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Pints & Purls

Knit Responsibly


Pints & Purls

Pints & Purls by Karinda Collins and Libby Bruce.

North Light Books.

It's not unusual these days to see people knitting just about anywhere, from the subway to the local bar. As we take our knitting out on the town, though, it's important to keep some things in mind.

What are the best drinks to choose when you're knitting and drinking? And what projects can you successfully complete after having had a drink or two?

Karinda Collins and Libby Bruce answer these questions and more, as well as offering 30 patterns to try, in their book Pints & Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter.

About the Book

  • Pages: 160
  • Binding: paperback
  • Number of patterns: 30
  • Skill level: rated by level of inebriation at which you can still effectively knit the pattern; 2 are "designated driver," or the most difficult, while 2 are for 1 drink, 9 are for 2 drinks, 13 are for 3 drinks and 4 are for 4 drinks, or the easiest patterns
  • Sizes: Most patterns are for accessories, all tops are sizes XS to XXL
  • Illustrations: full-color photographs
  • Knitting lessons: a section in the back covers abbreviations, finishing, garment care and "special techniques" such as cast ons, bind offs, increases and decreases; there are no illustrations in this section
  • Publication date: April 2009

The Patterns

Most of the book is devoted to 30 patterns, starting with the ones you'll want to complete when you're sober and getting progressively easier as you've had more to drink. Some of the sobriety classifications seem a little strange; one pattern, the Hangover Lap Blanket, is classified as a 4 drink project, meaning its among the easiest, but it also includes colorwork. Even though it has really basic patterns -- a red cross and a moonshine jug -- it's not hard to imagine getting messed up on that part, especially if you really have had four drinks!

The "designated driver" projects are the most difficult: an entrelac lace shawl and a pair of colorwork socks.

Other patterns are heavy on accessorizing your drinking, such as wine charms, bottle cozies and sweaters for wine bottles. There are also a couple of projects that look like drunk people knit them, such as the Drunken Sweater, with deliberately mismatched armholes.

Some of the patterns I did like include:

  • the Dancing Bamboo Socks, with a cute but easy eyelet pattern
  • the simple Stockinette Absinthe Sweater, featuring a pretty ribbed boatneck
  • the giant Raspberry Wheat Ale Messenger Bag, a felted bag with an interior pocket perfect for carrying all your knitting stuff
  • the easy-as-can be Cowl, which is simply a Stockinette Stitch tube, but looks nice in the right kind of yarn

There are hats shaped like snakes, a scarf with mittens attached, and another scarf knit horizontally with a deliberately wonky stitch pattern so it won't matter if you mess it up because you're drinking.

These patterns rely a lot on whimsy and low expectations of perfection. There's a lot of felting, for instance, because when the fabric shrinks you can't see funky stitches.

Tips for Drinking and Knitting

There are also sidebars in Pints & Purls that will help you become a successful social knitter. They cover topics such as what to keep in your notions bag, how to choose the perfect bar to have your own knit night in, what drinks are best for imbibing around knitting and how to remove stains from your works in progress.

You'll also find tips on felting, knitting with double-pointed needles and thoughts on why one knitting project is never enough.

These tips are presented in a playful style as if you were chatting with your most accomplished girlfriend knitter over a drink at your favorite bar.

Bottom Line

Pints & Purls is a book with a rather limited audience. Ladies (and, OK, some guys, though all the garment patterns are for women) who like to drink and knit socially and want some projects that are fun, easy and possibly drinking related will enjoy this book.

If you're not a drinker or a social knitter, you might not be interested in any of the patterns you'll find here. But if you're someone who'd like to take your knitting out of the house more often, this book might just inspire you to call up some of your friends and have a knit night at a local drinking establishment.

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