Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Zippers, Rods, Loops and Lamb's Tails Explode Amidst More Traditionally Knitted Blocks

Nicky Epstein's books range from Knitted Hats back in 1996 (with Marcus Tullis) to felted projects, doll clothes, flowers (both crocheted and knitted) and of course her series of edging books. She has also published geographically-themed knitting books (Knitting on Top of the World and Knitting from Tuscany) and last year (2014)brought an intriguing book called Knitting Reimagined where whimsical shapes and details add extra punch to garment patterns.  In 2010, she published KNITTING BLOCK BY BLOCK where some of those intriguing details are introduced, and some of the sculptural details from the edging books gain another stage on which to shine.

KNITTING BLOCK BY BLOCK has a fairly simple premise: 150 different blocks can form the basis of projects ranging from the expected afghans or bags to shawls, simply constructed garments and even toys.  There are a plethora of stitch dictionaries and block-based knitting books out there; what makes Nicky Epstein's different is the deeply dimensional nature of some of the blocks she presents. This is most often accomplished by knitting embellishments (sometimes as simple as a length of i-cord or as complex as nested curving ruffles) and fastening them to a basic knitted block. She also has a number of more traditionally created blocks using intarsia, stranded knitting or textured stitch patterns.  Although she has traditionally-knitted cable blocks, the blocks with cable effects created by interweaving i-cord into stitch-defying shapes are stunning, and pretty much impossible to achieve by standard cabling methods.

If you are a comfortably prosaic knitter you will find plenty of delightful ideas without unduly challenging your skills  (the Sanquahar block for example is a deliciously stranded expansion of very traditional techniques) but if you seek an edgier knitting experience you will be enthralled by KNITTING BLOCK BY BLOCK.  Nicky Epstein's squares explode with corkscrews, dots and three-dimensional stuffed cherry blossom shapes; zippers rods, loops and lamb's tails.  A quick flip through the book had my fingers itching to pull out my scrap bag and start working some of the embellishments while a more thorough read has ideas for projects of my own based on her seminal patterns cascading through my mind.

Title: Knitting Block by Block: 50 Blocks for Sweaters, Scarves, Bags, Toys, Afghans, and More
Author: Nicky Epstein
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher: Potter House
Format: Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook
Available From: Publisher,
Price: $29.99 USD
Pages: 240
Genre: Crafts, Knitting
Details: Indexed, with basic skill tutorial.

(Blogging for Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.)

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