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60 Quick Knits: A Useful Book for the Gifting Knitter

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60 quick knits
60 Quick Knits

60 Quick Knits from Cascade Yarns is a different kind of knit book from those I’ve been reviewing. It isn’t a basic ‘how-to’ book, and it isn’t an ‘ooh, shiny!’ book full of amazingly advanced patterns that I just ‘gotta have’. This is a one yarn book, built around Cascade(tm) brand 220 yarn, a worsted weight 100% wool yarn, which comes in a ton of colorways and in a washable version. And every one of the projects in it would take a day, maybe two, of knitting. Great for gearing up the whole family for winter.

I can’t speak to whether Cascade 220 is a good enough yarn to justify an entire book devoted it. I’ve never used the stuff or even fondled it. That said, the blurb describes it as an inexpensive merino/corriedale mix with a lot of loft, so I can get on board. Further, nearly every major brand makes a 100% wool worsted weight line. Both KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and Debbie Stoller’s Stitch Nation line spring to mind off the top of my head. Substitution should be no problem, if for whatever reason you can’t find Cascade 220.

The patterns take up generally one page (occasionally two pages) with a full page picture of the final product, with or without a model. For those of you who like to work off a copy rather than the book (like I do, so that I can highlight and scribble to my heart’s content), that is a major plus for this book. They range from basic to complicated, and have a wide range of styles from sporty to delicate lace and intricate colorwork.

There are some children’s patterns and a lot of unisex patterns, with a nice portion of women’s patterns as well. All of the patterns are hats, scarves, or mittens (20 of each), such that everyone on your list can get a nice set for whatever winter holidays and/or birthdays you celebrate.

The book structure is quite nice. A little floppy, but well bound with page marker flaps built in. The photography was workmanlike, without the Vogue style ‘I can’t smile because I’m constipated’ ideal of the ‘too sexy to look happy’ model, but yet again, diversity wasn’t considered. The book used four adult models and two children, and all six were Caucasian. All four of the women were young and skinny.

Fortunately, because the patterns are for accessories, one size generally does fit all here, but it would have been nice to see it represented in the pages and on the faces of the models.

Ahem. Pattern specifics. You ready? Pattern 2 is a very attractive Cabled Brim Tam that I think would be brilliant in a heathered colorway but is nice in the pale blue used in the book as well. I’d wear it all winter. Pattern 8, the Lion Scarf, would be adorable for a little boy or girl on your gift list. Done almost entirely in seed stitch, it’s a great project to take someone just beyond knitting rectangles.

Pattern 12, the Cables and Wraps scarf, is a nice unisex scarf with a 16 row repeating, fairly complex pattern for a fairly experienced knitter. This is one of those that would be awesome in the super mega long (maybe even add stitches for width) version for the big guy you knit for (or even for you). Pattern 17, the Plaid Mittens, are a nice four color plaid pattern that would look great in several colorways. A great way to use the same pattern for several people on your list would be to reverse colors.

The Birdcage Mittens, pattern 21, make me want to try colorwork RIGHT NOW. Fortunately, I just got some yarn from my friend Rhiannon last night that might work. Time to copy the page. These are complementary rather than matching mittens, with a bird and cage on one hand, and trees on the other, in reversed colors. Using just two colors, this is listed as ‘experienced’ because the chart work is a bit complicated, but written well enough that I think I could attempt it.

Pattern 41 is a Pocket Scarf, newly popular and probably popular for years to come thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone and Ipod. With a Velcro pocket, this would be great for a winter runner to keep keys and a bit of change. Another unisex pattern.

The one (other) I want I want I want pattern in this book is pattern 46, the Leaf-Lace Gauntlets. I may attempt to use the remainder of the yarn I’m using for the Anjou sweater to knit these, even though I’ll have to seriously play with gauge to make them work, because they would be so beautiful with the sweater.

With 60 patterns, there are bound to be a few that don’t ‘grab’ you, but there weren’t many in this bunch. Enough were classic and interesting to hold my interest from beginning to end. For want of space I’ve left out several very nice patterns that could easily go on your ‘to knit’ or ‘to gift’ lists.

My verdict? If I didn’t have this conveniently located at my local library, I would be forced to have it at home. It is simply too useful a book for knit gifts to overlook. If you are a regular gifter who is short on time and long on worsted weight preference, this is a good book to keep handy. It’s not as ‘sexy’ as some other knitting books, but it is well done and useful. Buy and keep.

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