I received my copy of Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel a good few weeks ago. In fact, I had been eagerly awaiting this book as I have been promising a Harry Potter sweater for some years. My copy arrived while the sun was shining and after a quick glance through I put it aside for the time being and looked forward to browsing it more seriously when the weather turned cooler and my thoughts turned to autumn/winter knitting. However, here we are in mid-July and knitting with bamboo tape just is not doing the trick, the rain has been really unbelievable and here in North Wales it is actually pretty darn chilly, I need something a little more comforting than bamboo tape to work on in the evening and so I retrieved Charmed Knits from its resting place for a more in-depth perusal.
I have already cast on and indeed completed the back of the Weasley Sweater. I am using the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed as dictated by the pattern. This yarn is lovely to work with, soft and comforting and my goodness it knits up quickly. I did have trouble getting hold of it though and had to resort to overseas in the end but I am sure it could have been easily substituted it for something more readily available.
The sweater in the book is modelled by a child and I am knitting for a child but should you wish to size this up then do not fear because in fact the pattern is sized from toddler right up to adult XXL, which I think is a rather brilliant idea. Indeed many of the other patterns offer a similar spread of sizing and also tell you which size is shown on the model. How I wish other pattern books would offer that information, the bamboo tape I mentioned earlier? Been ripped out twice already due to sizing issues, pretty sure the model in that book is either of extreme giant proportions and has been mysteriously shrunk to normal size for purpose of photograph or there are an awful lot of pins behind her!
The multi-sizing and wide variety of patterns make this a great family knit book whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not. Included are patterns for a soft toy (owl of course), a cape, which would make a lovely dressing gown, several bags, simple shawl pattern, a great ribbed (Quidditch) sweater, long socks, short socks, various hats, scarves and mittens. There are also patterns for Christmas ornaments and this lovely "school sweater" which reminds me so sharply of the school sweaters knitted for me by my grandmother. Indeed the Weasley Sweater also makes me feel rather nostalgic as I recall a much loved initialled handknit in 1970's brown and pink. Somehow I can still remember how that sweater felt and it is a good feeling, I was so pleased to have that sweater, to know that someone had made it just for me and put my initial on the front to make it completely unique.
As this Weasley Sweater grows I hope that my son will get that same feeling from wearing it and I guess it is memories like these that make us knit for others. People seem to have so much "stuff" nowadays but perhaps that makes the handmade all the more precious, I was thrilled to see how happy Dylan was with his new socks. Although we are careful not to overdo gifts to the children at Christmas and birthdays, family are very generous and we find it very hard to keep this in check. This Christmas in particular I felt very conscious of all the "stuff" so it is lovely to know that a hand knit can still mean something to a child in a time when we can buy five pairs of socks for £2.50 in Asda.
To sum up, a well thought out and useful pattern book, not just for Harry Potter fans. Now, I am off to stand in from the tumble drier for a while just for the warmth. I refuse to put the heating on in July and I am already wearing a most unseasonable but terribly useful sweater.