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September 24, 2009

I put my knitting down, flip it and reverse it

My friends, I am blown away. That's the simplest way to put it. You might remember Lynne Barr's Knitting New Scarves completely and totally mesmerizing me. I didn't think anything could top it! But I was wrong. I preordered Lynne's newest publication, Reversible Knitting, sight unseen, because I knew it would be fantastic. But I wasn't prepared for what I saw inside. I didn't even realize things like this were possible!

Before I start yammering away about stitch patterns and cables and whatnot, let me mention that this is an STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books production, with photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy. I know those names ring a bell... a bell of awesomeness! (Knitting Lingerie Style, Knitting Nature, and Vintage Baby Knits should all sounds familiar :)). This particular book is beautiful: hardcover and weighty (192 pages), with large, clear, stunning photographs. Worthy of any coffee table.

As for the content... well, let me say this: I thought I had every stitch dictionary in the world, but I was totally mistaken. The first part of the book showcases 50 reversible stitch patterns like I've never seen before. They are innovative and completely unexpected, intricate and three dimensional. They are not combinations of knits and purls that look the same on both sides, and they are not standard reversible cables that we know and love. Instead, they look something like this:


(click on any picture to view larger)

On the left is an innovative stitch pattern called four-by-four shift which looks identical on both sides; in the middle is drop loop steps, which looks textured on one side, but simple and tidy on the other; on the right is cut cables, which has two distinct sides, both worthy of being called "the right side."

The techniques used to achieve these stitch patterns vary from super simple to the sort of fancy diagrams and needle acrobatics which hooked me on Knitting New Scarves ;). Click through to the extended entry to see more stitch patterns!

The second part of the book contains 20 designs by Lynne and others which utilize the idea of reversibility. Some items are truly identical front and back, inside and out. Others offer different looks depending on whether they're worn inside out, backwards, upside down, folded over... you name it.


My favorites are these two sweaters: the gray is winding path by Wenlan Chia, and the yellow is reverse me by Norah Gaughan. Both can be worn upside down, turtleneck and shawl collar morphing into tunic fabric around the hips. The turtleneck and cabled collar are, of course, reversible so they can be folded over. Brilliant! More projects in the extended entry!

For me, the genius stitch patterns are alone worth the price of admission, though not without grumbling, "I wish I would have thought of that myself!" :) I'm happy to have had Lynne Barr do the creative thinking for me. Now it's only a matter of applying. All boring projects have been put on notice accordingly.










Posted by Kathy on September 24, 2009 08:56 PM


For the last year at least I have been totally nuts about reversible cables, and I thought I had come up with some fairly nifty ones, but I have never seen anything like this. Bloody amazing. I need this book too.

Hi Kathy,

I was also struck by this book and I'm not that much of a knitter yet. But it really stretches the mind, doesn't it?

OMG! As you, I thought I had every stitch book too.

I've just ordered my copy.

HOly smokes, that just blows my MIND! Upside downside up sweater!!!

I just got this book and it's got me *all* excited. I can feel my brain getting bigger just by looking at the oh-so-perfect pictures. I can't wait to try swatching some of these stitch patterns!

OMG! This is stunning knitting. Have to buy.

Wow! Thank you for the review - I'm off to order a copy! You have really good taste in knitting books. :)

Wow, there are some stunning stitch patterns AND clothing patterns, I think this is a book that is going on my Amazon Wishlist for Christmas.

Thanks for mentioning this awesome looking book! Just placed my order in BookDepository, I couldn't resist...

Maybe you should stop reviewing awesome books that I have to have right now this minute! *scoots off to the BookDepository*

I've been waiting for this book for a while now, so glad it finally came out. I LOVE reverse me

Dude, it is too early in the morning to have my mind blown like this!

I pre-ordered sight unseen as well. Even my boyfriend who doesn't knit a stitch was blown away.

Wowzer, what a great review. Thanks, it is on my wishlist but will be purchased asap...

I hadn't even heard of this one 'til now. This book sounds incredible--putting it on my to-buy list right now!

Wondering if it's in our library yet.... I love when you do book/pattern reviews. You're always spot on!

I was just telling my husband last night how happy i was with my collection of knitting books and didn't really need any right now. Thanks for showing me how wrong I was. Clearly I need this one.

OMFG! Must have this. NOW!

And I thought the BSJ was ingenious. This idea is amazing, especially the sweater than can be worn upside-down. Mind boggling!

*jaw dropping*

I love winding path, but I'm a bit suspicious of the way the model is holding the collar in the second shot. Will it not sit nicely on its own?

Of course, as usual, you make me want to spend money. You're a bad influence...

Wow. I didn't even know that was possible. Winding Path is out of control! I want I want!

I spare you from the exact words I used as my jaw was dropping open as I continued to scroll through the pictures. But I am mesmerized by the magic of it all!

Ooh! Ooh! I want it too!

Thank you for such a detailed review! I've been intrigued by this book since I saw mention of it online, and now I am coveting it.

I love some of these patterns. I am not sure I could wear them all, but at the very least those are some nifty sock/slipper patterns and I love both of those scarves!

Whoa! That gray sweater is cool! It took me nearly a minute to figure out that she hadn't turned it inside out, but upside down!! I'll have to look for this book to add to my collection (which is growing faster than I can knit).

Thank you. I just sent the link to your review to Lynne. I'm sure she'll appreciate it as much as I do.

Ooh... Those stitch patterns are exciting.

Oh wow, this is mind blowing!!

When I saw the promo pictures for this I was totally intrigued. Now, I know I have to have it. Thanks for writing another awesome review.

Lynne Barr has one of those imaginative brains that I'd really like to peak inside and see how it works. Her ideas just blow past the normal bounds of what's considered creative work.

OH MY! I knew I wasn't the only one who might think the backsides of cables might be more interesting as the fronts! Must get now!

Those stitches are just very very cool. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. It's impossible these days to contemplate knitting a scarf that looks good only on one side.

This is too cool! I have been feeling blah on the recent knitting patterns and this totally renewed my interest.

Just as everyone else is saying, that is absolutely amazing! I absolutely have to get my hands on this book, and I rarely buy knitting books, I usually just find stuff online. I am beyond fascinated!

Ok it is going to be in my next online shopping basket. UGH! Brilliant!

I am always impressed when you are impressed, so now I am intrigued by this book!

OMG--I hate to be repetitive but, OMG! I had seen the book and knew I wanted to see more, even thinking of getting it once I saw the contributors, but now I know it's from the same brain as New Scarves I'm on a mission. Thanks!

Wow! Think I need this on my Christmas list! (trying to behave on the spending....need a new roof, yikes!)

Definitely one for my wish list. Thanks for the great review!

Ohhh, I'm so glad you posted about this . I hardly have time to knit let alone figure out what new books are worth it (like this one!)

I saw this post on your blog and went out and bought the book. It's architecture with yarn. Amazing!

those two sweaters are also my favorites, especially the turtleneck.

I don't know what's going on with those socks but I absolutely love them!!

I hadn't even heard about this book until I saw it a couple days ago. Knitting nerd alert: her explanation of grafting blew me away! Major light bulb moment, and will help me to graft more than just plain stockinette without having to get out a book!

Looks like a great source of inspiration! I love that turtleneck.

Wow! Amazing stuff. I need this book.

Holy wow, those are some inventive looking stitch patterns you've swatched there! I'm very curious.

Something that I have always wanted to try -- reversible knitting!

Wow, Wowza, Holy Moly Batman! This is some seriously awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing.

I always read your blog, and you always amaze me with what you find, and the new techniques. Thank you.

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