What do you think of when you think of Harry Potter? I’m sure any number of images appear in your mind, but I’ll bet one of them is the long house scarves that the students wear at Hogwarts. And maybe the sweaters that the Weasleys (and Harry) get at Christmastime. Maybe you’ve always wanted one of your own, but don’t have a pattern. A new book has got you covered.
Recently published is Harry Potter: Knitting Magic: The Official Harry Potter Knitting Pattern Book. That this is an official Harry Potter knitting pattern book should lend some weight to it being on your shelf. It’s put together by Tanis Gray, a knitting and craft expert, with the patterns authored by a collection of people. Everything “officially Harry Potter” that I’ve seen has been of high quality, so you know the powers that be are making sure there’s quality control in place.
The projects in the book are all knitting, and vary in difficulty from one lightning bolt to five lightning bolts. I can knit, but I’m not too skilled yet, so I’m comfortable with the one and two lightning bolt projects. Some of the really impressive ones, though, are more difficult. Fortunately, I’m only 46 and have plenty of years to learn more knitting skills.
Here are some of my favorite patterns in the book: a stuffed Hedwig, Mrs. Weasley’s Home-Knit Christmas Sweaters, Hogwarts House Scarves, Mirror of Erised Cabled Cowl, Buckbeak Pullover, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic Capelet, The Deathly Hallows Lace-Knit Beaded Shawl, The Sorting Hat Hanging Display, and Order of the Phoenix Lace-Knit Throw Blanket (which requires some very long circular needles). That should demonstrate the variety of pattern selections.
Though it’s been out for over a month, I’m a very slow knitter and it’s taken me this long to try out a couple of the patterns (even though I received the book late last year!). I started easy with The Seven Horcrux Washcloths, since they’re just basic knitting, purling, and counting. Then I moved on to a project that looked manageable, the Golden Snitch Socks.
The Seven Horcruxes Washcloths (one lightning bolt in difficulty) are a fun project. As you knit each row, you get to slowly see the image emerge, like the world’s slowest dot matrix printer. It is hard to knit these while doing anything else, though, because each row has different knitting/purling numbers to count. In the above photo, I knit the green one, and my teenage daughter is working on the yellow one. There are seven patterns, of course, so you can have a whole horcrux washcloth set (or gift one to your favorite Potterphile), and it’d be fun to knit them with a craft group, each person doing a different horcrux.
The Golden Snitch Socks (three lightning bolts in difficulty) were an adventure. The fact that I’d never knitted socks, nor knitted in the round, nor knitted in more than one color, didn’t deter me. It probably should have, though, as the learning curve was quite steep. I tried circular knitting needles and that was a disaster because I couldn’t keep the tension. So I took a page out of my mom’s (not literal) knitting book and went with double pointed needles. They were a bit tricky, but, with the help of some rubber stoppers on the ends to boost my confidence, they did the trick. But with the size 2 yarn, it took forever to make any progress. I learned the hard way not to carry yarn too tightly. I may not ever make socks again, but I will use all the techniques I learned making these for other, future projects.
Having worked through two of the patterns and studied numerous others, I can say with confidence that the patterns in this book are very well done and easy to follow, even for someone who still considers herself a novice. There are plenty of clear, detailed instructions with standard knitting terminology, along with pattern charts for everything you need, and lots of photos of the finished item to guide you. There were a few terms and techniques I wasn’t familiar with, such as the kitchener stitch, but it’s all explained in the glossary in the back along with a chart of knitting abbreviations. You can always visit YouTube for visual demonstrations, too, if you’re still having a hard time.
The project I really want to tackle in this book is the Hogwarts House Cardigan (fortunately, just two lightning bolts in difficulty), but I knew I’d never get that project done in time to write up this review. So that’s next, for the future.
In addition to the detailed knitting patterns and lots of photos, the book includes scenes from the movies, concept art, Behind the Magic facts, and more. I wouldn’t buy it just for this small amount of bonus material, but it helps set the mood for the knitting projects, to be sure.
In short, if you love all things Harry Potter and you love to knit (especially if you’ve got some experience), the Harry Potter: Knitting Magic: The Official Harry Potter Knitting Pattern Book should be in your knitting library. Full stop. This book is so well done, and the wide variety of knitting projects means there’s something in here for every Harry Potter fan. Get it now and start knitting those holiday gifts!
Tip: Though magic wands are vaguely knitting needle shaped, I don’t recommend using them for knitting. You might accidentally place a curse on your dog!
Note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.