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"This treasure of a book goes beyond patterns. It is a work of art. It explores diagonal knitting from the core, with beautiful photography and illustrations on each page. With great techniques, rich history, and visuals, this book is sure to become an American classic."

Living Crafts Magazine, Winter 2010

What is in Diagonal Knitting?

  • Getting Started
  • What is Diagonal Knitting?
  • Knitting in Two Dimensions
  • Knitting in Three Dimensions
  • With chapters on Vests, Pockets, Sweaters, Dresses, Coats, Sculpture, and much more.

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Reviews for Diagonal Knitting

  • Spin-Off Spring 2011

    In this book, fiber sculptor Katharine Cobey reveals how she achieves her wonderful diagonal knitting effects by dissecting the techniques she uses. She also offers a progressive guide on how to design knitted garments on the diagonal, building skills for two- and three-dimensional design. Katharine also addresses some of the pros and cons of working in nontraditional materials such as plastic and wire. As a side note to spinners, though much of her work is handspun, spinning is not a focus here.

    This is not a book for the pattern knitter; it is for the adventurous who are not afraid to play extensively with orientation and form. With occasional self-deprecating humor and personal stories, Katharine draws on a deep knowledge of her craft as she urges readers to take control of their knitting. Those wishing to follow the instructions provided may sometimes find themselves having to research stitches and techniques referenced but not fully explained. A short dictionary at the end defines terms specifically coined for the book.

    While diagonal knitting is simple conceptually, in more complicated constructions the knitting, surface design, and shaping all work together as an integrated process. Some of the benefits of diagonal knitting are that neither the size nor shape of the final product depend on the initial cast-on row, and simple patterns can easily emphasize and enhance basic garment shapes.

    Diagonal Knitting ultimately challenges to conceptualize and deconstruct the myriad of approaches that one can take to his or her work. For example, to get the full impact of how the designs will fall on the finished piece, Katharine suggests folding paper mock-ups (or even deconstructing cardboard toilet paper rolls) as a way of understanding both shape and graphic placement. Since geometry dominates over complicated stitch patterns, daring beginners can also try their hands at diagonal knitting. For those fascinated by the geometry involved in achieving wonderful visual effects, it is worth spending the time to think through the various directions given. For those looking for innovative ideas to add to their sculptural knit repertoire, these techniques will add new dimensions on how to approach their art.

    Scattered throughout the text are images of Katharine's artwork, taken by her husband, which alternately illustrate and tantalize the reader with possibility. The final gallery section of the book speaks volumes about the author's passion through images of her own sculptural forms. Thanks to the author for committing to print her unique take on her craft for the rest of us to learn from.

  • Vogue Knitting Winter 2010-2011

    Get past the tenth grade geometry necessary to construct the squares, triangles and dramatic polygons populating this book and you enter a world of possibilities: A "wedding dress" made from kitchen trash bags. Eye-popping, floor-grazing shawls. Smashing coats and jackets. Diagonal Knitting isn't a pattern book per se but rather a system of creating fabric knit predominantly from corner to corner rather than top-down or side to side. Generously, artist and designer Katharine Cobey describes how she works, outlining her strategies for creating wraps, vests and sweaters as well as her startling art installations. Books that focus on particular knitting techniques can be wonkish, placing too much emphasis on left-brain geekery. But combine good instruction with ideas, images and freewheeling inspiration such as this one and you get a timeless volume knitters will consult for years to come.

  • Knitter's Review October, 2010

    A visual artist who uses knitting as her medium, Katharine Cobey is a master of the big picture. She manipulates knitted fabric to create sculptural objects that push the boundaries of how knitting is perceived. Some pieces are wearable clothing, others are installation works, all are stunning. Hers is a revered name in the Maine fiberarts community, where she has lived and taught since 1992. And she holds a special place in my own heart. Melanie Falick introduced me to her in Knitting in America, where the photograph of Cobey's "Portrait of Alzheimer's" piece brought me to tears. I'd just lost my grandmother and knitting mentor to that very same disease, and I had never seen knitting used so powerfully as the medium for a deeper message. As brilliant and inventive as Cobey is, she is not a step-by-step pattern writer. Rather, she follows in the footsteps of the likes of Elizabeth Zimmermann, Mary Walker Phillips, and Barbara Walker. She gives you the pieces, shows you how she put them together, and then sets you free to use these pieces however you like. At a time when most publishers are opting for the simple GPS approach, we are lucky that Diagonal Knitting finally came to fruition.

