The months, they fly! May brings flowers, warmth, and fresh new books.
How does Wendy Bernard do it? How does she have the mental fortitude and organizational skills, let alone the mighty swatching chops, to compile her beautiful stitch dictionaries, in which she gives clear instructions, both charted and written out, to work motifs top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round?
Japanese Stitches Unraveled is the third stitch dictionary in the series. It follows Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary (2014) and The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary (2016), both of which brought the beauty and vision of an Abrams book to the stitch dictionary concept. What’s different here, of course, is that the stitch patterns in the new book are all sourced from Japanese stitch dictionaries. So the patterns—knit-purl, ribs, cable and lace primarily—seem fresh to Western knitters, even though they use familiar elements and techniques.
And there’s a bonus: lovely patterns to give you somewhere to apply some of these lovely stitches.
This one is a keeper. It’s going on my reference shelf, next to Wendy Bernard’s other two dictionaries (and there’s space for more, hint hint).
Japanese Stitches Unraveled: 160+ Stitch Patterns to Knit Top Down, Bottom Up, Back and Forth, and In the Round by Wendy Bernard (Abrams, May 15, 2018)
I haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, but as a lover of Japanese craft books, I’m excited about it just from the sneak-peek photos on the Amazon page. I love the scale and remixed feel of some high-fashion Japanese knitting patterns, and while I’ve collected quite a few of the books (in the original Japanese, which I do not read), I never summoned the patience to work out how to knit them. This book would seem to present an easier way to go!
Japanese Knitting: Patterns for Sweaters, Scarves and More by Michiyo (Tuttle Publishing, May 29, 2018)
Kristin Nicholas is a beloved knitwear designer with many talents and seemingly boundless energy. Her latest is a how-to book that is also a celebration of her farm home. The decoration of that home, in turn, was inspired in part by a visit to Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, England, which 20th-century artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant painted inside and out and stuffed with the most glorious needlepoints known to man. Bell and Grant would feel quite at home in Nicholas’s house.
This is a lavishly illustrated guide to how to cram a profusion of pattern into a bright and harmonious home, through DIY projects. Nicholas bucks the current trend toward bare, distressed surfaces and plain fabrics, which can be oppressive to pattern lovers. She paints right over those surfaces, and stamps right onto those fabrics. It’s glorious and looks like a lot of fun; I’m especially drawn to the ceramic and printing projects, as a way to explore color and pattern that is so different from the knitterly way.
For those lacking the ambition to do a room or a whole house in this style, the projects stand on their own. The needlework projects include a crochet throw and a knitted cushion that would go just as easily in a Kinfolk-y or midcentury modern setting.
Crafting a Patterned Home: Painting, Printing, and Stitching Projects to Enliven Every Room by Kristin Nicholas (Roost Books, April 2018)
As Jonathan Adler says in his blurb, “Macramé is back-ramé.”
While Mr. Adler should perhaps be made to stand in the corner for that line, he is factually correct. Macramé has returned. It has overcome the clichés that many of us carry from the 1970s, and we are ready to commit it again, with enthusiasm, taste and a sense of fun. Will future generations laugh at our macramé? Not if we style it as beautifully as the photos in this book.
Modern Macramé: 33 Stylish Projects for Your Handmade Home by Emily Katz (Ten Speed Press, May 15, 2018)
Take a look, and enjoy!