|Picture obviously from amazon.com.|
Each of the One Ball books has 20 patterns that only use one skein/hank/ball of yarn to complete. The first chapter of each book covers yarn basics and knitting techniques.
Purses is full of (surprise!) purse patterns. All patterns include instructions for lining and finishing the purses.The purses are everything from clutches, messenger bags, and drawstring purses, all the way up to hobo-style bags and other fashion-forward options.
Gifts has a, uh,... let's call it an "interesting" selection of things to make. Some of the patterns look very nice: a baby pullover, decorative pillows, some really great looking slippers. Others are a bit on the whimsical side: a hot-water bottle cozy, a vase cover, a knitted rectangle that you starch and use as a bowl. Don't get me wrong, they're for the most part very attractive patterns. Those last three though, are things that I'm not entirely sure someone would appreciate receiving as a gift. The gloves, socks, or the slippers (did I mention the slippers? sooooo cute!) would probably go over much better.
One thing I should mention about both of these books is that the patterns all call for a lot of finishing. Basic sewing skills are definitely needed. Plus money to buy things like purse handles, beads, embroidery floss, foam, lining fabric, ribbon, and, in one case, fake fur.
Of the 30 patterns, the following are crochet: a hat, a scarf, three small purses, a bath mitt, and a bathmat. The knitting patterns range from three baby patterns, leg warmers, the traditional hat/scarf/glove patterns, to some odd stash-busters. The latter bunch include knitted cupcakes, a pom-pm scarf, and an interesting rug. More normal options are a few nice looking bags/purses.
Overall, I'd say it's not a bad choice if you have one skein of stuff floating around in your stash and you want to get it out of there. Several of these projects would be fast knits that are good to have around for emergency presents.
Copies reviewed from the Christiansburg Library