Fitted Knits Review
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Not long ago, I was telling a friend about a sweater that I’d just finished knitting—a light blue cotton cardigan with some side shaping and slight bell sleeves. When I showed her the finished sweater, she looked shocked. “That looks like something you’d find in a store,” she said. “I’d actually wear that.”

What my friend didn’t realize is that hand knits don’t have to be big and boxy and frumpy and old-fashioned. They can be every bit as stylish and form-fitting as the knits you find at your favorite store in the mall.

Or, as Stefanie Japel shows in her book, Fitted Knits, they can be even better.

Japel has become well-known in the knitting community (yes, there’s a “knitting community”) for her hip knitwear designs. They’re definitely not your grandmother’s scratchy crew-neck pullovers. They’re right-off-the-runway cool. They’re edgy or feminine—or sometimes both at the same time. And they’re even easy to knit, too. And Fitted Knits is full of Japel’s signature style—but that doesn’t mean that all 25 designs look exactly the same. Japel uses a variety of yarns—from sport weight to super-bulky and from luxurious yarn store brands to more affordable craft store brands. The designs use cables and rib and lace and a whole assortment of other stitch patterns. And there are all kinds of styles, too. In the beginning, there are tube tops and T-shirts for warmer weather. Then there are shrugs and cardigans, sweaters and coats. And, finally, dresses and jackets.

Every design in Fitted Knits features some sort of shaping—from ribs to darts to short rows—and while it may sound scary, it isn’t. Japel’s patterns come in a variety of skill levels, and she offers all kinds of detailed tips for getting the fit just right. You may have to take a few measurements and do a little math from time to time, but that’s a small price to pay for a finished piece that really was made just for you.

For new knitters who shudder at the word “sweater,” Japel’s designs are a great place to start (in fact, my very first sweater was one of her designs). The majority are top-down raglans, knit in the round, all in one piece. There aren’t many seams to sew, and there aren’t any pieces to fit together—so you won’t have to worry about a lot of finishing. And if you happen to be taller than average, with longer-than-average arms (like me), knitting top-down means that you can try your sweater on as you go—to make sure it’s the perfect fit. So it’s a win-win situation.

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a new knitting book. There are so many hitting the shelves every month that they all seem to blend together after a while—but not Fitted Knits. While Japel does go a little overboard in her design elements from time to time (and I still believe that hand-knit skirts are a bad idea), the majority of the designs in this book are designs that I’d actually wear—and that I’d actually knit, too.

Knit a sweater from Fitted Knits, and you’re guaranteed to attract all kinds of compliments from people who won’t believe that you actually knit it yourself.

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