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New Knits on the Block

Dress Up in Knits

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New Knits on the Block

New Knits on the Block by Vickie Howell.

Lark Publishing.

About the time my daughter turned 2, she started getting interested in dress up, and I started getting interested in crafting dress-up clothes. Most of the costumes and kits you can buy for kids seem both shoddy and overpriced, and I figured even with my limited sewing skills I could make some passable outfits and accessories for my little one.

But why not knit dress-up clothes, hats and accessories, too? That's what Vickie Howell and friends did in her book New Knits on the Block: A Guide to Knitting What Kids Really Want. The book offer 25 suitable-for-playtime projects, from baby blocks to a mermaid costume, memory cards to a superhero cape.

About the Book

  • Pages: 120
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of patterns: 25
  • Skill level: none given, but most are for beginner to intermediate knitters; instead they are ranked by the amount of time they take: playdate, weekend at Nana's or summer camp
  • Sizes: vary but most are for toddlers to about age 6
  • Illustrations: full-color photographs and some one-color drawings of techniques
  • Knitting lessons: none, but 7 pages explain special techniques used in the projects such as needle felting, mattress stitch and basic crochet stitches
  • Publication date: October 2005

The Patterns

After a brief introduction exploring the need for this book -- at the time Howell had two boys who were not very interested in knit sweaters -- and tips for getting knitting done even when you're busy, the book gets right into the patterns.

These projects are largely for dress up and playtime. There's a play bowling set; a fancy dress, stole and purse; striped leg warmers and a coordinating bag to name a few.

There are felted hats for wizards and princesses, a fuzzy monster hat, a crown and a fireman's hat. There are dress-up clothes for Vikings, hula girls, knights and Egyptians. Accessories include a tool belt, a guitar pillow and a pirate bath set.

Moving beyond playtime there's a tooth fairy pillow with an alien on it, illusion-knit backpacks and a knit nap sack.

Some of the standouts to me are the felted wizard and princess hats, the crown, the pirate bat set (complete with a Jolly Roger washcloth, head scarf, eye patch and parrot), the lightning-bolt-bedecked super-kid cape , the guitar-shaped pillow, the knit bowling ball and pins, the robot-shaped pajama bag and the cool-but-cute chain-mail outfit.

The patterns use mostly easy stitches and techniques to get projects done quickly but include embellishments like knit patches, embroidery and crochet stitches to jazz them up without a lot of extra effort.

Bottom Line

These projects are a lot of fun, creative and sure to be enjoyed by kids of all ages (and the adults who see kids use them). Even better, they probably will inspire knitters to make other dress up and play projects that correspond with the interests of the kids in their lives, which will bring out more creativity, fun and play in the kids and the grown ups.

Just looking through the book I got really excited not only about the prospect of knitting some of the projects therein but also coming up with other ideas that I can knit, sew or otherwise craft to add to my daughter's ever-growing stash of dress-up clothes. I'm pretty sure the same thing will happen to any knitter or creative soul who takes a peek inside these pages. The creativity and fun that went into the book are evident and sure to rub off on you!

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