Those of you who have been following my blog for any period of time are probably aware that I'm a sample knitter. I LOVE sample knitting. What better way to spend my time than by knitting some awesome designs by knitwear designers I admire? I've been knitting for Alana of Never Not Knitting since July of 2010 but had already been an admirer of her patterns. A few months later I was contacted by Hannah of Knitbot asking me to sample knit for her as well. Knitting for these ladies has been such a pleasure. They both have very distinct styles, but there is always something so wearable and current with their designs. So imagine my delight when Hannah mentioned in an email way back in January that she and Alana were planning a book (could you imagine knowing since January and having to wait all year? Painful, I tell you).
When I received my copy in the mail I was in awe of just how professional and lovely it was. Since so many other people have raved about it already, I'll just say that you definitely should own a copy of this book. You'll want to knit everything!
Since I've already knit quite a few projects from this, I thought I would review them a bit and share with you my experiences.
My first sample from this book was Alana's Wildflower Cardigan. My version was knit for the second trunk show (these ladies are popular!) out of Madelinetosh Pashmina in a color called Isadora. The knitting of this pattern went smoothly as Alana's patterns are very clear and descriptive. Getting started was only a slight challenge. The pattern calls for a gauge of 28 stitches to 4" on a size 5 needle. Apparently I'm a terribly tight knitter and ended up having to go down to a size 2 needle! Getting started knitting a sweater on a size 2 needle can be very scary but I was actually able to zoom along with this project and finish in about three weeks. Who doesn't love a sweet little cardigan with pockets? And these pockets have flowers on them! My favorite part of this design is the lovely scalloped edges. It's such a delicate and feminine detail that, for me, makes the cardigan. I could rave about this cardigan for days and am already planning the yarn to make my own.
My second knit was the Panoramic Stole by Hannah. If you are looking for a simple and versatile wrap, this is it. My version was knit out of The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering. This yarn is warm and lush something you'll want to knit a fall/winter item out of. This is such a simple and pretty wrap that is easy enough for new knitters and would also make a great take along project since the pattern is easy to memorize.
My final sample piece was the Branching Out Mitts, also by Hannah. These may have been my favorite sample knit from the book. I've never done Intarsia until these mitts but these were a wonderful project. When knitting for these designers (whether samples or for personal use) I tend to really trust their yarn choices and this is no different. The mitts are done in Blue Sky Alpaca's Melange, a sport weight yarn. The fuzz and heathered color of the Melange is very forgiving to Intarsia. It also blocks out very nicely, allowing you to get more even stitches and a smoother fabric. The pattern used less than a ball of each so I'm thinking this should be on many a knitter's holiday gift list.
In addition to these three samples, I helped with Hannah's Bayside Pullover surgery (mentioned in Episode 60 of Never Not Knitting), and have even knit two of the patterns for myself (see my Rocky Coast Cardigan). If you'd like to see any of these knits in person check out the Coastal Knits trunk show as they might be coming to a city near you. And if you can't wait, then go order the book already! You definitely won't regret it.
Now, if you've seen my Cambrian Cowl recently and thought 'my, that looks cozy', well it is, and here's your chance to win it. That's right! Just leave a comment below and I'll choose a winner on Friday, October 28th. In case you're concerned about allergies, the cowl is 100% alpaca and comes from a smoke-free, dog-friendly home.
Thank you to both Alana and Hannah for including me on this wonderful project! I look forward to many more inspiring designs coming from these two. And don't forget to check out the rest of their Coastal Knits blog tour!