Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr, photographs by Tyllie Barbosa, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007
This is not a new book, but it contains some new techniques that have been underused since it came out. I guess this is because it purports to be a pattern book.
And it really is a pattern book, filled with 27 "distinctly modern designs" beautifully photographed, and only a few pages of technical information both in the final chapter and sprinkled throughout.
The cover scarf is a lovely example of a simple yet creative, functional yet attractive design. The pattern fits easily on one page, but it encompasses four techniques--two standard and two innovative. Wonderful.
The scarf at right is related to Tricorner and looks a bit like Twisted. Better than either (in my opinion), it's really just ribbing knit in and out on little wings instead of around and around in a tube. Get the book for more details.
But as much as I admire those technique photos (and drool over the technology--I do not have the engineering brain needed to set something like that up), they are trumped by Tyllie Barbosa's ingenious work.
Draping scarves over just about anything you might find in a home (except people), her photos are narratives and Lynne's designs come across as extremely comfortable works of art. The cover photo is one of my favorites. Another is at right.
The waves in that scarf are knit in the round on two sizes of double-pointed needles, but there's more to them than that. Lynne had to work out several more details, yet the result is elegant and not the least bit cerebral or off-putting.
The scarf at left is worked with one continuous strand of yarn. Carumboa is made of interlocked rectangles. Circles reminds me of a motif from Pop Knitting. Peek is knit flat using intarsia yet has a three-dimensional look. Drifting Pleats may sound scary (no stitch numbers and as many as six needles at once) but it's beautiful and has many Ravelry projects, so I think it's probably worth a try.
And there are more, doubtless some you will find so charming that you'll wonder why I didn't feature them in this review. (The answer must be my inferior taste.)
It seems Lynne's main purpose in writing this book was not to put forth gorgeous scarf designs (though she has done that). It was to come up with provocative, inspiring designs that would take us beyond the instructions into the land of What-If.
When I read a novel, I want to be taken somewhere new. It's a joy to find that in any knitting book, let alone a pattern book. Knitting New Scarves gave me that sense.
I strongly recommend this book for any knitter who has not yet encountered Lynne Barr. It gives just a taste of her genius.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed a copy of Knitting New Scarves from her library. 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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