  • Jonathan D. Kirkendall on Amazon October, 2010

    As a professional potter and an avid knitter and hand spinner, I have many books on craft on my bookshelf. For every craft there seem to be two types of books: those that offer "recipes" for making copies of what may be pictured, and those that go beyond the simple recipe, and offer you more than a list of ingredients, explaining in detail what it is that you are making and how to make it on your own, with your own elements. Like the work of Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker, Katharine Cobey's book definitely fits into this category.

    On the first page, Ms. Cobey states that she has set out to "knit as creatively and significantly as possible." What is significant about this book is that Ms. Cobey, with clear and detailed directions, in humorous and intelligent prose, gives the reader the tools to design, shape, and complete his or her OWN scarves, shawls, vests, and sweaters (not to mention wedding gowns and wedding blankets, bog people and snakes!). Illustrated through out with drawings to demonstrate the techniques she's describing, as well as photographs of her own work based on these techniques, Ms. Cobey leads the reader step by step to a thorough understanding of diagonal knitting and the possibilities inherent in designing seamless garments.

    I read through this like a novel – her writing is engaging, and the photographs amazing. It is clear, with the publication of this book, Ms. Cobey has thoroughly succeeded in knitting in a most significant way – and has successfully communicated the tools for each of us to knit in our own creative and significant ways.

  • Ursula "knit to live" on Amazon November, 2010

    I was lucky enough to participate in the Geometric Knitting workshop at Split Rock some years ago. This book brings back that wonderful week and refreshes my memory on the amazing concepts that Katherine taught. This book is well worth the price. Warning: No hand-holding for the knitter in this publication!!!

  • A.T. Dreith on Amazon November, 2010

    As an Architect, I have always been interested in designing and building three-dimensional spaces. During the last 10 years, I have returned to my great love of working with fiber to "build" smaller projects to use and wear. Katharine Cobey's work as an artist first came to my attention while she was part of the Torpedo Factory Co-op in Alexandria, Virginia. The first item I saw of hers was a pile of knitting sitting on a chair. When I expressed interest in it, she told me she had received a grant to knit! The knitting in the chair became one of five garments known as "Ritual Against Homelessness" displayed in The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.

    Since that time, I have had the privilege to have her as my "knitting mentor" and to learn from her both how to spin yarn and knit diagonally. Her new book is a wonderful opportunity for every knitter of any level to experience a class with this incredible teacher and knitter. The diagrams and illustrations are excellent and give good visual confirmation of her clear text.

    Any yarn of any gauge can be used for these kinds of projects. Those who have acquired a beloved stash of yarn – or those who spin their own yarn – can learn this technique to easily use and/or wear the fiber they love. The possibilities are without limit! The results can echo each knitter's individuality: tailored and conservative, artsy and individualistic, textured or patterned, practical or pure fantasy. She encourages the reader/student to embrace the technique and make it their own. It also offers the rare knitting experience of "knitting outside the box" of traditional patterns – and materials.

    Katharine Cobey's new book is the sum-total of her dedication to the art and technique of "diagonal knitting". The results are garments that drape beautifully on the bias. I am thrilled that she was able to convey the excitement, adventure and encouragement that should inspire all levels of knitters to work with this technique. It is a book worthy of every knitter's library to be used as a constant source of inspiration and reference.

  • Mad Knitting Scientist on Amazon December, 2010

    This is a must-have resource for creative knitters of any skill level. Katharine Cobey presents knitting, and specifically diagonal or bias knitting, not as a pattern to be followed, but as a means of expression, employed the way a writer uses words or a painter uses watercolors.

    This isn't a book for the lazy knitter: Cobey assumes a certain level of knitting knowledge (or the gumption to get it; techniques that are referenced in the book but not defined are easily Googled or found in other books); geometry is a critical part of the work. But Cobey's unconventional way of looking at knitting (both figuratively and literally– she rotates, flips and reconfigures shapes to build garments that are both simple and brilliant) is refreshing, inspiring and empowering.

    I've been dragging around my copy like a child's favorite blanket since the day it arrived in the mail, and I'm using her techniques in several new projects. Diagonal Knitting is an excellent book for knitters, and it might be an interesting lateral thinking exercise for weavers, sculptors, and other craftspeople.

  • Genie D. on Amazon January, 2011

    This book is so inspirational for those of us who are just learning to knit. I look forward to completing a project from this book.

  • Maine Sunday Telegram January, 2011

    Her book is more art advisory than pattern patois, and yet it's eminently practical.