Anyone who has looked at my patterns or read my thoughts about knitting knows that I love reversible stitches. It’s not that I don’t like other stitches, but the ease and versatility of stitches that look the same, or look good on both sides, has had me in its grip since I began knitting. It all began with seed stitch.
Not long ago, I thought it would be fun to assemble reversible stitches, knit up swatches, and write about one each week or so until I ran out. I’m both a bit sad and very happy to discover that the work had already been done. It’s far better and in much more detail than I would have managed – Reversible Knitting Stitches – A Sourcebook of 200 Double Sided Knit Patterns . It’s available in both print and ebook: your choice. The authors, Moira and Anna Ravenscroft, have kindly offered two of their patterns free until November 30th to celebrate the launch of the print version of this book. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the pattern photos and get the details.
What I Like About This Book I like this book very much – here’s what I told Moira and Anna after I’d had a chance to explore it.
- the number of stitches is astounding
- I’m very happy to see both written and charted instructions – to my mind essential
- the swatch samples are beautifully executed
- the suggested uses of the stitches, as well as the stitch limitations, are wonderful – they remind me of Barbara Abbey’s knitting book
- the pattern suggestions and links are illustrative and inspiring
- the organization seems almost intuitive, although I imagine it took some struggles to achieve
- the indexes provide varied and easy ways to search
- it’s an essential resource for those of us, like me, who start every design project with reversibility as an essential component
What it Looks Like on the Inside The authors shared pics of a few of the internal pages so you can get a really good idea of what this book offers. This medium has some limitations, but I think it’s possible to tell how thoughtful, complete, and clear this book is.
The Story Thirty years ago Moira was confined to bed for a prolonged period, not able to sit and knit, but look she could, and collect knitting patterns and stitch ideas she did – 3 files full.
When able to knit, Moira started working on samples and discovered that she loved reversible ones, for their drape, their character, their usefulness.
She began hunting for more double-sided stitches and explored ways to turn non-reversible ones into reversible patterns. A long Doctor Who swatch scarf emerged – unfortunately long gone. Moira, and her daughter, Anna, reknit the swatches into samples, spread them all out on a table one day and thought, “A book! We set to and tried to add as many stitch patterns as we could find. We scoured our local libraries and explored old knitting books from Victorian times.”
The pair agreed on their favourite 200 hundred samples and “agreed on another thing: we didn’t want this to be another dry collection of stitches with basic details and little else.” The book was modelled after Moira’s favourite Japanese knitting stitch book; the photos of knitted items accompanying the stitch patterns brought the stitches to life.
“We wanted to describe each stitch and include ideas of how it could be used, with photos and examples showing finished projects scattered through the book. We aimed to feature at least 3 project examples for each chapter but in the end we were so enjoying designing items to be included that we overshot our target by quite a margin!
“So for each stitch, there is a photo of both the front and the back, together with detailed notes about its characteristics and ideas for how it could be used. Then for each one there is a stitch chart and line-by-line instructions. At the back of the book are indexes by name and degree of difficulty together with a list of the projects included in the book and some suggestions for further reading.”
It’s an amazing book. I have the ebook, but I think the recently released print copy deserves a place on my shelf, too.
Moira and Anna’s Free Patterns Moira would like you to have her Verwood Cushions pattern, a pillow in two sizes, created with one of the reversible stitches from the book. Anna‘s pattern is a very quick knit for the tea lovers on your gift list, the Double Pom Tea Cozy. On Ravelry, you’ll find both of these patterns downloadable for free until November 30th.