**I was gifted a copy of this book for the purpose of review by the publisher. All opinions expressed are solely my opinion and do not reflect the opinions of the author, publisher, photographer, or any other parties related to the book.**
When I heard the book Green Gables Knits was being written by my friend Joanna Johnson, I knew it was going to be a welcome addition to my library. My great-grandmother gifted me the entire set of the Anne of Green Gables books when I was young, and I fell in love with witty and spunky Anne, her sweet yet somewhat vain best friend Diana, and the wise and loving Marilla and Matthew. I have vivid memories of being horrified with Anne when she dyes her hair “black,” and worrying for Diana drinking too much Strawberry Cordial. The movies to this day are still my Grandpa Don’s favorite movies, and I remember snuggling with my Grandma on her sheepskin couch watching them.
Green Gables Knits: Patterns for Kindred Spirits by Joanna Johnson of Slate Falls Press is a timeless interpretation of the classic Anne stories. Joanna worked with the heirs of L. M. Montgomery to create patterns that reflect the characters we all have loved for generations. Quotes from the book and vintage photographs from L. M. Montgomery’s life are woven throughout the book, adding to the rich setting.
Eight patterns remind us of the characters that hold a special place in our hearts. Joanna starts off with Anne’s Carpet Bag, knit in Brown Sheep Company’s Shepherd Shades and felted, adding a fantastic handle and purse bottom. I have seen this bag in person, and it is ONE GREAT TRAVELING BAG. It’s sturdy and well constructed and represents Anne’s character so well. From there we see kind and gentle Matthew’s Vest, Marilla’s Apron (beautiful, yet practical when knit in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, which washes like a dream), and Diana’s Hat, my new go-to gifting pattern for my own dear-to-me friends. Rachel’s Table Runner and Miss Stacey’s Shawl are beautiful pieces that are simple, down-to-earth, and elegant. Finally, Anne’s Sweater and Gilbert’s Scarf bring our favorite couple in the story to life. Both are timeless pieces with just enough texture and are stunning in their simplicity.
The patterns themselves are easy to understand, well-constructed, and accessible to a variety of skill levels. (Each pattern’s difficulty is marked by a number of adorable carrots.) So far I have knit Gilbert’s Scarf, Diana’s Hat, and most recently Anne’s Sweater. (I am working on photographing my new sweater this week and writing a separate blog post on it, but let me say that this is definitely my new favorite, wear-all-the-time, goes-with-everything sweater.) Every time I knit a pattern by Joanna I feel like an intelligent knitter; there aren’t a lot of surprises or difficult techniques, but the overall effect she creates is gorgeous. Each of the patterns includes techniques and stitch patterns that can easily be utilized in future projects. Brown Sheep Company yarn is used throughout the entire book, creating a textured, earthy feel to each project while staying on a more manageable budget. Many of the projects would also look beautiful in handspun yarn.
The book itself is printed in paperback in a smaller square shape, making it easy to fit in my knitting bag with my project. The only thing I would have changed about the book is to have it spiral bound, but this is easily remedied with a few dollars and a quick trip to Kinko’s. The price point is also very reasonable, at $14.95 for a paper edition or $12.00 for a digital copy. Of the eight patterns, I definitely plan to knit at least five of them and the techniques I learned make it a great value. The photographs are also fantastic, showing the details of each piece while capturing the setting of Green Gables using character-appropriate models and beautiful lighting technique.
Overall, I feel this book is a fantastic addition to my knitting library. Thank you, Joanna, for gifting me this book and giving me the opportunity to share it with my readers and listeners! Be sure to check out her Etsy shop, where you can find Green Gables Knits, along with her other books like Pheobe’s Birthday.