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Book Review: Gorgeous Knitted Afghans by Fatema, Khadija, and Hajera Habibur-Rahman

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Gorgeous Knitted Afghans is a pretty self-explanatory title. Written by sisters Fatema, Khadija and Hajera Habibur-Rahman, this collection of 33 afghan patterns really does, for the most part, live up to its name. The patterns use a variety of techniques – cables, intarsia, lace, modular – to present a wide variety of patterns for every taste and skill level.

“Mediterranean Watercolors” uses a simple double-wrap stitch to make a quick knit. The smorgasbord of yarns all work well together, which is a delicate line to tread. “A Painter’s Palette” uses a variegated yarn, though the sophisticated diamond pattern would look just as lovely with a solid yarn. “Counterpane Classic” is a modern update on a traditional bedspread. “Autumn Twilight” uses a basic cell pattern, though the mohair yarn it is knit with obscures much of the stitch pattern. “Era,” for experience knitters only, is a cabled lace pattern, accented with bobbles, and perfect for “showing off your technique.” “Silky Lights” is an undulating lace pattern, though it is knit in wide stripes, which takes away from the simple beauty of the pattern.

“Berries in a Basket” creates a simple mock-cable design, spiced up with wide stripes of complimentary berry colors. “Lace and Pearls” is a delicate, cascading lace pattern, spiced up with large pearl beads knit into tassles. “Cross Lane Cables” incorporates a bit of cabling into an otherwise rib-knit afghan that is not fussy or girly. “Cashmere Earthtones” combines a diamond cable pattern in individual squares. “Stormy Weather” offers a complex pattern of cables and braiding to create an exquisite, sophisticated afghan. “Days-Gone-By Garden” is a very girly basketweave pattern studded with knit flowers, sewed on afterwards. “Sporting Plaid” uses three complimentary yarns to create a very effective plaid blanket using intarsia.

“Sweet Honey” misses the mark. Knit in varying shades of retro orange, the center is a honeycomb pattern, surrounded by a wide border of fun fur, and accented with pom-poms. Even in a more flattering color, it is still just too busy. “Fascinating Rhythm,” the cover afghan, is a little overwhelming with mitered diamonds and marled, tweed-flecked yarns. “Bold Heritage” uses intarsia to create ancient “symbols” that look almost Native American, but not quite. “Bold and Beautiful” uses a thick chenille yarn and bright colors against a black background to create a startling pattern that resembles 8-bit graphics. Probably best suited for your pre-teen. “Glamour” is a red-and-black afghan with wide zig-zag pattern that would be more effective without using marled, tweedy, thick-n-thin yarn.

There are many, many more patterns in here. Definitely a worthwhile collection.

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