Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Metropolitan Knits Review & Giveaway!

A few weeks ago, I was approached to review Metropolitan Knits: Chic Designs for Urban Style, the debut book by one of my favorite designers, Melissa Wehrle.  I first took notice of Melissa's work back in 2005 when Sesame appeared in MagKnits.  I was a brand-new knitter at the time & this was one of the very first sweaters I aspired to knit!  Then, when she was the featured designer in KnitScene Fall 2009, I really fell in love with her patterns.  They are functional, sturdy & flattering.  She utilizes design features such as tabs & uniquely-placed lace motifs, which add a ton of personality to classic designs.  Her body of work also includes a good mix of fitted feminine pieces & more relaxed, comfortable knits to appeal to a variety of styles.  The patterns included in this book are no exception. 

This book is inspired by & dedicated to life in NYC & is divided into three chapters based on different facets of city life.  I'll tell you a little bit about my favorite patterns from each chapter.

Chapter 1 (Heart of the City) starts with two quick-to-knit accessories then dives right into a sweater that a more experienced knitter could really sink their teeth into.  The Museum Sweater consists of an all-over lace pattern, with shaping worked into the selvedge stitches on the sides.  There is additional shaping around the neck & shoulders, then the cowl gets picked up & knit inside out in twisted rib.  For me, this would be a years-long project but I still find myself drawn to the drape of the yarn, the relaxed yet flattering silhouette & the huge comfy cowl neck.  Plus I definitely welcome the occasional knitting challenge.

The Meier Cardigan, which appears on the cover, is one of my favorite patterns in the book.  The construction is really smart: it's knit from the bottom up in one piece to the armholes, then gets divided for the sleeves.  One reason for this is that the cardigan includes side lace panels, which I didn't even notice until I'd looked at it quite a few times!  I feel like this would also get the cardigan off to a really quick start, as you would see a lot of progress right away & be encouraged to keep knitting.  

Chapter 2 (Urban Bohemia) is my favorite chapter.  It's full of big, comfy sweaters & I want to knit almost all of them.  These are perfect Seattle garments: rustic, warm, layering pieces that could take me through about 8 months of the year.  


The Magnolia Cafe Cardigan has a shawl collar & button band that are actually knitted separately, joined at the back then attached to the cardigan for a cleaner look.  I love that level of attention to detail.  That theme is continued by knitting the lining of the pockets in a contrasting color yarn.  These touches, plus the combination of cables & double moss stitch, make this a great piece for process knitters & product knitters alike.



For a more laid-back knitting experience, the Washington Square Cardigan, is high on my knit-list.  This sweater makes me want to hug it.  Due to the vast swathes of stockinette & the simple lace pattern, I think it would look awesome knit in a bulky thick-&-thin yarn.  I appreciate the continuation of the buttons onto the inside of the collar, as they move from functional to decorative & complete the line.


Chapter 3 (City Gardens) mixes the elegance & casualness of the two previous chapters with a lighter touch.  Looser gauges & lighter yarns are used here to evoke a more natural aesthetic in contrast to the lively, urban experience celebrated in the previous two chapters.  Balancing a busy, full, extroverted city life with quiet, introspective time in nature is an important aspect of life in Seattle (& actually part of what drew me here rather than NYC).  This chapter highlights some of those areas that offer a respite within the city.

Normally I am not a shawl knitter, but the Grand Army Plaza Shawl might be the exception to that rule.  I love the open, un-finicky quality of the lace & the yarn chosen for this pattern is just gorgeous.  








Of all the patterns in this book, the Courtyard Pullover is my favorite & the one I hope to cast on first.  I love the variety of all the different stitch patterns & I find the length & shape of this piece really flattering.  I could see myself wearing this a lot, with both skirts & jeans & I think it might look great in a semi-solid yarn as well as a solid color.  The best part is that this sweater is knit raglan-style from the top down.


