New Knits on the Block Review
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Today’s knitters are more than just grannies, quietly knitting scratchy hats and mittens to keep their grandchildren warm and itchy. Today’s knitters are everything from the pre-teens in my weekly kids’ knitting group to celebrities to busy moms. For those moms, Vickie Howell, mother of two and host of the DIY network’s hip show Knitty Gritty, has compiled a book, calling it “a guide to knitting what kids really want.”

Inside, knitting moms (not to mention knitting dads, aunties, and uncles—and even hip knitting grannies) will find page after page of imaginative designs that will undoubtedly have little ones (and even some not-so-little ones) shrieking, “I want that!” You won’t find boring old sweaters or scratchy mittens in this book. Instead, you’ll find squiggly monster hats, felted crowns and wizard hats, a superhero cape, and dress-up clothes for everything from unicorns and mermaids to Vikings and knights in chain mail.

The patterns, created mostly for kids ages 2-8 and designed for beginning to intermediate knitters, are divided into three categories, based on the amount of knitting time required: Playdate for quick projects, Weekend at Nana’s for longer projects, and Summer Camp for more time-intensive projects. And all of the projects have fun pop-culture names that will amuse Gen-X readers. The book’s layout is pretty straightforward—the patterns are, for the most part, pretty easy to follow, and there are plenty of illustrations and pictures, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

When I first flipped through this book, I was a bit skeptical. I may not have kids of my own, but I have a niece and a nephew (and plenty of other little friends) who are notorious for losing interest in things at superhuman speeds. When it comes to knitting for them, I stick with the quick and easy projects—so I won’t be devastated when my hard work gets tossed aside, never to be seen again. And for that reason, I probably wouldn’t invest the time into the more time-consuming projects in this book—though they’d make some pretty spectacular Halloween costumes.

That said, though, New Knits on the Block is filled with more than enough quick projects to keep you busily knitting for your kids (and your siblings’ kids…and your friends’ kids…). You don’t have to take the time to knit a mermaid costume to get plenty of use out of this book. Any little girl will love the pretty fur stole and matching purse. Little guys will love the tool belt—and the pirate bath set may actually have them looking forward to bath time. And you don’t have to be a kid to love the guitar pillow or the bowling set.

If you’re looking for something different to knit for the kids—something that they’ll actually get excited about—check out New Knits on the Block. But be sure to keep the book out of the hands of your little ones—because once they get a good look at what’s inside, they may never let you knit for yourself again.

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