Sunday, May 20, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Knitting Never Felt Better by Nicky Epstein

Following in the footsteps of her bestselling series on edge treatments, Nicky Epstein now lends her signature style to felting. In Knitting Never Felt Better: the definitive guide to fabulous felting, Epstein, a self-professed “felting freak,” provides more than 150 before and after swatches and a variety of patterns using felting techniques and fabrics.

The first twenty swatches show how various fibers (wool, alpaca, cashmere) and fiber blends react to the felting process. Epstein then illustrates how lace, cables, various colourwork methods can be incorporated into felting to produce unique results. As with her previous guides, the swatches are large and the photographs show details clearly. Each group of swatches is knit in the same colour, enabling the reader to focus on the stitches rather than having their eyes distracted by the yarn colour.

What raises this to the level of an exceptional guide are her trademark touches. An entire section is devoted to dimensional felting described by her as: “performing a magic trick: A piece of plain, flat stockinette stitch takes on a three-dimensional quality. You perform this sleight of hand by inserting a shrink-resistant object into the piece before felting.” Epstein then takes this technique and uses beads, embroidery and felted leaves to create grape clusters and 3-D flowers, as shown on the cover of the book.

The final third of Knitting Never Felt Better is dedicated to the special touches knitters associate with Epstein’s work: appliqués and embellishments; as well as templates for decorative items which can be cut from felted wool (a great way to use up swatches and felting mistakes!) and tips on transforming old clothes into felted toys, baby items and accessories. Throughout the volume, Epstein incorporates helpful tips from her readers and she even polled sixty yarn shop owners to create a top ten list of favourite yarns for felting. If you’ve ever contemplated felting, this volume will quickly indoctrinate you into this addictive realm.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 1933027118
ISBN13: 9781933027111

176 Pages
Publisher: Sixth&Spring Books
Publication Date: June 1, 2007