I recently received a copy of Andrea Rangel's Rugged Knits from Interweave and was blown away by the simple, practical patterns within.
Ms. Rangel's designs aren't trendy or groundbreaking. They're made to last forever, both in terms of style and durability. I don't know about you, but if I'm going to spend weeks or, even months, knitting myself a sweater, I don't want it to look dated in a few years' time.
I was particularly drawn to the Blackberry Grove cowl, which flares slightly to fit over the shoulders if you prefer to wear it that way. This is accomplished by working each cable repeat with progressively larger needles.
I used some long-time stash yarn - Elsebeth Lavold Angora in Magenta - which was not quite as thick as the super bulky yarn the pattern recommended. I compensated by going down a needle size across the board, but also casting on enough stitches to do three additional repeats of the cable pattern around the cowl. And to make the cowl roughly the same height as the original, I did one more repeat of the cables vertically as well on needles one size larger than the last repeat.
I found the instructions to be well-written and error-free. Once the weather cools off and I can stand to have more wool on my lap, perhaps I'll whip up one of the lovely pullovers from this book!