A Taste of New England in the “South”

My long-awaited copy of New England Knits has finally arrived, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.  This is one of three knitting books I’d ever pre-ordered, meaning I was not able to do research on the included patterns to ensure they were worth purchasing ahead of time.  The first book I received from this experiment was a huge disappointment, and the last is still forthcoming.  New England Knits, however, is quite possibly my favorite knitting book in my entire (extensive) collection.  There are only two patterns in the whole book that I would not knit (without significant modifications, anyway) and all the rest are items I covet.  Here are a few favorites.

This is the Hampton Cardigan, which is knit from the bottom of the back, up to include the sleeves, over the shoulders, and down the front in one piece.  This creates the interesting effect of the vertical lace turning horizontal on the sleeves.  In the book the piece is knit with a decadent yak / cormo wool blend.  I started my own version in a silk / merino blend that is quite sumptuous itself.

Next is the Middlefield Pullover.  This sweater also has interesting construction, with parts knit from the top down and others knit side to side.  I love the multidirectional ribbing and the button details on the shoulder.

The Cranston Coat is another intriguing piece.  I’m normally not a big fan of bobbles, but this cardigan works so well because of them.  They represent berries amongst a background of leaf lace, which is always appealing to me.  Finally, the lace eyelet holes have a contrasting color of knitted fabric peeking through to give the whole piece a bit more attention to detail, as well as a way to keep the wind out.

The Chelsea Skirt is incredible.  I love the herringbone pattern that gives it an almost woven look, produces a flattering vertical linear pattern, as well as providing sturdiness that will prevent it from stretching with wear.  This is my favorite length for a skirt, and the contrasting lace is the icing on the cake that ensures a place for it in my wardrobe.  Finally, the button closure provides another opportunity for creativity and distinction.

There are 25 patterns in this book, and I’m planning on knitting almost all of them as quickly as I can.  I only wish this book had been published sooner so that I would have had the whole summer to work on knitting from it!

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