I must admit, the title of this book was a little off-putting to me: Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman. I mean, what's so brave & new about cabled sweaters? The idea behind it is that all of the designers featured (26 in all - some very popular, some I've never heard of) have their own blogs & have been braving the new world of the blogsphere. I still think the title is a bit of a stretch & think a different title would really better serve the book.
That being said, it really is a great book! Each designer has a write up about them - how they got started in the knitting business (and in knitting, in general), why they decided to do a blog, how ravelry has changed their business (there is a lot of discussion about ravelry in this book, I think on just about every designer's write up it's mentioned). For those of you who are non-knitters, ravelry is a popular website for knitters & crocheters where you can search just about any pattern, yarn, designer & chat on forums. They just had their 1-millionth knitter sign up in November. Yes, 1 million! Really, it's ravelry that's "brave" & "new"......but I digress....
The book is split into 2 parts: sweaters & accessories. There are lots of different styles & looks to choose from. Most of the patterns are listed as intermediate (although some of them actually sounded more advanced than that). Since the only garment I have ever knit was a vest for Little Dude (ravelry members can see the project notes and pics here), I think I would be a little more likely to try some of the accessories first! I especially liked the Lenina Cap by Woolly Wormhead, the Hydrangea Neckwarmer by Anne Hanson and the Lace Flower Pin by Kat Coyle. As far as the sweaters go, I love the Global Cable Coat by Jennifer Hagan.....maybe someday!
While the patterns in the book are wonderful, I think the best part of it is really the discussions with the designers. It's so neat to hear how they all got their start, find out how long they've been knitters (some of them, not long at all), what their new ventures are, etc. I found myself heading over to the computer time & time again to look up the designers on ravelry or their own sites. I'm sure they're enjoying more traffic because of the book!
Surprisingly, the author, Julie Turjoman, does not have any patterns in the book herself. It's not the first time I've seen this & it doesn't take anything away from the book at all, I just find it a little odd. Is it just me? I also should note that Jared Flood did all the photography (if you're a knitter, you've probably heard of him or his company name, Brooklyn Tweed). I love his photography - he's got a good eye for light & cropping.
I think the biggest take-away from this book is that there are great interviews with each of the designers & each of them have contributed a beautiful pattern. If you're a knitter, it's definitely worth checking out.