My copy of Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Embellishments is from the first printing and is in hardcover. This book has been reprinted many times and is currently still available in softcover. I have every book written by Nicky and this is my favorite. It is the one I pull from the shelf most often. I believe that it is the basis of every “Edge” book that she has ever published. I think that it is first and best!
“Embellishments” is divided into six sections, and each section is then further divided: The Heart of the Matter – everything to do with hearts as embellishments; Applique - from flowers to vegetables; Borders and Edgings – Ribbings and more; Cords – I-cord to the max, Celtic Knotwork and frog-closures; Embroidery – a comprehensive collection of stitches; Fringes, Tassel, Pompoms and Ties – 19 different ways to fringe and an incredible collection of tassels.
My favorite sections were the Applique and the Tassels. Applique in knitting can be fairly flat and one-dimensional, employing simple shapes with knit-in details. Applique a la Nicky Epstein is three-dimensional, with dimensional details, realistic layers of petal and leaves with lobes, peapods with little round peas and carrots with body! Her applique inspired me to create my tea-cozies and to explore the possibilities of dimensional knitting.
Tassels are wonderful dangles that can finish your scarves and shawls, hang from the bottom of a bag or decorate the zipper of a sweater. They can be simple gathers of the yarn you worked with or they can be knit and beaded and over the top – another fun detail that can be overlooked. Finishing can be tedious, but can also take whatever you have created beyond the pattern and make it yours – finishing can be fun with a little imagination and time.
The final section of the book is a gallery – pictures of projects made using many of the techniques from the book. A very inspiring collection of designs. This is not a pattern book, which is a pity, as the designs in the gallery are fabulous. It was written as a reference for creative knitters to use to individualize their own knitting. It is an invitation to play and create unique garments for your own loved ones and it is very easy to understand and use. Nicky includes many ideas and suggestions throughout the book and encourages the knitter to try them all.