I have a thing for knitting and crocheting for boys and men. Being mostly males in this house, plus Georgia and I not really being girly girls has meant that I am drawn towards more gender neutral designs, both in my own work and when adding to my must-make list. There are designs out there, of course, but a lot of them remain on the out of date or still a wee bit too feminine side.
When I saw the title of Katya Frankel's (aka Binge Knitter) new book, I think I actually hopped up and down in excitement. A whole book devoted to my favourite topic? Oh yes. The patterns were instantly queued on Ravelry.
And look at those cute boys! My goodness, the photos alone make me want to make everything out of the book. What I like is that the designs are understated - fresh and modern, without being overly done. Although only 5, Ellis already has a clear sense of what he will and won't wear, and he would wear every design in the book - a huge compliment from the intended audience. My favourite has to be Epsilon (the photo at the top) that makes my eyes bleed and fingers itch with the cuteness! Theo James (and probably Georgia) needs one too!!!
I have gotten to know Katya through designing and twitter and she really knows her stuff, a fact that completely shines through in the book, from her very thorough introduction to the detail of her designs. It is a knitters book. I loved it so much, that I broke my usual no-review rule. Katya was also kind enough to answer a few questions for me (because I was actually really nosey and am always curious as to how people got where they are)
How long have you been designing knitwear?
In a way, I started designing my own knits about 20 years ago. The way I learnt to knit as a child was that I had to put together a stitch pattern, work up a swatch and draft the pattern before starting working on it, to make sure it looks and fits the way I wanted it to. But about 6 years ago, after I got back into knitting I discovered a whole new side of it, concentrating more on finishing techniques and different garment constructions rather than stitch patterns as I used to do.
Why write a book just for boys? How did the idea come about?
Good question, partly because I thought there weren't enough boys' knitwear designs that were simple, wearable and had a good balance of interesting-to-work-on and perfect-for-watching-telly knitting. It all came about after my son complained that I NEVER knit anything for him and so we sat down and sketched a couple of sweaters for him to choose from. And it kind of snowballed from there, after a couple of days I had a dozen of ideas for different designs whirling in my head. At that time Shannon Okey was starting rejuvenating her publishing company and on a whim I emailed her asking if she thought it was a good idea to invest time in a boys only sort of book. She did. But mostly it was because my son asked me to knit him a jumper and I couldn't decide which one to make.
What did you find most challenging about the designing and writing process?
Probably fine-tuning all the design elements to make them work together well after I have the initial idea. At least that's the part that I find most time consuming. Making sure that the shaping, sleeve style, stitch patterns and all the little details work across all the sizes in the same way. Second to that is making sure that the pattern is clear and is easy to follow for the knitter.
Do you have a favourite design?
That's a tricky one - there is something about each design that I absolutely love. But if I had to pick just the one, it'd be Baley because it was the very first one. I took the yarn with us on a week's holiday in Yorkshire to play with and have really good memories [with much muttering under my breath] of trying to work out its sleeve shaping on paper because I didn't take my computer with me.
Do your kids have a favourite design?
I know almost for certain it's going to be Landon - it was worked up exactly as they requested with stripes on the front and opposite sleeve and no collar.
All photos copyright of Katya Frankel - awesome knits AND cute photos - a woman after my own heart!!
Her blog book tour continues here:
21 September - Kat Goldin of Slugs on the Refrigirator
25 September - Julia Vaconsin
28 September - Joeli Caparco of Joeli's Kitchen
2 October - Jacqui Harding of Happymaking Designs
5 October - Michelle Miller of Fickle Knitter
9 October - Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches
12 October - Joanne Scrace of Not So Granny
16 October - Anniken Allis of Confessions of a YarnAddict
19 October - Mari Muinonen of MadeByMyself
24 October - Woolly Wormhead
30 October - Ann Kingstone
2 November - Ella Austin of Bombella
9 November - Jill Zielinski of Knitterella
14 November - Kate Oates of Tot Toppers
and dates to be confirmed for
Heather Kinne of Highland Handmades
Have a lovely weekend! I am 5 days to deadline, so probably see you on the other side! Eeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!