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Book Review: Twinkle’s Weekend Knits by Wenlan Chia

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Wenlan Chia is a high-end knitwear designer whose Twinkle by Wenlan line debuted on the runways with a Fall 2000 collection. She has translated her designs into fashion-forward knits for modern hand knitters.

Weekend Knits is Wenlan’s second book. It has 20 projects perfect for every facet of a weekend getaway. Three sections offer designs for a Friday night on the town, a Saturday afternoon played by ear, and a Sunday dedicated to enjoying your relaxed state. The photographs of the projects are beautiful, but still showcase the designs, designating the pattern instructions to a separate section.

The designs utilize very chunky yarns, which allow for quick knits. The designs are still fashion forward and stylish, which is often difficult to do with chunky yarns. Favorites include the Lilac Mist Throw, a lighter-than-air mohair blanket to cozy into; the Nimbus Sweater, a slender sweater with a cowl that certainly does resemble a cloud; the Cloudburst Cardigan, a simple jacket with a ruffled edge; and the Meridian Tunic Dress, a versatile striped piece that is perfect for those days where Spring is battling with Winter for season supremacy.

Despite the beautiful photos and young feel to the designs, not all the patterns are winners. While the half-dozen scarves featured are lovely, they are not terribly unusual – many utilize basic garter stitch with an occasional bobble or looped fringe. The Snowcap Hat is so big it looks absurd. The Nightfall Cropped Top is cute in the photo but would be tough to translate into everyday wear. And the Tidepool, Oceania, and Northern Cross sweaters look cozy, but are simple, basic, and frankly, kind of dull. If you are looking for a really fast project these are good, but you can only have so many basic sweaters in your wardrobe.

While the patterns are hit-and-miss as far as originality, it is a good place to look if you are in the market for a quick, satisfying project. Sometimes, especially after a long, involved project, you want something that has a quicker pay-off. There are many pieces that would make good gifts – quick to finish if you are under time constraints, and bulky shapes mean an easy fit. But if you are looking for some unique, special projects, there are better books for that.

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