STC Craft provided a copy of The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary free of charge. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Wendy Bernard, author of The Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary, follows the success of that volume with a new stitch dictionary, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary. Both books include stitch pattern instructions for working back-and-forth, in-the-round, and top-down. Top-down, you say? That is different!
Most stitch dictionaries only give instructions for back-and-forth, and perhaps in-the-round, knitting, leaving knitters to translate the instructions for top-down knitting on their own. The stitch patterns presented in both these volumes are not necessarily new and earthshakingly original, but they do offer a nice variety of lovely utilitarian patterns including knit/purl, lace, cables, ribs, fancy stitches and even mosaics, a recent personal favorite.
The swatch photos are large and clear, and text and charts are given for each of the 150 stitch patterns. When a fabric is reversible, both sides are shown. There’s plenty of white space, enhancing readability. For those who prefer a physical book, the hardcover with a concealed spiral binding allows it lie open and flat, behaving just as a book should.
There’s an inspirational project to go with each chapter, so you can see how to use one of the stitch patterns in a design. Overall, the book looks clean, modern and appealing. It’s pretty to look at!
I’m an avid stitch-dictionary collector. I’m also a serial swatcher, so I was really happy to see that Wendy gives plenty of gentle encouragement to do just that: swatch to learn about the stitch patterns and how they behave. Does a swatch ever lie? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I had just a couple of minor complaints, and they are truly minor. The swatches are all made with knit-in garter stitch edges: top, bottom, and sides. While this makes for nice, tidy samples that lie flat, it doesn’t help me know ahead of time what the fabric might look like without an edge treatment. Of course, I can and will swatch for myself, but having this insight ahead of time would be nice. The sans serif font is a bit light for comfort, but that might just be these old eyes. I’ll whip out the reading glasses.
More About Wendy Bernard
It’s no surprise that Wendy gives us these top-down offerings, since she is known for her top-down designs. If you aren’t familiar with them, check out Custom Knits, Custom Knits 2 and Custom Knits Accessories, all of which help you “unleash your inner designer” (her words). These books are full of real-world, real-body designer how-tos that really will help you successfully design and alter top-down sweaters that fit. I was lucky enough to have a bit part in the production of Custom Knits, and I learned a lot about top-down design from that experience. Let’s put it this way: When I moved to a new house 18 months ago, I had to severely pare down my book stash, cutting it by about 80%. Wendy’s books made the cut.
You can find Wendy Bernard blogging at www.knitandtonic.com.