I love this book! When the first official Wizarding World knitting book, Harry Potter: the magic of knitting, was released in 2020, the designs were so apt, adorable, creative and awesome that I didn’t think I could be outdone. But author Tanis Gray, whom Leaky interviewed to hear about his inspiration for the first Magic of knitting pattern book, has indeed outdone itself in this second edition, which includes patterns inspired by fantastic beasts. I hope there will be a third! Yes, we Potter knitters are insatiable! But I’m moving forward.
I’m not a gushing person by nature, more akin to the demeanor of that austere Scottish professor McGonagall, but I like almost everything in this book. Even the Acknowledgments are lovely, with lines like “a Grawp-sized thank you to…” and “Love you, Dumble” used to express the author’s gratitude to those who helped her through this. which must have been a delicious but monumental task of solicitation. , selecting, testing, describing and editing patterns from this collection of magical knitwear.
The physical book is identical to the first, a sturdy hardback that looks substantial, with glossy color photos and clear, organized text, graphics, and diagrams with imperial and metric measurements. The grids are in color. Yes. The grids are in color! It’s such a useful feature that I can’t bear the thought of using a chart without it. Alas, the two-tone beanie I’m currently knitting uses cryptic symbols for colors. Maybe I’ll color it in myself, now that I’ve seen the difference it makes. Knitting charts are already enough like deciphering ancient runes that anything done to ease the fatigue of tired eyes/minds is salvation. Returning to the first Magic of knitting book, there were also color charts, but somehow the feature didn’t jump out at me the way it does now.
As in the first book, there is a list of yarn company websites for finding yarns used in patterns, as well as a more comprehensive list of abbreviations in a less tedious lowercase font. The glossary is, again, a nice touch as it explains knitting terms such as short rows and stranded colors, as well as various cast-on and bind-off types. My only complaint would be that the illustrations would have been very helpful here. Based on my experience as an editor, I expect images to have been considered and left out for space constraints. I understand that but it limits the usefulness of the glossary instructions. I, at least, would need pictures to understand most of them. A series of short YouTube video tutorials or online diagrams to accompany the book would fill this gap.
Stills from the movies, quotes and ‘Behind the Magic’ tunes are scattered among the designs. My favorite is the information that the snow in the Great Hall was produced digitally, which is why it never lands on students or tables in the house. I guess the days of a crew member hiding in the ceiling shaking soap flakes are long gone.
There are 28 patterns, same number as in the first book, divided into four sections.
The first section gives us patterns for stuffed animals. The initial book featured a Cornish Pixie, Fluffy and Hedwig. I don’t think Knitted Hedwig will ever be topped, but this Knitting Magic series features a Niffler, with a pocket to hide her hoard of stolen shiny items. It’s smartly constructed, and doing so will introduce you to a variety of useful knitting techniques, if you don’t already know them, including Kitchener stitch, short rows, I-Cord and live stitch pick-up. I could use a bead or eyes from a craft store rather than wire eyes if the Niffler isn’t made for a small child who might ingest them. Pickett is our next knitted creature, who has cleverly concealed pipe cleaners that allow him to be mobile. This section is completed by a trio of round-headed dolls representing Harry, Ron and Hermione.
The second section features costume replicas from the movies, starting with Newt Scamander’s vintage house scarf. Newt was a Hufflepuff but you can customize it for your own house. Heathered yarn gives wide stripes a more subtle look than modern house scarves. My only complaint is that it claims to use a non-jogging striping technique but the jogging is visible in the sample photo. Ron’s flapper hat is next, followed by a hat Ginny wore Goblet of Fire. Both models are good at evoking their respective characters, but they share the problem that the costume designer for the films made the Weasley children’s wardrobes deliberately ugly, reflecting Molly Weasley’s bad taste and the family’s economic constraints. . In contrast, the Hogwarts Quidditch jumper and Tina Goldstein’s cloche hat are movie replicas that function as attractive and flattering garments regardless of the story.
The penultimate section is the largest, with 16 models of clothing and accessories. It includes the playful and cozy hood of the Hogwarts Express, a cute scarf filled with creatures from Newt’s magic suitcase and a sweater adorned with Honeydukes sweets, all in stranded colors. House-colored accessories include ribbed mittens and house mascot hats. My favorite pattern in this section is the marauder socks pattern. I also like the Hogwarts castle cowl. But I’m afraid my appreciation for spiders doesn’t extend to wanting to wear a scarf with an Acromantula pattern, but I think it’s a wonderful pattern nonetheless. Other patterns in this section are also inspired by magical creatures, including owls and Occamys. Some models feature artifacts from the movies such as Horcruxes, airship plums, the Elder wand, and even Gigglewater from the prohibition-era speakeasy in fantastic beasts. Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt inspired a Nigerian-themed hat design and Professor McGonagall a Scottish-themed cape. This cape would be on my favorites list if it was covered in Celtic knots rather than a diamond pattern.
The last section includes bags and decoration. Hermione’s beaded bag is thoughtfully constructed, lined and lightly beaded. This pattern is a bit of a sore spot for me as almost a decade ago I was asked to submit a pattern to an unofficial Harry Potter knitwear collection and didn’t finish my bag in time, mainly because it had, I’m not kidding, over 9,000 beads, which had to be pre-strung and ended up tangling the thread so badly that the mess still ignominiously trails around like a UFO.
Professor Trelawney’s mat bag is well made and would probably work, with the optional liner, as a knitting project bag. The colorwork pattern is cheerful, with hearts and flowers. The “Dobby is free” mini socks are meant to be strung on a garland but I’d be inclined to make them for a small child, or, if you feel like doing a bit of math to measure them, for an adult.
A cheerful Christmas tree skirt features a repeating pattern of trees, owls and snowflakes. It sparkles with pearls in the trees and like the eyes of owls. (An intrepid knitter could also add some to the snowflakes.) It’s thankfully knit in the round, so no seams are involved. If that tree skirt was a Howler, it would scream “Legacy!” There’s plenty of time to knit one for your own tree before next Christmas, and even knit several to give as gifts. If I have children or grandchildren one day, they will each have one.