Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

The best gift ever


This Christmas, I received a surprise, and treasured gift from my aunt.  She’s been doing some sorting out of her stuff, and came across some knitting books.  As she no longer knits (I wish she did), she decided to gift them to me.

Patricia Roberts' second knitting book

What a treasure!  Patricia Roberts was at the forefront of the knitting revolution of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The early Patricia Roberts books inspired many of the UK hand-knitters of the early 1980s to take up their needles – including Kaffe Fassett it seems!  This book was printed in 1983.

If you’d like to know more about Patricia, I came across an interesting, short interview with her here and another more recent one here.  My aunt made the comment that she loved how her work was so textural, and indeed, she’s known as the pioneer of 3D knitting, using bobbles and other amazing shapes that stand out in relief to the knitting.

I’m amazed at the detail in her patterns.  Intarsia, cables, various stitch patterns, slipped stitches and bobbles, often all in the same design… have a look at this:

Patricia Roberts design

How about this one:

Another designI feel a little woozy just looking at it… how long would it take you to knit that!?

Last one:


Although her designs take my breath away and make my head spin, I’m not quite sure I’d actually want to knit any of it.  I’m obviously a boring knitter.  There’s definitely a sense of adventure in her knitting that we don’t see much of these days.  I think the world has become a sadder place after the horrific acts of terrorism and the unhealthy economic conditions that we’re still experiencing, and to me, this is being reflected in our clothing and lifestyle choices.

On a lighter note, look up Patricia Roberts on Ravelry, and see what some very talented knitters have done with her designs.  There are some very beautiful examples, and it’s made me decide that I’ve perhaps been too hasty in deciding not to knit one of her patterns.

The second book that my aunt gifted me is an earlier book (1972) and of a more practical nature.

Golden hands specialI definitely want to knit some of these:

70'sIf you take away the middle slit of the first design, and replace it with a cable down the middle, I think it would look very modern.  The second design is classic.

I’m desperate to knit this one:

Cables and laceAll I need to do is make it long-sleeved and length the torso, and it will be perfect!  Once I get through with the design for the cowl (nearly done on the 3rd sample, so it won’t be long now), this will be my reward knit.

It’s quite interesting what people crocheted back then.

Crochet lovelinessThe two below are also classic designs.  I think the ribbed polo neck (with less polo) will be the design I knit with that very nice black and white marled alpaca.

DSC08092Many thanks to my generous aunt for these beautiful books.  They’ve been giving me many hours of happy reading and dreaming as I rifle through my stash looking for suitable yarns to match to these designs!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

11 thoughts on “The best gift ever

  1. You are so lucky to receive such a lovely gift. Your aunt would be happy that the books have gone to someone who appreciates them.

    I wonder if anyone has worn a crocheted bikini in the surf?

  2. Wow, these are fantastic. I guess it proves that great design is timeless.

  3. I’m experiencing a wave of nostalgia (yes, and a little bit of envy)! I’m sure you’ll find plenty of inspiring elements in that kind gift.

  4. What a treasure … even if you don’t ever knit anything from Robert’s book, you’ve got a lovely piece of knitting history in those pages.

  5. What lovely books !
    Checked out Ravelry and indeed, there are some amazing Roberts’ sweaters, especially the unicolour ones. As for the multicoloured ones; I think it would be really fun to knit, but I can’t picture myself ever actually wéaring any of ’em…
    Same goes for the bikini’s… hihi… I do happen to have some old ( 70’s I guess ) knit & crochet book myself, also showing a crocheted bikini. Thusfar I none of my friends is willing to give that one a try… how strange… even though I said that if they would, I’d go for the knitted swimsuit to acoompany them… 😉

    • It was indeed the unicolour versions of the multicolour that persuaded me these were lovely designs that could still be worn with a little modern adaptation.

      I can imagine you’ve had some very funny conversations with your friends about crocheted and knitted swimwear! 😀

  6. What great gifts. I LOVE the older books, we can get so much inspiration from the designs. Happy knitting!

  7. I think I have the mens version of that all you can knit and crochet book – it is HILARIOUS! I can’t persuade Mr Myrtle to wear any of it…
    I’m not sure I’d describe the first lot of patterns as having a sense of adventure… they certainly have a sense of humour!

  8. How cool to receive these! I especially love the second one. The only vintage knitting gear I’ve inherited are my grandmother’s old, straight needles. I wish she and my great aunt still knitted. My grams used to knit arglye and intarsia socks!

  9. Oooh flashbacks to London early 80’s 🙂