First, the facts:
Author: Nicky Epstein
Published by: Sixth and Spring Books
Type: Stitch Dictionaries.
The In-Depth Look:
So, there I was, thinking about what kind of border I wanted to put on the afghan I was making. I had an idea in mind, but needed a stitch pattern, and since it was for an edge treatment, I automatically pulled all three of Nicky Epstein’s books off the shelves and sat down to flip through them. I didn’t even pause at the Barbara Walker collections, or any of the other stitch dictionaries. I went right for these.
Which is when I knew that I had to review them for you.
They’re getting one review instead of three because, well, they’re really all parts of the same book–decorative borders and edge treatments. You can just see how they wouldn’t really fit all into the same book. Physically fit, that is.
Each book has 350 stitches or borders. Each one has them nicely categorized, nicely sorted, beautifully photographed. Each comes with a handful of “full-size” garments that put some of the borders to use, to help inspire you.
The three books do each have their own emphasis. Taken directly from the book covers: Knitting on the Edge covers “Ribs, ruffles, lace, fringes, flora, points and picots.” Knitting over the Edge focuses on “Unique ribs, cords, appliques, colors, nouveau.” And Knitting Beyond the Edge treats “Cuffs and collars, necklines, corners and edges, closures.” Of the three, I personally like the first and third books the best, but that’s mostly because I can see myself using those types of edgings more than the cords and colors in book number two.
Really, these are fabulous books–just as good for serious instructions as they are for inspiration. Although, as inspiration goes, I love flipping through the collar and closure sections in the third book just for sheer creativity’s sake.
The only real fault these books have? No cable charts. Despite the complexity of some of the designs, all the instructions are written out row by row. That’s not an insurmountable problem when you’re knitting one stitch pattern at a time, but it does make things harder than they need to be. There are times when knitting from written, row-by-row instructions is a good thing, and times when it’s a pain … so why not have both?
I had also tried to knit the Hooded Shawl from the third book but simply could not follow the instructions, since it stretched out over four columns of text, with each different cable written out separately from the others, making the knitting a logistical nightmare. Transcribing it all to graph paper would have worked, but I decided that was way too much work and so finally gave up. (Which was a shame, because I loved the pattern.)
Other than that, though? I still love them.
My Gush: Gorgeous books. Great stitch patterns. Fantastic photos. Brilliant.