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Book Review: 100 Knitted Tiles

Book cover showing title, terracotta herringbone set tiles and colourful overlapping knitted tile shapes
Getting ready to knit some squares

Let's take a look at "100 Knitted Tiles", a new collection of patterns for creating knitted squares and other shapes that are ideal to use individually as cloths and mats or in combination for homewares such as blankets and cushion covers and even for garments and accessories. Crocheters have had plenty of books of motif patterns such as granny squares to refer to over the years but similar books for knitters have been much rarer. With a hundred new patterns to choose from, will this comprehensive resource inspire your next knitting project?

I should start this article by mentioning that five of the tile patterns and one of the project patterns in this book were designed by me. I was thrilled that they were selected and rather awed to have my work feature alongside that of so many designers I admire. I shan't focus on my contribution here (other than to add photos) but rather consider the book as one that I'm hoping to use for personal projects in future.

First Impressions

In "100 Knitted Tiles," the editor, Sarah Callard, has compiled a delightful resource for creative knitters who love to try a wide range of techniques in a low commitment mini-project, perhaps with a view to combining several finished pieces as a larger project. With a focus on stunning knitted squares, this book presents a range of both classic and innovative designs that will inspire both new and experienced knitters alike to create unique projects based on the patterns it includes. It already has me asking myself why I groan when I have to make a swatch for a new stitch or design I'm about to use, yet I find myself wanting to try every tile in this book!


blue purple and cream garter stitch tile with a thread art type curved effect from straight lines
With a Twist

After a brief introduction with some handy notes on terms and abbreviations, you'll get straight on to the heart of the book: its tile patterns. Without sections dividing the tiles into separate categories, leafing through the book feels like pulling prize after prize from a lucky dip of potential projects (yarn not included!), each one with its own temptations. The tiles make use of a huge range of knitting techniques; cover all skill levels; are constructed in multiple ways; and while most are squares, allowing makers to combine them easily to create projects of their own devising, you'll also find round, diamond, hexagonal and triangular ones here.

Following on from the tile patterns, five simple projects using a nice range of the tiles included will be helpful to those who want guidance on how to start using knitted squares in their projects.

Finally there is a techniques section. From basic knits and purls to more advanced techniques, including colourwork, reading charts and different cast on methods, each skill is presented clearly with plenty of helpful illustrations for the basics.

What you won't find in this book is instruction on how to choose and combine squares to create artistically pleasing projects of your own or how your choice of colours and yarns will produce different results. These are areas where you'll want to bring your own creativity to the fore or check out other print or online resources covering those topics if you're not feeling confident to dive in and start planning how to use the squares for your own unique projects.

With the current preference for seamless projects, I think a lot of newer knitters might also want to look for more in-depth resources on attaching knitted squares than is allowed for within the scope of this book. There are so many different ways to do this, each with its own features, advantages and disadvantages. Identifying the best way of seaming to suit you and your project is going to make a big difference to both the finished result and to your enjoyment of the process. I have some resources comparing different seams for crochet pieces. Let me know in the comments if you think I should make some similar ones for knitters too or if you already have a favourite seam for knits!

Book Review: 100 Knitted Tiles:

square white/lilac heathered yarn tile worked in the round with design created by garter and eyelet rounds on stocking stitch background
Through Tile

"100 Knitted Tiles" is a fantastic demonstration of the creative potential of knitting. Each design has its own charms, and the patterns have clear instructions that make the knitting process enjoyable and accessible. I found myself inspired by the temptingly colourful samples to try unfamiliar techniques and felt eager to experiment with new patterns, even those using techniques I've tried before and haven't enjoyed, like stranded colour work. It was hard to avoid casting on a new design as I turned each page.

The book's major appeal lies in its diverse collection of square designs. From intricate lace patterns to bold colorwork (I spotted intarsia, mosaic, slipstitch and stranded) plus textured stitches like cables and wrapped stitches and even squares embellished with beads and knitted braids, each square is a mini masterpiece in itself. The versatility of the designs and sizes presented clearly for each pattern allows knitters to mix and match squares to create truly personalized projects. All the samples in the book are made with the same yarn, Scheepjes Metropolis, which is typical of sock yarn in weight and composition but knitters should be able to use any other even thickness smooth-textured yarn as long as they choose a suitable needle size to achieve a medium tension.

