Book Review: Knitting Outside the Swatch

While much has been written about crochet motifs, considerably less coverage has been given to the art of knitted motifs and that’s too bad. Omdahl lessens that gap with this exploration of forty knitted motifs and innovative ways of linking them together into fun, funky garments. Like socks and hats, knit motifs are a great portable project that’s prefect for using up those little snippets of yarn too precious to throw away. The motifs are divided into four chapters including stars, geometric shapes, unusual shapes and join-as-you-go pieces. The delicate appearing Eight-Point Garter Stitch Star is not only easy to work but would be lovely joined into a shawl. Ten garment patterns showcase ways of putting different motifs together to create scarves, a cardigan, pullover and shawls. Although the Shania Medallion Hat is worked using the Medallion with Chain Edging, its easy to visualize it made substituting the Round Flower Medallion instead. The Thora Lace Cardigan combines different lace and garter stitch panels to create a look very much like crochet lace and with a gauge of four stitches to the inch, is quick to work.

For those looking to break out of a rut and try something different, this collection of motifs is worth checking out. Row-by-row instructions are provided for each motif and the more complex designs include large, easy to read charts with a conveniently placed stitch key. The extensive glossary shows how to work everything from different cast-ons to picking up along shaped edges and a special wrap-3 stitch. Even beginning knitters can dive in and start playing with this collection while the more experienced can use this collection as the starting point for experimentation and develop their own motifs and garments.

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