This book isn’t so much on trend as it is beyond trend. Legendary knitwear designer Nicky Epstein’s new book Knitting Reimagined presents 25 innovative patterns that are conceptualized differently than a lot of knitwear you might have encountered on your knitting journeys. Knitting your way through this book would be an amazing way to get inspired to do something new next time you’re feeling bored with knitting yet another cardi or wrap.
The book’s skill levels and structure
Every pattern in Knitting Reimagined has two symbols at the beginning: 1, 2 or 3 balls of yarn or clocks. The fewer the balls of yarn, the more beginner-friendly it is. The fewer clocks, the quicker you can finish it. Easy peasy.
The book’s 25 patterns are divided among 4 chapters. The first chapter, Directionals, focuses on using only rectangles, angles and squares to form capes, tunics, shawls and sweaters. I think chapter 2, full of patterns with particularly interesting approaches to shape, is the one I might learn the most from knitting through. It’s got such cool ideas that are straight up made differently than patterns I’m used to making. Chapter 3 incorporates elements of knitting woven together to create neat effects. And even though a couple of these might look like entrelac at first glance, they aren’t. The pieces are physically woven together and sewn or appliquéd to complete the garment. (Epstein is known for designing with this technique.) Finally, chapter 4 includes “interesting and unique stitches, color work, an edgings that all go beyond ‘business as usual’ stitches.”
As an aspiring knitting and crochet designer, I have respect for everything Epstein does. She’s very much a legend in this field. In the introduction, she says “there comes a time to break new ground, a time for experimentation and improvisation, and a time to rethink and reimagine typical structures and shapes in hand-knitting. My goal was to fill this book with chic, wearable, but uniquely atypical garments that will appeal to knitters of all skill levels.” If there’s anyone I trust to do this, it’s Nicky Epstein.
For me, a number of the patterns in this book were a little too avant garde for everyday wear as-is. Epstein was clever enough to include a “reimagine it” call out at the bottom of each pattern’s intro, offering suggestions like, “Keep the lace pattern and construction, but try using a fabulous subtly colored, hand-dyed yarn. Add a different button and closure choice for a completely new look.” I think less adventurous knitting fashionistas might opt for reimagining a couple of the garments before heading out in their handmade creations.
My favorite pattern in the book is the Directional Vest, not only because bright blues always catch my attention (I even had the perfect color yarn in my stash already). The vest is the type of design that hits right at the waist, so it will likely flatter many body types. The cabling along the upper back and edges is really beautiful as well!
Last but not least, I love the design of the book. The photography is amazing! The modern meets vintage meets whimsical settings and lovely lighting combine to make a really beautiful book. And the graphic design, from the font choices to curlicue edgings, is really lovely.