Book Review - CoopKnits Toasty Volume 2 by Rachel Coopey
It's not new or "hot" but CoopKnits Toasty Volume 2 by Rachel Coopey is the most loved and used knitting accessories book on our personal shelf.
First published in September, 2015, this is a book that has withstood the test of time. Traditional fair isle techniques are utilised in a way that feels both modern and classic at the same time.
If you love making hats and/or colourwork you will adore this book and go back to it time and time again. You could use the same pattern 20 times and it could be completely different each and every time. There is so much to love between the pages of Toasty Volume 2, but here are, in no particular order, our own eight personal favourite reasons.
#1 Written AND Charted Instructions
Okay, we said "no particular order", but this is really number one. With so many patterns taking shortcuts on the instructions we so appreciate a pattern with both written and charted instructions. Personally we like to refer to both, but if you prefer one over the other then you are covered!
In addition to having both written and charted instructions, everything about the patterns contained in these pages is well-written and thorough. It's obvious the designer/publisher takes great pride in presenting a professional and pleasant experience for the user.
#2 Lots o' Photos
Well-written instructions are a must, but photos really set the mood and inspire and this book is chock full of them. The setting is atmospheric and the accessories are shown in a realistic yet appealing way, (in other words, you can imagine yourself wearing them in much the same way as you see on the page).
There are flat shots as well as model/lifestyle shots which allow you to see a little more detail, which can be helpful to refer back to along with the charts and written instructions.
#3 Unisex Patterns
Many, if not all, of the patterns in this book are unisex. And by that we don't mean "written for a man but a woman could wear it" or vice versa -- these patterns will really work for both sexes, albeit colour choice will sometimes lean the accessory toward the feminine or masculine side. This is especially great if you like to gift your handmade hats as you'll have one resource that covers a lot of gifting needs. And sizing, (see below), is also offered to fit a wide enough range to cover both sexes.
#4 Range of Sizes
We often find that hats are written in one or maybe two sizes, but the hats in this book are written in three sizes, (small, medium, and large). That covers a lot of heads, (bad pun intended)!
#5 Easy to Modify
Even with the range of sizes offered you might want a tighter fitting hat or less slouch or even to make a hat for a child. Or maybe you want to use a different yarn than the one used in the book. Good news...these patterns are fairly simple to modify by changing needle size, adding or subtracting from your initial cast on, and/or omitting rows. You will, of course, need to be a little experienced and willing to take on just a bit of maths, (or consult our Toasty blog posts as we've posted mods for a few of the hats), but we promise it's not complicated and you'll get great results.
#6 You Get to Have Your Book and Download, Too!
We love having a hard copy of a book that we know we'll use over and over, but we also love the convenience of a downloadable pdf. Fortunately you can have both because every purchase of the hard copy version comes with a code for downloading through Ravelry, (and that means it will be stored in your Ravelry library as well). Pure genius.
#7 How Tos
We previously mentioned the thoroughness of this book, and that includes how tos, with photos, for long tail cast on and kitchener stitch. We feel this is a great book for those who may not have been knitting long but are ready for some adventure on their knitting journey and these how tos will aid those knitters. They are also a great refresher for the more experienced knitters...who doesn't love a good kitchener stitch cheat sheet? (PS the kitchener stitch is used for the cowl and mitten patterns in the book, not hats.)
#8 Excellent Resources/Links
The final page of the book is a "Words of Wisdom" page, which includes links to all sorts of useful resources for things like how to read charts, knitting in the round, and making pom poms. There is also contact information for the designer.
So that, in a nutshell, covers why we love this book and expect to be using it for years to come. If knitted colourwork accessories are your thing, (or even one of your things), we encourage you to get this book on your own shelf!