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Nicky Epstein is a knitter whose books I always enjoy because they get me thinking about knitting in completely different ways. They're really inspiring to me as a designer because she always uses shapes and embellishment in ways I hadn't thought of. But I think they're great for knitters who aren't designers, too, because they can make you feel really smart just by doing what she tells you.
Epstein is known for a lot of great books on edgings, circles and squares, and she uses all that knowledge in even more new ways in her latest book, Knitting Reimagined. This book offers 25 projects that play with shapes, construction methods and embellishment to create garments the likes of which you've probably never seen before.
It's a stunning book that Epstein calls a culmination of her 30-year design career, and it's a wonderful illustration of what a knitter can do with a lot of knowledge and imagination.
Lace knitting is a lot of fun and is a great technique for summer because projects with holes tend not to be as warm as solid objects, so you can wear knitting through more of the year.
Lace may seem intimidating, but it's just a pattern of yarn overs and decreases that make a decorative pattern. If you can read a chart and know the basic skills involved, it doesn't have to be that difficult.
You can start with a super fun pattern like Turkish Stitch, also sometimes referred to as faggoting lace, in which every stitch is either a yarn over or a decrease. My Eyelet Wrap is only slightly more involved, it knits up super fast and is a great project for summer. The Zig-Zag Lace Scarf is pretty easy, too, and another lovely addition to your summer wardrobe.
If you're looking for more ideas, check out Lovely Knitted Lace by Brooke Nico. This book has 16 projects -- shawls, tops, a hat and scarves -- that are all based on four basic shapes but offer a lot of variety. Nature's Wrapture is another fun book that's not all lace but will give you some fun ideas for how lace and eyelets can be used in projects.
And if you're ready to go your own way and play with lace stitches in your own designs, check out Rita Weiss' 50 Fabulous Knitted Lace Stitches. This book is just swatches and offers a variety of motifs that would be great for panels or allover lace projects. It's sure to inspire you to get out some thin yarn and play around.
You don't really need to know a lot to get started knitting. If you can cast on, knit and bind off, you can make quite a few projects. (In fact, I recently read a book that was entirely projects worked flat in Garter Stitch.)
But as you think about picking up new knitting skills, you might wonder about what skills are best to add to your repertoire.
Since Mother's Day is this weekend (here's some of my patterns you can knit, and a roundup of nearly 80 knitting patterns for moms and beyond) I've been thinking about knitting for moms and kids and how we can have "mother-child" outfits that aren't horrible.
The book Mother-Daughter Knits by Sally Melville and Caddy Melville Ledbetter provides some great ideas for moms with grown-up daughters (it's more about the designers being a mother and a daughter than it is about coordinating knits), and Stefanie Japel's Mom & Me Knits offers options for moms with younger girls, with projects that coordinate but usually don't strictly match. Often one project has long sleeves and one short, or the design elements and colors are slightly different.
Another fun idea for coordinating garments for moms and kids might be to use a colorwork motif on the project. Lucinda Guy's Knitting Motifs for Babies and Kids offers 50 whimsical ideas from owls and robots to flowers and houses, many of which would be fine on a grownup's garment as well. It might also be fun to use the same colors but different motifs in a project for parents and kids, so you look pulled together as a family without matching.
Have you knit any projects for parent and child? I'd love to hear what you did.
Arm knitting is really simple, and there's not a lot to learn to get started, but as I was trying the technique out I thought about some things that might be helpful tips for arm knitting success.
For instance, how do you keep even tension? What if you have to put the project down in the middle? How can you best substitute yarns?
All of that and more is covered in this quick guide to help make your arm knitting a little more successful. As always if you have questions or need more help contact me at my Facebook page or on Twitter.