Cozy Knits, pulbished in November 2013, includes 50 "fast and easy" projects collected by Tanis Gray and using Cascade Pacific and Pacific Chunky yarns. These yarns are a washable, affordable blend of superwash merino and acrylic, come in lots of colors, and are perfect for easy-care winter accessories or kids' garments. My "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" cowl is described as a lace pattern, but in fact it is richly textured rather than lacy, even though the stitch pattern includes yarnovers. I worked decreases into the stitch pattern at bottom and top of the cowl to shape it slightly. The cowl is worked in the round, and a good choice for a knitter who has dabbled in lace and wants to try something a little more advanced (but not too difficult).
My Chain Gang Cabled Mittens (not my name choice!!) are also richly textured, this time using a background of garter stitch to set off the unusual chain cable.The fact that the row gauge of the cable is larger than that of the garter stitch has the interesting effect of creating a convex curve along the back of the finished mittens, which helps them conform nicely to your hand. I suggested the name "Nessie" for these mittens, because the cable reminded me of those blurry photos of the Loch Ness monster's body emerging from the water.
One hint if you knit these mittens: I found it impossible to keep the stitches between dpns from being looser on the purl rounds, I think because the yarn travels on the outside of the work on those rounds and thus has to travel farther (rather than on the inside of the work on the knit rounds). To avoid this, use two circular needles or the magic loop technique.
And finally, the book is filled with many other great quick projects: my favorites are the Slip-Stitch Two-Color Neck Gaiter by Lynn Wilson (unwieldy name but cool 2-color effect); the Sweater Girl Raglan by Melissa Goodale (creative and adorable); and the Silver Plates Dragon-Scale Cloche by Robin Melanson (maybe because I love that dragon scale stitch pattern!).
(All photos except 2nd one of mittens are courtesy of Joe Hancock/Interweave Press.)