Actress and knitwear designer Tamara Mello is a big fan of felt and fashion. Her book Heart Felt Knits includes 25 projects, mostly for accessories and home decor, which bring a more modern sensibility to this craft than is typically seen.
This book is fun and cute and will be especially attractive to fashionistas who also like to knit and felt.
About the Book
- Pages: 156
- Format: hardcover
- Number of patterns: 25
- Skill level: none given, but most are suitable to beginner to intermediate knitters
- Illustrations: full-color photographs
- Knitting lessons: a techniques section covers the basics of felting (though she recommends against using a front-loader) and some needed knitting skills like working in the round, picking up stitches, increasing and decreasing
- Publication date: August 2012
The 25 patterns in Heart Felt Knits are divided into general categories: home and style. The "home" section includes things like nesting bowls, a knitting needle roll, coasters, a stuffed robot and ornaments made out of cast off felt from projects gone awry.
The "style" section includes a necklace, a scarf, barrettes, hats, handwarmers and bags, among other projects. I can't explain why bags are style and booties and slippers are home patterns, but the organization doesn't make much difference.
The patterns are pretty, and often pretty simple. Many of the home patterns are similar in approach -- the nesting bowls, tray, rounded platter and pencil holder are all worked from the center of the base out, stitches are bound off and then picked up again for the sides. This feels a little redundant when those patterns are all in a row in the book.
There are some really cute things here, don't get me wrong. I do like the nesting bowls, and the rounded platter is a pretty turquoise that is striking. The Upcycled Ornaments and Concentric Circles Barrettes are adorable, but I don't know why you wouldn't just use purchased felt to make them.
The Men's Clog Slippers look cozy, though sizing for women would have been nice. I also like the striped Farmer's Market Tote, which is a simple bucket bag worked in avocado and eggplant. The Ruffle Scarf modeled by Christina Hendricks on the cover of the book (she also writes a foreword on the power of knitting to bring people together) is striking, as is the Cloche hat she wears later in the book. There are also some cute armwarmers with ruffled edges.
There aren't really any patterns in Heart Felt Knits that would make me tell you to run out and buy this book unless you're just a big fan of felt and fashionable knitting. It is a pretty book, there's no doubt of that, and there are plenty of nice patterns here, but not much that is earth shattering and a lot that feels repetitive (felted bangles and a chain made of big knit loops, to give another example).
I still think there's some value to this book for people who want to get into felted knitting but are afraid their projects will end up looking misshapen and ugly. (It's bound to happen sometimes, but at least Mello offers some ideas of what to do with those less-than-successful pieces.)
If you have a flair for the dramatic, knit yourself the cloche with the felted flower on the side, and maybe the ruffled scarf, too. You'll like having these bold signature pieces in your wardrobe as well as the fact that you made them yourself.
Some of these projects would also be great for quick gifts -- the nesting bowls, for example -- and could easily be embellished with some needle felting, by sewing on some buttons or in some other way that would make them a little more involved.