I confess that I’m an absolute glutton when it comes to stitch dictionaries. If I’m in a bookstore or yarn shop and find one I don’t have, you can bet I’ll be taking it with me when I leave.
Stitch dictionaries are really what got me hooked on knitting in the first place. Shortly after I’d learned to knit and purl (at that point I was making garter-stitch scarves almost exclusively), I came across a stitch dictionary on my mom’s bookshelf and asked to borrow it. Being typically generous, my mom said, “Just take it. You can keep it.” (Or maybe this wasn’t generosityâ€”maybe she realized that one stitch dictionary was all it would take to finally turn one of her daughters into a knitting addict.)
The whole stitch dictionary concept just blew me away. I stuck with scarves, which were an easy template to work from, and started knitting up one after another. I loved choosing a yarn, choosing a stitch, and finding out how they worked together. And with the near-infinite possible combinations of yarns and stitches, I could spend hours browsing through my books and my stash, deciding what to try next. Some of the results were gorgeous. Other times I had to face the fact that the stitch I’d chosen simply wasn’t what the yarn wanted, and I’d unravel the whole thing to start again.
Later, I started playing with stitches on hats, which opened up the opportunity to develop different decreasing strategies. Happily, hats were even quicker projects than scarves, and it only took a day or two to test out the possibilities I dreamed up.
Given this, you can imagine my delight at discovering a copy of Lesley Stanfield’s 150 Knitted Trims at my local independent book store, Bookshop Santa Cruz.
This book is a bit along the lines of Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge, offering a variety of patterns loosely organized by genre (“braids” is one category).
The production quality of this book is wonderful: heavy, glossy paper, with bright, detailed photos. Paging through it is a treat even before the knitting begins. And the possibilities it conjures up! On Knit Picks’ site this book is briefly described as “5 projectsâ€”128 pages.” That’s an understatementâ€”this is a five-project book only for those completely devoid of any sort of imagination or knit-itching fingers, which pretty much rules out every knitter I’ve ever met.
Imagine this corkscrew fringe (second from top) edging a throw pillow or lamp in a girl’s bedroom.
Now imagine these trims knit up in cotton (anything from crochet weight to dishcloth worsted) and attached to pillowcases or kitchen towels. It wouldn’t take long to turn utilitarian necessities into visual delights.
I would love to try inserting this leaf band (second from top) into the cuffs of a sweater, perhaps used to gather the sleeves in a bit, then working back out into a small ruffle.
I also want to play with inserting ribbons or contrasting yarn through the holes in some of these trims, which would allow the wearer to adjust the size of a finished garment.
If you like to design your own pieces, if you’ve dreamed about designing but haven’t known where to start, or if you just want to customize the patterns you’re working up, this book will give you endless pleasure.