I hope I've piqued your interest in this book & in Melissa Wehrle as a designer.  You can pick up a copy of Metropolitan Knits: Chic Designs for Urban Style through InterweaveAmazon, or Barnes & Noble. Or, if you're really lucky, you can win the copy that Interweave has kindly provided for me to give away!  Just leave a comment on this blog (not on FB) with either your favorite pattern from this book or your favorite pattern by Melissa & I will choose a winner on August 16th (which will also be my 11-yr anniversary with Dan, an auspicious day no doubt!).  Good luck & I can't wait to hear from you!!! 

23 comments:

Cindy Kester said...

Appears to be an exceptional collection. Whoever wins it will be fortunate indeed.

Brooke Mallory said...

Beautiful! Hope to win!

juniperjune said...

ooh, i love the courtyard pullover too, but i don't get a lot of wear out of pullovers here in southern california! so the grand army plaza shawl is probably the first thing i'd cast on. :)

Mary Rourke said...

Such a difficult task to choose just one favorite as the designs in this book all look amazing! I also love Meier and Museum, classic pieces with beautiful details. I'm intrigued by Brooklyn Bridge Cardi as it looks like the type of sweater that would feel like a comfy bathrobe but look really elegant. With my love for stripes I can't stop eyeing Cobblstone Hoodie. And Opera House Mitts are a must. Aw geez, I could go on and on...

Unknown said...

I'm still in love with the Origami Shrug from Brave New Knits. Someday I'll actually get around to knitting it.

melissa said...

i LOVE the washington square cardigan!

Linda said...

I love the Grand Army Plaza Shawl. I can't wait to knit it. I'd love to win the book!

lmecoll on Ravelry

Anonymous said...

I'm in love with the magnolia café cardigan

I'm squiggi on ravelry

Vanessa Eng said...

Hi everyone, please make sure to leave some hint as to who you are with your comment so I can reach you if you win. Either log in via Google or leave your Ravelry ID, email address, etc. Thanks!

Janet said...

I really love the cover sweater.

Connie K. said...

I am loving the Magnolia Café Cardigan. Luscious cables!

greyowl60@yahoo.com

MrsJen said...

I totally love the cardigan on the cover. Love the color and details.

iluvmeyarn on Rav.

Lynn Hicks said...

I love Melissa's "Sesame" sweater which is a fabulous pattern and generously free on Ravelry. Of this new collection, I've got my eye on the Washington Square Cardigan to knit for my beautiful youngest daughter, Anna.

Ali Nolte said...

Is it too late to win? I borrowed this book from the library once and it was awesome!

Deb Denair said...

I am smitten with the Museum Sweater, love cowl neckline and the lace stitch is stunning, whoever wins will not be disappointed, fingers crossed on this one :)

goodkarma said...

Hey Vanessa! I've got the Washington Square Cardi on my mind... I even have a beautiful deep red Cascade Eco wool ready for it. But there are so many beautiful designs here. I didn't notice the lace detail on the side of the cover cardi, either, pretty!

Anonymous said...

There are so many gorgeous patterns in this book, it's hard to choose a favorite. However, I think the first project I'd make is the Skyline Tunic -- love it!

Lauriebo on Ravelry

knitbunnie said...

I love this book so much!

knittingvee said...

the Grand Army Shawl is just my sort of understated elegant pattern

ikkinlala said...

I love the Grand Army Plaza shawl.

Anonymous said...

Elementary Vest because there just aren't enough vest patterns and it has shape and pattern without being too busy. And Thayer Street Cardigan because I love asymmetry and am so happy to see a designer not resort to raglans.

Aleen
yamasaki4 at yahoo.com

K S said...

I love the washington square cardi! <3 HI Vanessa!

Connie K. said...

Woot! Just got the email saying I'd won! Thank you, thank you - I cannot wait to get a good look at the Magnolia Cafe Cardigan specs. That one will be for me!

greyowl60@yahoo.com