Wasn’t sure quite how to take this book, based on the other reviews, and then I saw a set of Debbie New’s postcards on a different knitting site and decided it had to be something worth seeing. VERY glad I bought it and also glad I got the hardcover version–I’ll be in it for a long time.
Point: That is not Debbie New on the cover. Debbie New has grandchildren. Presumably, that person on the cover is one of them.
Point: The book contains some patterns that are from my pov, useless. I don’t knit with patterns. I wish people who design really interesting knits didn’t feel obliged to waste pages on patterns. I’d rather have more pictures. However, even Kaffe had to include patterns…
Disagreement: Gaffer tape works better than duct tape; it doesn’t ooze and it comes in better colors. Harder to find, and more expensive, though.
Everybody’s picked up on Debbie’s scribble lace, and few people do it really well. The descriptions and examples I’ve seen in later books have nothing on the examples in Unexpected Knitting. Don’t let yourself think you understand the concept just because you saw it somewhere else. That’d be like thinking you understand stained glass and turning down a trip to the Art Institute or Chartres because there’s colored glass in the windows of the funeral parlor that hosted the viewing when your grandfather died.
Massively interesting mitred squares and other shapes; ornaments, a touch of 3D knitting and knitting with non-traditional materials (as if the duct tape mention didn’t get your attention enough). Lots of new approaches to knitting garments in one piece that expand beyond EZ’s baby surprise jacket.
So: If you knit exactly to patterns and match brands and colors, you might find UK a bit over the top. If you’ve caught yourself thinking, “It’s 2006, for crying out loud, and I live in a warm climate and I have enough sweaters to last for the rest of my life but I still want to knit;” if you’ve knit a couple of Fassett knock-offs; I’ve you’ve discovered what you can do with Nepalese silk and you want more than that, buy this book. It’s worth it.
BTW, I think it ought to be possible to do the labyrinth knitting the other way–lots of shorter rows instead of only a few very very long rows. Stay tuned. Maybe that will be MY next book.
Responding to some other reviews: Only a portion of the book is about swatch-less knitting, although it’s all about knitting free of row-by-row patterns. I’ve done a boatload of pattern-free knitting. I found UE much much more of a springboard to new things that I AM knitting every day now, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more inspiration if and when I tap out of the path I’m on. I will probably never knit another “recipe” pattern again, let alone use pattern books “familiarly.” If you’re at any similar stage in your own knitting, you owe it to yourself to have this book on the shelf.
And in an unrelated thought: I knit very quickly. My mother was taught to knit by English (nation) instructors; everyone knits at the speed of light. Typical “American” knitting speeds are unthinkable in that culture. Many people CAN knit much faster, once they realize speed is possible. UE is that same form of “something else is possible.” There are more things in Heaven and Earth than what you know, Horatio…