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Archive for November 24th, 2009

“It’s in the Bag” Blog Book Tour!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Its-in-the-Bag-coverI am  delighted to be part of the blog tour for Kara Gott Warner’s “It’s in the Bag” knitting book.

Kara’s blog is called “She Knits in the Loop.” Yesterday’s tour included a visit to Glenna’s “Knitting to Stay Sane.”

Kara pulled together projects by many designers, and unified all four dozen patterns into one book with a theme. Each option is intended to be good knitting on the go. Put it in your bag, to “take and make” wherever you go.

Melissa Leapman has three sweater designs in this book: One for a child, one for a man, and one for a lady. I had the great pleasure of spending some time with Melissa a few weeks ago while she was teaching in Lansing, Michigan, for Rae’s Yarn Boutique. (If you ever get a chance to study with Melissa, go out of your way to do so!)

melissaandlynnh

Our chats were spread out over the course of two days, so it was not as much an interview as two knitters discussing projects between other topics. She talked about approaching these designs while knowing the projects were for travel knitting.

The stitch patterns and designs needed to fit into that framework. Although Melissa is expert at the most amazing cables I’ve seen, cables did not fit into the concept here.

In the book, the Dual Texture Tunic grabbed my eye right away. (Ladies’ sizes Small to 2X, woohoo!) OK, it is brown in the photo. Not my color, but the shape and length really piqued my interest. Love the length, in particular, and the nearly-square neckline.

For those who know me, my affinity toward this silhouette would be no surprise. As a dancer, I like to wear “leggings” (tightly-fitting knit pants) and then a tunic-length top over them. I have seen tunics in stores but have noticed precious few of them in knitting patterns.

DualTextureTunicThis pattern has no shaping in the below-bust part of the design. Of course, this allows knitting “like the wind” but at some point can become monotonous.

Before you have knit stockinette far enough to be bored, there is a change in the fabric. You work a decrease row to accommodate the double-seed-stitch pattern in the empire bust detail, followed by some shaping for armholes and neck.

I think this piece could be worn as shown in the book, as a sleeveless top… or as a sort of vest/jumper with perhaps a thin cashmere turtleneck underneath for cooler weather.

I am thinking that the neckline would be particularly flattering on women with a few curves. However, the model is in the “standard model” range of sizes, and it looks good on her as well. It would be very different knit in a negative-ease size, than in the fashion/wearing-ease sizing shown in the book.

OutbackBasketWeavePulloverMelissa’s Outback Basket Weave Pullover (Men’s Small to 3X) is in a rugged marled yarn, worsted weight. It has a sort of box/check pattern which is 3 stitches wide and 4 rows tall. This pattern is simple to do, not boring, and creates a flexible yet flat fabric. I’m partial to this sort of stitch pattern, it looks good for any age, and many types of projects.

The version shown on the model in the book makes me think of football Saturdays early in the season. It would also be comfy to wear while doing light chores oudoors, to avoid wearing a less-stretchy jacket. Walking the dogs, perhaps, or sweeping the deck?

Melissa’s Saucy Stripes Pullover (child sizes 2, 4, 6 & 8) is colorful and adorable. This one has no shaping in the body, a modified drop sleeve (shaped on one row), and an easy-to-see stripe pattern. The colors could keep me happy throughout. There is shaping on the shoulders and the sleeves.

SaucyStripesPulloverOnce I made a toddler sweater with stripes and rolled collar (in a machine-knitting class), and it is now being worn by the second toddler. The kids who have worn it loved the striped colors, so This “stitch pattern” is interesting to a child, with the colorful addition of stripes.

This is definitely a winner kid sweater. It’s wearable by boys or girls, and boy sweaters can be hard to come by! Adorable.

You can see Melissa’s enthusiasm for sweaters when you see these designs. Even though the focus was keeping things simple enough to  not need a constant row-count tally or complicated chart, these are designs that are real-world wearable. The impact is much deeper than the structure, because of well-placed detail.

You know, now I’m thinking how cute this toddler sweater could be, in bright girl colors. Imagine pairing it with the fun hat on the front cover of the book. My kindergartener-friend, Isabel, would definitely enjoy that combination.

Tomorrow, the blog tour ends with Faina Goberstein’s blog, Faina’s Knitting Mode. Perhaps you would like to go over there and read on.