One of my favorite things about the Indie Design Gift-a-long is the ability to connect with other designers and share those experiences with you all! With that focus in mind this year I’m launching a new category to the blog, where I review works by my fellow indies that have caught my eye, and where applicable, share “what makes it eco.” The first in this (e)”Book Review” series is “Sherlock Knits” by designer Joanna Johnson.
Joanna merges love of literature with knitting in her Slate Falls Press publications. “Sherlock Knits” includes 10 patterns hitting up a variety of skills from color work to steeking, from lacework to texture. My favorite part of the book was in the Note section on Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Cozy, where Joanna included what specific Holmes inspiration lead to the design and the clarity of inspiration is seen in the FO. With 10 great patterns to choose from, it was hard to pick a favorite, so I’ll give my top 3! The designs I love in particular are:
Scotland Yard Vest – as a designer I was fascinated that such detail could be achieved in as little as a 4 row repeat! The little touches of the gold yarn accent and black edging adheres to every image of the Scotland Yard I have from all those BBC murder mysteries. Instagram revealed that Joanna was considering a shaped version for the ladies – that got my vote too!
A Sweater for John – who else has seen the BBC Sherlock series? This sweater is just what I can see Dr. Watson wearing! Hint, hint, Sherlock Holmes costume supervisor!
Elementary in Pashmina – call me a geek, but I love the elementary stitch pattern and how the simple design pops like a secret code for Sherlock to unravel.
With some leftover discontinued stash from New Year’s charity knitting and spare “dessert knitting” time due to being snowed in, I selected Copper Beeches Cowl to knit for our local shelter. The “Adventures of the Copper Beeches” book inspired Joanna’s design. Simplicity and elegance made this the perfect rhythmic knit. I love the variegated yarn unexpected pooling and how it adds to the lace and texture.
What Makes It Eco
Beyond the indie aspect, I was curious to see what other eco features were hidden inside this book. Joanna selected a variety of yarns in her samples & recommendations, some of which are eco:
Made in the USA
– Brown Sheep Company Nature Spun Sport shown in “Mrs Hudson’s Tea Cozy” and “Mycroft & Moriarty Casebook Cozy” is grown & spun in the USA
– Brooklyn Tweed Loft shown in “Scotland Yard Vest” and “Sherlock Hat” is from sheep raised in Wyoming, dyed in Philadephia, and spun in New Hamsphire.
– Madelinetosh Pashmina shown in “Elementary in Pashmina” is ethically sourced & dyed wool.
– Blue Sky Fibers Techno shown in “Copper Beeches Cowl” is from happy factory-farm-free/ cruelty-free alpacas.
Overall, I’d recommend this book and give it 9 out of 10 stars. Why 9 – the few, tiny downsides: lack of detail on garment schematics; headers are same size font as body so takes a bit to find; no header between Notes & beginning of pattern so again takes a bit to find when the page break doesn’t designate the start… but a 9 outta 10 from this designer is a “meets the mark” grade!
Find Joanna Johnson around the world wide web: