There's just something about New England that's inspiring to artists of all sorts, but it seems to be a particular draw for knitters and yarn artists. There are so many great yarn producers in the area, not to mention designers and people who write about and otherwise love yarn and knitting. Cecily Glowick MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre teamed up with four other designers from the region to produce New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist.
The book includes 25 patterns for sweaters, cardigans, hats, vests and more, perfect for knitters living in or visiting New England as well as for those who want to bring the spirit of the northeast wherever they live.
The designers behind New England Knits conceived of the book in the fall, so they were inspired by the changing seasons, the ocean but not so much the beach, and the farms and towns that make the region so unique.
The book is divided into three sections to reflect these inspirations: Around the Town, Fall on the Farm and Along the Coast. Each chapter has at least eight patterns inspired by that particular part of New England.
There are many pieces here that are appropriate for changing seasons, which makes sense to anyone who's ever visited New England. There are lots of cardigans and jackets, as well as pullovers. A couple of hats, a pair of mittens, a skirt, a satchel, a couple of vests and tops round out the selection.
The patterns don't indicate skill levels but they cover a nice range, from advanced beginner up to knitters with lots of experience. The patterns often have pretty classic lines embellished with textured stitches, lace, cables or colorwork.
A wide range of sizes is offered for most patterns, with four or five sizes being the norm but some providing up to seven different sizes.
A couple of patterns in the book make my fingers itchy to stop everything and knit them right away: the Middlefield Pullover, pictured on the cover, which is worked seamlessly from the mid-yoke down and then up for the neckline; and the Montague Bulky Lace Vest, which features a big lace pattern on the back and fronts and a deep ribbed section that forms the collar and what would be the button bands if there were buttons involved.
Other patterns worth noting in New England Knits include the slim-fitting Auburn Top, featuring a shawl collar and visible darts for extra sleekness; the super-cute Whale Watch Hat, a beret covered with colorful whales; the Brattleboro Hat, which has a ribbed band worked first with the brim stitches picked up along one side; the Augusta Cardigan, an easy-to-knit and easy-to-wear cabled number that could work for a man or a woman; and the clever Derry Raglan and Cowl, a sweater and cowl combo that when work together look like one piece.
These patterns are lovely and illustrate that warm sweaters do not always have to be bulky and your favorite layering garments can, in fact, be things you knit yourself.
Publication date: July 2010