Our favourite knit­ting books

The Knitter - - Contents - by Wendy Bernard (£22.99)

MANY WESTERN knit­ters ad­mire the look and style of Ja­panese stitch pat­terns, but find the writ­ten in­struc­tions and com­plex charts vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to de­ci­pher. To make these beau­ti­ful pat­terns more ac­ces­si­ble to us, Wendy Bernard has put to­gether a stitch dic­tionary con­tain­ing more than 160 pat­terns in­spired by the in­tri­cate fab­rics used in Ja­panese knit­ting.

Through­out the book are fully il­lus­trated charts and fa­mil­iar sym­bols, along with large swatch pho­tos. In­struc­tions are pro­vided for knit­ting each pat­tern from the top down, bot­tom up, back and forth, and in the round.

The stitch pat­terns are sep­a­rated into gen­eral themes, and have all been given names by Wendy - Ja­panese stitch dic­tio­nar­ies tend to give mo­tifs a num­ber, rather than a name. The first sec­tion presents a wide va­ri­ety of knit-and-purl pat­terns, many of which are im­pres­sively at­trac­tive, given their sim­plic­ity.

A gor­geous col­lec­tion of ribs comes next, rang­ing from the func­tional to the highly dec­o­ra­tive, such as the beau­ti­ful ‘Ribs and Frogs’, the twisted-stitch ‘Bram­ble Rib’, and the ‘Bob­ble in a Bas­ket’ pat­tern.

The chap­ter con­tain­ing ‘Fancy and Twisted’ stitches of­fers com­plex-look­ing pat­terns that Wendy prom­ises are fun to knit. These in­clude won­der­ful mo­tifs such as ‘Kat­sura Twists’ and ‘Wrapped Waves’, and the al­most three-di­men­sional ‘Spi­ders’ and ‘Crowns’. There is a plethora of in­tri­cate ca­bles, too, from the dainty and del­i­cate, to bold mo­tifs that would form head-turn­ing cen­tral pan­els on a sweater.

Ja­panese lace is par­tic­u­larly loved by knit­ters around the world for its in­tri­cacy and orig­i­nal­ity, and this dic­tionary doesn’t dis­ap­point in the breadth of its ex­quis­ite pat­terns. Per­sonal favourites for us in­clude ‘Wav­ing Wheat’, ‘Pea­cock Feath­ers’, and the pretty ‘Nes­tled Leaves’.

Wendy Bernard also pro­vides a num­ber of knit­ting projects, which can be adapted to use dif­fer­ent stitch pat­terns from the book. These in­clude a hat, long mit­tens, a cush­ion, and a side­ways-knit ca­ble jumper sized to fit busts of 28in-54in. Wendy also gives in-depth guid­ance on de­sign­ing our own blan­ket, shrug and cowl from scratch.

At the end of the book is a con­ve­nient Stitch Mul­ti­ple Index, with an at-a-glance guide to all the pat­terns. This shows how many stitches each pat­tern is worked over, mak­ing it much eas­ier to sub­sti­tute stitch pat­terns or com­bine them in larger projects, such as Aran sweaters.

Ja­panese Stitches Unraveled is pub­lished by Abrams, priced £22.99. To or­der a copy, visit www.abram­sand­chron­i­

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