When you think about simple knitting, you might think about the basic Garter Stitch projects you made as a new knitter, but Ann Budd takes simple to a whole new level with Simple Style: 19 Innovative to Traditional Designs with Simple Knitting.
The idea behind the book is that knitting can be easy and beautiful at the same time when attention is paid to details, color and finishing techniques, and that a little pizazz goes a long way to keep a simple project from coming off as basic or boring.
Like other books in the Style series, Simple Style dives right into the patterns first thing after a brief introduction. And these lovely patterns don't need a lot of introduction, just the tons of beautiful photography that shows off the simple designs.
There are patterns for sweaters, vests, skirts and jackets, a dress and a cool wrap with sleeves. They're all for women and most offer a wide range of sizes, though some have as few as three, others have as many as six. Sizes around 30 are the smallest, while just a couple of projects go about 50.
There are so many patterns I love in this book. I could easily see myself knitting and enjoying probably 12 of the 19 patterns, if I had that kind of time and devotion to a single knitting book.
The ones at the top of the list, though, would be the Four Quarters pullover (pictured on the cover), a cool design in which half of the arm and a quarter of the body is worked in each piece and seamed with the selvedge exposed; the Kazumi Pullover, a ribbed number with eyelets along the bottom hem and cuffs; Kaleidoscope Yoke, a pullover using a self-striping yarn for the yoke and cuffs and a solid for the main body; and the Gurnsey Skirt, which has several textured stitch patterns on the top half of the skirt and plain Stockinette on the bottom.
The patterns are youthful, playful and fun but also have a classic feel, like you could knit one (or several) of these and still be enjoying them for years to come.
Also like other books in this series, the patterns are followed by notes about how to bring a simpler style to your own designs or to other projects you knit. Working in the round or as seamlessly as possible is one big tip for easy knitting, because finishing tends to be a place where sloppiness shows (and it's just easier and faster not to have to deal with that).
Other tips include limiting the number of design elements and simplifying color and stitch choices, minimizing edgings and buttonholes, and using different sized knitting needles instead of lots of increasing and decreasing to give a piece a fitted look.
Two pages are devoted to gauge, because when you're knitting a simple, beautiful, classic piece you want it to fit well. There are also tips for seaming, increasing and decreasing when you need to use those techniques.
All in all, this is a lovely book full of beautiful, simple designs that you're sure to enjoy if you're a fan of classic designs with cool design features and interesting techniques that keep simple knitting from being plain or boring.
Publication date: March 2009.