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75 Floral Blocks to Knit: Beautiful Patterns to Mix & Match for Throws, Accessories, Baby Blankets & More by Lesley Stanfield opens with a foreword from the author and an “About This Book” section to orient its readers. The twelve page directory is a quick reference with a thumbnail of each block along with its page number.
Chapter 1: Useful Techniques includes 16 pages of information about needles, yarn, and notions, along with a guide to reading U.S. pattern abbreviations and charts. Color illustrations and instructions provide a refresher of several cast on methods, knitting in the round, and the crochet stitches used at the center of some blocks and for joins, as well as tips on stranding and intarsia, creating i-cord, embellishments such as duplicate stitch and French knots, and ideas for finishing, blocking (called pressing in the book), assembly, and joining.
The block patterns are then divided into three sections in Chapter 2: Instructions: Traditional designs, Textured designs, and Pictorial designs. Most of the designs are knit flat, with about 15% knit in the round. 5 blocks include crochet details. 32 blocks include charted instructions. Most of the blocks are squares (including a few designed on point and others that are 4 triangles joined together), but there are also 3 unusual shapes, 3 octagons, 2 hexagons, and 2 circles. Quite a few of the squares are a plain stockinette background with flowers appliqued on top. The appliques could also be used to embellish other projects. Each pattern includes a clear photo and indicates the number of needles to use (a pair, or a set of DPNs). Special abbreviations and chart keys are provided on the same page of the pattern, so you don’t have to flip back and forth while knitting.
Chapter 3: Projects includes instructions for 7 projects based on motif patterns from the book, including a hat, a cushion, a greeting card, a birdcage cover, a blanket, a potholder, and a bag. The book ends with a thorough index.
The book has the type of clean layout you would expect from a St. Martin’s Griffin knitting book. Most of the squares are quite lovely, and if you actually made all of them, you would use quite a range of knitting techniques. I wish that the patterns included difficulty levels so a newish knitter would have an easier time figuring out which to start with, and it would be helpful if more of the patterns in the Pictorial designs section included a reminder about whether to use stranding or intarsia (or both, and at which parts) for a newbie color knitter. Like all paperback books, it’s difficult to keep open while knitting.
If you’re an intermediate knitter who enjoys motifs and modular projects, this would be a solid addition to your pattern book collection. Although there are some illustrated instructions at the beginning, the book notes that “[t]his section is not a lesson in knitting.” (A confident and adventurous beginner could tackle quite a few of the patterns and grow into the rest, though.) If you enjoy adding floral embellishments to your projects, you would also find some great ideas inside to adorn your creations. If you don’t like working with small motifs, frequent color changes, and/or if you want all of your motifs to be the same size for easy joining, then you might not find this to be the perfect match for your collection.