Quick Knits Small & Pretty by Susan Penny is a delightful surprise and a pleasure to review. The original patterns range from egg cosies to fingerless mittens and they all use basic knitting stitches and techniques, making this book ideally suited to new knitters who crave immediate results. Each project photo is full of whimsy and vintage charm. The only obvious shortcoming is that the quick knits are geared towards women and young girls.
The 21 knitting patterns are: Daisy Egg Cosy, Beach Hut Paperweight, Celebration Cake, Flower Brooch, Ballerina Teddy, Rose Headband, Striped Mittens, Jam Tart Slice, Molly Dolly, Red Rose, Phone Cover, Pretty Flowers, Doll’s Hat & Scarf, Rag Doll, Scottie Dog, Envelope Purse, Peach & Chocolate Cupcake, Mug Cosy, Bird Pins, Country Heart and Tooth Fairy Bag.
Quick Knits Evaluation
To test the patterns, I knitted a sample Rag Doll. As I didn’t have any gold yarn, I substituted silver yarn for her hat; otherwise, I followed the instructions and suggested materials. The doll, scarf and hat are all knitted flat and seamed. The increases are simple kfb (knit into front and back loops) and the decreases are all k2tog (knit 2 stitches together). Where you might expect a k2tog tbl (through back loop) instruction (to make the decrease slant to the left), it has been left as a simple k2tog (where the decrease always slants to the right). This is a canny move, as the slant is hidden in the seaming, and keeping the stitches simple makes the pattern more accessible.
The doll was very quick to make and, while she doesn’t look identical to the book photo, she looks very sweet. Judging by the book photo, slightly visible stuffing is a deliberate effect; it seems to effectively add to the rustic, vintage appeal. To be honest, I think she looks better without the hat but the removable hat and scarf pieces do increase the play value for a child. I’m very pleased with my finished project. :)
Flicking through the other patterns, I can see all the stitches have been kept simple. Quite often the increases and decreases are left to the reader to choose their favourite version – perhaps use a m1 (make one) instead of a kfb? The only tricky stitch that I can see, which might cause a beginner some concern, is in the Peach & Chocolate Cupcake: “inc every second purl stitch”. I would interpret that as meaning pfb (purl into front and back loops), which I know some knitters find awkward because of the unintuitive way you must hold your needles. However, as the precise method hasn’t been specified, I suppose you could conceivably use any increase stitch.
While I received a free review copy of this book, I would be happy to buy it as a gift – it would go very nicely with some bamboo needles or some pretty and useful embellishments e.g. buttons, ribbons, findings, etc. It would also be a satisfying buy for new or intermediate knitters seeking small projects and fast results. Many of the quick knits would make lovely little gifts, particularly for young girls – although the cute Scottie Dog would make a charming friend for anyone!
Quick Knits Small & Pretty, priced at £7.50 GBP, is available from Amazon, booksellers, knitting shops and direct from the publisher (Cotton Thread Books). I would rate it 4.5/5.