Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review - Rustic Modern Knits - and a Giveaway!



Today’s book review includes an interview with the author and a giveaway.

By Yumiko Alexander
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Just want to enter the giveaway? Post your comment here on the blog to enter, and please include contact information – an email or a Ravelry ID.  Tell us why you want to win the book. That’s it. 
Drawing will take place on May 7th.

I had previously seen Yumiko’s designs at Stitches West, and was impressed with the originality of her work. In the book, the Japanese influence made the designs just a bit different from the everyday. They are functional and fashionable, yet not the pieces you’ll find everywhere in clothing stores. A few of my faves:

with permission Interweave/F+W
Wisteria – loose unstructured vest, in sport weight yarn.  


English Garden – large scale entrelac pattern.  

Garden path – chunky scarf, crescent  shape. 

Lotus Lace – in worsted weight  (cover picture)

To be honest, there were a few pieces I didn’t care for, but this just shows that the designer isn’t playing safe – she takes risks.

Here is an interview with the author, Yumiko Alexander.

1.      What led you to publish this book?
I published the Rustic Modern Knits book with Interweave for several reasons.  I love sharing my designs with people and books are a great way to reach a large audience.  Interweave is a great company and produces quality work and has a large customer base.  I also published Rustic Modern Crochet with Interweave the year before.
2.      How would you describe your style?
Many people have said my style is a combination of Japanese and American. I don’t really think about the culture when designing. I know my designs contain simple shapes with fan knitted/crocheted fabric that combined some stitch patterns.
3.      What makes a design work?
I think it needs to be unique.  A useful, functional and stylist design that can’t be found in everyday clothing stores.
The combinations of stitch patterns make attractive garments and keeps knitter’s interests and enjoyment while creating their unique piece.
4.      What is your process like; i.e. what steps do you follow to create a design?
My design ideas come from what I want in my closet.
I keep notes on what I would like to wear and ideas of interesting shapes.  I usually think what style/shape of garment I want to make, then I start swatching.  This part of the process takes most of the time. The swatching process helps me identify what stitch pattern I want to use.  Usually the yarn tells me how it wants to be worked.  While I am knitting, I get more ideas of what I want to add/change to the design.
5.      How do you know when a design will be successful, or do you ever know?
I wish I could predict what will be successful.  After designs are published, I am often surprised with which designs are most popular.
6.      Which are some of your favorite designs - ones you’re just in love with?
“Japanese Lantern” (in Rustic Modern Knits)
“Sands and Shells” (In Rustic Modern Crochet)
“Mesa” (in individual pattern)
7.      Finally, what are you working on right now that has you excited?
Most of my designs are worked in heavier weight than Sport weight/DK weight yarn.  This year, I have been trying to make designs with lighter weight yarn.  I am also making a few designs with Tencel fiber which I have not used in the past.

Thanks, Yumiko!

To recap, if you’d like to win a copy of Rustic Modern Knits, please comment here on the blog. Don’t forget your contact information!

Thanks to Interweave/F+W for the review copy of the book.



  1. I LOVE the shawl "Bricks." Self-striping yarn! Yes!

  2. The green one on the cover is extremely pretty. Would love to make it.

  3. This looks like a lovely collection. Rav amchart

  4. I have been thinking about looking at the projects in this book for a little while now. They are not your run of the mill designs - would like to knit a few (or more).

    finnknitter on Ravelry

  5. I would love to knit the shawl on the cover. Thanks for the giveaway!

    JKnits51 on Ravelry

  6. I like 3 of the shawls I have seen so far, the one on the cover, Bricks and English Garden. I would love to try to knit them someday. Thank you for the giveaway! zookyla on Ravelry

  7. This book has just the type of versatile, interesting, practical accessory patterns that I prefer to knit. I also like that a variety of yarn weights are used.
    Mim58 on Ravelry

  8. I've had my eye on this book--there are several things here I would knit and wear, starting with the Wisteria vest. Thank you for the review and the chance to win!
    Kuntzknit on ravelry

  9. I love your designs, they are a unique beautiful style.

    Ponybird on Ravelry

  10. I really like the Midnight Tendril pattern. It is so unique. I also like the Clematis hat. Those are the two I'd start with.
    Lmecoll on Ravelry

  11. I met Yumika Alexander at Stitches West a few years back. She is kind, helpful, and patient to a newbie knitter! I would like to try one of her patterns. Thank you Brenda!

    Loretta1031 on Ravelry

  12. Love when knitwear designers push the envelope, so t speak - very interesting cosntructions!
    ema2boys on Ravelry

  13. The designs look fresh, so many of the patterns being released now look like what's already out there. I don't want to spend my precious knitting time creating something I can buy in the store.

    Rav: karamel

  14. The Wisteria vest has gone straight on my Ravelry favourites!
    lindarumsey on Ravelry

  15. I love the English Garden! If I should win, I would knit it!
    Sumac on ravelry

  16. I love the unique patterns offered and would love to knit a few of them starting first with the Garden Path scarf.

    rosebudscott1 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  17. I love several of the mits! ajdag on Ravelry

  18. Wisteria caught my eye immediately. Some very unique designs.

    Wrenknits on Ravelry

  19. I really like several of these designs. They're very innovative.
    Rav id RufusAbajus

  20. Absolutely gorgeous patterns.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Pagecsa on rav :)

  21. I have been looking at both her Rustic Knit Patterns and her Rustic Crochet Patterns. I would love to win a copy of this book. Her designs definitly make you feel like you wouldn't get bored while working on them. English Garden would be first on my list. Thanks for doing this give away! I"m Lnmknits on ravelry

  22. Such an exciting book! I'd love to own this one. The patterns are so extremely pretty and quite unusual, also. Wisteria is the one I'd do first, as it looks just right for those cooler summer evenings! Thanks so much for chance to win!

  23. Great interview and love her patterns. I'd love to knit some of her shawls starting with Lotus lace.

    Alikat2004 on

  24. I would love the book because I want to knit the entrelac shawl! The green cover one is also very pretty. With a cold office I have plenty of time to wear such things - and bringing some of the outside in would be wonderful. (mlhobbies at earthlink net)

  25. Beautiful book! If I am so lucky - can be contacted at alcbrooks @

  26. The shawl on the cover is reason enough to want the book! : )
    wahoomerryf on Ravelry

  27. I would love to make Wisteria if I won the book!
    Lcubed on Ravelry

  28. Beautiful pieces to knit , how fun!!

  29. I really like designs inspired by nature, and in this book especially Winter Rose, Lace Lichen, Lotus and Field Of Wheat caught my eye - I'm fond of the personal by way of being different, expressing myself through the things I wear.

    Ravelry name: Cassiopia

  30. I love almost every pattern in this book! I've always been drawn to rustic styles.
    -sameoldknit on IG and ravelry

  31. Her aesthetic is beautiful and the patterns look versatile! Roundaboutyarn on IG.

  32. Ive been wanting to learn to knit properly for a while but im not very good at it. Id give this book to my mum so she can knit me the lovely things in it. :) mokkiblossom on ravelry or my email is in my profile.

  33. Such unique and beautiful designs! I would definitely knit the Wisteria vest; love it!
    I'm chant on Ravelry.

    1. Autocorrect messed up my Rav. name; it's jchant, not chant.

  34. I'd love to make Lotus Lace, and am starting to be able to read my own yarn choice and color schemes onto pattern--these patterns would be perfect tailoring-to-taste experiments.

  35. I've been thinking about buying this book for a while, so winning it would be a bonus. :)
    rav id: karenina4777