|Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard|
Published by Abrams | STC Craft
Photos by Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Back in April I had mention that I was obsessed with stitch dictionaries in my monthly Obsessions list. I had (correction: I still have) a fair amount of baby knits to whip up and needed inspiration for other projects that I had in mind. Then there's the fact that the knit nerd in me likes to spend my 'morning hour' (that time in which I've dropped off the kiddo at school, I'm home alone, and I've given myself an hour to enjoy the quiet, my coffee, and can somewhat relax a little before officially starting the day) sipping coffee while knitting and reading knitting reference books.
So when I first caught wind that there was going to be a new stitch dictionary on the scene, you can bet it already had my interest. When I found out what kind of stitch dictionary it was going to be, I got excited. All previous dictionaries that I've ever come across only ever explained how to knit a stitch pattern in one form: flat and in one direction. I've never heard of a stitch dictionary that showed you how to knit a stitch pattern in the round, top down, or bottom up as well. Can it be true?
Yes, it's true! Let me tell you all about it!
First off, let me just say when I got the email asking me if I would like to be a part of the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary Blog Tour sponsored by Blue Sky Alpacas, my mouth dropped. Would I?? Of course I would! To get my hands on such a unique stitch dictionary, you just know it's going to be a must for any crafty library!
Written by best-selling author Wendy Bernard of the Custom Knits series, the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary features over 150 stitch patterns and is the first of its kind to offer up to four different directions in which a stitch pattern can be knit. That's right. FOUR. Mind.blown. Right??
When I first got the stitch dictionary I marvelled at the beautiful coil binding, a detail that I know is in every Wendy Bernard book, and wished that every knitting-related book would use that binding as well. That's right, a knitting book that stays flat while you knit!! With knitting being such a hands-on craft, not having to worry about your book slamming shut every 5 minutes while you're in the middle of a row makes the whole experience of using this stitch dictionary even more of a pleasure. Once I got over the coil binding I did a quick thumb-through and had immediately noticed that the chapters were all colour coded. Brilliant! And no wonder all the swatches look so lovely, Blue Sky Alpacas had actually teamed up with Abrams/STC Craft, the publisher for this awesome-sauce book! I love the idea that when I need to quickly reference a pattern in say, the Yarnover and Eyelets section, all I need to do is flip the pages until I see the swatches knit in purple. This dictionary is already physically and visually easy to use and I've only thumbed through it so far!
This past weekend I took the opportunity to really pour over the dictionary. I thoroughly enjoyed the "How To Use The Stitch Patterns" section, which was way more than just telling you to knit a swatch (although Wendy does give you some swatching basics). The section goes into detail about how to swap out stitch patterns and gives you a few examples, as well as how to work with the charts - which is handy for those who have either never knit from a chart or have never knit from a chart for an in-the-round project. But don't worry if you don't like to work from a chart, Wendy has written out row by row (or round by round) instructions for each and every single stitch pattern! Love it. I think all stitch dictionaries should include both written instructions and charted. I'm one of those knitters who likes to follow the written directions for the first pattern repeat and then refer to the chart for the rest of the knit. I love using charts because they make it so much easier to read your knitting. Sometimes, when a pattern only has the written instructions, I'll quickly draw up my own chart. So thank you Wendy for doing the work for me and including both!
I also like how Wendy offers tips at the beginning of each chapter regarding the type of stitch pattern being presented, and then finishes off the chapter with a simple design and pattern showcasing one of the stitches featured in the chapter you just read. Feeling inspired after going through this book? Why not try your hand at designing an accessory by incorporating your favourite stitch patterns into one of the basic designs that Wendy offers? Armed with a few stitch patterns and with some simple math (even I can do it! And that says a lot!), you can design a stole, a slouchy hat, or a pair of mittens.
