Craft book review: The Shape of Knitting

Take your knitting needles on a journey of discovery, the trip of a lifetime in Lynne Barr’s mind-bending new book, The Shape of Knitting

Far from being a standard project-filled book, Lynne takes a different approach: her fascinating, in-depth course exhausts the techniques that can be used to shape flat and dimensional pieces of knitting increases, decreases, short rows, dividing and combining stitches, and adding sections.

Lynne is a maverick, showcasing many new techniques that she has masterminded herself. Illustrating these techniques are 24 projects: sculptural, three-dimensional knits that show that Lynne’s mind is as sharp as her knitting needles.

“The techniques section is over 60 pages long, or around a quarter of the book, and completely necessary”

It’s almost as though, by working through these projects, you’re taking a masterclass in technique. The techniques section is over 60 pages long, or around a quarter of the book. Completely necessary, these pages are illustrated well with multiple photographs and a depth of detail to truly guide you through each process. Doing is learning; once you’ve been through the process you will understand another, deeper layer of knitting.

The Shape of Knitting craft book review | Mollie Makes

The Shape of Knitting is a beautiful book, its retro design and unusual colours colliding to create a playful, coy volume, styled like a vintage copy of Vogue. The styling is simple and fun; juicy, sorbet colours make for a summery style that’s almost Boden-esque. The Ripple Vest looks seventies-chic alongside a pair of flared jeans, jumbo multi-coloured confetti raining down on the model. Feminine in the extreme – pink pervades – the book somehow remains current, and the juxtaposition with these post-modern knits is striking.

“Be brave: this is a masterclass, after all, so jump in with gusto”

Projects are named after film stars, typographical notations, and French words, giving you an idea of the extreme creativity of the knitting brain at work behind this book. The horn-rimmed Sleep Shades offer a hint of personality and sense of humour, while the misleadingly-titled Simple Fold Scarf is described as ‘three-dimensional texture on steroids’. And Lynne claims to wear her Fringed Cable Cowl while snowshoeing through the Maine woods in winter, perhaps giving an insight into the evolution of many of these chunky, warm-to-wear projects.

If maths wasn’t your strong suit at school, you might want to avoid the Rocking Rib Wrap: one of the most mind-boggling patterns you’re ever likely to see. But be brave: this is a masterclass, after all, so jump in with gusto!

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