Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Review: Big Girl Knits and More Big Girl Knits

You may have noticed that I have never really knitted a jumper before - not unless you count a very chunky sleeveless one from about two years ago. Being a very big girl, it is hard to find reliable patterns in my size to work with, so I haven't risked buying a huge amount of yarn for a jumper. I would love to knit one in fingering weight or DK yarn at some point as long as I can be sure I have a good pattern that works for me.

Cue Big Girl Knits. You may have heard of Moreno and Singer's two books Big Girl Knits, and More Big Girl Knits. By chance, I found the first one heavily discounted at a local store and had to have it. Recently, I was given the second book and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

There are pros and cons for each, and if you have been thinking about getting the books, I hope my thoughts help you decide whether to go for them or not.

Both books are divided into two sections. First, introductory chapters guide you into what flatters your shape, how to measure yourself and what to keep in mind when considering what to knit. For me, these were the best bits even though I disagreed with many 'rules' established by the authors - but then again they do mention that some rules are meant to be broken. Knitters have to choose between being a boob, belly or butt girl? Tough luck if you are all of the above, though. Then, the following section of the book consists of a number of patterns covering jumpers, cardigans, coats, shawls, socks and bags. Interestingly, the first book also has patterns for a dew skirts and a pair of yoga pants. This variety makes me prefer the first book.
Big Girl Knits also has better patterns than More Big Girl Knits. I especially like the Stacie pullover on the cover (my favourite pattern of all), Bombshell and the simple Cherry Bomb. I also like the knee-length skirts and the pants look comfy, though I probably wouldn't knit them. 

Sadly, the second book contains mainly boring, unflattering patterns that actually seem to contradict the advice given in the opening chapters. Luckily, the book has a sweater worksheet to help you knit a simple 'vanilla' jumper which will be a good start for me. 

There are only three patterns in More Big Girl Knits that I actually like, I'm sad to say. The faire isle in the Bountiful cardigan is beautiful as is the cabling in the Susie hoodie. Hot Cocoa has an interesting construction that fascinates me too.
The most ridiculous pattern in the whole book is Boo, Too. I have no idea what happened there, but that is just too much and not at all flattering. It does not make the lovely model look good, so how is this going to make you and me look? I dread to think about it. Too much colour, too many lines, too many ruffles. I am not a fan of Folly or the Guatemalan Floral Tunic either, though the sleeve solution for the latter is nice.

Having patterns for tops, skirts and even trousers included in the books, I am not sure why we need shawls, bags and socks as well. There are lots of these patterns available elsewhere since these things are not really dependent on your size. Therefore, I have the impression the patterns were simply added to pad out the book. Instead, I would have preferred more jumpers and cardigans.

All in all, I am certainly glad I have the books because I needed the information supplied in the introductory chapters. Knowing how to measure myself properly and how to use the measurements to calculate what I need to do with a pattern is essential. I hope that I can try to knit the 'vanilla' jumper using my measurements just to test if I can do it. I am sure that once I get that first jumper out of the way, it should be easy to knit with more patterns.

Do you have these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

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