Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Travel Knits For the Family Volume 1: Into the Cold. . .

Travel and knitting are two of my passions, and knitting while travelling is even better, so I was delighted to come across this new book of patterns by Kate Bostwick, inspired by the European cities that she has visited with her family.

Kate is a fellow Canadian who lived in London for a few years and seems to have discovered - as I increasingly have done - that while we may have grown up with cold and snowy winters back home, we have underestimated how cold and damp it can get in both the UK and Europe. You definitely need your woollies here too.

The book contains seven lovely patterns and several are small accessories that are easy to pop into carry-on or to dig out on a train.  They are also items you'd definitely want to pack for a winter holiday. There is also Journey - the huge and colourful blanket that you can see on the book's cover. It's knit in squares that are then seamed so it's also eminently portable, and I like Kate's suggestion of using souvenir yarn from your travels.

Here are my favourite patterns from the book:

I really like Oslo - cabled mittens that can be thrummed, made as fingerless mitts or as mittens with a flip top. They look cushy and warm and fun to knit.

Then there are these attractive, cozy Copenhagen slippers -  perfect to wear on a long flight or to bring a bit of home to a generic hotel room. As with the mittens and hat pattern, these are sized from baby up to adult.  I think they'd make terrific xmas gifts too.

There are several sweater patterns in the book.  Paris is on the left - two styles of kid sweaters with a waffle stitch body sized from baby to teenager.  If I have one quibble about the book, it's the wish that these two were also sized for adults.  With a few modifications,  I could just about get away with the 16 year old size and I may try it because these look fun to knit and I can already think of a few mini-skein sets that would be perfect for those stripes.   However, there is also Dublin  on the right - a stylish cardigan with a pretty lace pattern on the sleeves and hem. There are both written instructions and charts for the lace.

The proof is in the pudding though, so I cast on for a pair of Oslo thrummed mittens.  I found the instructions very clear to follow, even with all the multiple sizing.

It was my first time trying the thrummed technique and I think I've knit my first mitten a little clumsily (no fault of the pattern).  The bits of roving I've used have been far too large and uneven. I thought they might felt a bit after blocking, but I think I will need to start again with a slightly tighter gauge and more consistent thrums.  It knits up quickly though.

I really liked the thoughtful inspiration behind this collection and I can see myself knitting more than half the patterns in the book which is always a good sign. The layout is clear, there are lots of photos of the projects and I enjoyed reading Kate's little travel snippets along the way.  I'm intrigued too by what she'll come up with for the next volume which explores knitting for places in the sun - always a tricky one that.

Travel Knits for the Family is currently only being sold as a physical book (that comes with a digital download code) and the patterns aren't sold individually.  You can purchase it directly from Kate's Etsy shop here or appropriately enough at the Travel Knitter's online shop here (she also sells the best little travel tin with stitch markers and a tapestry needle, great for slipping into project bags).

Disclaimer:  I was kindly gifted a copy of the e-book to review but all words and opinions written here are my own.

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