It wasn’t long ago when cookbooks started layering personal essays with recipes as a way to evoke our interest beyond just the ingredients and methods. Using a similar spin is Kerry Bogert’s expertly curated Coffeehouse Knits – Knitting Patterns and Essays with Robust Flavor, which provides a perfect combination of know-how and inspiration for knitters of all levels.
The idea came together from Bogert’s own daily habit of rising early, before the rest of her family, to put on a fresh pot of coffee and enjoy some knitting-time in her favorite comfy corner. Turns out, there are many others like Bogert, combining their love of knitting with their love of coffee, whether it is in their own homes, at a knitting club, or in a cafe.
This shared sense of comfort, coziness, and community between knitting and caffeine is reflected in 20 knitting patterns that are all inspired by various coffee beverages.
For the lovers of brioche (the bread and the stitch), there is the Breakfast Brioche Scarf by Kristen Tendyke, which adds interest with diagonal stitching. The Soho Shawl by Melody Hoffman is definitely a project I have my eyes on, given the herringbone type pattern Hoffman claims is cozy, warm, timeless, and easy-to-memorize for a chatty coffee-and-knit date with a friend. The Marshmallow Tee pattern by Amy Rollis looks as soft and light as the delicious treat it is named after and is possibly easier to make. It requires no shaping, counting, or complex pattern stitches.
There are hats, scarves, sweaters, socks, mittens, and plenty of cowls to add to your repertoire too. Each pattern is described in detail with illustrations and the necessary yarn, needles, notions, and gauge. Extra tips and tutorials near the end also teach you how to add fun details like handmade pom-poms to your finished project. This book includes everything a beginner would need to succeed, along with inspiration for the intermediate and expert knitters to take their projects to the next level.
In addition to the patterns, there are the personal essays by Amy Rollis, Shannon Cook, Hannah Thiessen, Maya Elson, and Melody Hoffman which provide a wonderful insight into their relationship with knitting. As Cook puts it, “For those whose passion is knitting, the simple act of working with two sticks and some string has the power not just to make something, but also to evoke emotion, tell a story, and forge relationships.”
For Thiessen too, knit-nights with friends have become a way to check-in, gather news, provide encouragement, and simply be there for others in this complicated world of ours. The knit-night, in essence, is an escape from prejudice, hatred, and dissension…
“ … in favor of connection, understanding, and mutual respect.”
It’s Elson’s story that resonates the most with me, however. Having picked up knitting after college without any fan-fair, she confesses to creating many a terrible and unwearable creations (like me!). It also makes me chuckle when she points out the unhip association of knitting and old ladies. But as she says, “And yet, knitters seem to inevitably come together. We connect over the fact that we persist – with love – this craft that no longer has the same necessity and practical application it once did.”
Whether you are an expert knitter or someone who simply wants to combine a new craft with their love for coffee, Coffeehouse Knits is a great addition to your library. It’s the perfect excuse to brew a fresh pot and find your very own knitting community.
Kerry Bogert is the editorial director of this and many other craft books on crochet, spinning, weaving, jewelry making, beadwork, quilting, sewing, and more. She lives in New York.
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