Knitting Pleats Review
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For some people, knitting may still bring to mind images of sweet little old ladies in rocking chairs. But, for me, it’s an ever-changing art form. One of the most exciting things about being a knitter is that, while it’s simple enough for anyone to learn, there’s always something new to try—a new technique to learn. Just when you think you’d seen everything there is to see in knitwear design, someone tries something new—and it spreads like wildfire.

The latest “something new” is found in designer Olga Pobedinskaya’s Knitting Pleats—a collection of designs that use carefully-planned tucks and origami-like folds to give knitted items some interesting new shapes.

Inspired by her Russian-Ukrainian grandmother and a fascination with Japanese culture, Pobedinskaya’s designs include everything from frilly wraps to geometric handbags to tucked and swirling sweaters. Many of the designs look remarkably complex—but, after a quick read through the three-page section on “Understanding Knitted Pleats,” you’ll realize that they look a lot more complicated than they really are. While some involve short rows or other intermediate techniques, most use a rather straightforward technique involving stitching two rows together in a way that will remind you of a simple three-needle bind-off.

Once you figure out the basic technique, then, the patterns are pretty straightforward. By putting in just a little bit of extra work, you can create colorful shawls with butterfly wings, a bag with accordion folds, or a sweater with artfully-placed pleats. The book’s most stunning designs are the shawls—especially the Wings butterfly shawl and the Curly Confection shawl with “puffy pleats.” The former would make a whimsical conversation piece, while the latter would make an elegant but fun accessory for a special night out.

At the same time, though, while all of the designs are visually interesting, not all of them are entirely practical. For instance, the Cupola hat—a kind of elfin stocking cap with curling, contrasting pleats running up to a point—is interesting to look at, but I don’t think I know anyone who would actually wear it. The same goes for the Pagoda hat (a kind of floppy, tri-color beret), the Long Way Back pullover (a bulky sweater that’s cropped in the front and falls below the butt in the back), and the Lipstick Glamour top (a puffy, short-sleeved top with vertical pleats that make even the model look wide and shapeless).

Knitting Pleats introduces a fascinating (and surprisingly easy!) new knitting technique—one that’s so clever (and visually stunning) that it’s sure to start popping up in other designers’ tops and shawls. But while Pobedinskaya’s book offers a great introduction and a number of head-turning designs, be prepared for a few not-so-pleasant surprises, too.

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