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I’ve known Kate Oates for a while, and I was super excited when the offer came to review her new book Knits for Boys.
Knits for Boys has 27 patterns for sweaters, tops, vests, and more. It includes a special section on how to knit for kids, including how to make a sweater “grow with” your child. Kate was kind enough to “stop by” for a little Q&A about her new book:
In Knits for Boys you share a lot of great tips about extending the amount of time a child will be able to wear a handknit garment. What’s the longest use you’ve gotten out of a handknit?
This was the third winter in a row that my 7 year old was able to wear his Gramps Cardigan! I added lots of length in the sleeves when I knit it for him, and I will admit that we were pushing it this year, BUT, he totally pulled it off. So that’s ages 5, 6 & 7 for him and he has gone up 3 pants sizes in that time frame so I was pretty happy.
The colors and textures in the Grow-with-Me projects are so appealing. Do you have a preference for colorwork or cables?
It depends on when you ask me! Seriously-I go through phases. I love them equally but my mood changes 🙂 I definitely prefer both of these to stockinette or other textured stitches, and I am NOT a lace girl.
My own son tends to be a magnet for dirt. What process do you use when you have to launder handknits?
Even though I often use superwash fibers, I still am really gentle with them. I just want them to last as possible, and since I have so many boys, they get handed down! If something is really dirty, I will soak it for up to a couple of days before using the “handwash” cycle on my machine. So far, I haven’t lost a knit to my machine.
In the book you provide great information about finishing techniques and modifications such as adding zippers, pockets, and hoods. What do you think people struggle with the most when it comes to finishing?
Well-I think zippers are definitely intimidating. When I stumbled on the no-sew method a couple of years ago, it changed my world! So that was one thing I really wanted to steer folks to. Making the zipper “knittable” means that even if you screw it up, you can rip it out and try again. But if I had to pick one thing that I think people struggle with, it would probably be patience. Good finishing takes lots of it. You’re at the end of a project and you just want to be done already! BUT–the finishing can really make or break your project and its usually that final step that determines just how awesome it looks. I took a finishing course from Margaret Fisher years ago and wow did it change my process. I recommend weaving in loose ends as you go so that you have a little less finishing to do, and if you have significant finishing, don’t rush it. Put it away until the next day if you need to but go slow & easy and be meticulous!
Do any of your kids knit?
Not yet! I really am hoping this summer to see if the older two are interested. They talk about it now and again but they love running around outside and playing and our climate is quite suitable for that!
Anything else you want to share?
Thanks so much for having me! It has been so exciting to hear everyone receiving their books and loving them…couldn’t have hoped for better.
I really enjoyed reading through my reviewer’s copy of Knits for Boys. Kate’s Grow-with-Me advice has me thinking that maybe it’s time to pull out the knitting needles for my own kids. Check it out, and grab your copy today.