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12/23/2015

Joyous Knitting 3

This week I am going to blog about knitting books that made me smile this year. The posts are coming in the order in which I found the books. Each is a mini-review with a list of what made me smile as I read the book.

51mfi0zzzgl_small23. Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Patterns by Cecelia Compochiaro.

What’s it about?

This book is all about a single simple-yet-brilliant concept: you can create all kinds of interesting and complex knitting stitch patterns by repeating the same simple sequence of knits and purls over and over and over again. The sequences are so simple that you don’t even have to try to memorize them, and by changing the number of stitches in your piece, you can change the resulting motif in surprising and fascinating ways.

Most of the book is filled with photos of swatches accompanied by charts showing the sequence of stitches–strings of knits and purls such as (k1, p1) or (k6, p3) or [2 (k1, p1), p1, k1]. There are chapters on working back and forth and in the round, and variations of pattern stitches that are worked in single colors and stripes. Reading through the pages of options and looking at the swatches and charts is an incredibly rewarding and memorable experience that made me giggle with pleasure over and over again as I contemplated different kinds of reversible patterns, symmetric and asymmetric patterns, and the way different variations can be made simply by increasing or decreasing 1 stitch over an entire piece of knitting.

There are also 47 (yes, forty-seven!) projects in this book. Most are variations of the same basic items–hats, scarves, shawls, and fingerless gloves–worked with a different sequence pattern. Making all of them would give you a PhD in this technique and several years worth of holiday gifts pre-made. A handy visual-index at the back of the book lets you quickly and easily peruse the patterns and options. There are several that I’ve added to my personal queue.

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The physical presence of this book is substantial. It’s expensive, but it is a big, hard cover book with 387 pages. So it’s not overpriced at all. The quality is impeccable and the design is beautiful, with lots of white space and careful attention given to the layout of each page. This is a coffee table book in every sense of the word.

If you’re a math or pattern nerd, you will love this book because of the “mathiness” of the theme, but any knitter should enjoy this book. Beginners can use the patterns that are provided as either mindless-knitting projects or skill builders. More advanced knitters can increase their knowledge about how knits and purls work together to create patterns. And designers will find a never-ending supply of inspiration for creating unique projects and new stitch patterns.

What made me smile?

  • The wow factor of the physical form of this book.
  • The simple sequence to complex stitch pattern process.
  • The intellectual stimulation of reading and knitting these patterns in my head.

The rest of my 2015 “Joyous Knitting” reading list!

  • Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook: A knitting books hat shows you how to turn everyday inspirations into gorgeous stranded colourwork by Felicity Ford.
  • Knitting Stories: Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-Inspired Knitting Patterns by Sylvia Olsen.
  • Knit the Sky: Cultivate Your Creativity with a Playful Way of Knitting by Lea Redmond, illustrated by Lauren Nassef
  • In the Footsteps of Sheep: Tales of a Journey through Scotland, Walking, Spinning, and Knitting Socks by Debbie Zawinski
  • Penguin: A Knit Collection by Amy Maltz
Knitting, Old Blogs, Writing

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