Book Review

Review: Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences by Judith Durant

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Title: Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences
Author: Judith Durant
Publication Info: Storey Publishing, LLC 2008
ISBN: 978-1603420792
Genre: Nonfiction

Book Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders A little while ago Sarah posted a link to Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences for the low-low price of $2.51 and I was all “Gimme dis.” Then I asked Sarah if she wanted a review of the book, and since she more or less feeds me Pixie Stix and sets me loose to create mayhem, she said sure.

This is a review for knitters and non-knitters alike because there is shit you should know about this book.

Pixie Stix So, first of all, I would describe my knitting skillz as “Advanced Beginner, Lazy.” I can follow a pattern, but if it involves a lot of counting or using a chart, I'm not going to do it. Basically, if I can't knit it after taking my nighttime meds and while watching the Craig Ferguson Show, it's not going to happen. And I am really lazy. Two years ago I knit my husband a really nice double-knit wool mitten. Then I forgot about the second mitten and by the time I picked it up again, I'd lost the pattern and notes I'd used to make the first one. And he still reminds me that the only thing I've EVER made him is ONE SINGLE MITTEN. And I'm like, well, you can survive perfectly well with one-hand, pal, so suck it up. Look at that guy from 127 Hours. He's fine!

This book has lots of patterns for people like me. It also has two nice mitten patterns which my husband made a point of looking at when I had the book open on his Ipad. It's also got hats, and scarves, fingerless gloves and sweet little bags, and of course, lots of baby shit. Cuz you can' t make a one-skein knitting book without baby shit. 

I really liked the pattern for the Siostra Mohair-Wool Hat designed by Tina McElmoyl. I went to my stash, grabbed some leftover wool, and got to business. What's a stash, you non-knitters ask? It's basically a collection of Rubbermaid Totes in your basement/closet/attic where your all fun money goes whenever you pass a yarn store. I probably own enough yarn to knit a wardrobe for my entire family and the cat. And I just spent $115 on yarn today anyway. My husband, still bitter about his fucking mitten, sometimes looks at my stash and asks when I'm going use all that. I just tell him that it's my stockpile, so if the zombie apocalypse happens, I have plenty of wool and I can trade precious hand-knit socks for canned goods and Twinkies. I mean, it's that or prostitution really, and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the hubs working the corner, to be honest. 

So anyway, I knitted the hat in the course of a weekend more or less. The pattern was easy to follow and the hat turned out nicely, I think. I cheated a little bit and used two different colors of wool because I made it for my niece and I wanted it to resemble a strawberry.

Knit baby cap with red top and green border

The patterns in this book are almost all knit, with a few crochet thrown in, and suit a variety of skill levels. There's some lacework, some cabling, some beading, some knitting in the round. There are also a couple of super easy scarves and baby sweaters.

Then there are the WTF patterns.

There is a pattern for a cozy for a vase. Like a vase that holds flowers. Why would a vase need a cozy, you ask? I don't fucking know. The vase isn't likely to get chilled, is it? I sincerely hope all the inanimate objects in my house don't need cozies because I'm not willing to make that kind of commitment.

There is a pattern for a knitted starfish made out of yak hair. No really. Because when I've got extra yak hair lying around I automatically think, starfish. Who the fuck wants or needs a knitted starfish? WHAT IS THE POINT OF A KNITTED STARFISH? The only possible use I think of for that pattern is to knit your favorite erotica author a chocolate starfish, but even that's pushing it.

And if you're going “yak hair?” Yeah, yak hair. If it has hair, people knit with it. People knit with hair from their cats and dogs and their own heads. People probably knit with their own pubic hair (do NOT send me pictures of things knit with your pubes. I am happy for you, but I don't need examples, please).

And then there was my personal favorite. The pattern for cashmere legwarmers for a baby. I cannot think of a bigger fuck-you gift to new parents that cashmere baby legwarmers. Babies are like tiny bundles of volcanic vomit and diarrhea. You can't put anything on a baby that cannot withstand being coated in explosive diarrhea. If I knit anything for a baby that shit is machine washable and dryable. Giving new parents something that has to be hand washed and air dried when they are likely so tired they can barely find the start button on the washer with their bleary eyes? Yeah, that's a big fuck-you. Especially since it serves like zero purpose. I'll grant you a cashmere christening outfit or something, but when the fuck does the baby need legwarmers? Does little Austin just not feel dressed up enough in his onsie? Does he need the cashmere legwarmers to make the outfit pop?

Since the author was clearly comfortable with yak hair starfish, I was a little disappointed this book didn't contain other less conventional projects. I personally would have included:

1. Sweaters for hairless cats

2. An angora jock strap (I'd call it a Junk Snuggler)

3. A cozy for my Keurig, which is now staring jealously at my vase. Maybe appliances shouldn't have cozies. That's probably a fire hazard.

