, and it is now one of my favorite sweaters to wear too.

Besides these, and other appealing sweaters for men, women and children, the book covers a wide range of projects from household items to accessories and winter-wear. Projects range from simple to complex, from those that would take a few hours to those that will keep a knitter busy and challenged. The instructions are clear, and the author maintains a web-site under the Yarnplay title that features photographs of her projects that have been knit by real knitters out in the real world. The website contains any error corrections that have come up, and links to knit-along projects (for Poppy, for example). The author is friendly, accessible, and encouraging.

Personally, I think that the book's two greatest strengths are in its photographs and in the deceptive simplicity of Mason's designs. Every page of this book has beautiful photographs of finished projects, knit with, and set among colours that provide as much instruction as anything the author says with words. This book does not contain lessons in colour theory or detailed instructions on choosing colours, but it certainly points a creative and intuitive knitter in the right direction. The idea is to play with colours in some exciting new ways. Some of the patterns are quite basic; others have attractive construction details that take them out of the range of ordinary. All are exactly the right kinds of patterns on which to experiment with colours. The author of Yarnplay provides good artist tools (patterns, photographs, written instructions, and examples), and then encourages knitters to express their personal individuality and creativity. That is what I like best about this book.

If you are looking for inspiration and a chance to explore and play with your knitting, it is an ideal book to add to your collection.


SooZ said...

I have this book too, and love it! I must put in my praise into Amazon.

thanks for dropping by - I am posting some more photos - at least 5 in total.

Take Care - I often drop by here too!


Karin said...

Oh Jane! What you said! I LOVE this book - I think beginners could easily handle many of the patterns but it respects the creativity and intelligence of more experienced knitters. I'm heading over to Amazon to kick some literary butt!

Lisa W. said...

I actually purchased this the other day based on your Kitchen Sink sweater and the reviews others had re: Poppy. I love it and have been very inspired. Haven't moved on the inspiration yet, but feeling the love nonetheless.

jayne said...

I only wish I could kick butt at You can only post reviews if you have purchased something. I always buy from, so I posted there.

I am waiting for some of my Poppy yarn to come in the mail from Little Knits (Noro Silver Thaw).

Anonymous said...

I have to go to the LYS. Do you realize I haven't been for SIX months??


Grace Yaskovic said...

I posted to Amazon that I love the book and I do, there are several plans for projects in that book!!!

Vamanta said...

Despite the bad review that you mentioned (and that I couldn't find BTW), the Amazon rating for the book is still nearly 5 stars. That's pretty fabulous. Not interested in sweaters so wouldn't buy the book but it sounds like it has the following to make it a great seller. You're a good fan, Jayne!

jayne said...

I think there have been so many good reviews since those two odd ones, that they're getting shoved further and further down the list, Joan.

I like the book, and I like the author, and I didn't like what those two odd ducks said about her book. :)

Amy Borland said...

Hi, I too love this book and am at present knitting the EBTKS jumper. Unfortunately her website is not now working & I have got stuck on the back, i don't suppose you have the correct instructions for this bit?
Take care