Pop Knitting by Britt-Marie Christoffersson, pub. Interweave Press, 2012
I couldn't wait for this book to arrive, and when it finally did it exceeded my expectations. The stitch patterns are gorgeous and wacky and delightful.
With chapter titles such as Slipped Stitches to Form Welts, Patterns on Bind-Off Rows, and Patterns with Buttonholes, Christoffersson has reached beyond flat colorwork, cables, and lace into an exciting world rich with color, texture, and dimension.
The introductions at the beginning of each chapter give the reader not only an idea of what they will find in the pages ahead, but a glimpse into Christoffersson's personality and creative processes. For instance, the introduction to Holes and Holes with Borders begins, "Lace knitting is not my cup of tea. Lace can be exciting to knit but the result is often too sweet and romantic for my geometrically inclined taste. Nonetheless, twenty years ago I sat down and thought deeply about how I might improve upon the technique."
The patterns themselves are clear, but sometimes written in fill-in-the-blanks style. From Holes and Holes with Borders #1: "Shape bottom edge by binding off. Shape one side and then the other. . . . When the fabric with holes has been completed, use the dpn to pick up stitches around the hole. The number of stitches to pick up should match the gauge of the background knitting. . . ."
The pattern does not explain how the sides are to be shaped, or how to determine the number of stitches to pick up (the border is in stockinette, the background in garter stitch; are we meant to pick up the circumference of the garter hole in the garter gauge or stockinette gauge?), and the accompanying chart if numbered as if one square = one row, but the text above it says one square = two rows.
This is fine with me, and I really don't know how she could explain it much better without specifying gauge and constraining the knitter more than is warranted in a stitch dictionary. Frankly, there are enough other beautiful patterns in this book written with specific details to satisfy even the most timid knitter. Such a knitter could choose some of them to work, then apply some of the variations found in photographs on following pages. For instance, there are eleven variations of Casting On and Binding Off within a Row 1. After this, the (now somewhat braver) knitter may be tempted to try a trickier pattern involving surface motifs or different directions. Finally, our hero may be ready to venture into the merely described patterns such as Holes.
The photography by Thomas Harrysson deserves special mention and is worth the price of the book. The many full-page photos of single stitch patterns and the "variations" photo pages show the stitches in full detail.
This is a wonderful book, and I'm excited to try the stitches described within.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Swedish Sweaters. 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 Interweave Press or Britt-Marie Christoffersson.
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