AugustPhoebe's Sweater
Today we've got a treat; guest reviewer Talitha Kuomi shares her family's take on a charming, self-published book by Joanna and Eric Johnson. You'll be seeing more of Talitha, since her book reviewing chops aside, she's a talented designer with a pattern I'm just itching to try in the upcoming Knitcircus Gifts Issue! We've been calling it the Giftlet. Yep, we just published the Fall issue and are already cooking away on our first Holiday Gifts Special Issue, with a dozen knitting patterns! Watch for it to share the website very nicely with the Fall 2010 issue starting September 15th.

Now, take it away, Talitha!

Phoebe’s Sweater

2010 Slate Falls Press, 38 pages

review copy courtesy of Slate Press


When the slim package from
Knitcircus arrived I knew that ‘Phoebe’s Sweater’ was waiting inside. My gut
impulse was to unwrap it immediately and read straight through.  I had, however, already lined up three great
reviewers who I felt were better qualified than I to review this book – my kids.  They had agreed with the one request that
they all got to be present for the very first reading.


As we settled in and
began, ‘One fall day, when the air was crisp and the wind was cool…’ the
detailed illustrations drew them right into the story.  As the tale travels through a year of seasons,
we see snow and sleds, fresh baked bread and bugs, grandparents and a new baby (who
could be a brother or a sister swaddled snuggly in its yellow blanket).  When the story portion of the book ended, the
kids were so taken with the idea that the little mouse’s sweater could be made
‘for real’, they insisted that I read all the patterns in the back out loud as


Then they gave their


My three year old said, “I
will show this to my friend Lydia”, which is her highest compliment as she only
shows Lydia her very best books, followed by “You will make me ‘that’ (Phoebe’s
), right Mamma?” which is also high praise in her world.


My four year old, who is a
very high energy boy, sat still for the whole book, patterns too, and then
said, “Please read it one more time.  I
want to see my favorite page again.”  He
excitedly explained how page 15 was his favorite because Phoebe uses a real
leaf as an umbrella.  Then he settled in,
quite still, for the second reading.


My 10 year old, who loves
to draw, was very taken by the illustrations. 
That the mail-carrying cardinal is distant and small on page three, but
close enough to see the buckles of his backpack on page five fascinated her. 

"Look Mamma, each snowflake really is
different!” was her comment on page nine, and the personalities drawn into the
wedding guests inspired her own artwork for many days to follow.


There are three patterns in
the back.  ‘Phoebe’s Sweater’ is hooded
and long with a slipped stitch pattern across the bodice, at the cuffs, and
along the hem.  The sizes range from
2T-6T (chest 25-29”) with notes for knitting a custom fit.  Next there is the little stuffed mouse that
Phoebe carries throughout the story.  She
is 16” tall, knit in the round, and ‘nearly seamless…except for her ears’.  Also a part of this second pattern is the toy
mouse’s adorable dress, knit top down with eyelet borders at the yoke and
hem.  The final pattern is a miniature of
the first, ‘Phoebe’s Doll Sweater’, sized to fit the knit toy mouse or any
16-18” doll.  The patterns are clearly
laid out and easy to follow.  The photos
of the actual knits are beautiful and they show the sweaters from alternate
angles which is always helpful. ‘Phoebe’s Sweater is pictured in both the
smallest and the largest size.


As I am typing this, my
younger two have caught sight of the book and are sure to want another read through.  So, I will end here and we will head off to
the couch to enjoy this sweet story once again. 
I am curious to see just how many readings it will take before they
notice the spider on page 11 hanging near to Mom Mouse as she cozily knits
Phoebe’s pretty red sweater.  This, of
course, is my favorite page.

 –Talitha Kuomi

Find me on Ravelry as talithakuomi.

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