First, the facts:
Title: Drop-Dead Easy Knits
Authors: Gale Zucker, Mary Lou Egan & Kirsten Kapur
Published by: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2016
Type: Sweaters, wraps, accessories, and more
1. Cold Hands, Warm Hearts
2. The Waiting Game
3. Drinking Buddies
4. Family Entanglements
5. Bursting with Joy
6. No Sheep at the Shore
The In-Depth Look:
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all too often, when a knitting book is labeled as “easy,” what the designers really mean is “boring.”
And, really, is there anything worse than slogging through endless rows of a boring knitting project? (Obviously things like flood and famine and visits from despicable in-laws have their own category of “worse.”)
Luckily–there’s this book. Thirty designs that are easy and fun and stylish without being mind-stultifying and dull.
The trio of designers–Gale Zucker, Mary Lou Egan, and Kirsten Kapur–say in the introduction:
“Whenever the three of us get together, Mary Lou invariably has something wonderful on her needles. In admiration, we ask what she’s knitting, and the answer is inevitably, ‘Oh, this? It’s easy. No really. I know it doesn’t look it, but it’s drop-dead easy.” And, of course, as soon as she says those words, we’re scrambling to acquire the pattern and cast on. It’s become something of a running joke. Despite our advanced knitting skills and projects aplenty in progress, we cannot resist a wonderful, stylish pattern that is drop-dead easy.”
Yeah, I thought so, too.
Nobody ever said “easy” had to be “boring.” Or that it had to be geared toward absolute beginners … because, here’s the thing. Beginners need challenges, and experts need a chance to relax. You can be a Decathlon-level knitter, able to leap complicated cables and swim through intricate lace before scaling a pattern to size, but sometimes you just want something soothing and relaxing. Something you can knit while chatting with your friends, or give your brain a break after the heirloom Wedding Ring shawl you just whipped up for your niece’s baptism last week.
And the beginners? Sure, almost everyone might start with a crooked garter stitch square, but after that, doesn’t everyone want to make something fabulous, no matter their skill level? Something that will make you stretch those burgeoning skills without being too intimidating?
Which brings us back to this book. Thirty projects to keep you warm and entertained but not stressed. Yes, there are some stitch patterns and some shaping and such. A couple cables appear from time to time, and some projects are quite large (like the full-size Star-Eyed Julep Throw afghan)–while others are very simple or very small. There are sweaters for you, your baby, and your dog. Accessories to keep your head, hands, feet, and shoulders warm. Blankets and a pillow to cuddle with … it’s a really nice variety of pattern types here. There are even a couple of toys, including the cutest teddy bear I’ve ever seen.
Because that’s the point–we all need variety to play with, don’t we?
All projects come with a promise that you don’t need to study to be able to knit them. Each pattern has a difficulty rating and, whenever there is a bit that might be a little challenging than the rest, there’s a nice “Concentration Zone” warning to alert you that this is the time to put down your glass of wine to focus before you get to the next “Cruise Control” section.
This is a great book. A nice variety of patterns in all ways–the type, the style, the difficulty, the structure. And all of them are pieces that are going to be great to have around when you’re done knitting them.. Almost all of them are designed by one of the three authors, though there is an afghan by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, a hat by Theresa Gaffey, and that adorable Bear in a Bunny Suit by Susan B. Anderson.
Really, you owe it to yourself to at least check out this book.
This review copy was kindly donated by Clarkson Potter. Thank you!
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