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Knit Wit:30 Easy and Hip Projects    by Amy R. Singer order for
Knit Wit
by Amy R. Singer
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though my grandmother used to knit Arran sweaters on a regular basis, my knitting has been more casual, and I never achieved her skill level. Knit Wit intrigued me because it welcomes beginners to experts, as well as 'lapsed knitters' like me. Also, the projects look like so much fun, especially 'sound system snugglers' and the 'serenity yoga mat bag'. The book is spiral-bound, with a base, so that it can sit upright in front of the knitter. Though it's addressed to the right-handed knitter, the author also recommends resources for 'lefties'.

Singer provides a thorough 'primer on fiber', to help you pick yarn, and a checklist of essentials (including 'airline-safe needle sets') and 'worth-every-penny tools'. She tells us that she sticks to circular needles, as you can also knit flat on them, and they're easier on the wrists. She provides illustrated lessons on the basics - casting on, knit and purl stitches, increasing and decreasing, and binding off. She explains how to read a pattern, and talks about 'gauge and swatching'. For novices, she suggests knitting a '6-foot-long garter stitch scarf', explaining how to avoid 'new-knitter booby traps'.

Singer presents knitting projects at four levels of difficulty, saying 'Some of them are silly, some are sexy, and some are surprising.' Techniques needed are explained, followed by designs under the headings: 'You're a Little Chilly', 'Your Arms are Full', 'You Knit That?', and 'You've Got Nothing to Wear'. The 'postmodern legwarmers' catch the eye, and the 'nosewarmer, 2nd generation' would certainly draw attention. I want some 'pop-top mittens' and wristwarmers, also the felted slippers - great ideas. The 'dreadlock hat' is cute, and the 'third-eye chullo' hat's a conversation starter anywhere.

You can knit gifts (like the 'laptop sampler') for the person who has everything, make covers for your own music player, or knit a handy 'water-bottle sling' for fitness class or elegant hiking. Knit a scarf, belt, boa or bikini, skirts, 'girly boxers', a fuzzy vest, and sweaters (I like the oriental look of the 'Kyoto pullover'). There are all kinds of project ideas in Knit Wit, whose breezy style makes knitting accessible and fun for all skill levels.

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