We review a new pattern collection of wardrobe essentials, offering everyday wearability and thoughtful details
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PLAIN & SIMPLE
WHAT MAKES a favourite sweater? That’s the question Pam Allen pondered when designing this book of wardrobe essentials. Her mission was to create classic sweaters that would be straightforward to knit and wear, yet which would be treasured and enjoyed by the people who make them. The title of her collection is Plain &
Simple, but that doesn’t mean the patterns are boring! The 11 designs do use simple stitches and shapes; there are enough interesting details, however, to keep knitters entertained, and the results will offer a wearable sophistication. As Pam points out in her introduction, these projects are ideal for working on while watching a movie or listening to a podcast!
All the sweater in the book are knitted using undyed shades of Quince & Co. Owl, a worsted-weight blend of wool and alpaca. They are designed to have a decent amount of positive ease - at least eight inches, in most cases - and will fit busts of up to 56in comfortably.
The first project created for the book was ‘Ash’. It’s an extra-wide, almost square sweater with a modified dolman shape - the body is worked from the bottom up, then the sleeves are picked up and knitted down. Pockets are set into the deep lower border, which is worked in half-brioche stitch, while the graceful shoulder lines are emphasised by exposed seams.
The pretty ‘Willow’ sweater features gansey-inspired knit-and-purl patterning around the shoulders and sleeve tops, while ‘Birch’ is a colourwork yoked jumper, designed for a loose, oversized fit.
‘Aspen’ is the most fitted project in the book; this neat jumper has a slip stitch pattern around the yoke, which adds subtle texture as well as colour.
The ‘Larch’ sweater, meanwhile, has to be the ultimate cover-up! Its body is a simple rectangle that’s almost as wide as it is tall, worked entirely in stocking stitch except for the ribbed edges. Finishing details include pockets and a cowl neck. The size range for this project spans from 33in right up to 70in, so you can make it narrow for a neater fit, or wide and swingy, depending on your preference.
Cardigans include the slim-fitting ‘Maple’, which has wide front borders worked in brioche stitch for textural interest. ‘Walnut’ has a high, round neckline, slim sleeves, vented side seams for ease of movement, and pockets. Its cuffs and borders are worked in half-brioche, a variation on classic brioche rib.
Completing Pam’s collection are a striped beanie, and ‘Balsam’, a versatile accessory that can be worn as a cowl or a hood.
Plain & Simple is published by Quince & Co., priced £17.20. For details, visit www.quinceandco.com Print copies are available in the UK from www.amazon.co.uk. PDF versions can be purchased from Ravelry: http://bit.ly/allenps