I felt this book was definitely worth the $2.50, but I would honestly have preferred the print version. You can't print off patterns or charts from the digital book, obviously, and all the pictures are in the very beginning. So if you want to refer back to the picture, you need to do some flipping around which annoyed me. Nonetheless, it was money well spent and it reduced my stash by one skein.

I will probably have to knit my husband that second mitten now, since he let me make fun of him in this review. Right after I knit the cat a sweater. 


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon ($2.99) | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Jacqui Code says:

    This is a great review!  Thanks for the giggle.  I picked this one up when it went on sale too, and as a knitter, am completely familiar with the concept of “stash”.  Also, with the “single mitten syndrome” (though in my case it applies to socks).

    Pattern books are definitely better in paper form.  In fact, on my Kindle, the pictures of the finished garments in this book appear with the wrong title underneath them.  It is somewhat better on the iPad.

    As for the cashmere legwarmers, WTF is right.  Not only would they not be impervious to the baby’s tendency to leak, but wouldn’t they be impossible to keep on the wiggly, squirmy baby?  I don’t know, but both my boys would have had them off in about five seconds, kind of like baby socks, which are also impossible to keep on baby feet…

  3. 3
    mochabean says:

    Love this.  Love it. love it. love it.  Also, are you on Ravelry?  Because this needs to be in the notes for that hat, which is just adorable by the way.

  4. 4
    Jody W. says:

    If there’s ever a crochet book you guys want reviewed, I call dibs! Well, I call dibs *if* my review turns out as good as this one :). Fabulous! I can’t knit but…fabulous!

  5. 5
    CarrieS says:

    I don’t knit but my gosh this review made me SO HAPPY. 

    In other news, if I ever have another baby, which is not my life plan, could you defiantly please send cashmere leg warmers, but be sure that they involve lots of snaps and buttons.  Tons of them.  Ideally I should have to slide them up my squirmy, shitting infant’s leg and THEN do the buttons with my sleep deprived, fumbling fingers.  Thanks a mil.

  6. 6
    garlicknitter says:

    Ditto asking if you’re on Ravelry, Elyse!  I’m wondering if you’re in one of my favorite groups there, because I think you’d fit in.  (If you want to find me there, you can probably figure out my username…)

    Actually, pure cashmere is often machine washable and dryable, as it doesn’t felt the way wool does.  I still wouldn’t knit baby leggings out of it, but I know someone who would knit cashmere baby blankets for people she really, really liked, and they held up to washing and drying beautifully.

    Anyway, great review.  I love this series of books, but yeah, in any large collection of patterns, there are going to be a few that beg the question, “Why???

  7. 7
    Ann says:

    Next time, mark this NSFW.  I had to forward the link because I started laughing so hard.

  8. 8
    colorlessblue says:

    A+
    Perfect review to read while knitting with nasty acrylic I bought for my first project, years ago. 4 pounds of it. Because I knew nothing. Maybe I should knit starfishes out of it just to get more space on my stash.

  9. 9
    mochabean says:

    @colorlessblue I got rid of my acrylic stash by giving it to my children and telling them to use it to make a giant spiderweb in the living room.  worked great. (warning—kids need to be old enough to know not to choke themselves with yarn, just FYI)

  10. 10
    Terri Kruse says:

    Funny review…and I’m with you until the cashmere for babies. My son had a cashmere sweater, soft as soft can be. He LOVED it, it was machine washable, though. Pilled like crazy, but I didn’t mind shaving it so much. I wouldn’t gift cashmere, though…to anyone really. I like keeping it for myself.

  11. 11
    Elyse says:

    I am on Ravelry! Elyse123 (clever I know)

  12. 12
    Monique says:

    Pffft. You cracked me up with this review! Thanks for making my day. As an avid knitter, sorta, I am totally stealing your Zombie Apocalypse reason for your stash;-) Surely, hubs will believe it;-)

  13. 13
    Dibs says:

    Thank you, thank you for helping me figure out my skill level.  I now understand I am Beginning Intermediate Tsunami.  Intermediate because I can follow a chart while listening to my husband talk back to the TV and I can say, “Oh, yes,” at appropriate moments.  Beginning Intermediate because I can’t do cables, although I dreamed I did once, but that probably doesn’t count.  Tsunami because I don’t knit for years at a time, but when I do, Look Out!  Books, patterns, my stash doubles in bulk, and I pop out 4-5 creations before, whew, the knitting virus wears off, calm is restored, and I go back to reading.

  14. 14
    Jordan R. says:

    I just wish I had the opportunity to work “Junk Snuggler” into more conversations ;)

  15. 15
    Cordy says:

    This was such a great description of the mind of a knitter.

