Sunday, February 15, 2015

Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein, 2010

No one forgets the sweet victory of completing their first knitted block, but most of us quickly move on to more complex constructions, only making swatches for guage. In this comprehensive volume, celebrated designer and innovator Nicky Epstein reimagines the humble block with 150 new patterns and masterfully demonstrates how to mix, match, and easily combine them into stunning one-of-a-kind garments and accessories. Inside you will find: 150 original block patterns, from simple textures to embossed pictorials, intricate lace to cables, colorwork, double knit, and more, all with Nicky’s signature wit, verve, and style. More than ten exclusive project designs that will make you say “I can’t believe that is made out of blocks!”Detailed guidance for creating exciting pieces out of block knitting, without using increases or decreases. Exclusive cut-and-paste project design pages. Simply cut out the printed blocks and arrange them to help create your own masterpieces.
Blocks are quick to knit, portable pieces perfect for group and charity projects, and now not limited to just afghans! Knitting Block by Block gives you the tools to unlock a world of creative possibilities and confidently build your own design “blockbusters,” one block at a time.  

My knitting project (the blobs are
supposed to be cabling)
Yes, I really did request a knitting book for my next read-to-review. I clicked before I finished thinking it through, okay? My inner voice was going "you know, you've always wanted to learn how to knit" and I had requested the book before my brain remembered that this isn't actually a book that's made to teach people how to knit. It arrived two weeks ago, and it's been interesting. I really have learned how to knit! I've had a blast learning the ins and outs of knitting, purling, and even cabling (though I have a sinking feeling I'm doing it wrong), and after half a dozen bad starts I even got a project well under way. I decided to make the "Reversible Cables" block (in retrospect maybe I should have started with something toward the beginning, instead of the back, of the book), and I'm about halfway through. It's taken me a really long time, though, because my hand is still weak from the surgery I had in December (though on the whole it's doing much better), and so it gets sore if I knit for more than half an hour at a stretch. Also, I had an English assignment and two science tests in the last two weeks, and not a lot of down time. I decided I wouldn't wait until I finished the entire square to write the review, because I'm not exactly gathering any new knowledge about the book itself while I knit - I know how it works, what the projects are, and (bonus!) even how to knit now, so I've got everything I need to review the book - following the same instructions for another two weeks won't give me any deeper understanding into the books as a whole.

I'm not exactly a knitting patterns connoisseur, but I really love Knitting Block by Block. It has patterns ranging from simple beginners' blocks to the intricate ones I can't even begin to decipher at first glance (how the heck do you put a decorative zipper on a block of knitting?!), with detailed pictures of every project so you can see exactly what it should look like when you're done. The instructions are laid out neatly and concisely, listing exactly what you should do in simple enough terms that I caught on with only one Google search necessary - and that was just for the cable. There are also box chart  thingies that show you what to do using dots and slashes and things, but I'm afraid I still can't make heads or tails of those. It's fun, it's detailed, and there are some really cute projects that I can't wait to try out. There's also a chapter with some ideas for ways to sew blocks together into bigger projects, like scarves and afghans and a (rather ugly) shrug/shawl thingy. I obviously am not far enough to attempt any of these, because I don't have the blocks to do them, but I'm excited to make some of the projects - I think I'll start with one of the one-block projects, which are these cute little stuffed animals, and then try either the tote (which is a two-block!) or the "cool ruffle pod bag," which is a weird name for a cute purse.

All in all, the only complaint I have is that there aren't more projects for using the blocks. There are tons and tons of awesome block designs, but only like ten ideas for putting them together in larger pieces. For someone who knits more than me, this might be a problem if they wind up with more blocks to try out than they have projects to put them in. As for me, though, I think this book will provide fodder for my knitting projects for a very, very long time. If you are at all interested in knitting blocks, then this is most definitely the book for you!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review

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