First, the facts:
Title: Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-New, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns
Author: Lynne Barr
Published by: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009
Type: Stitches and Patterns, all reversible
1. Reversible Stitch Patterns
2. Reversible Designs
The In-Depth Look:
This creative book takes everything you know about knitting and turns it upside down and inside out.
Am I exaggerating? Maybe a little bit, but not as much as you might expect. Starting with the cover sweater which can be worn right-side up, upside-down, inside-out, this book makes you look at your knitting a little differently. Primarily, of course, it makes you think not about “right side” and “wrong side,” or “front” or “back” when you knit, but about making things that work equally well on either side.
The book is split into two main sections. The first? 50 brand new stitch patterns. Yes, you heard me. Fifty stitches. This is what happens when a creative knitter decides to look at knitting in an entirely new way … and then decides to share it with you. Who knew you could get knitting to look so much like crochet? Some patterns look more or less the same from front to back, some (like some of the cables) clearly have a … I won’t say “right” side, but a preferred side, while the reverse is still perfectly presentable on its own. Some stitches–I don’t know how she did it, but she ended up with two sides that looked completely different, and I keep thinking how wonderful an afghan made up of those squares, alternating in a checkerboard pattern, would look. There are even some double-knitting patterns which are unique in their own rights.
This, though, is just the first half of the book.
The second half is made up of reversible garments. Scarves, of course, but also sweaters, hats, socks, even dresses. Very, very cool reversible, knitted dresses. These designs are just as creative as the stitch patterns themselves. Seriously, the list of designers is like a Who’s Who of knitting: Cat Bordhi, Teva Durham, Debbie New, Wenlan Chia, Nancy Marchant, Laura Zukaite, Bonnie DesRoches, Norah Gaughan, Veronik Avery, Pam Allen, Eric Robinson, and of course, the author, Lynne Barr. They are creative and interesting, without being inaccessibly weird. (Okay, I admit that I thought the bikini-inspired socks you tie on were a little weird, but they were still nifty to look at.)
The “Special techniques” section at the back is excellent and filled with lots of, well, specialized techniques–not just the usual assortment of cast-ons and such that you’ve seen in dozens of other knitting books. This addresses how to Kitchener stitch graft garter stitch or ribbing, not just stockinette stitch, or how to cast-on with two colors for knitting in double-stitch. Since the whole point of the book is to make fabric reversible, it makes sense that there would be some techniques needed here that you don’t normally use. One thing I would have liked to see? Tips on how to weave in your ends so that they don’t show and automatically make one side “right” and one side “wrong” simply because of the little yarn tails showing. (Or am I the only one who has that problem?)
This is a wonderfully creative book, though. The photographs are illustrative and clear–especially for the stitch patterns, but also for the actual garment patterns as well. Garments come with schematics, and all in what seem to be clearly written instructions (though I admit to not having read all the patterns).
The book is available from Amazon.com for just under $20.