Book Review: Knitting On Top of the World

Knitting On Top of the World by Nicky Epstein

So, I was on Amazon.com the other day checking out the knitting book section when I came across the book, “Knitting On Top of the World”, by Nicky Epstein. I love Nicky’s books and this was one that I hadn’t read yet. I scrolled down to read the general description on the book when I noticed that the book didn’t have the usual 5 star rating that most of her books have. So I scrolled down even further and started reading some of the reviews. A great number of people had given her book only 1 to 2 stars and I was shocked to read what some people said about the book. Here are a few of the comments taken from Amazon.com:

“… but the patterns are just atrocious. I would pass these off as the sort of awkwardly-shaped things you might see on a Milan runway, but they’re even far too frumpy and absurd for runway models. I can’t think of a single occasion in which I bought a knitting book or magazine and didn’t find at least one pattern that I liked, but not only are there no patterns in here that I would want to knit, but I can’t even begin to think of creative ways that I might alter these patterns to make them at least tolerable. A truly absurd and bizarre collection of string. “

“I can’t imagine spending valuable time and money making any of these designs. The only person that would have a time or place to wear any of these “things” would be a paid professional model on a set. I guess this must be eye candy for fashion designers, so why bother with knitting instructions? The Fair Isle Tam Caplet looks like an obscene Mae West joke. My husband thought they were shields.”

“… There may be less than a handful of designs I’d be willing to try. For the most part the colors are garish, the fit is strange, and the designs are just ugly! How is that possible when this book was so eagerly anticipated and the cover looked so promising? I think the ambition of the project allowed more than one mistake to make its way in. To her credit her imagination is wild and I would never be able to produce as much as she puts out. But with that said, it certainly takes away from her reputation when she’s turning out aesthetically-challenged designs.” 

Really? I just couldn’t believe that Nicky would spend all her time and energy coming out with something that was pure junk. So I checked out a copy of the book through my local library to see if this book was truly filled with ‘ugly’ designs.

Well, guess what? I absolutely LOVE this book. Nicky, you are incredible! No, this is not a book for everyday knitting. This is pure knitting fashion! Nicky takes knitting to a whole new level in a way that is daring and whimsical at the same time. Inspired by knitting traditions around the world Nicky Epstein has shown herself to be the Elsa Schiaparelli of the knitting world.

Knowing how traditional wool tams are made, I adored her larger than life Fair Isle Tam Capelet. Her Fiesta Skirt makes me think of the art and craft fairs in Santa Fe. And the Evening Gala Aran with its ostrich feather collar makes me want to finally learn how to knit cables. The one piece that’s really got my hands itching to knit is the La Belle Cardigan. Only Nicky could make me fall in love with something so pink and frilly.

“Knitting On Top of the World is not for the knitter who wants to blend in. These designs are meant for the knitter with the desire to stand out and be noticed. With this book Nicky Epstein has shown that she’s not just another  knitter who designs pretty cardigans, but an artist who uses knitting as her medium.

September In Is Vogue!

If you haven’t heard then you’ve been stuck in the house knitting alone in the bedroom for far too long. Turn off the TV- trust me, your recordings of Glee and Doctor Who will be there when you get back. Now is the time to grab your girlfriends and gear up for an event that’s even better than the kids going back to school.

VK Live! In Los Angeles 2011

 
 
That’s Right! The show that took New York by storm is making its way to the other fabulous coast with plans to make the event ever bit as tantalizing as a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive!
 
Don’t believe me? How about a  Red Carpet Marketplace Champagne Preview hosted by Deborah Norville. Yes, you read that right. THE Deborah Norville, anchor of Inside Edition will host VIP registered attendees as they stroll, with drinks in hand, to get first dibs on all the good stuff an hour before the market opens to the general public.
 
You can also attend the Gala Dinner & Fashion Show  which will feature a talk with the master colorist that all color work knitters bow down to- Kaffe Fassett.
 
And treat yourself to the creme de la creme of classes offered by such celebrity names as Meg Swansen, Cookie A., Shannon Okey, Shirley Paden and Nicky Epstein – just to name a few.
 
If you need more convincing of why you should go, maybe you should take a peek at what you missed at the New York Show:
 
 

Decadent Feet

Beautiful Mohair Halo

On January 20th, 2000, I purchased a bag of yarn at the local thrift store for only $2.92, after tax. What the bag contained was 7 small skeins of vintage mohair. Contessa 100% Real Mohair Made in Italy. 40 grams, color 72, dye lot 1585. Sole distributor, M.H. Yarn Inc., New York.

Contessa 100% Real Mohair

Since then, only two skeins have been used in a couple of scarves. The rest have been in hanging out in my stash, waiting for the day I find a good use for them. The problem is, I’m allergic to animal hairs, so making something for myself was never an option.

I was thinking last year to use the yarn to make the Abbondanza Wrap designed by Nicky Epstein in her book “Knitting In Tuscany”. But, no matter how hard I tried, I just never felt motivated to start the project.

Then last night, as I was looking at some knitted sock porn, I stumbled upon these Angora Baby Booties by Joelle Hoverson, (Photo Credit- MsKhofhinn):

These are some truly decadent booties. So why not make my own decadent socks? I’m swatching up right now to see what gauge would work best with this yarn. I’m thinking of making it knee-length with maybe some lacing in the back.

So, I’m wondering, what is the most decadent yarn you ever used to knit / crochet with?