The book is beautifully presented with lovely clear photos of each design on a light background, making it really easy to see what you are going to create and the charts included are going to make life easy for those who, like me, love following a visual aid rather than reading instructions.

I also love the formatting of the patterns in here. I hate losing my place in a dense wall of text when I'm trying to follow instructions and the use of a clear font, generous spacing, bold and capitalised text headings etc. tell me that this isn't going to happen when I work from this book. The pages are firm and smooth enough also for me to place a peel-off sticky note above the line I'm working, without worrying that I'll damage them, if I am likely to face interruptions or if I might need to refer back often to a tricky section. Another plus was how nicely the pages lie when you open the book. With craft instructional books, pages that flip over unexpectedly, mid-project can be infuriating! The only small thing I can think of that would improve the experience for me would be to have a double spread index print of all the blocks, ideally with sizes and little icons for construction method/technique which would be helpful for planning projects that combine multiple blocks. Anyway, that just means more browsing through the pages, which I can't deny I enjoy immensely!

Whilst being primarily a fantastic and totally practical resource, that is sure to be well thumbed before very long, The book is also beautiful, from the tile inspired decorative edging on each of the pattern pages to the inspiring photos of the tiles, yarn and tools throughout, it would surely be an enjoyable browse for a non-knitter too if they spotted it on your coffee table.

Who is going to love this book?

a cream quarter circle and dark blue block is repeated as an 8 by 8 blanket with the blocks rotated to give the appearance of concentric wobbly rings
Photo collage showing Glimpse of the Moon tile arranged in the traditional Quilt Pattern Drunkard's Path

It probably goes without saying that blanket makers will enjoy this book. Any of its squares would look amazing repeated as a knitted blanket and the opportunities for combining blocks are endless. I think it's handy to be able to make a blanket piece by piece plus it's a great way to be able to experiment with colours and even add variety to the techniques used in your work whilst maintaining a harmonious overall appearance.

I think the book is sure to be a big hit with knitters who love trying new techniques but don't necessarily want to commit to a big project using a technique they're unsure if they'll enjoy. Making a small square is an ideal way to explore a technique and practice it for long enough to know if it's one you enjoy. Then, if you love it, you can make a few more of the same block to create any project you'll enjoy using of gifting and if you don't enjoy the technique, you can either partner the square you have with a few different squares in the same colourway for a sampler project with lots of visual interest; extend it with knitting so it forms the centre of a cushion cover, end of a scarf etc; or simply use it alone as a coaster, pot holder or washcloth. It's certainly not gong to be wasted! Personally, I'm looking forward to trying a beaded design from Lynne Rowe. I've used beads as I crochet before but have only used them on knitting by embroidering them on the finished piece rather than by knitting them in. What new technique would you like to try on a small project?

Knitters with lots of yarn scraps have a lot to gain too: collect your scraps together in piles of similar weights and either play around with what works for each square of a similar size that you'd like to try or maybe even consider a surprise bag where you just pull the next colour out without looking and go with it! When all the squares are complete, you may like to edge any that turn out a bit smaller than the others and then consider how to join them into your finished project. If you aren't a fan of an entirely scrappy project, adding a couple of edging rounds in the same colour to each of the squares before joining with the same yarn will provide a more coherent result and help it to match it's intended surroundings or the owner's personal tastes.

Knitters on the move: if you love to knit on your commute or on trips for pleasure or business, and especially if you make journeys using public transport like trains and planes, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you the advantages of projects made in small pieces to be attached only when all the parts are complete that never take up too much room in your bag or luggage. You want to leave room for impulse yarn purchases when you spot something you love on your travels after all!

Here I'm working on a square by Anni Howard. She introduced me to mosaic knitting a few months ago and I love it. Her simple, graphic designs are great for learning the technique.

grey and coral yarn are being knitted into the Kite Flying Square by Anni Howard, blurred text visible around
Pattern and project underway

In conclusion, "100 Knitted Tiles" is a fabulous addition to the bookshelf of any knitting enthusiast seeking inspiration. Whether you're knitting mainly for yourself or gifting handmade treasures to your loved ones, this book is sure to spark creativity and bring joy to your knitting endeavours. I can't wait to get started on making a few of these designs.

Book: 100 Knitted Tiles

Editor: Sarah Callard

Yarn: Scheepjes Metropolis

Technical Editing: Tricia Gilbert

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