First, the facts:
Curated by: Kerry Bogert
Published by: Interweave Press, 2016
Chapter One: Garter Stitch Details
Chapter Two: Garter Stitch in a Supporting Role
Chapter Three: Garter Stitch All Over
The In-Depth Look:
I hate to say, but I was a little disappointed by this book.
NOT, let me hasten to say, because the designs aren’t perfectly nice. They are. The assortment of sweaters and accessories is attractive and wearable, nothing really to be objected to.
The designers featured are well known and talented, and the garments featured aren’t something I can imagine anyone turning away from their wardrobe.
The problem? It’s right there in the chapter titles–for a book called “Garter Stitch Revival,” two-thirds of the designs have very little garter stitch.
The first section has six designs that use garter stitch as a design element– a little at the cuff, an accent, an aid for shaping. The second chapter has more garter stitch–a greater proportion of each design using the collection’s signature stitch–but it’s not until the third chapter that we get patterns that use garter stitch as the primary stitch. Seven designs.
While I do like most of the designs in this collection, this proportion bothers me. It feels like marketing a cookbook for salt-lovers because every recipe uses salt … even though in everything except the salted caramel and the pretzel recipe, it’s hidden in the stew or the cake as a background element.
Garter stitch is hard. It’s the first stitch most of us learn, and we are often so eager to get past it to the nice, smooth Stockinette stitch, and to the fancier cables and lace, it gets a bum rap. It’s not easy to sell a collection devoted to what too many knitters think of as a beginner’s stitch. I do understand that it’s easier to promote patterns that use it as an accent … it just seems like a collection promoting itself as “reviving” garter stitch should actually take its own goals more seriously.
It’s got good patterns, this book. It just doesn’t have the emphasis I was expecting. (Not like, say, Knit One, Knit All by the legendary Elizabeth Zimmermann.
Please do check it out, though. Even if I thought it was a little light on garter stitch, the patterns are still worth looking at.
This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!