Friday 11 December 2015

Knits for Winter

Perhaps the title of this post is a little ambiguous - I mean, what are knits for if not for winter? I'm typically a seasonal knitter, and all thoughts of knitting disappear from my mind when the temperatures soar, returning only when there's a distinct chill in the air. So, when my thoughts do turn to knitting, I let my list of patterns grow, and one of my favourite things to do is to leaf through a few of my knitting books to gather inspiration. I thought I'd compile a post of a few of my favourite patterns and books - I doubt I'll get the chance to knit up everything I want to, but when I find some swoon worthy knitting patterns, it seems a shame not to share them!

Northern Knits by Lucinda Guy

Northern Knits is separated into four chapters, each one containing a few projects influenced by the heritage of a certain Northern area; Iceland, Shetland, Norway, and Sweden. The beginning of each chapter goes into a little detail about the history of knitting in each country, which is a nice touch, and what I like about the projects in this book is that each one is clearly influenced by the country in question. I'm pretty certain I bought this book for the Liv socks alone (look at those flowers and little people!), but there are numerous other patterns that have since caught my eye (hello Yrsa fingerless mitts!). The projects are mixed between larger projects such as jumpers and cardigans, which is great if like me you want a piece of the fairisle action, but find knitting a whole jumper a little intimidating. The Effie jumper may just be my fairisle goals though (#oneday).

Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen

This collection of whimsical knitting patterns is really fun to leaf through, and a couple of designs never fail to make me smile. Each pattern is given a difficulty rating, which is a great idea for beginners, and again, there's a range of bigger projects and smaller ones. The Oh My Bear Hoodie is just one of the cutest patterns I think I've ever come across, and I adore the cabling on the Woodland Hoodlet (Ping knitted up a version here, and I think it looks great in red). It seems like an odd thing to mention when discussing knitting patterns, but I just love the paper this book has been printed on - really thick matte cardstock that just feels super luxurious.

Knitting Scandinavian Style by Arne & Carlos

I see Arne and Carlos books popping up regularly on knitting blogs I follow, but I never actually got my hands on one until I found this one in the local library last week. It's fair to say I can definitely see the draw - traditional knitting techniques given a modern style that makes everything oh-so wearable. There's also a fairly equal ratio of women's jumpers to men's jumpers, which I imagine is great for those struggling to find good menswear patterns. It's the smaller projects that interest me more though - the multicoloured mittens are to. die. for. and I love the textured cowl. Oh, and see that dog jumper? The pattern for that is included too (but the most important question is whether my cat would let me put a jumper on him).

Shades of Winter by Ingalill Johansson and Ewa K Andinsson

Shades of Winter is one of my favourite knitting books to leaf through when planning future projects for a few reasons. The thing that sets this book apart from others is that the focus is to knit using ecological wool - that is, wool that hasn't been dyed, and as such the patterns rely upon texture to create interest (y'all know how much I love knitting cables and textures). Editorial style photos shot in the ice hotel only add to the serious love I have for this book and the patterns. It contains the one jumper I am convinced I will one day knit - the rather unimaginatively named Sweater with Relief looks like knitted armour against winter weather. I will say that the patterns are all a little more on the advanced side, and require a little more concentration than I'm used to, but the end results sure look worth the learning curve!

Norwegian Handknits by Sue Flanders and Janine Kosel

From the outside, Norwegian Handknits looks like a fairly unassuming folk style knitting book, and when I first found it I definitely fell into the trap of judging a book by its cover. Yes, it has plenty of charming patterns for Norwegian-via-America inspired knits, but it's also so much more. It includes stories of immigrants who travelled to America from Norway, and how they incorporated their heritage into their new lives, alongside numerous traditional Norwegian recipes. The fact that all of the knitting patterns are directly inspired from items in the Vesterheim Museum really appeals to the historian in me, and once you learn to look past the not so glossy and more folksy project photography, there are some real gems of projects to be found. The backpack on the cover of the book is delightful, and I am making it my object this winter to knit up an entrelac sheep.

Let me know if there's any knitting books you recommend, as I'm always looking to add to my little library of books!

P.S. I'm in the process of collating my annual DIY Christmas gift guide, but for now you can check out last year's gift guide for a little Christmas inspiration. I'll be posting again in a few days, so stay tuned!


  1. Loved your photos here Charlotte!! The Scandinavian designs are my favourites, I love how distinctive they are... At the moment I am in the process of making my dad a scarf for Christmas, but once that is done I would love to try a jumper. Hope you are well my lovely!

    1. Awww, thanks Anna that means a lot to me! Yes, I love the Scandinavian designs too, and I think those fingerless mitts from Northern Knits are next on my list. I really want to knit a jumper soon, but I think realistically it would be next winter it would be finished :) Good luck finishing your scarf!