I really enjoy reading and collecting knitting books, but I have a special place in my heart – and on my craft room shelves – for stitch dictionaries. Several months ago, when I first saw the announcement about Interweave’s new book Alterknit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel, I immediately got excited and knew it would soon become part of my library. Like most people in this industry I have a craft room in my home, complete with shelves upon shelves of books. Vintage and new stitch dictionaries share the shelf, and for the most part, they offer traditional or traditional-inspired motifs. When this book arrived, I realized it was unlike the majority of books in my collection.
Flipping through the book for the first time, I was impressed with the wide array of Andrea’s color-work charts. Being a pretty conservative guy, I definitely enjoyed seeing her version of standard, classic geometric motifs. What really surprised me, was how much I enjoyed and was inspired by her less conventional designs! She has masterfully addressed more contemporary shapes and filled the pages of this book with unexpected patterns.
Motifs such as the Escher-inspired bats (page 70) could easily become a pattern on socks or gloves!
When I turned to the Broken Shield chart (page 89), I imagined a fun blanket with blocks of this pattern in in different colors. I like how the lines play with each other in this design… it’s such a neat optical illusion.
…and then things got really fun! I have never seen a pattern book with a “Poopin’ Pig” chart in it (Page 115)! Andrea, you’ve really made some designs that made me smile!
She has truly included options for all knitters!
The book then goes a step further and offers several full patterns that incorporate some of her motifs – included are mittens, a hat, a cowl, and a couple sweaters.
I think what I like most about stitch dictionaries is that they inspire me to think. To think about what I would make for myself with a certain motif or who would be the perfect recipient for the wacky Poopin’ Pig design! This book really is full of inspiration, and judging from how inspired I am after spending an afternoon reviewing its offering, I’m certain it will guide me from project to project for years to come!
Chuck Wilmesher is the Director of New Product Development for Skacel Collection based just outside of Seattle, WA, and spends his days working to create new products for us to enjoy. He is also an avid knitter and fiber fanatic.