Over the past few years, there’s been an explosion of interest in the National Parks System as a making inspiration, and knitting has been no exception. Add to the growing list of crafty NPS resources the forthcoming Knitting the National Parks by Nancy Bates. It features 63 beanie patterns, each inspired by a different national park—from Acadia to Zion—and it’s a pretty great, colorful journey through the National Parks System—even as the price of gas keeps us living-room bound.
The majority of the projects—and it’s a significant majority—are pictorial in nature (and about that same majority involves some sort of stranded colorwork; if you don’t already know how to handle long-ish floats, you’ll learn pretty quickly). There are a handful of abstract beauties as well—I’ve got Lassen Volcano, White Sands and Mesa Verde (inspired by a piece of pottery) in my queue already.
Each pattern gets a few pages of its own, and the design is very thoughtful from a user standpoint. Every project has a two-page spread (though it’s a quite chonky volume, the book lies flat when open!) that shows you everything you’ll need and do from start to finish. Instructions on the left, chart on the right. No page turning!
Bates gives us a photo that was clear inspiration for each beanie, as well as a couple of photos of the finished products. There’s also a full-page, full-color chart for each one (there aren’t any line-by-line written instructions, but the charts are gorgeous and as clear as a bell). Each spread also gets its own glossary, which keeps you from having to flip around in the book too much. Just open the book to the pattern you want and the two-page spread tells you and shows you everything you need to know.
A wide array of techniques are covered as well. Cabling makes a few appearances, as does a little bit of post-knitting embroidery. And while there are definitely a handful of patterns that might lightly challenge a beginner (or, hello, chronic forgetter), a quick scurry to YouTube got me through the bobble making of Joshua Tree—my first bobble!—and honestly, if you see something that gives you pause skillwise … well, there are 63 patterns in the book. Just turn the page!
All patterns in the book—save one—call for worsted weight yarn, but one of its real strengths is that it recommends quite an array of different yarns brand- and price-wise, so it’s a good way to dip into yarns that might be new to you, especially if the price of yarn factors into your decision making—if you’re only making a single-skein beanie, a splurge might not break the bank.
A tongue-in-cheek warning: I suspect Knitting the National Parks will really appeal to non-knitters as well: they’ll pick it up, dogear thirty covetable, must-have patterns and then hand it to you—and you better get busy, because thirty is a lot of hats to make.
You’ll need a nice big basin to block all those hats. The prize is a set of Soak Laundry Soaps and a Soak Basin!
How to enter?
Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.
Step 2: What’s your favorite national or state park destination? Let us know in the comments.
Deadline for entries: Sunday, August 28, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.
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