Hunter Hammersen's new book Curls, published by Pantsville Press, (which, as far as I can determine, is Hammersen's own press) is a delicious little confection, that nevertheless contains quite a bit of nutritive value.
The book itself, as a physical object, is small, which I love! (I've always been a sucker for small, compact books.) This one is just big enough to showcase the contents and still be a perfect size to throw in your knitting bag. Hammersen doesn't waste a lot of space on general knitting info; she assumes you already know how to knit or you wouldn't be buying this intermediate/advanced book. I myself appreciate this--it's disheartening to spend $20+ on a knitting book, expecting patterns and instead ending up with 1/3 of the pages being a regurgitation of basic knitting skills. After an explanation of the architecture of her "curls," some hints and tips, and a basic explanation of knitting charts, she jumps right into the patterns.
And they are beautiful! The focus of Hammersen's book is narrow--the shape that she dubs a "curl," into which she fits various stitch patterns, ranging from the very simple,
to the considerably more complex.
The shape that she calls a "curl" is itself not new (see Wollwerk--Simone Eich's work on Ravelry, specifically Tentaculum and others), but it rewards her narrow focus with gorgeous results. In her words: "Curls are marvelously flexible, wearable wraps that work with any weight of yarn, can be knit at any gauge, and look beautiful at any size. Knit them small and wear them as a cowl. Keep going to make a scarf. Do a bit more, and you've got a shawl. They form a wonderfully curved shape that drapes beautifully around your neck and shoulders and can be worn in lots of different ways. Use your favorite yarn, and knit at whatever gauge gives you the fabric you like best."
Curls is one of those rare knitting books out of which I want to knit every single pattern. The pieces are presented quite simply, photographed on a vintage dress form, which perfectly showcases their beauty. The simple ones are beautiful; the complex ones are even more so. And the ways you can wear them--truly endless and displayed beautifully on that dress form.
One of the things I look for in the knitting books I choose to buy is versatility, and I do love that about these designs. I have lots (and lots!) of yarn in my stash, and I want patterns that will accomodate different yarns, different yarn weights, and different fiber contents. These patterns seem perfect in that way. In fact, I have already cast on for Caesious (above, in blue) in a mercerized cotton (elann.com Lara, no longer available) perfect for spring.
If you are a knitter who enjoys wearing and knitting wraps and shawls, this is a perfect book for you. It also has great possibilities for gift knitting--I can imagine almost anyone being quite taken with one of these curls!
Verdict: Buy it!