Like many of you, I follow my favorite designers on social media--especially Instagram! I love getting sneak peeks of designs in progress. A couple months ago, Heather Zoppetti started posting photos of the designs that would be featured in her new book, Unexpected Cables, and I was completely blown away by the stunning way in which she made cables look sleek and modern, particularly combining them with lace. So when I was offered the chance to review Unexpected Cables, I couldn't say no.
Unexpected Cables features 18 sweater and accessory patterns chock full of cable-y goodness. Heather has divided these patterns into 3 sections: Refined, Lace and Abstract, and she's really included something for everyone.
I will say up front that this is not a book to teach you how to knit, or even how to work cables. There are some very brief sections on special techniques, like cabling without a cable needle, that provide additional instruction or background information, but if you're new to these techniques, the information included isn't enough to really master them. There's also a brief glossary in the back illustrating some of the more uncommon techniques used in the book--it's always nice not to have to go searching the Internet for specific cast-ons or to yet again look up the instructions for kitchener stitch.
This is truly a pattern book for people who love cables, and Heather is breathing new life into them--there are no fisherman's sweaters here!
The first section, Refined, features delicate cables worked in lighter weight yarns--very feminine. Three of my favorite patterns in the book can be found here:
Maytown Vest, with an intricate, fun-to-knit central cable panel framed by all-over stockinette
Rheems Pullover, with a dramatic cowl neckline and subtle cables
Cocalico Pullover, showcasing all-over single stitch cables and contrast cuffs and collar
The second section, Lace, mixes cables with lace in fresh, creative ways. I particularly adore the Talmage Pullover:
With all-over cables and eyelets topped off with turned hems, it's a stunner.
I also love, though am unconvinced I could actually pull off, the Conoy Tunic
It seems like a great, stay-put alternative to a shawl.
The last section, Abstract, includes statement pieces that will really stand out in a crowd. These kinds of designs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but even if you can't imagine wearing them, you can appreciate the creative mind behind them. I personally adore the Kissel Hill Dolman
The dramatic neckline and unique construction really speak to me.
This is an inspired collection, I think you can truly tell how much effort Heather put into it, and how much she enjoyed designing these pieces. I really have just a few minor complaints:
I think some of the styling used in this book detracts from, rather than highlights, the garments--so many plaid button-downs worn under sweaters! Now, I love the preppy look of a crisp button-down worn under a V-neck, but putting one under a sweater with a purposefully dramatic neckline, like Kissel Hill Dolman or Rheems Pullover, undermines their standout features. (And why plaid--is plaid now a neutral? I personally find it distracting.)
I also feel that a few of the garments don't fit the models very well--ease is one thing, but if the sleeves are too long, the bottom hem falls 4" below the butt and there are inches of extra fabric around the waist, that's not really ease, that's too big, and makes it difficult to envision how the garment will fit. There is no information provided regarding recommended ease for the sweaters or the amount of ease shown on the models--this is not a deal breaker, but is information I personally find useful and would've liked included.
Overall, while not all of the patterns are my personal style, this is a beautiful collection and a welcome addition to my library. If you enjoy knitting cables and are interested in modern but wearable designs, you'll definitely want a copy of this book! You can see all of the designs included in the book on Ravelry and purchase a paperback copy or ebook version from Interweave Press , currently on sale for just $18.49.
Unexpected Cables: Feminine Knitted Garments featuring Modern Cable Knitting
By Heather Zoppetti
All photos courtesy of Interweave/F+W
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