Knits from an English Rose by Louisa Harding is a collection of knitted accessories with lots of textural lace and floral details. The book is mostly scarves, wraps, hats, and mitts with a few other accessory patterns as well. All the patterns in the book were knit using Louisa Harding brand yarns but its pretty easy to substitute out in most cases. Her Luzia faux fur yarn (which is some of the most realistic fur yarn I’ve ever seen) is a bit harder to come by as other brands of faux fur yarn don’t hold a candle to hers. Luzia is also insanely pricey so I’m probably not likely to knit the couple patterns that feature it anyway.
Most of my friends know I have a terrible soft spot for just about everything Louise Harding does. Her knitting books are always so beautifully styled and her aesthetic is modern vintage classic. So I always want to buy her books and patterns. In the end though, I don’t knit nearly as many of her patterns as I stock pile.
Louise Harding patterns have two flaws that make me a little crazy. First, she writes out her lace patterns and never includes a chart. So, despite loving the look of her lace scarves and wraps, I have never knit one because I really prefer knitting lace with a chart. I have knit a few of her lace patterned hats and love them so I should probably overlook the no-chart thing at some point.
My second grumble is that most of her garment designs are knit flat and seamed. Now I understand there are often advantages to this technique for stability and structure, I’ve stumbled across handwarmer patterns designed to be knit flat which I think is ridiculous. Luckily, most of her hat patterns are designed to be knit in the round which is probably why I’ve knit a lot of those.
Now, I’ll talk about what I love. Louise Harding has an amazing sense of color and of drama. She also creates a lot of scarf patterns which are not so easy to find these days with everyone loving cowls and shawls so much. I prefer scarves partly because they are more vintage as compared to the modern cowl trend. I find scarves easier to wear — I can twist them tight around my neck to brace myself against the cold and then either drape it loosely around my shoulders or neck when indoors. Scarves can be tied, wrapped or draped with a lot more ease for me than cowls. That’s just my personal preference.
There are several capelet/wraps in Knits from an English Rose that I think are beautiful. The Lulu Lacy Capelet actually has sleeves which is quite lovely and whimsical.
Louisa designs a lot of berets. I love berets. Berets are good. Louisa also tends to design berets with a deep band which I find very attractive. There are two berets in English Rose that I’d knit in a heartbeat, Faye Ruby Beret and the Bette Bow Beret.
Louisa add lots of embellishments to her patterns like knitted flowers, knitted bows, buttons and ribbons and I’ve found that if I take the time to add these embellishments, the finished pieces are always worth the extra effort. I suspect the same will hold true for the patterns in English Rose.