It's so easy to start knitting and go on knitting scarves in simple stitch patterns forever. There's nothing wrong with straight pieces and basic stitches, but there comes a time in every knitter's life when she ought to step it up a bit: try cables, lace, colorwork, felting and some of the other techniques that make knitting a lot more fun.
Knit, crochet and yarn designer Vickie Howell has taken it upon herself to help teach the masses of knitters stuck in the "easy" skill level patterns to move on up the scale with relatively quick, accessible accessory patterns using a range of techniques with her book Step it Up Knits: Take Your Skills to the Next Level with 25 Quick and Stylish Projects.
About the Book
- Pages: 144
- Number of patterns: 25
- Skill level: none given; all are intended for advanced beginner or intermediate knitters -- or people who want to be at that level
- Illustrations: full-color photographs, color charts
- Knitting lessons: the basics aren't covered here, but a techniques section at the front of the book covers the beyond-basic moves you'll need for the projects in this book, such as cabling, knitting in the round and basic crochet
- Publication date: September 2012
Learning to Fly
The beginning of Step it Up Knits covers all the techniques beyond knit and purl that knitters will need to complete the projects in the book. This is nice insurance that the knitter won't feel like any project she or he likes in the book is beyond them, and it shows that there's not a whole of technique between new knitters and those with these special skills.
One thing I would have liked with this section would have been slightly larger pictures (the instructions for a short row heel turn, for example, have 10 photos and they all fit on one page with room to spare), but I know that's an economy on the part of the publisher and in no way the author's fault. You can still see what you need to see, you just need to focus and take it one step at a time.
That said, most of the book is devoted to the 25 patterns for fun accessories, and they all have large and pretty pictures by Austin photographer Jody Horton. A lot of the projects use Howell's yarn, but of course you could use any medium weight yarn you have on hand for many of the projects.
There are fingerless gloves, hats, legwarmers, socks, cowls, baby pants, a scarf, a purse and more. Each pattern uses one of more special skill that makes it stepped up. The scarf, for instance, is in Brioche Rib. A cowl uses cables and dropped stitches, while a toddler hat uses mitered squares.
It's fun to see how relatively easy techniques can make a project a lot more interesting, and these details will make these patterns appealing to knitters who are new to the techniques as well as those with more experience.
There's a lot to like in this collection, but some of my favorites are the Mo' Warmers, wrist warmers worked in a mosaic slip-stitch pattern; Boot Legged, long Seed Rib socks; the super-cute zebra striped Wild Warmers (toddler leg warmers); the aforementioned Squared Up toddler's beanie made of mitered squares; Cape Dear, an adorable cape once again for toddlers; Hoodwinked, a long-sleeved shrug with detachable hood; and the cute little Felt Good Bag, which is an easy knit embellished with needle felting.
Step it Up Knits offers a nice collection of accessories for men, women and kids that will help knitters build their skills with high-impact, low-commitment projects. If you're a knitter who could use a boost in your skill set, or you know a knitter who needs to be gently nudged away from one more scarf, this book is a great choice.