Book review: Lace One-Skein Wonders…

book coverA few years ago, one of our knitting group brought a book along to the pub where we meet and we were all taken with it: the first in the One-Skein Wonders series, edited by Judith Durant. I really liked the idea, but I didn’t care for many of the patterns. Then another one appeared and I preferred that, but the best so far is undoubtedly – well, according to me, anyway – the Luxury Yarn volume. They’re a nifty idea – every single pattern uses just one skein, and like many other people I find luscious single skeins quite hard to resist. And then I also create my own, though they’re often a little light on the luxury element and a little heavier on the noils and bumps than is usual. The other thing I really like about the series as a whole is that the patterns – always generous in number – come from a variety of designers, so if you don’t care for X’s design approach, there’s always Y’s distinctive style.

But I’ve got a new candidate for favourite in the series. This one, Lace One-Skein Wonders. It follows the same format, in essence: a shedload of patterns, all using a single skein, from a number of different designers.

book 3

They cover all sorts of things – hats, socks, mittens, baby wear (little fingers in fine lace? Mind you, I suppose the stickiness factor would prevent too much damage), headbands, even a couple of belts, and a whole range of shawls and scarves. These particularly appeal to me (I’m soooo predictable).

As it happens, I was looking for a pattern which would suit some BFL/silk I’ve just spun. It’s very soft and won’t wear amazingly well, so a cowl would be ideal. I’d been through all my magazines (and, believe me, I’ve a LOT of magazines) but I couldn’t find one I both liked and which didn’t require more yardage than I had available. And then, flicking through, I found it – the purple one:


That will do very well indeed.

I took the book along to the Knitting Natterers, several of whom are also One-Skein fans. It took ages to go round (always a good sign), and there was some debate about favourite patterns. This peacock-tail-like shawl won out on points,

book 4

though there were some who came down strongly in favour of this brown crochet number:


I really am going to have to learn, aren’t I?

I always like taking anything I’m sent to review to the group; getting other views is always useful, even when you know that something is going to go down so well that people will hit Amazon on their return home (and at least two of them have; another has told her partner that she needs it for Christmas).

cover2Sometimes reactions completely surprise me… and that was the case with another title, Knit Christmas Stockings, edited by Gwen Steege. This isn’t my thing, really; I’m too much of a Frog, perhaps, or perhaps not; maybe it’s just too American for the UK market, or so I thought. But one of the group really liked it. For myself, I feel that my Christmas panic knitting is more likely to be composed of real socks – knitted on two needles – or items for the big local craft fair, where the more utilitarian items sell best. But at least one household near here will have a beautifully knitted stocking hanging from a mantlepiece this year. I am personally going to adopt my usual stance re Christmas: pretend it isn’t happening until it’s much closer, and then have a frantic, insane panic.


6 thoughts on “Book review: Lace One-Skein Wonders…

  1. Sue

    Hi Kate,
    Is this the BFL you were spinning when I came along to your Sunday spinning group while I was on my honeymoon in Dolgellau? That was gorgeous, and I can see why the Indian Paintbrush won for it. I added it to my Rav favs, and noticed it can be worked in three sizes, so perfect for whatever yardage you ended up with.

    Best wishes
    Sue x

    1. kate Post author

      Hi Sue, that’s the one, it’s YUMMY. I’ve probably not got enough, though, for the size I really want, but I did buy some cream BFL/silk mix which is even softer, so that could go with it… Hmmm…

      It’s a lovely pattern, isn’t it?

  2. Lydia

    Mmm, the one skein wonders book looks interesting – I have found, astonishingly, in an op shop over here (charity shop) one skein of Madeleine Tosh sock in peacock blue. I will never ever have another so do I just keep it and look at it or do I actually make something with it? I wonder what you will make with your handspun – so precious indeed. At the moment my attention is on baby knitting as a new little girl grandchild will be coming along in the next few weeks….. pink knitting for me is a no no so the brighter the better….. have fun.

    1. kate Post author

      MADELEINE TOSH?????? In a charity shop????? Wowzer! (Friends of mine did find some Colinette Point 5 in one near here, so ours aren’t entirely full of acrylic, just mostly).

      Baby knitting is so rewarding – quick and useful. I knitted my nephew (now, ahem, 23) a lovely little Fair Isle. He wore it to death and then it went round all his cousins. Probably still going strong somewhere.


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