Book Review: Classic Elite Knits

classic elite knits

classic elite knits

Just looking through this book is making me super-excited for fall! Autumn is my favorite season, and the shorter days and cooler weather make me want to pull out my yarn and knit up some cozy sweaters!

Title: Classic Elite Knits: 100 Gorgeous Designs for Every Occasion from the studios of Classic Elite Yarns

Release Date: September 9th, 2008

As it states in the title, this book contains 100 knitting patterns, most of which are patterns for sweaters of various types for women, men, and children. There are also a number of accessories patterns of the usual type: scarves, hats, and bags. The patterns range from beginner, easy, and intermediate to experienced, which means there is something for everyone here.

seed stitch blazer

seed stitch blazer

Each pattern is titled and then just jumps right into the instructions, with no introduction to the pattern or explanation of its name or special features. Experienced knitters are probably fine with this, but for me, a beginner, I found it to be a little disconcerting. I like to get a little bit of chat with each pattern, even if it’s just a sentence to tell me where the intriguing title for the sweater came from or why that particular yarn or colorway was chosen.

As far as the patterns go, again, I am not an experienced knitter, but I didn’t find anything that knocked my socks off as far as knitting couture or cutting edge ideas are concerned. What I did find was a nice selection of quality patterns that seem to be really well-designed. I would call these patterns “classic” for the most part. This book could have been published in 1980 or 2020 (I’m assuming it will still seem classic by then!). The patterns do showcase the yarn beautifully! I have not used any Classic Elite Knits yarn, but there are some beautiful examples in this book.

Patterns I would most like to try (or wear): Seed Stitch Blazer (nice and tailored sweater blazer – this is definitely a stand out pattern… I lied, this one did knock my socks off. Too bad I’m not an experienced knitter!) The Garter-Stitch Color-Block Cardigan has a zipper, which is fun. I don’ t know if anyone else would be into that pattern, but I can see myself wearing it.

awry cardigan - what were they thinking?

awry cardigan - what were they thinking?

“What were they thinking” patterns: The “Awry Cardigan” that is designed to look like you buttoned it up wrong… Uh, even if it was designed that way, it still looks like you buttoned it up wrong! And there’s nothing wrong with this pattern, but the photo for the Lace-Panel Vest makes the model look pregnant, which, I’m pretty sure she’s not. My mama always said: if the pattern photo makes the model (who you know is a size 2) look pregnant, STEER CLEAR!

Charming detail: There are several adult patterns that have accompanying children’s patterns (and most of the adult patterns are men’s sweaters – nothing says cuuuuute like a dad and kid with matching Cosby sweaters! Cue jazz music and dorky dad dancing here!)

cabled purse

cabled purse

Cute accessories: I love the Rainbow Scarf (but probably more just for the colors chosen than the pattern itself.) The Cabled Purse is super-cute, too, and I bet it’s a great thing to make to practice your cabling.

cat sweater and mouse skirt

cat sweater and mouse skirt

My personal favorite section: has to be the kids’ knits. You might think it’s because I’m a mom, but I think it would have been even before I had kids (Martha Stewart Kids magazine is my all-time favorite, and it bit the dust before I even had my first child!). These patterns are cute and pretty chic in a kid-in-a-sweater kind of way. They really don’t scream “my Grandma KNITS!” at all, which is saying something. I love the Cat Sweater and Mouse Skirt (there are matching socks, too, but to have a kid wear all three at once would definitely be taking it into “my Grandma KNITS” territory). The Rib Pocket Hoodie is an adorable pullover, that would look great on any kiddo, and the Large Flower Pattern Cardigan is cute for your little pre-tween (too bad there’s a matching mommy sweater… a little TOO cute).

My favorite kid pattern is the Zip-Up Sweater (wow, my favorite

zip-up stripe sweater

zip-up stripe sweater

pattern choices appear to be chosen by the hyphenated titles) which features multi-striped non-matching sleeves. Super cute, and something you would see in a kids’ boutique for $200. Another bonus is that even though the pattern uses six yarns (wowee-wow-wow!), the “pieces are worked flat but are worked on circular needles to eliminate cutting and rejoining colors, leaving ends to weave in later. Simply slide the stitches to the end where the next color to be used was left and work the next row in pattern.” I don’t actually know how to do that (the pattern is intermediate, and you know, I’m not), but it sounds easy and a lot more reasonable than weaving in millions of yarn tails.

If you are looking for a book with lots of classic patterns, look no further. If you are looking for the hippest and the most cutting edge, try another book (or better yet, a magazine, as their shorter production time allows them to get the hottest styles to you sooner.)

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