Book Review: Glamour Knits, by Erika Knight


Glamour Knits arrived on the shelves in January at the same time as Erika Knight’s other book Classic Knits, which contains several versatile and practical pieces. Glamour Knits is an entirely different kind of book, although its format and written style is nearly identical to its companion. Many of the yarns are similar, and both books’ patterns rely only on straight needles. While there are a few patterns in Glamour Knits that I could easily envision knitting for myself, overall I found myself somewhat disappointed the more I looked through the pages. (Can’t tell what’s “knitted” in that cover art photo? Neither can I.)

A more apt title for this book would be, ‘Knitting with Glamorous Finishing’ – the glam elements in many of these patterns come from the application of ribbons or sequins, or the combination of knitting with fabric. For example, the off-shoulder Cable Sweater would be the sibling of the Classic Knits Bardot Sweater, but for the addition of sequins intertwined along with the cables (a dubious choice, in my opinion). The Jacquard Scarf is a simple bulky-weight scarf which combines several different yarns – and this would be already be attractive and comfortable – but is made ‘glamorous’ by the addition of beads and applique sequins (which for some reason are listed as ‘optional’ by the pattern requirements). The final example of this is the Chinoiserie Cardigan. It is without a doubt an attractive sweater, but once again the most glamorous element comes from the Chinese-style printed satin lining. Dissapointingly, the pattern instructions not only list this lining as ‘optional’, but also omit any instructions on how to construct the lining itself.

These additional sewn elements certainly provide an element of glamour to the knitted pieces in this book. Most of these pieces are garments that I would wear myself. However, to critique this book as a knitting manual is difficult – if we remove the extra sequins and ribbons and beads, in most cases this leaves behind simple knitted pieces that rely on stockinette, ribbing, and some chunky cabling, just like the pieces in Classic Knits. This is not a manual for knitters to learn new techniques. Rather, this book expects knitters to know their way around a needle and thread and a notions store to glam-up their garments.

While I am largely critical of this book, there are a few exceptions which I think are genuinely attractive and make creative use of knitting techniques to produce wearable garments. One is the Lace Shrug, which uses fine gauge yarn to create a lacy rectangle, and then closes the ends into ‘armholes’ using satin ribbon – it looks attractive, comfortable, could be adjusted for women of any size, and shows off the skill of the knitter with a foray into lace. (However, lace knitters who prefer to rely on charts and symbols will be disappointed – all instructions are written in text only.) A second pattern I quite like is the Long Gloves, reminiscent of fancy opera gloves. They use two balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze – which by itself is a positive attribute, since it gives knitters the chance to try out a small amount of a luxurious yarn – and would be an attractive complement to an evening wardrobe.

The Jacquard Scarf I mentioned above would also be a versatile piece, with or without the sequins, as well as a nice knitted gift. There is a long-sleeved Ribbed Shrug pattern which would be a relatively quick knit on 7mm needles (and requires no application of anything sparkly), and the Beaded Cuffs and Choker would be a fun way to raid the button drawer or pieces of old costume jewelry, in applying these to a knitted cuff and necklace set. And, there is a lace top in Rowan Kidsilk Haze which would be attractive with or without the ribbon ruffled faux-buttonband sewn at the throat.

So, while I would not say that there is anything truly glamorous about the actual knitting in this book, if you’re comfortable adding needle and thread to your knitting and would like to try out some slightly more luxurious yarns, then this book could be for you. For myself, I prefer the simplicity and versatility of Knight’s Classic Knits.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Book Review: Glamour Knits, by Erika Knight

  1. angie Cox

    More of this kind of review would be useful on blogs ..stopping us spending out .I have mentioned on mine the poor quality of Rowan’s new “Damask” yarn but feel inspired to write more . Hardly any blogs seem to have discussed the new yarns or books. I do like the new Rowan book /41 .The U.K handknitters group seems very slow and nothing this good appears.

  2. Sarah

    Great review – thank you. Your great writing style really comes out in your reviews and the consideration you give to each book is apparent.

  3. Marianne

    Great review, Glenna, my guess on the cover…the scarf and hopefully the camisole would be knit…but I know what you mean.
    Being the old hippie-chick,earth mama type I probably wouldn’t have this book in my personal library but if I ran across it somewhere,lys, I probably would at least look through it.
    Thanks for stopping by!

    the word verifications have been a notch above the usual today:
    zexswad