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Book Review: Simple Style by Ann Budd and Simple Stitches by Eva Wiechmann

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We are taking a look at a couple of “simple knitting” books, which offer knitting patterns using basic stitches, simple shaping, and minimal finishing.

Simple Stitches by Eva Wiechmann offers 15 patterns, split up by stitches: garter stitch, seed stitch, etc. “Buttoned Cardigan” is a basic cardigan with contrasting trim created from in garter stitch. “Collared Tunic” has an oversized funnel neckline, full sleeves, and garter stitch detailing at the hem and along the raglan sleeves. “A-Line Tunic” is a swingy top with seed stitch panels giving it a nice drape. However, the panels begin mid-bust, and is not flattering for the well-endowed. “Comfy Short-Sleeved Tunic” is described as the perfect “don’t have to suck your tummy in” sweater. That’s because this shapeless sweater hides every detail of your body. “Easy Breezy Top” and “Simple Top” suffer the same fate.

A better collection of simple knits is Simple Style by Ann Budd. “Sixteen Button Cardigan” spices up the basic cardigan with lots of small buttons, a wide boatneck and ribbing at the hems. “Kokopelli Jacket” features a single large button at the neck, slightly oversized collar, and rolled edges. “Kaleidoscope Yoke” is a basic funnel turtleneck, but brightly-colored, contrasting variegated yarn at the yoke and cuffs makes it stand out. “Drawstring Bateau” is a striking and unique tunic with chevron eyelet detailing, and a contrasting cabled panel that resembles a corset. “Kimono Classic” is a splendid combination of a jacket, kimono, and robe.

Normally I am not a fan of vests, but I like “Tailored Vest,” a V-neck vest that could double as a tank top, and draws its shape from a knitted belt. “Offset Raglan” is a boxy jacket with asymmetrical closure and oversized collar. “Best-Fit Jumper” reminds me of days in elementary school, but unfortunately placed, oversized buttons are not appropriate on a fully developed woman. “Weekend Fair Isle” is a horribly unattractive piece. It is bulky and oversized, with an unflattering – but extremely simple – mock Fair Isle pattern. It looks like an ugly Christmas sweater your grandma would make you as a child.

If you were only going to buy one “simple knits” book, I would go with Simple Style. Both books are priced the same ($24.95) but Simple Knits has 19 patterns, compared with Simple Stitches’s 15, and the former’s patterns are fare more flattering.

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