Because I know there are probably a bunch of inquiring minds out there wanting to know what else is in this book, the contents of Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary are as follows:
:: How to Use The Stitch Patterns
:: Knits and Purls
:: Textured, Slipped, and Fancy
:: Yarnovers and Eyelets
:: Hems and Edgings
:: Appendix (which includes the customizable garment patterns)
I have only one small critique of the book, which is more of a preference really, and that's to include a swatch knit in-the-round rather than just the flat swatch that's shown for every stitch pattern. I completely understand that for page space/printing/cost purposes that having 2 types of swatches per stitch pattern probably wasn't a feasible option, but why not have a knit in-the-round swatch for every second stitch pattern? Or at least for the ones that could possibly be a little more finicky than it's knit-flat counterpart? I think it would have been nice to include swatches that were knit in different directions, especially considering that this is what the dictionary is all about!
Oh well. Because I was too busy reading each and every single stitch pattern and comparing the instructions on the different directions (hey, I did mention I was a knit nerd at the beginning of this post), I've only managed to knit up one swatch for you to check out. I had a hard time picking which stitch pattern to swatch but the one that I kept going back to was the 'Zigzag Eyelets' from the 'Yarnovers and Eyelets' chapter. After the nth time of flipping back to it, I decided to just go for it and swatch that one up. So I did. In some insanely lovely Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes (the colour is called 'Petunia' - #2026, in case you were wondering). This swatch flew off the needles, the yarn was so wonderful to knit with! And the stitch definition! Note to self: must.get.more!! Halfway through knitting up the swatch I thought the stitch pattern would be perfect for a cowl. Or even a slouchy hat. Hmm...I have a feeling I might be casting on one of these ideas before the week is over! What do you think?
I absolutely love this stitch dictionary and can see this as being a very useful resource for any knitter, designer, and/or instructor, and would make for a great shop reference. I know I've been highly inspired that's for sure. I've already bookmarked a few stitch patterns and am thinking of applying them to socks. I even have a pullover idea brewing! Really, the possibilities with this stitch dictionary is truly endless! I can't wait to get started!! I'm so excited!!
Want to know what else I'm excited for? This amazing giveaway. You ready for it? Check it out:
** Giveaway is now closed! **
** Thank you to all who have entered! **
:: THE PRIZE ::
One lucky winner will receive:
:: a signed copy of Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard
:: 3 gorgeous luxury skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas yarns (Melange and 2 Alpaca Silk)
:: a Pretty Cheep Project Bag.
:: THE RULES ::
:: The giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only, sorry to all my International readers!
:: Giveaway is open until Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 11:00pm PST.
:: All comments must include a valid email address or Ravelry ID so that I can contact you if you are the winner.
:: Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 48 hours after giveaway ends.
:: HOW TO ENTER ::
Simply leave a comment below telling me what kind of stitch is your favourite to knit. Do you love lace? Prefer something textured? Or do you go gaga over cables? Don't forget to also include your email or Ravlery ID with your comment! Because how else can I get a hold of you if you are the lucky winner?
A huge thank you to Blue Sky Alpacas and STC Craft for for inviting me to be a part of the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary Blog Tour. Follow the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary Blog Tour, sponsored by Blue Sky Alpacas, by visiting the other stops on the tour for more giveaways, ideas, tutorials, and patterns using this fabulous stitch dictionary:
May 20 :: Knit and Tonic - you can also see more tour info on the Blue Sky Alpacas blog
May 22 :: FreshStitches
May 24 :: Hey Jen Renee
May 26 :: Very Shannon
May 28 :: Me!
May 30 :: The Sweatshop of Love
June 3 :: Stockinette Zombies
June 4 :: Mari Knits
June 6 :: Lattes and Llamas
June 21 :: Wendy Bernard on the Ready, Set, Knit! podcast
♥ Happy Knitting! ♥
Please note: all unmarked photos in this post are by Thayer Allyson Gowdy and are used with permission.
:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with the publishing company mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation from said company for my review. I was sent a copy of the book for review purposes and yarn to swatch a sample from the book in exchange for posting the review. The opinions I've written are my own and I will not be receiving any commissions from the links provided in this post.