Monday, August 20, 2012

No Pattern Knits

No Pattern Knits: Simple Modular Techniques for Making Wonderful Garments and Accessories by Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer intrigued me the moment I saw the title. A book of knitting patterns that are not knitting patterns? What on earth could this be about? This is a book about modular knitting, creating small shapes and joining them together to form a bigger item.

There are really good photo tutorials for beginning knitters, so if you don't know much before starting out you won't feel completely lost with this book. The Demonstration of how to knit a square (diagonally), and what makes a square is a good one. I never thought about using a paper template. This allows people to knit out of different yarns with different stitches without worrying about gauge and stitch calculations. The joining shapes tutorial is really fantastic and provides many different options.

I can see how modular knitting can be much less intimidating to a beginning knitter, but you cannot claim that these are no pattern knits. Sure, someone with the knowledge of how to make these shapes can create their own afghan, pillow and other flatish items without a pattern. But how will someone be able to create a sweater without looking for some kind of instruction? The book walks you through a bit through the design process, but I think the leap of someone creating complex modular shapes to knowing how to incorporate these into a sweater is a big one. (Of course, if they have the book sketches aka. patterns then they can proceed.) That being said, this is really only an issue with the title of the book. As an instruction on how to create different shapes in many different ways, this book is INCREDIBLE. (The book does contain some actual patterns, including booties, a ball, a scarf, sweater hat and bag.)

Like with any knitting, once you make a couple modular sweaters you may be able to try one without a pattern, but I don't think anyone will go straight from knitting shapes to creating complex garments as those shown in the actual patterns. Do I think this book is a good resource? Absolutely. Do I think this is a no pattern technique? Absolutely not.