First, the facts:
Title: 150 Scandinavian Motifs
Author: Mary Jane Mucklestone
Published by: Interweave Press, 2013
Type: Stitch Patterns
1. Essential Skills
2. Motif Directory
The In-Depth Look:
The thing about stitch dictionaries is that, well, they’re usually boring. Useful, definitely. They are marvelous resources of stitch inspiration that can be turned into all sorts of sweaters and bags and afghans and hats and shawls and everything.
But they’re usually boring.
And then came Mary Jane Mucklestone who figured out a way to make them not only useful, valuable, resources, but inspiring all by themselves.
First, she covers the knitting essentials from casting on to how to hold yarn for two-color knitting. She talks about how to use the motifs–how you might turn them on their side, or knit in deliberate variations. How to take a stitch and apply it to an actual garment and make it work. All useful, handy, thoughtful stuff that gets left out of most stitch dictionaries.
But then? The motifs themselves. 150 of them, all styled on traditional Scandinavian patterns, which happen to be personal favorites of mine. (The first non-garter-stitch-square project I ever knit was an Icelandic Lopi sweater with color stranding and circular needles and DPNs for the sleeves … When I tell you I like the Scandinavian thing, I’m really not lying.)
Anyway, so you’ve got 150 designs. All-over patterns, small designs, large motifs, reindeer, snowflakes, the works. Except, unlike the usual collection of stitches, she goes the extra mile. She shows you options.
Every stitch is shown in a simple black-and-white chart. Next to that is a color graph that matches the live, full-color knitted sample in the accompanying photograph. But then next to that is the exact same chart with a completely different color scheme, just to make you THINK about how different it could look. And then, for some of the larger, all-over patterns, she throws in mix-and-match variations for things that you could choose to change … or not. And then the whole thing is capped off with four patterns, just to get your fingers itching to dive in and play.
Seriously, of all the wonderful stitch dictionaries I’ve seen (and own), this (and her equally wonderful 200 Fair Isle Motifs) is a work of knitterly genius. It’s useful. It’s playful. It makes you think, and more importantly, it inspires … and then it gives you the tools to actually DO something.
You can find your copy at Amazon.com or at your local yarn or bookshop. Trust me. This is one you’ll want to look at.
This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!
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