  16. 16
    Melanie says:

    As another Advanced Beginner, Lazy—I’ve knit five baby blankets and countless scarves, but avoid shaping like the plague—I loved this review.  Thanks for the laughs.

  17. 17
    Kelly S. says:

    Excellent review! The hat is adorable!  Thank you for the chuckles.

    I have so many stashes, yarn Aida cloth & floss, and fabric, being a quilter.  Luckily, my husband’s hobby is more expensive so I do not need to hide, sneak or make excuses as I bring in more supplies.  Besides the quilts are useful not just during zombie attacks but during ice storms & multi day power outages.

  18. 18
    Nemo says:

    While I’ll give you credit for a great name (Junk Snuggler) the idea is not new.  Google “willy warmer” and you will get many patterns and a brand new appreciation for just how insane fellow knitters are.  I’m just waiting for the entire knitted respiratory tract pattern to come out.

    I’ve never liked these kind of books though.  Every one has sixteen patterns I’ll never use (mostly baby stuff) some new age weirdness, and maybe two patterns that are workable, but I can get off the internet for free.  I like compilation books better.  Like 100 knit and crochet flowers or 100 hat patterns.

  19. 19
    kkw says:

    I’ve been knitting for, christ, 25 years now? and I still have difficulty following a pattern. I like things to fit, so I find the dreaded maths more effective than the tedious directions.
    I’m sure everyone who knits is familiar with the Debbie Bliss strawberry hat, but it’s one of the only patterns I will follow and it’s my go to baby gift so I feel it deserves a shout out, but I am technologically incompetent and can’t link to it.
    I have never knitted with yak, but quivet (sp? musk ox wool) is amazing. They’re supposed to be similar, in which case not to be wasted on starfish, I don’t think.
    Also, for anyone who didn’t know: Istanbul has a yarn bazaar. It is so amazing the first time I went I hyperventilated and had to leave. Yeah there’s a grand bazaar, spice bazaar, antique bazaar- whatevs. In Turkish I can say like a dozen things: hello, thank you, please, yarn bazaar. Kürkçü Han in case you wondered. I know all my fiber names, and also sour cherry juice, pomegranate juice, and anchovy. The basics, really.

  20. 20
    Shaheen says:

    Speaking of junk smugglers, Amy Lane has a lovely series about gay knitters, at least one of which includes a junk snuggler, possibly named something else, and knitting instructions at the end. There is something very adorable about the image of a huge mountain man knitting willy warmers as a courting gift :)

  21. 21
    MarciaS says:

    I do not knit, but do have a stash of fabric in boxes stored in my basement. I have not done much sewing in years (actually, decades), but cannot seem to find the will to find it all a better home. Being ready for the zombie apocalypse seems like a good reason to hang on to it for now:)

    Funny comment about the “Junk Snuggler”. A friend in my dorm at college in the ‘70’s was kniiting “peter heaters”. Not sure who she was giving them to, but it was rather hilarious when she showed them off.

  22. 22
    Niki says:

    Do not knock the leg warmers!  They allow you to keep baby legs warm without the nuisance of pulling down pants to change diapers!

    The only ones I could ever find (and believe me I looked) were BabyLegs, which were too skinny and too…argyle.  I crocheted one pair, but really it was three different sizes and I kind of used two on one leg to almost match the long one on the first?

  23. 23
    Alexandra says:

    I have read actual books, books I bought at FULL PRICE, that I found less entertaining than this review. And I like that you are the same kind of knitter as me – the lazy, “I need to be able to watch TV while I do it” sort of knitter.

    Actually, I just realised that is also the way I sometimes like my sex. “Yeah, alright, but you do the work. I’ll be watching Sherlock.”

  24. 24
    moonviolet says:

    knitted starfish are a mother’s best friend: they have no edible moving parts and the shape makes it impossible for a kid swallow it whole :)

  25. 25
    Pheebers says:

    I actually clicked over to buy this book but it’s $9.99 now, too much for an impulse buy.  Love the strawberry hat though.

  26. 26
    Em Khi says:

    Thanks for the funny review! I can knit, but only with a loom, but I still think it’s awesome. I have a dream that one of these days I’ll learn to read patterns, but they just swim in front of my eyes when I try to figure them out!

    And I have to say that I loved baby leg warmers for my baby. I have a ton of Baby Legs in different seasonal and holiday patterns. They are great for keeping little legs warm and a lot easier to put on than tights. I did Elimination Communication, and they are great with a diaper-free baby. And now my daughter is 4, but she still likes to wear them. I didn’t mean to say so much about this :) , but I just wanted to share my perspective as a happy user of baby leg warmers.

  27. 27
    Travesti says:

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