On Saturday I collected “Knitting Brioche” by Nancy Marchant from the Post Office. Last September, during my trip to the I Knit Weekender, I had seen samples of her work and her patterns at the Dutch Knitters stand, and had been mightily impressed. Pretty-much after I got in the door from my return flight, I pre-ordered it on Amazon. I would get regular updates from Amazon about it delivery date being pushed back – yet again – just when I’d forgotten all about it. When I got yet another update during last week, I wasn’t expecting them to say they were actually about to deliver it.
So, when I went to Post Office, I wasn’t terribly surprised to be handed a package emblazoned with Amazon logos. However, if the contents of the package itself was no surprise the contents of the book certainly were. And if you think Brioche stitch is just a fancy-looking rib: think again. Nancy Marchant brings Brioche Stitch to a whole new level: to the edge, to the back of beyond, and back again.
The author has been really generous with her knowledge in this book. It is a much thicker book than I was expecting. It is certainly more detailed and more thorough than many other knitting books that I’ve seen recently. This book is of the same ilk as Margaret Radcliffe’s “The Essential Guide to Colour Knitting Techniques”, in my opinion. I think I understand now why the delivery date kept being pushed back. Nothing has been done by halves here.
There are three main sections to the book, each as thoroughly detailed and mind-warping as each other: a “how-to” section; a stitch dictionary; and a projects/ patterns section.
In the “how-to” section she takes you from explaining what exactly a yarn-over is to
“Two-color Right Slant, Light Side and Left Slant, Dark Side Reversible Decreases”;
which sounds like the knitting equivalent of something incredibly complicated in ice-skating.
The stitch dictionary includes no less than 60 variants; not to mention several multi-colour options and photos of both the right and wrong side. We’re talking multiple permutations here! So if you thought Brioche stitch was “cute” to do in two colours, I’ve got… er… eight words for you:
“Three-Colour Diagonal Waffle Crossed Demi Brioche Stitch”
Don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel hungry!
Then there’s the patterns section. “Ah!” you say, “I bet that’ll be the Achilles Heel, where it all comes undone”. Not so! Of the the 25 patterns, there’s not a single dud – in my opinion. There are several I want to cast-on for very soon, and many that I will return to repeatedly as great stash-busters.
And can I just give credit to the photography, while I’m at it. For once the photography is both beautiful and descriptive of the knitting. This is something most photographers of knitting books just don’t seem to understand. The photographs of the finished projects are styled and set attractively but you can also see what the finished product is meant to look like – how novel!