I got a chance to peek at Knitting Pleats while at TNNA in June (a big needlework trade show), and I was instantly drawn to the stunning shawl on the cover. I had a spare minute to flick through it, and I was impressed: it’s full of really creative and modern pieces.
So, when I got a chance to review a copy of Knitting Pleats, I let out a little ‘squee’! I’m delighted to announce that the book is just as lovely as my initial impressions told me it would be!
About the book
There are oodles of knitting books on the market… and it’s sort of hard to imagine a completely new topic. There are piles of sock books, books full of sweater patterns, knitted stuffed animals… but a book all about pleats? Now that’s new!
A book that covers a topic that I have very little experience with is instantly attractive! And, in addition to a novel topic, the author has a style that isn’t often seen in American knitwear. She’s of Russian-Ukranian descent, and she blends influences from her personal background, Japanese patterns and geometry and Western styles into an incredibly unique and modern series of garments and accessories.
Features of the book
I’ve already said that the designs are novel and beautiful. But, I also love the information that’s inside this book.
The introduction contains a section called ‘Understanding Knitted Pleats’, which is fairly comprehensive: explaining how to make vertical and horizontal pleats, in both stockinette and garter.
For me at least, this sort of additional information is what makes a book worth buying. It’s more than just a collection of patterns, it’s a jam-packed bundle of information that gives you the foundation you’ll need to understand what you’re knitting, and maybe even design your own garments with pleats!
I also love that this book contains illustrations of knitting techniques that you’ll need for the patterns in the book.
I find that, when I’m knitting from a book, it’s not always convenient to run to the computer to look up how to do a new stitch… so having that information in the front of the book is a real plus.
Finally, I really like that the patterns the book are arranged in order of difficulty: easiest first. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into!
Drawbacks of the book
I really like this book, but there are a couple of tiny negatives that I can’t go without mentioning.
The first negative (which is echoed by a couple of other reviews I read on Amazon) is that I wouldn’t really knit all of the patterns in this book. Some of the garments are just too ‘out of the box’ for my taste.
In my opinion, though, if I knit 2 patterns from a book, then it’s worth the price (since individual patterns from the designers that I love are in the $6-$8 range). And, there are certainly a couple designs that will hop onto my needles in the future… just not all of the ones in the book!
Another little downside is that there isn’t a resource guide for the little extras used in the book. Mostly, I’d love to know where to get the handles for the Accordion Bag, but I’m sure I can source them on my own.
Grab it! This is a well-written book, full of useful information about pleats in addition to some lovely patterns. The patterns cover a range of difficulty levels, so anyone proficient with increasing/decreasing and reading a pattern will be able to get a start.
If you’re a traditionalist and only want to wear plain sweaters… then maybe this book isn’t for you. Or who knows… maybe it’ll inspire you to get out of your knitting comfort zone!