Thursday, February 22, 2007

Twinkle's Big City Knits Review

There are two types of knitters out there; those who appreciate chunky yarn and those who do not. For the anti-chunky yarn knitters, Twinkle's Big City Knits book is not for you.

I fall into the other group of knitters. The reason why I re-started knitting in the first place was because I saw a knitted top at BCBG selling for $1500 HK (approx $200 US). It was a super simple design (reverse stockinette stitch), a simple shape (sleeveless shell) but using super bulky weight yarn, the sweater was instantly transformed into "wow". Although I attempted to make a knock-off, I couldn't quite mimic the same bulky effect.

I confess I've been a fan of Wenlan Chia's designs ever since her debut in Vogue Knitting in Holiday 2004. I made the Seaberry Shell from IK Spring 2006 and attempted to make the Twinkle Hoodie (yarn was wrong and frogged). I'm also eyeing the Tea Rose Halter Top (IK Spring 2007).

Twinkle fans will not be disappointed by this book. It's for the fashionistas in us who eye clothes at Saks Fifth Avenue/Holt Renfrew/Lane Crawford with fun, whimsical designs but would prefer to knit them herself for half or a fraction of the price.

Her patterns have been printed in VK and IK in the past and versions of 4 of her designs are included in this book: Mini Bolero (Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2005), Mohair Shrug (Vogue Knitting Holiday 2004) (not shown below); Twinkle Hoodie (Vogue Knitting Winter 2004/05); Shopping Tunic (Vogue Knitting Holiday 2005)

Out of the 31 designs, there is only one I find hideous. The Magic Shawl looks like there's stubby hairs growing from it. Other than that, most look good (at least on the model).

In particular, I love many items (shown from top left, clockwise): Best Friend Cardigan, Incredible Skirt (there's both a long ankle-length and short version), Evening Shell, Balthazar Vest, Aspen Hat (not shown). I want to knit all of these!

For those who find chunky yarn too bulky, there are some feminine designs with open lace to make garments airy and less heavy (much like Tea Rose Halter Top): Karate Sweater, Hampton's Halter, Chelsea Sweater, Biker Vest, Sexy Seaside Sweater and Feather Scarf.

There are also a few classic designs for those who like less fashion-forward statements: Coco Jacket, Convertible Cardigan, Marilyn Jacket, Rocketfeller Sweater and Diamond Scarf. I can see myself wearing all of these.

I found the Groovy Sweater (Cover), Tuxedo Jacket, St Bart's Mini, Twiggy Tunic, Skating Sweater and Princess Capelet very cute & trendy but I am a bit too tubby in the middle and a bit too old to pull it off. Had this book been published 10 years ago, I would definitely be drooling over these.

There's also a sneakpeak of the book here and lots of photos here.

Almost all (30 out of 31) of her patterns in this book feature her own yarns: Twinkle Handknits Soft Chunky & Twinkle Handknits Cruise. Although I suspect she will have a well-planned distribution of these yarns, in the past, I have read about bloggers having trouble locating or purchasing her yarns.

She does specify quantities for yarn substitution such as "or XXXXm of super bulky weight yarn" or "of XXXXm of DK yarn". I am curious to see what yarn(s) bloggers out there will use to knit her designs. Though bulky, the yarns should also be light. I'm wondering... is it possible to use roving to knit garments?


joy said...

I like some of the designs too, but I feel too old to pull them maybe if I were twenty years younger. ;-D

Laura.Y said...

The designs in the book looks really yummy. I esp like the tuxedo jacket. Looks pretty unique. I'm lookin forward to see what you'll do with some of the patterns :)

yuvee said...

As much as I love her design, I don't think I'll be buying this book anytime soon. I'm not convinced that the patterns would work for my size. Anyway, I heard that she only includes size up to 33". is it true?
I'd love to see what you'll make out of the book though ;)

Ava said...

According to the general instructions, the XL sizes are designed for a 36-37 inch bust. But instructions for some of the knits, like the Princess Capelet, are for a 30" bust - no calculations for larger sizes. And the Incredible Skirt you've pictured here is designed for 24" waist. By the way, a Flikr group was created for this book. The web address is:

Jolene said...

I found your post through a google search. You said that there are substitutions listed in the book...would you happen to know what substitution is listed for the Tea Rose Halter? I want to knit this for a friend...but can't find the listed yarn, or much information on it. Thanks!

Peggy said...

I couldn't access your email addy so I'll reply here. Hope you get this! The said yarn can be found at Classic Elite's website. I also made a design of hers using Anny Blatt Hariana. It's the same gauge but very heavy. In her book, she doesn't specify brands of yarn but does include yardage for DK yarns. i.e. (not for this design, but just an example: 800 yards of DK which you knit three strands together).

TheKnittingBee said...

(This is such a late comment, but I'm googling for help on the Seaberry Shell - I'm sure I'm doing something moronic with the short rows! - and came across your blog)

Roving isn't very durable; it (pencil roving) is used to knit garments that are then felted, but really wouldn't work for an unfelted garment. If you think about how barely-spun yarns tend to fuzz and pill, think about how bad it would be if the yarn was totally unspun!