Wednesday, May 12, 2010

60 Quick Knits

60 Quick Knits, newly published this spring by Sixth & Spring Books, is a 160-page knitting book dedicated to the very popular Cascade 220 yarn. The book contains patterns for twenty hats, twenty mitts, and twenty scarfs, with each pattern being suitable for every level of knitter. As I write this review, there are already, on Ravelry, a website dedicated to knitters and crocheters, close to 50,000 completed projects that have used Cascade 220 Wool. The yarn has a rating of 4.5/5 stars and is, at present, the most popular yarn on the site. The yarn is affordable, the yardage is good and the colours are many. The heathers alone are wonderful. And now there is a book written just for this yarn.

Laura and I always seem to have a small project on the go. Something quick to knit, one we can complete between our larger projects. When we were asked to review 60 Quick Knits, featuring Cacade 220, we were thrilled.

Flipping through the pages of the book we are pleased to see that there are many small projects that can be easily finished in a couple of days: fun kid animal mitts and hats with tiny pockets; masculine scarves and hats; and plenty of feminine mitts, scarves and hats.

The pattern that caught my eye is the smart Slip Stitched Hat, by Alexandra Tinsley. It's a pattern for a simple hat with a gartered brim and a body of fabric containing a collection of stitches which are worked in 8 rounds of knitting creating a vertical zig-zag pattern. Laura's favourite is the charming Starfish Hat, by Anne Farnham. Laura loves her bobbles and any left leaning/right leaning shaping she appreciates. But we both agree that there is one striped and ruffled wrap which is not a strong pattern. The fact that the model in the photo is wearing a floppy hat does not highlight the scarf well. Perhaps if the scarf were solid, if the ruffle were knit in stockinette and on much larger needles, the ruffle would flop and be airy instead of appear stiff and awkward, at which point the scarf might be salvageable.

The patterns feature different techniques for a beginning knitter and are interesting enough for experienced knitters. Cables, bobbles, reading a charts, and slipstitch colour work are classics and 60 Quick Knits covers the gamut. Learning different techniques on a smaller scale allows a beginning knitter to try something new on a projects that is attainable. The book features a project-rating meter that lets you know the skill level needed for each project. We have the Basket Weave Scarf for our readers to download. Simply e-mail us and we will post you a bette quality file.

We are surprised to see there are not any felting projects. Cascade 220 has proven an excellent and standard felting yarn. So, here are two free patterns (Ravelry links are here and here) for our readers to experience.

In sixty patterns we agree there are more than 3/4 worth knitting. Twiss & Weber recommend 60 Quick Knits.

-Tonia Weber