First, the facts:
Title: Knit One Below
Author: Elise Duvekot
Published by: XRX Books, 2008
4. Wardrobe Building
5. Creature Comforts
6. Child & Baby
7. Head to Toe
The In-Depth Look:
You may have noticed that I like creative knitting techniques, right? Techniques that make you look at the art of knitting in ways that you hadn’t looked before? Well, check out how the author opens this book:
Knitting into the stitch below has been overlooked as a design element, appearing only sporadically in projects and in a few stitch dictionaries. In writing this book, I have endeavored to shine a spotlight on this almost forgotten stitch. I set out on what became a quest, a journey of true discovery. Along the way, I devised new ways to use the k1b stitch, striving to elevate it to its rightful place in the knitting universe, and turn it into an invaluable instrument in the knitter’s design toolbox … This novel stitch will appeal to knitters who love color work and to those who enjoy learning new techniques.
It’s true. Except for the occasional stitch pattern, or as a way of making invisible increases, I have never looked at the knit-one-below stitch as anything but an oddity, something rare. I never thought about how I could really USE it.
Luckily, there are knitters who think about these things. (This is something I used to have time for, but now rely on others.) Because, this is very clever stuff. A whole new way to create your knitted fabric AND to do 2-color knitting without having to ever strand any yarn along the back. According to the book, k1b fabric is more elastic than traditional knitting, and is equally attractive on both sides, making it particularly suitable for things like socks and scarves, as well as things like sweaters.
The concept, I adore, and I’m feeling very drawn to this k1b-sock idea. I love the look of the fabric with its vertical columns of color (when multiple colors are being used). The patterns are creative, too, using mitered squares for pillows, and having a truly fun time playing with the way those columns can interact with each other.
Most of the patterns are attractive and appealing, made of traditional shapes, just with this new kind of stitch. Pullovers. Vests. Cardigans. Blankets. Baby bonnets. Socks. Scarves. Bags. Shawls. (In fact, I need to go back take a closer look at the Gossamer Square as to things like yarn requirements, because it’s beautiful and tempting.)
For the most part, all of the standard sweaters are pretty basic, shape-wise, just different because of the way the k1b stitch pattern is used to take advantage of the yarn colors and patterns.
Some of the designs are mis-steps, like the Offset Tabard which is so very assymmetical, it looks like a mistake. I wasn’t impressed by the East Meets West jacket/cardigan, either … not because it’s unattractive, but because it makes the models look larger than they are, and that makes me wonder what it would do to a normally-shaped person. The Belle Flare top and skirt duo, are stylish, but I’m not sure what I think about the Wrapskirt that relies on a single pin to keep it on the wearer. (Am I the only one who views that as an accident waiting to happen?) And the oversized T-V Top with no side seams just LOOKS like somebody forgot the side seams.
The section for baby blankets, sweaters, booties and such? All adorable. The “Family Affair” scarf, hat, mitten set is fabulous (especially in the monochromatic shades worn by one of the models). And, seriously, the socks look deliciously tempting.
The book comes with excellent schematics for each pattern–they not only show the size in inches, but in the number of stitches needed for each portion. The photos are good representations of the designs–no crazy posture or large props hiding parts of the sweaters. The instructions seem clear … I haven’t actually picked up my needles and tried any of this yet, but I read through the “how-to” section and believe that I understand the concept well enough to actually do it–always a good sign when reading about a new technique.
Even without knowing the publisher, I would absolutely know that this book came from XRX Books, because it has their distinctive “look.” The font, the sidebars, the instructions, it’s all familiar and easy to follow. The illustrations to explain the techniques are easy to read and see, also. All good things.
Knit One Below is available from Amazon.com
This review copy was kindly donated by XRX Books. Thank you!