Book Review

The Unpattern Patterns leaflets
by Janice MacDaniels
See them at

We all learn differently. Some of us need rigid instruction, where each stitch is clearly mapped out. Others of us prefer to be shown the big picture and then set loose to play on our own.

If you fall in the latter category and have just started knitting, allow me to introduce your new friend, Janice MacDaniels.

The Specifics
Janice works at Patternworks and has turned her years of knitting experience into four useful little leaflets: The Unpattern Scarf, Stole, or Afghan; The Unpattern Mitten; The Unpattern Cozy Cowl; and The Unpattern Triangular Shawl or Scarf.

Each pattern currently sells for $3 at Patternworks and comes on colored paper (printed on both sides) in a plastic sleeve.

Deconstructing an Unpattern
Why are they called "un" patterns? Because each leaflet isn't as much a specific pattern as a high-level overview of how to make an item. MacDaniels explains the overall shape you'll want to achieve, what your variables are, how to pick the appropriate yarn and needles for your project, you name it.

Wherever there's a spot for extra creative freedom, MacDaniels is sure to point it out.

Too Easy?
Some of the information will be old news to any reasonably experienced knitter. But if you've just joined us, want to gain more confidence going "off the pattern," and just need someone good to hold your hand, MacDaniels is the one.

The patterns require only a basic familiarity with knitting - how to cast on, knit, purl, knit in the round, etc. The mitten pattern is the most advanced of the series.

No Big Sell
Many new knitters complain that people constantly force their own knitting agendas on them. I'm relieved to say that MacDaniels steers clear of this. She presents your options and lets you decide.

For example, her mitten pattern includes instructions for both gusseted and anatomical thumb styles, and her shawl pattern can be started either from the tip or the widest end.

Why Buy?
From a retail perspective, they make the most sense if you're already on the Patternworks site, have found a yarn you want to try, and just can't figure out what to make.

It's true that you can find somewhat similar information free if you look hard enough. I like MacDaniels' works because they are consistently broad and thorough. If I were a curious newcomer, I'd gladly skip that double latte for a day and add one of these to my cart instead.

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See them at
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