Book Review: Knitting Reimagined by Nicky Epstein

Book Cover: Knitting Reimagined by Nicky Epstein

Available at Amazon.com

In my quest to learn new “crafty” things, I’m always intrigued when a I see a book promising new techniques. In this case, the craft is knitting and the book is Knitting Reimagined (An Innovative Approach to Structure and Shape with 25 Breathtaking Projects) by Nicky Epstein.

As the subtitle states, this book contains 25 projects. They’re grouped by construction techniques such as “Directionals” (garments made from rectangles), “Woven Weaves” (garments made using weaving and braiding techniques), “Cool Construction” (creative construction with cool detailing), and “Stitch Impact” (interesting color work and edging). And there’s a pretty even number of patterns in each group (7, 5, 6, and 7 respectively), so all-in-all a nice solid, balanced collection of new patterns for you to try.

The unique thing about this book is that the projects are created from simple shape pieces, then put together in unusual ways. So if you can knit a rectangle, you can make many of the items in here. As the author says in the introduction, “The stitches are easy, as are the techniques to make the designs, but the resulting structures and shapes are unconventional, unexpected…” and I think that’s what gives this collection its edge.

The photos in the book are stunning. I’m not a fan of every fashion look, but I immediately saw at least five I wanted to make right away.

There’s a little something here for all skill levels, too! 3 beginner friendly projects, 17 intermediate projects, and 5 advanced projects, all clearly labeled as such with special icons explained in the “How to Use This Book” section.

Projects are also labeled with “clock” icons, indicating the estimated time required for completion. The book includes: 2 quick projects (a weekend to a few days), 11 medium time projects (at least a week), and 12 longer projects (a month or longer). And these longer projects definitely look worth the effort. The “Chaos Couture” pullover in wool/cashmere with faux fur details is adorable, and the deep red “Royal Lace” coat with hood will leave Red Riding Hood wishing she had balls of yarn in that basket instead of goodies for Grandma!

As an intermediate knitter, I was immediately drawn to one of the quick projects in the book, the “Reckoning Rectangles” shawl pattern, and one of the medium time projects, “On the Block” topper pattern. Given the clear pattern instructions and visual the construction schematics included in the book, I’m also eager to try several of the larger projects.

In addition to the pattern instructions, the author includes suggestions on how to “reimagine” each garment with either a slightly different yarn or a slightly different construction, meant to inspire knitters to express their own creativity with the patterns.

Unlike some pattern books where the advanced patterns can seem intimidating to a beginner/intermediate knitter like myself, the way the author has presented them, stressing the simplicity of the pieces and encouraging you to experiment with construction, even the advanced/multi-month patterns feel doable to me. I can’t wait to get started!

So, if you’re game to try some unique construction and imaginative knits that look fabulous, give this book a try. Hands down 5 out of 5 balls of yarn for this one! 😀

(FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)

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Crochet Spotlight: Edwardian Fashion Doll Gowns – Part 1

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of the Annie’s Attic collector gown series that were released in the 1990s.

One of my all-time favorite collections was the Turn-of-the-Century gowns, also known as the Edwardian Ladies collection. They came out originally in 1995 and 1996. You can still find copies on eBay. And a few shops on Etsy.com sell out-of-print fashion doll patterns as well.

They had narrower skirts than the previous collections, which featured Victorian ball gowns, 19th century southern belle gowns, and Gibson Girl gowns. So this meant they crocheted up much faster.

The other thing I loved about these patterns was because they all shared the same silhouette, it was easy to mix and match pieces from different patterns to create your own dress.

I made up a colorful collection of Edwardian Visiting Dresses doing just that as you can see here in these pictures. The yellow dress on the right is one from an Annie’s collection pattern (Miss January, 1996). The others are gowns I made inspired by the different patterns in the Annie’s collection. They have similar sleeve styles to the yellow dress, but the bodice uses lace (like Miss August, 1996 shown here on eBay.com) instead of a ruffle, and waistline is closer to Miss December, 1996 shown here on eBay.com).

Edwardian gown in peach, crocheted by Catherine Chant Edwardian Gowns in Red and Pink, crocheted by Catherine Chant Edwardian gown in yellow, crochet by Catherine Chant

In a future post, I’ll spotlight a few more gowns for the 1995 and 1996 collection.

Happy crocheting!