Knitting Architecture by Tanis Gray, photography by Joe Hancock, pub. Interweave, 2013.
This curated volume is a pattern book with "Get Inspired" sidebars accompanying each design. The sidebars include photographs and brief paragraphs describing the work of architecture evoked by that design.
A lovely idea, I found myself wishing for more detail in the sidebars. It's impossible for me to knit all the patterns included in knitting books, but I learn from the information in them. Often this is technique-related learning, but sometimes it is tangential to knitting. This book had the potential to teach me about a new field, but merely gave me teasers. Not even appetizers---just their aroma. (Sadly, I don't know an appropriate architectural metaphor.)
That said, the patterns really are beautiful. The first chapter, "Form Follows Function," includes both the stunning cover pattern (inspired by the Sydney Opera House) and my favorite pullover in the collection (inspired by the ceiling of King's College Chapel).
Tanis says, "Similar to how structures need push and pull to help them move with the elements, we need our knitwear to be able to move with the push and pull of our bodies." This chapter also contains a tote, a pair of socks, the cardigan shown at right, and a really cool hat.
I chose to picture the Gothic/Art Nouveau cardigan with all its bells and whistles (bobbles! dropped stitches!), but the hat is a real triumph. Designer Katharina Nopp describes her Fallingwater Hat as an attempt to realize "a sophisticated architectural and urban knit in a most simple, naive way." Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Fallingwater, it perfectly portrays the alternating flat roofs and even the flowing water of the mountain retreat.
The garments in this book are all for women (although the socks, mittens, and Pompidou Wrap could work for men). They are generously sized (from around 30" to 60"), and although the hat is offered in three sizes, both mitten patterns and the shrug come only in a single size.
I realize colorwork and textural patterning can make sizing difficult, and that not everyone needs to be able to wear every piece. (Also that a mitten doesn't need to fit like a glove. For that matter, neither does a shrug!) But I think in most cases a little thought can accommodate an extra size or two without too much added pattern length.
This is a good book if you like the designs. Take the snippets of architectural inspiration as prompts to discover more on your own, and you have a valuable resource.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed this book from her personal library. No compensation was provided for this review. The opinions expressed in all Kangath's reviews are her own.
Hi! I'm Kangath---
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