The Knitter - - Reviews -

by Ce­celia Cam­pochiaro (Chroma Opaci Books, £44) At first glance, Ce­celia Cam­pochiaro’s book may ap­pear to be an enor­mous stitch dic­tio­nary. Look more closely, how­ever, and you’ll re­alise that this book rep­re­sents a com­pletely new way of ex­plor­ing the end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties of knit­ted fab­ric.

In essence, what Ce­celia presents here in her 387-page book is a set of al­go­rithms or rules to gen­er­ate knit­ting pat­terns. But don’t be alarmed – th­ese al­go­rithms are “rad­i­cally sim­ple ways to cre­ate amaz­ing fab­ric,” as Ce­celia says.

She has sim­pli­fied her knit­ting to a se­ries of one-row se­quences; the pat­terns that emerge are of­ten beau­ti­ful, rev­ersible and com­plex, yet sim­ple and easy to re­mem­ber.

Take the se­quence (K3, P3), for ex­am­ple, and ex­per­i­ment with adapt­ing the se­quence by us­ing mul­ti­ples of stitches: 6, 6+1, 6+2, 6+3, 6+4, and 6+5. The ap­pear­ance of the knit­ted fab­ric changes in sur­pris­ing and beau­ti­ful ways.

The se­quences in the book are di­vided into four cat­e­gories: 1-row pat­terns – where ev­ery row is the same, and the same se­quence is worked across the row. Ser­pen­tine – the se­quence is worked in­de­pen­dent of the num­ber of stitches in the row. So at the be­gin­ning of a new row you don’t restart the se­quence, but con­tinue where you left off on the pre­vi­ous row. Spiral – sim­i­lar to Ser­pen­tine, but worked in the round. Shaped 1-row – sim­i­lar to 1-row, but in­cor­po­rat­ing in­creases or de­creases at the be­gin­ning or end of the row.

Ce­celia presents a huge num­ber of se­quences in her book, ac­com­pa­nied by 190 swatches and charts, which knit­ters can use in their own projects. They are all tex­tures or mo­tifs based on dif­fer­ent rep­e­ti­tions of knit and purl stitches, and both the front and re­verse of each swatch is shown, to show how beau­ti­ful the ‘wrong side’ of the fab­ric can be.

She also pro­vides more than 40 pat­terns for sim­ple and el­e­gant ac­ces­sories that show­case the con­cepts in the book. Each swatch is made in a plain grey yarn, to en­cour­age knit­ters to make their own colour choices. Many of the scarf pat­terns, though, are shown in one or more var­ie­gated yarns for stun­ning re­sults.

Given the book’s clear, me­thod­i­cal, sci­en­tific ap­proach, it’s no sur­prise to learn that Ce­celia lives and works in Cal­i­for­nia’s high-tech Sil­i­con Val­ley. Yet this hefty tome is beau­ti­fully de­signed and in­cred­i­bly in­spir­ing, and feels like a breath of fresh air in our un­der­stand­ing of knit­ted fab­ric.

“One sur­prise for me was the rar­ity of th­ese con­cepts in the knit­ting lit­er­a­ture,” Ce­celia says. “Now that I have been im­mersed in Se­quence Knit­ting for sev­eral years, it seems al­most primal in its sim­plic­ity, so it was hard for me to be­lieve that oth­ers had not al­ready writ­ten about it… In spite of not be­ing able to find ref­er­ences I still feel that El­iz­a­beth Zim­mer­mann is right: th­ese meth­ods are un­ven­tion rather than in­ven­tion, be­cause they are so in­her­ently sim­ple.” Se­quence Knit­ting is avail­able in the UK through Loop, priced £44. Visit www.loop­knit­ting­ or call 020 7288 1160. It is dis­trib­uted in the US by Uni­corn Books and is sold at stock­ists in­clud­ing School­house Press and Jimmy Beans Wool, priced $60. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit­quenceknit­

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