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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
AlterKNITS is a book full of projects, but also full of ideas for taking your own path.

Lara's Library: AlterKNITS

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I want that cushion. And that chair, actually.

AlterKNITS, by Leigh Radford, toes the line between coffee-table-book status and a knitting pattern book. It does both very well.

The photography and design of the book is stunning. The projects are presented clearly and well, with lovely diagrams when needed, and even charts (not every stitch pattern in the book is charted, though). There are 27 written patterns in all, which range from a modern bustier to a screen door made out of UV-coated nylon upholstery thread. So, there's something for everyone.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Need a scarf today? No? How about a shawl? Or a wrap? You could have all three with this pattern.

The most striking thing about this book, however, is the "creativity exercises."

Each one, labeled an "AlterExercise," leads the reader through various creativity techniques. They are about working with unusual combinations of yarns, hosting an imaginary knitting party with your three favorite people (alive or dead), having a dream knitting day (and figuring out how to get as close as possible to your dream), and many others.

Inspiring quotes from Proust, Einstein and Rousseau pepper the pages, and lead you through the idea that altering the way you approach your knitting isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, a lovely book that can be practical, whimsical, or inspiring, depending on what the knitter needs that day.