Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Knitting on the Edge

Here's a project I've been meaning to take up: reviewing the best books in my knitting library.

Knitting on the Edge: Ribs*Ruffles*Lace*Fringes*Flora*Points & Picots - The Essential Collection of 350 Decorative Borders
I'll start with the book that's inspired my current project, a lace edged scarf. I borrowed the lace edging from Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein. 

Okay, so you've got your stitch pattern books, right? You've got guides filled with lace patterns, cable patterns, and whatnot, right? So what happens when you get to the edges of your project? Well... there's... ribbing... and, um... ribbing... and, oh, let's see, maybe moss stitch? Garter stitch? Gee, what can you put on the edges?

That's where I've found this book to be most helpful. Nicky Epstein's book is all about edges: bottom edges that begin with a cast-on, edges knitted separately and stitched on, edges picked up and knitted, edgings knitted lengthwise, fringes, ruffles, bobbles, if you want it, this book's got it. Each edging is photographed in color against crisp, white backgrounds, so it's pretty easy to compare the instructions with the results.

I have just one little quibble with the illustrations: some of the samples are knitted up in a slightly fuzzy, deep rosy pink yarn that makes it a little harder to see the stitch definition than in the samples that are done up in lighter shades and in yarns with a tighter twist.

I have one other bigger quibble: all of the instructions are written, with no charts. I'm not a strict "chartist," but I do like having both charts and written instructions. Written directions are fine when there are short repeats and only a few rows to the pattern, but anything longer and I'd rather see the instructions -- that means chart form. I've had to drag out the graph paper to figure out what's going on in some of the edgings I was interested in. Knitters who are more into written instructions than charts, however, will be right at home.

If you're into designing your own knits, or if you just want a pretty edging for a pillowcase or baby sweater, Knitting on the Edge belongs on your reference shelf.

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