The Big Book of Stitches by the Editors of Martingale, photography by Brent Kane, pub. Martingale Press, 2016.
This book contains instructions for over 360 stitch patterns, including those shown on the cover and in the slideshow below. Although they are roughly organized by type (cables, openwork, knit and purl, ribs, and miscellaneous) there is so much crossover that it gets tricky to know where to put any one pattern. For instance, Banded Rib is in the "Knit & Purl Textures" chapter instead of "Ribs and Ribbing." Luckily there is an index, so if you remember the name of the stitch you will be able to find it. Although that might be difficult with names like Cell Stitch and Cellular Stitch, or Star Stitch and Star-Stitch Pattern, or Check Pattern, Close Checks, Stockinette Checks, Checkerboard, and Check Stitch (to list just a few of the Checks family)!
There are many beautiful patterns, mixed in with standard basics. Most of the swatches are pristine: accurately knitted and lovingly blocked. The photography distinctly shows every stitch and manipulation.
The instructions are very readable and clearly presented with standard abbreviations and a key at the end. Perplexingly, the instructions for "Make star" and "Make knot" are identical. Also in at least two instances it is not specified to work the double yarnover as two stitches, but that's how the editors intend it to be worked. Stitch count increases and decreases are not given either. It would be helpful, say, in Grand Eyelets, to have an indication of the number of stitches per repeat decreased on the first row and increased on the second row.
The organizational method, admittedly tricky for a stitch dictionary, is obtuse. Stockinette and Garter Stitch aren't found till the middle of the knit and purl chapter. Cable and Box Panel (page 14) and Garter and Stockinette Cable (page 19), are variations of the Eight-Stitch Cable (page 7), but the patterns in between seem irrelevant. Swatch color, instead of helping, seems random.
I would try organizing the stitches alphabetically. Then instead of an alphabetical index, listing the stitches by category (ribs, openwork, etc.). This way a single stitch pattern could be listed in more than one category. Swatch color could aid in classification. If, say, ribs are blue and openwork is yellow, a pattern like Open Chain Rib could be green.
A beginnng knitter would benefit from this kind of organization. But there are a variety of gorgeous new-to-me stitches found within the pages of this dictionary. I think I'll be working through the stitches in the slide show below before too long. This collection gathers together the unusual and the basic with clear, current photos. Good for anyone needing inspiration.
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a review copy of this book. Kangath was not otherwise compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in Kangath's reviews are her own.
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