French Girl Knits: Innovative Techniques, Romantic Details, and Feminine Designs
by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes
Interweave Press, 2009
I've decided to return my copy of French Girl Knits. It's an excellent book, with lots of interesting technical advice on seamless garments, distinctive and appealing patterns, and thoughtful details. It's also a money-suck.
I'd been lusting for this book for a couple months before I bought it. I was intrigued by the idea of producing such pretty, feminine garments with almost no seaming. After reading the patterns closely, I realized that I would need to buy a minimum of 11 new circular needles to complete the five designs I liked best.
No problem, I thought. I'll buy an interchangeable needle set. Yes, I already own lots of circular needles, but I can appreciate the fact that seamless knits require a different array of tools.
Then I started pricing out yarns for my favourite pattern, a bell-sleeved pullover with lace insets made in Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I had no idea Kidsilk Haze costs $19.95 per ball. The pullover requires 8 balls. Between the book, the needle kit, and the yarn, this garment would cost about $270.00. If I'm going to spend $270 on a sweater, I'm going to spend it on a sweater made by someone who actually knows what they're doing. Like Anthropologie.
I know that the needles would be an investment, and that I would probably love anything I made from French Girl Knits. I could make the pullover out of Rowan Kid Classic, which would probably cost only $50 for the necessary amount. But I can't do it. I own so many needles. And there are so many lovely free patterns I want to try, like o w l s and the Mrs. Darcy Cardigan and Dahlia, all of which can be made out of economical Cascade 220.
French Girl Knits is a beautiful book, but it's just not compatible with thrift. Or my student loan repayment scheme.
Confidential to Susannah: I found a pattern for fingerless gloves with an owl stitch pattern while searching for the link to o w l s. (You have to scroll down to the bottom of the post to see it).