Warmer weather calls for cooler clothes, but that doesn't mean you can't wear and enjoy hand knit garments, as Deborah Newton proves in her book Warm Weather Knits.
This collection of 19 patterns -- mostly for women but including a man's vest and a child's sweater -- uses lacy stitches, light fibers and skimpier styles to make knit garments more appropriate for warm days.
Warm Weather Knits includes patters for tops, shawls, pullovers, twinsets and other projects that are ideal for wearing (and knitting) when it's warm outside. All of the patterns are rated for intermediate knitters, and those that have sizes offer four options.
Pattern notes explain the characteristics of the yarn that was used for each project so knitters will understand what makes each a cool choice and what to look for if they want to substitute yarn for their own version of the project. Readers will find lots of cotton here, but also bamboo, hemp, linen, silk and even wool blends.
One criticism I have of the book is that these notes are printed in a different color for each pattern and some of the colors, particularly the pinks, are somewhat difficult or straining to read. That's a shame because they include such good information.
The patterns incorporate a lot of lace and textured stitches, both to make projects cooler and more visually appealing. If you are not a fan of lace, or at least of lacy clothing, this is not a book that will appeal to you.
But knitters who do like intentional holes in their knitting will enjoy working the feathers, mesh and other flounces Newton presents in her projects.
Some of my favorite patterns from the book include the Honeycomb & Leaf Shawl, worked in a cotton-wool blend mostly in Honeycomb Stitch with a border of leaves; the Peridot Dress, a simple sheath with a sort of fan shaped lace panel on the front worked in a cool acrylic and bamboo blend; the textured Sand Shadows Twinset, a pretty project worked with a tape yarn and featuring slip stitch cables, Reverse Stockinette and Seed Stitch for extra texture; and the Leaf Dance Shawl and Tank Top, a matching set in a wool-nylon blend (the tank is worked with two strands held together).
If you're someone who doesn't want to give up wearing knits because it's warm outside (and who likes clothing with a little lace and frills) Warm Weather Knits is for you. It's nice to see a book devoted to knitting that can be done and used during the warmer months or that those lucky people who live where it's warm most of the year can use.
These projects thoughtfully use both classic and more modern fibers that make it possible for knitters and others to enjoy wearing knit garments no matter how warm it is outside. There are also options here for those transition times when you need a sweater for part of the day but don't need to be so covered later on.
Newton is a pro at proper sweater construction and she brings her classic sensibility (and passion for buttons!) to this pattern collection that's sure to please intermediate knitters who want to bring a little warmth to their knitting baskets.
Publication date: November 2010