The Shape of Knitting by Lynne Barr, photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy,
pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013
This book begins with over 25 innovative projects to knit, but (though cute, wearable, and knittable) they are not the meat of the content. Halfway through the book, we realize that the scarves and slippers were merely whetting our appetites for the main course: Techniques.
This last half of the book is devoted to explaining in detail the techniques found in the preceding patterns---and in some cases, their creative origins. Lynne's explanations even of commonly used techniques (such as the long-tailed cast-on) are valuable because they include not merely the how, but the why and the what as well. Information about stretchiness and stability are paired with analyses of the look of the completed procedure.
Lynne deals with cast-ons and bind-offs, decreases and increases (including the wonderfully simple speed increase) in this way. Then it's time for dessert. (Can it be dessert and main course at the same time?)
The first meaty treat (maybe pumpkin pie---that always has enough eggs or tofu in it to count for protein) is the chapter on three-dimensional knitting, as featured in the Dimpled Cowl. In this chapter Lynne covers combining and dividing stitches in a much more thorough way than she was able to do in Reversible Knitting, which was essentially a stitch dictionary.
She details 14 different ways to make a pleat (and gives a couple stitch patterns to use them in), 2 ways to work short rows, and a basic hem or casing with variations.
Then comes the whipped cream.
Lynne has developed a way to knit multiple units with an uninterrupted strand of yarn. She designed Square Arches in one piece, not as separate pieces sewn together or even picked up and knit. The technique is similar to the way you might knit a sideways edging onto a shawl, and she presents several variations.
Speaking of slippers, there are several interesting footwear patterns in this book. They seem just right for wearing on my cold hardwood floors in springtime.
Slippers are an even smaller project than socks, and provide many opportunities for learning new techniques. Another small project is the Fringe Headband (below) which will be one of the very next things I cast on.
I really like this High Profile Top, too. Maybe I'll add some sleeves to it to make the fun last longer.
Along the lines of small projects, there's also a necklace and a pair of mittens, not to mention the two hats, two bags, and two, um, eyeshade patterns. I was actually pretty unhappy to see those eyeshade patterns because I had plans to design some of my own. Now I'll just have to give them an unusual twist.
Disclosure: Stewart, Tabori & Chang sent Kangath a free copy of The Shape of Knitting for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Stewart, Tabori & Chang or Lynne Barr.
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