First, the facts:
Title: Alterknit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs
Author: Andrea Rangel
Published by: Interweave Press, 2017
Type: Stitch Dictionary
The In-Depth Look:
Like most knitters, I enjoy stitch dictionaries. For me, at least, it’s because they’re full of potential–so many possibilities for things to make! In this one, author Andrea Rangel (and her husband Sean) devoted the last year to colorwork patterns.
She writes in the introduction, “Instead of sticking to tradition, we wondered what would happen if we didn’t bother with the rules or with tradition. Could we introduce stitch motifs that knitters haven’t ever seen before? Could we inspire other knitters and designers to think about colorwork in a more expansive way? A big part of what made this work is that while Sean can knit, he doesn’t do it much, so he doesn’t think like a knitter. The motifs he created (all 200 of them!) aren’t all what you’ll usually find in a stitch dictionary or on a sweater because they come from his artistic background and imagination.”
Isn’t that an intriguing start? Two hundred stranded colorwork motifs that have never been seen before!
After some preliminary instruction (how to hold the yarn, what to do about floats, how to steek, some general colorwork tips), you get to the swatches. Colorwork charts and knitted swatches of every design. They are all unique, though some do resemble stitch patterns I’ve seen elsewhere (not exactly surprising considering how many stitch patterns exist in the knitting world. I don’t know that I’ll ever actually knit the sheep-filled “Counting Sheep” motif, but it’s adorable.
Along with the swatches, there are five complete patterns at the end to give a little more inspiration by showing some of the stitch patterns in action. A beanie hat, a cowl, a pair of mittens, a yoke pullover, and a cardigan (which I think is my favorite).
This last week, I’ve found myself opening this book to a new page and just leaving it open on my desk, rather than just randomly flipping through the different stitch motifs. Like I said, some are similar to things we’ve seen before (how much can one really do with a series of diagonal lines), but a lot of them are quite unique. And even the “familiar” ones have a new angle, something a little different to catch the eye or amuse the fingers.
I’ve been hearing buzz about this book for a while now, and am really happy to see it living up to the hype.
Also, courtesy of Interweave Press, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can WIN YOUR OWN COPY. Just leave a comment on this post to be eligible (U.S. addresses only, please).
You can get your own copy at your local bookshop or by clicking here and getting it from Amazon.
This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!
Other posts for this author: