A few years ago Kristi Porter’s book ‘Knitting in the Sun‘ was published with designs specifically for warmer weather. Following on from the success of this book Kristi has just released her newest book ‘More Knitting in the Sun‘. This books also features a wide range of knits for warm weather from a collection of designers, but the difference this time is that it’s just for kids.
(c) Wiley Publishing
I’m very happy to be party of the blog tour for this book (being hosted by Wiley’s craft website – full details of complete tour at bottom of post). My contribution to this book is a pair of boy’s shorts called ‘Milo’ (anyone take a guess on the book character the name comes from?). I’ve shown them modeled below on my second son last year (so it’s my photo rather than the book photo). Knit in a linen merino blend (Louet Merlin, lovely yarn!) they’re knit from the top down in the round with big cargo pockets added afterward for optimal size and placement. You can see a few more details on this project on my Ravelry page here.
For my stop on the blog tour I asked Kristi a few questions. I wanted to find out from her what inspired her to write a book just for kid’s knits and to find out her own summer knitting favorites for kids.
You have two daughters, do you knit for them?
Yes, I have two daughters, Zoe is 13 and Ella is 10. I knit for them more when they were younger. Maybe because they were smaller. Maybe because they wore whatever I put them in. Right now, Ella wears crocheted beanies a lot. Her current favorite is black and sparkly.
If you do, what do you like to knit?
For my family, I end up making a lot of hats! Ella’s got a crocheted beanie for every day of the week (a request last year), and she likes armwarmers and legwarmers too. My husband wears his felted slippers almost constantly in the house, plus when the weather demands, a hat and sometimes a neckwarmer or scarf. Right now I have a 2×2 ribbed baby alpaca hat on the needles to replace the one I inadvertently toasted trying to dry in the oven!
Caddie - (c) Wiley Publishing
What inspired you to write this version just for kids?
I loved the idea of bringing knitting into the warmer months too. Especially here in California, and in warmer climates, a lot of the published patterns are just not wearable. Plus knitters don’t want a lapful of mohair all summer long! More to the point, there aren’t a lot of patterns published that are really meant for school-aged kids. There are lots of patterns for babies and toddlers and lots of patterns for adults, but kids from 4-12 are sort of an undeserved population. They don’t want to wear super-sized baby clothes or miniature versions of adult garments. They want something that has some style and flair, but they need to be able to run and jump and play and be comfortable too. I didn’t want things that were too trendy, but still fresh and modern. I think this collection of designs has something to appeal to a broad range of kids, and also to a range of knitters with a variety of skill levels and techniques.
What do you think is important to take into consideration when knitting for children?
There are several things I think about children and knits. First, I think comfort is really important to kids. They just won’t wear something that is scratchy or binding or that they have to keep tugging on to keep in place. So I made sure that the yarns we chose were soft and comfortable to wear. I also paid attention to critical design features like straps and closures and sleeve lengths. These clothes are easy to put on and take off, and I really worked with designers to come up with garments that would stay in place even with active play. No one wants their child’s shorts sagging or her shoulder straps falling off! Finally, I think this collection will suit a range of tastes, from the boy who wants to wear a hooded sweatshirt every day to the little girl who will only wear dresses, and all the kids in between who are some days conservative and some days avant-garde as they try to come up with their own individual style.
For knitters who create things for kids, there are additional considerations. Busy kids have busy parents, so the yarns used are easy to care for. I think that’s a critical thing to think about when designing for kids. Also, because kids grow quickly and their wants are, let’s face it, mercurial, I wanted to keep the patterns as straightforward as possible. You simply can’t spend a year knitting a pattern for a kid! By the time it’s done, they’ve outgrown it and purple is no longer their favorite color and instead everything must be green. There is plenty of interesting knitting to be had in More Knitting in the Sun, but you’ll see a lot of one-piece construction (with a variety of interesting methods!) and simplified finishing techniques. The fun is in the details, of course! There’s lace, colorwork, interesting stitch patterns and constructions to try. And because these pieces are smaller than adult-sized garments, they can be a great way to try a new technique or hone your skills before embarking on a larger project.
What do you think is the biggest difference knitting for kids instead of adults?
As I said before I think comfort and yarn-content are bigger considerations for kids than they are for adults. Also when I design something for an adult, I imagine that it may see decades of use. I can use more expensive yarns and expect an investment of more knitting time. When I knit for kids, I expect it to get worn a lot and worn out! Those grubby little armwarmers or the sweater whose cuffs are frayed are successfully made kid’s knits, to my mind. Kids also are willing to be a bit more whimsical in how they dress. That’s great fun to me as a designer. The colors can be less subdued and the details can be bolder.
What would be your favorite warm weather kid-friendly yarn?
I don’t know that I have a hands-down favorite, but I’ve gotten to know much more about some great synthetics and synthetic-blend yarns. If you haven’t touched acrylic yarn since your aunt knit you that blanket in the 1970′s, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by these new yarns!
I want to know where you found all those super cute kids for the book!
All the kids in the book live in my neighborhood! They’re just regular kids being themselves and having fun. The photographer, Steve Simpson did a wonderful job of capturing those moments.
Thanks so much for answering all my questions Kristi! For the remainder of the blog tour, just follow the links below. Plus if you’ve only just joined you can go back and read the previous posts.
Owen - (c) Wiley Publishing
More Knitting in the Sun – Blog Tour 2011
May 2: Carol Sulcoski
May 4: Talitha Kuomi
May 5: Laura Nelkin
May 6: Carol Feller (me!)
May 7: Janine le Cras
May 8: Faina Goberstein
May 9: Katherine Vaughan
May 10: Stefanie Japel
May 12 — Petite Purls (Brandy Fortune and Allegra Wermuth)