There are times when the lily just begs to be gilded. I’m all for the elegance of simplicity, but there are times when you just want something a little bit extra, and flowers are a feminine and timeless way to embellish garments and accessories.
100 flowers to knit and crochet by Lesley Stanfield – RRP: £10.99 Lesley Stanfield’s beautifully produced book promises 100 flowers for knitters and crocheters to make and use in their own work, but the title is a slight misnomer. The book actually features patterns for 70 flowers, rather than 100, the remaining patterns being for a mixture of vegetables, various bugs, acorns, fruit and leaves. This does not detract from the book, however – these additions compliment the flower designs very well and can be combined with the actual flowers to make larger motifs. Apart from the asparagus – that’s just weird… and wonderful.
As a knitter who is only vaguely familiar with the wonderful voodoo that is crochet, I was slightly disappointed to find that the designs are rather weighted towards those that wield hooks. Only 40 of the designs are knitted motifs, and of those there appear to be quite a few that only vary slightly in their design – the patterns for ‘large leaf’, ’small leaf’ and ‘citrus leaf’ do not present enough variety in their design to make them particularly distinct; the dahlia and chrysanthemum are also very similar in finished appearance. There are a couple of beautiful knitted flowers – the sunflower and arum lily are wonderfully constructed, but in this book many of the more interesting designs are designed for the crocheter. This may turn some people off, but for others it might just act as that extra push to pick up the hook and try twirling some yarn.
Knitting instructions are in written form, crocheted patterns are both written and charted. Patterns are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced sections. So, is it worth spending your money on? Well, there’s the pinch, really. It was only after buying the book that I was made aware that many of the designs included in the book were available online, for free, from the Lion Brand website in the stitch finder section. If you only intended to use the book to occasionally find a little embellishment for a hat or purse, then you might well be satisfied with the selection available to you on the Lion Brand website without cost. If you then find that you enjoy these patterns and would like more of the same, then it is certainly a charming little personal knitting library filler and be one of those books that you turn to when you want to make a standard garment that little bit special.