11 February 2015

Craft Book Review: Knitting Block by Block

Note: I received a free review copy of this book through Blogging for Books. The opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.

I'm an avid knitter with solid intermediate-level skills, but I admit that I find many shaped projects intimidating. I've recently mastered knitting on double-pointed and circular needles for small projects like mittens and fingerless gloves, but I'll still pick projects made on straight needles when possible and have yet to tackle anything that requires complicated shaping, like sweaters.

Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block, then, seems perfectly tailored to knitters like me. The book provides instruction and inspiration for knitters to create garments, accessories, and home items using modular blocks of knitted fabric--no shaping required beyond arranging and joining the squares. Epstein encourages readers to experiment with design, and provides instruction for 150 blocks that range from the simplest of stitch patterns to complex cables and intarsia. The pages showcasing the block designs are full of visual appeal, and those like me who appreciate the artistry of knitting will enjoy flipping through this section for the sheer beauty of it.

As for what to do with the blocks, Epstein leaves that largely up to the reader. There are about a dozen projects with instructions at the back of the book, some of which are structurally basic like scarves and blankets. I found the garments more intriguing, but felt that the assembly instructions were a little unclear on the more complicated items. For instance, I loved the idea of the convertible Fairy Leaves shrug/shawl, but found it difficult to work out how the buttons and ribbon ties worked together to create the three looks shown in the book's photographs.

For those looking for inspiration to liven up simple projects with new stitch patterns or a starting point for designing original knitted creations, Knitting Block by Block has a lot to offer. Although I would have liked to see more project ideas using the blocks, I've already been turning over ideas in my mind for how to create garments and accessories using block construction. The versatility of Knitting Block by Block makes it a solid addition to both beginning and intermediate knitters' libraries, and I'm sure I'll return to it during future experimentation.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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