I put my knitting down, flip it and reverse it

My friends, I am blown away. That’s the simplest way to put it. You might remember Lynne Barr’s Knitting New Scarves completely and totally mesmerizing me. I didn’t think anything could top it! But I was wrong. I preordered Lynne’s newest publication, Reversible Knitting, sight unseen, because I knew it would be fantastic. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw inside. I didn’t even realize things like this were possible!

Before I start yammering away about stitch patterns and cables and whatnot, let me mention that this is an STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books production, with photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy. I know those names ring a bell… a bell of awesomeness! (Knitting Lingerie Style, Knitting Nature, and Vintage Baby Knits should all sounds familiar :)). This particular book is beautiful: hardcover and weighty (192 pages), with large, clear, stunning photographs. Worthy of any coffee table.

As for the content… well, let me say this: I thought I had every stitch dictionary in the world, but I was totally mistaken. The first part of the book showcases 50 reversible stitch patterns like I’ve never seen before. They are innovative and completely unexpected, intricate and three dimensional. They are not combinations of knits and purls that look the same on both sides, and they are not standard reversible cables that we know and love. Instead, they look something like this:


(click on any picture to view larger)

On the left is an innovative stitch pattern called four-by-four shift which looks identical on both sides; in the middle is drop loop steps, which looks textured on one side, but simple and tidy on the other; on the right is cut cables, which has two distinct sides, both worthy of being called “the right side.”

The techniques used to achieve these stitch patterns vary from super simple to the sort of fancy diagrams and needle acrobatics which hooked me on Knitting New Scarves ;). Click through to the extended entry to see more stitch patterns!

The second part of the book contains 20 designs by Lynne and others which utilize the idea of reversibility. Some items are truly identical front and back, inside and out. Others offer different looks depending on whether they’re worn inside out, backwards, upside down, folded over… you name it.


My favorites are these two sweaters: the gray is winding path by Wenlan Chia, and the yellow is reverse me by Norah Gaughan. Both can be worn upside down, turtleneck and shawl collar morphing into tunic fabric around the hips. The turtleneck and cabled collar are, of course, reversible so they can be folded over. Brilliant! More projects in the extended entry!

For me, the genius stitch patterns are alone worth the price of admission, though not without grumbling, “I wish I would have thought of that myself!” 🙂 I’m happy to have had Lynne Barr do the creative thinking for me. Now it’s only a matter of applying. All boring projects have been put on notice accordingly.











51 thoughts on “I put my knitting down, flip it and reverse it

  1. Lucia

    For the last year at least I have been totally nuts about reversible cables, and I thought I had come up with some fairly nifty ones, but I have never seen anything like this. Bloody amazing. I need this book too.

  2. Libby

    Hi Kathy,

    I was also struck by this book and I’m not that much of a knitter yet. But it really stretches the mind, doesn’t it?

  3. Anna-Liza

    I just got this book and it’s got me *all* excited. I can feel my brain getting bigger just by looking at the oh-so-perfect pictures. I can’t wait to try swatching some of these stitch patterns!

  4. Aberdonian

    Maybe you should stop reviewing awesome books that I have to have right now this minute! *scoots off to the BookDepository*

  5. Hillary

    I was just telling my husband last night how happy i was with my collection of knitting books and didn’t really need any right now. Thanks for showing me how wrong I was. Clearly I need this one.

  6. Mercuria

    I love winding path, but I’m a bit suspicious of the way the model is holding the collar in the second shot. Will it not sit nicely on its own?

    Of course, as usual, you make me want to spend money. You’re a bad influence…

  7. JenAus0524

    I spare you from the exact words I used as my jaw was dropping open as I continued to scroll through the pictures. But I am mesmerized by the magic of it all!

  8. Kim

    Thank you for such a detailed review! I’ve been intrigued by this book since I saw mention of it online, and now I am coveting it.

  9. Seanna Lea

    I love some of these patterns. I am not sure I could wear them all, but at the very least those are some nifty sock/slipper patterns and I love both of those scarves!

  10. amy

    Whoa! That gray sweater is cool! It took me nearly a minute to figure out that she hadn’t turned it inside out, but upside down!! I’ll have to look for this book to add to my collection (which is growing faster than I can knit).

  11. GinkgoKnits

    When I saw the promo pictures for this I was totally intrigued. Now, I know I have to have it. Thanks for writing another awesome review.

    Lynne Barr has one of those imaginative brains that I’d really like to peak inside and see how it works. Her ideas just blow past the normal bounds of what’s considered creative work.

  12. Laurie

    Those stitches are just very very cool. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. It’s impossible these days to contemplate knitting a scarf that looks good only on one side.

  13. Abby

    Just as everyone else is saying, that is absolutely amazing! I absolutely have to get my hands on this book, and I rarely buy knitting books, I usually just find stuff online. I am beyond fascinated!

  14. Melissa G

    OMG–I hate to be repetitive but, OMG! I had seen the book and knew I wanted to see more, even thinking of getting it once I saw the contributors, but now I know it’s from the same brain as New Scarves I’m on a mission. Thanks!

  15. Giedra

    Ohhh, I’m so glad you posted about this . I hardly have time to knit let alone figure out what new books are worth it (like this one!)


  16. PammieTaj

    I saw this post on your blog and went out and bought the book. It’s architecture with yarn. Amazing!

  17. Smuddpie

    I hadn’t even heard about this book until I saw it a couple days ago. Knitting nerd alert: her explanation of grafting blew me away! Major light bulb moment, and will help me to graft more than just plain stockinette without having to get out a book!

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