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Review: KnitKnit

First, the facts:


Title: KnitKnit: Profiles from Knitting’s New Wave

Author: Sabrina Gschwandtner (founder of KnitKnit magazine).

Published by: HNA Books, 2007

Pages: 174

Type: Designers, with some patterns–Inspiration, really.


1. Introduction • 2. Lisa Anne Auerback • 3. Anna Bell • 4. Isabel Berglund • 5. Risto Bimbiloski • 6. Wenlan Chia • 7. Dave Cole • 8. Liz Collins • 9. Jim Drain • 10. Teva Durham • 11. Norah Gaughan • 12. David Gentzsch • 13. Aimee Hagerty Johnson • 14. Joelle Hoverson • 15. Erika Knight • 16. Knitta • 17. Catherine Lowe • 18. Bridget Marrin • 19. Tina Marrin • 20. Rachael Matthews • 21. Cat Mazza • 22. Mandy McIntosh • 23. Althea Merback • 24. Annie Modesitt • 25. Debbie New • 26. Eugene Ong • 27. • Freddie Robins • 28. Beryl Tsang


Pattern Size Range: Um… hard to say!

The In-Depth Look:

I wanted to review this book because it seems like it flew under most knitters’ radar when it came out last year–probably because it’s wholly unique.

Primarily, this is a collection of designers. Not the designs, mind you, the designers.

The author says in the introduction: “The people in this book are not the only creative people working with knitting today, but are the ones who I have come to know and work with through KnitKnit, the knitters I have long admired who were available to take part in the project, or the knitters I found through a very pleasant research process.

So, this isn’t really the kind of book you pick up because you want a knitting pattern–although there are definitely some good ones in here. (I bought it myself for Anna Bell’s Bridie cardigan pattern.)

What you DO buy this book for is sheer inspiration.

Every chapter is devoted to a specific knitting artist. It tells a little about him or her, visits their home, shows pictures of their workspace, or some of their more well-known projects. Like, Dave Cole’s knitted American flag constructed by John Deere excavator machines. Or Beryl Tsang’s knitted prosthetic breasts for breast cancer survivors. Or Althea Merback’s microscopic knitting which is astounding not so much because it’s so small (gloves the size of a dime), but because it is so detailed and so small. And I’m still flabbergasted at Debbie New’s knitted, functional coracle boat.

Clearly, this book isn’t limiting itself to knitted sweaters and socks and baby booties. No, this book explores the possiblities of knitting.

To quote the author again, “This book is not just a presentation of knitters and their projects; it is also a profile of a medium as it exists today. Knitting can be clothing, gift, sculpture, therapy, protest, graffiti, or performance … you chose.

Yep. That pretty much sums it up!

Am I going to rush right out to my local hardware store to buy enough insulation to knit the Fiberglass Teddy Bear? Um, no–though the pattern is thoughtfully provided. I really don’t have the storage space for the 362 rolls of fiberglass insulation required. But the concept? It just blows me away–the sheer creativity to think of doing that.

I don’t really think I’m going to knit new walls for my bedroom, either, like Isabel Berglund did (though, think about how warm it must be in the winter!). My car doesn’t even have an antenna for one of Knitty’s Antenna Cozies. So, really, a lot of the included projects are just a little … impractical.

But … just knowing that the possibilities are there somehow makes me feel braver about my knitting. We can talk all we want, these days, about “Knitting isn’t just for grandmothers anymore. It’s hip. It’s cool. It’s trendy!” But still, most of us stick to making things that our grandmothers would at least recognize. These designers, though, are not only pushing the boundaries, they’ve blasted them wide open–which can only be a good thing for those of us who are generally happy making mittens and hats and other familiar things.

Books like this make me more open to the wealth of possibilities–make me aware of possibilities I hadn’t even realized existed.

Okay, so what about patterns that don’t require forklifts, large empty rooms, and industrial equipment?

Well, this book has those, too. There are definitely patterns in here for those of us whose knitting vision isn’t quite so … advanced.

I already said how much I liked Bridie by Anna Bell–a slim little asymmetrical cardigan that I’d like to knit one of these days. Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Geodesic Hat is a creative use of triangles (and much more practical than a geodesic dome for a house). I like Norah Gaughan’s Missing Piece Hobo Bag, but then, her knitting architecture is always intersting. Joelle Hoverson’s “Favorite Yoke Sweater” is a pretty, cap-sleeved confection, and who wouldn’t want a pair of knitted boxing gloves, or to fill their closet with knitted ankle boots?

The top made out of old stockings, though? Um…

Ultimately, this book is about Knitting-As-Art, and it does it very, very well. Some of the projects and designers are a little too avant garde for my taste, though. (I never claimed to be an enlightened art appreciator.) But as a trigger to expand my knitting possibilities and explode my sense of adventure? That’s never a bad thing.

KnitKnits is selling for $19.77 over at Amazon.

Want a look at bigger pictures? Click here.

My Gush: Too cool for school. So edgy, it’s going to cut itself. Okay, personally, this book is a little weird for me, though I completely admire the cutting-edge style and creativity it embodies. Hey, even as a teenager, I was never trendy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate those who are–and I do love browsing through the pictures and getting ideas. The fact that it’s got some perfectly usable patterns, too, doesn’t hurt.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chris August 29, 2008, 8:18 pm

    This totally sounds like a book I would get from the library in order to look at the pictures and yay! My library has it. :)

  • Sharon August 30, 2008, 6:11 pm

    Wow this is a really cool site, Deb

    Sharons last blog post..Ravelympics 2008- Holy Knitballs! Defends her 2006 Gold Medal! Unbelievable!

  • chrispy September 1, 2008, 2:32 am

    I saw this book last year at the bookstore and wanted to drag it home to read but the patterns stopped me because they were more edgy than my normal wear. It is a lovely book that I intend to own sometime since our local library is always complaining about lack of funds for even basic books so I have taken to ignoring them.

    chrispys last blog post..Thursday – yarn tasting

  • Kim September 2, 2008, 11:10 am

    I love this book, especially the knit gloves that have red-knitted fingernails.

    Kims last blog post..Lump Forward

  • Rowena September 2, 2008, 4:42 pm

    No interest at all. Does ‘edgy’ simply mean bizarre? It bothers me that today in the art world recognition goes to who can be the most off the wall…not whether it is good or pleasing…just different or weird. This strikes me the same way, no thank you.

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