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Sixteen year-old designer Phoenix Bess’ debut book, subtitled “30 Fresh Styles for the Young and Fabulous”, targets a somewhat-overlooked group — teen knitters.
The 30 designs use simpler knitting techniques worked in soft yarns — bamboo, cotton, silk, wool, and alpaca. Worked mostly in the round and with little seaming and finishing, most of the projects are suitable for an advanced beginner who is comfortable with simple increases and decreases and picking up stitches. A few of the projects use more complicated techniques such as basic lace knitting (YOs paired with a decrease) and short rows.
The projects range from accessories to tops and, of course, several of Bess’ signature bottoms. Presented in 4 chapters — Sunny Days, Days Off, Play Days, and And Night, the book offers:
- 6 sweaters / tops
- 3 skirts
- 3 pants
- 3 outerwear
- 2 dresses
- 2 bikinis
- 3 bags
- 4 accessories
Many of the projects use trims, beads, straps, buckles, jewelry findings and ribbons as embellishments. There’s lots of room for a young knitter to show her individuality with these designs.
Most of the garments feature a figure-hugging silhouette, and Bess makes liberal use of yarns with some stretch in them to make fitting a little easier. A note on sizing – the garments are presented in sizes Small through XL, with an XL coming in at 31 – 37″ for the waist, 36 – 42″ for bust, and 42 – 44 for hips. The book doesn’t list recommended body measurements or suggested ease, so the sizes lists may fit a larger range of measurements given the stretch fibers used in the designs.You’ll want to keep this in mind if you’re knitting for a larger size.
The patterns all feature schematics and callouts to talk you through the embellishing techniques; you’ll also find “It Girl Style Secret” notes where Bess suggests how you can wear and pair the design with other items in the book or in your own wardrobe.
You’ll find quite a few bottoms and dresses in the book. The Flirty Short Skirt is knit from the waist-down and features a handkerchief hem; the Comfy Cotton Pants are worked in a soft and drapey bamboo/cotton/elite yarn and showcase a rolled hem and low-riding 2×2 ribbed waist; the sweet and flirty empire waist dress in a silk/rayon/nylon blend is worked top-down to allow for ample fittings while you’re knitting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JODY RICHARDS
Jody is a lifelong knitter, long-time knit blogger, and the founder of Knotions. She (and her bank account) wonder if she should delegate review writing to someone with more willpower than she has.
She lives in the Philly suburbs of New Jersey.
Text and images © 2008 Jody Richards.