Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Pair of Beautiful Books

Two books have recently come into my life that have made me drop everything else in favor of 'ooh'-ing and 'aah'-ing with every page turn. The first book is Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, written by my favorite ice cream maker Jeni Britton Bauer, and the second is Little Red in the City, written by my favorite knitwear designer Ysolda Teague. Both highly-anticipated books have lived up to their hype, making it pretty much seem like Christmas for me this week.

I know you're eager to hear about the knitting book, but I'm going to tell you about this amazing ice cream book while I still have your undivided attention. You may have heard of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream from knitters who attend TNNA, as it is a popular destination while at the convention in Columbus, Ohio. For those of you who have never heard of the brand, Jeni's is known for their bold flavors such as 'Salty Caramel' and 'Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries', as well as their unusual ice cream flavors like 'Olive Oil with Pepita'. Each batch is artisanly crafted and deeply flavorful.

If you love Jeni's ice cream (and you should), you will love this book. She gives away the recipes for her most popular flavors plus many more. There are also recipes for amazing sundaes, colorful push-pops, and delicious ice cream add-ins. Additionally, the book is beautifully laid out and the instructions are clear. I made the 'Baked Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt' and let me tell you that it was incredible. If you've ever thought about making ice cream, you should buy this book.

Now, onto the knitting book! You probably know by now that I have a bad case of Ysolda Fever, so I was just a bit excited to get my hands on a copy of Little Red in the City. The book itself is beautiful and the patterns are classic and lovely. Little Red is a sweater book, both in terms of patterns and techniques, but it stands out in this classification because of its egalitarian view of sizing: the patterns are written for bust sizes from 28" to 60" in 2" increments and each finished sweater is modeled on both a smaller and a larger body. That is quite an accomplishment and one that will benefit every knitter who picks up this book.

Beyond the sweater patterns, there is a great amount of information on swatching, picking the best yarn, and choosing the pattern size and making necessary adjustments based upon the actual measurements of your body. I particularly liked the discussion, complete with photos of a sweater on a resizable dressform, of how bust should not be the sole factor in choosing size. Ysolda furthers this discussion by addressing modifications that make a sweater truly fit. The book gives detailed examples, complete with calculations, of adding short-rows to the bust, increasing ease in the sleeves, and moving a cable motif vertically to flatter the waist. All of this information transforms Little Red from a pattern book into a valuable resource.

I could write at length about either of these books, but perhaps it's best just to say that they've both impressed me with their depth of information, clear instructions, and attractive layouts. I highly recommend both Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Little Red in the City.


Kanobles said...

Both books look excellent! I'm about to try out our new ice cream maker attachment... maybe I'll need to add these to my wish list!

Kristin said...

Ice cream maker attachment? I assume for a stand mixer? I have a separate ice cream maker from my stand mixer, but I might have to invest in a special attachment if my love of making this ice cream holds up.

(And you should definitely add both books to your wish list, but I'm admittedly biased!)