Full disclosure: This review will be completely biased. Kyle Kunnecke, the author of Urban Knit Collection: 18 City-Inspired Knitting Patterns for the Modern Wardrobe (which was released just last week) is a good friend and a brilliant designer, and I have had the honor of being able to work with him on several occasions test knitting, spinning yarn, and making samples for several of his designs, including three of his designs in this book.
Way back in the fall of 2014, Kyle asked me if I was interested in test knitting and making samples for the book. Without hesitation, and despite having a bunch of other things going on at the time, I said yes. Not long after that, I had drafts of the patterns and the specified yarn, and I got right to work. Because of my other commitments at the time, I only signed on for two of the designs, but then in late fall/early winter, we added the third. I can’t remember now which ones came first and which one was added on later, but the three designs I had a hand in are the last three in the book: the Dorian Cowl, Skyscraper Hat, and Farmer’s Market Mitts.
Some of you might be thinking that was an awfully long time ago for a book that just came out, and you’re right. It takes quite a long time to write the first version of the patterns, make the samples, finalize the patterns, write everything up, get it off to the publisher who then photographs, edits, and finally send it off to print. The end result is a truly spectacular collection of garments and accessories.
Urban Knit Collection: 18 City-Inspired Knitting Patterns for the Modern Wardrobehas something for everyone whether you are a new or experienced knitter. In Chapter One – Planning the Trip: Advice for the City Knitter, Kyle offers up some great tips about skill level, yarn choices, swatching, techniques for stranded color work, and even ripping out your work if you need to. (yes, ripping back is a perfectly okay thing to do!) It’s assumed that you already know how to at least knit and purl, so basic knitting and purling instructions, which are often standard in many knitting books, are not provided. The glossary at the end of the book does provide instructions and illustrations for the cast on/bind off methods, increases and decreases, and other techniques used in the patterns.
Chapter Two – Sightseeing: Sweaters for the Journey features seven patterns for cardigans, pullovers, a vest, and a wrap. Some for the guys, some for the gals. Some with color work and some in solids. All of them are absolutely beautiful. While the Brandt Pullover and the Edwin Vest are the only two here specifically for the guys, I’m looking at the Godfrey Cardigan and already thinking about how I might be able to convert this to be a man’s sweater.
In Chapter Three – A Change in Seasons: Wraps & Scarves you’ll find five patterns with colorwork, cables, and yarn over techniques that go a bit beyond the basic. If they look intimidating, please refer back to Kyle’s encouraging advice in Chapter One about difficulty and skill level. It’s really is all just knitting and purling, and any technique you aren’t familiar with can be mastered with practice. The standouts here for me are the D’Amour Wrap and the Zephyr Scarf. My stranded colorwork skills aren’t the best, but these two designs are just too stunning to not put the work into improving those skills, and they both look just as beautiful on the back side as they do the front.
Last is Chapter Four – Souvenir Shopping: Accessories, with hats, mitts, and cowls that again, might use techniques that are a bit beyond basic. Because they are smaller projects, they are a great way to practice those techniques and, if necessary, rip back (yes, it’s okay) and start again without losing too many hours of work. The three designs that I made samples for feature cables/traveling stitches, and simple knit/purl texture which I absolutely love to do. Now that I have the book in hand and have seen those Ellington Mitts, I might have a go at making a pair for myself.
Thanks, and have a great weekend!