Casual Elegance: New American Knits

Georgia Ragan

This has only happened to me once before: I see a book or magazine and I want to knit every single one of the patterns. That's the case with Amy Christoffers' book New American Knits. As I flipped through the book, I kept saying "I'd wear that, and that, and that, and those mitts would be the perfect gift. And that hat!" You get the picture.

Amy's collection is varied; it includes an array of garments, several techniques, and lots of yarns to choose from. The knits in this book are casual but polished, elegant but functional. Here's the story behind Amy's book.

New American Knits

The "American look" is simple and practical. The term comes from the style of the 1930s and 1940s—the moment in fashion when American designers stopped looking to Europe for inspiration and created a style that was uniquely their own.

The American Look is fresh and modern, even by today's standards: tailored and unfussy but with whimsical details. Think Katharine Hepburn or Lauren Bacall looking relaxed and casual, crisp and tailored, all at the same time.

New American Knits is about applying traditional knitting skills and textile motifs to contemporary wearable knitting. It is nostalgic but not vintage, with textures and colorwork motifs adapted and applied with an eye toward creating a modern wardrobe.

Remington Cardigan Sargent Pullover

I hope that this collection reflects how we dress every day: contemporary sportswear, the simple-but-sophisticated modern uniform. These pieces have clean lines that make for soothing knitting. They feature both seamless and semiseamless construction and simple stitches such as garter, stockinette, and waffle, punctuated with lace and pops of colorwork.

Parrish Mitts

These pieces are engaging to knit but not complicated, emphasizing the use of traditional motifs, techniques, and skills to produce a result that is satisfying in both form and function.

I've named each of the pieces after an American artist that I find particularly inspiring. I hope you are intrigued enough to investigate them.

—Amy Christoffers, New American Knits

What a fresh approach to knitting design! There are so many wonderful designs in this book that I was very hard for me to choose which ones to highlight. So these are the tip of the iceberg.

Get your copy of New American Knits today and cast on one of Amy's wonderful creations!


P.S. What's your go-to knitting book? Leave a comment and share it with us!

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