One of the sources of the recent popularity of modular knitting is the success of a couple of German books by a man called Horst Schulz. The English translation of the book titles are “Patchwork Knitting” and “New Patchwork Knitting Fashion for Children.” Here’s a picture of my copies of these books.
These books don’t seem to be readily available at this point, but I’ll describe them anyway. These were the first books I encountered on modular knitting. I went to Stitches Midwest in 2002, the only time I’ve gone to the full things, and Horst Schulz was the star attraction – he gave the opening presentation. It was very impressive. He had some gorgeous samples with him, and I loved what he showed. So I acquired these books soon thereafter, or maybe I bought them there – I don’t recall. You can see from the covers that Mr. Schulz tends towards a large mixture of colors.
Each of the two books begins with a general introduction to modular knitting, both squares, single and multiple and strips. In translation, at any rate, these are not particularly clear, but there are quite a few illustrations and it’s possible to figure out what to do with a certain amount of trial and error. The project sections are quite inspiring. Some of the projects are quite regular in shape, such as the one on the cover of the Children’s book, while others have the feel of having a random element thrown in to the spacing. The shapes are always consistent, though, and each project hangs together beautifully.
Most of the projects in these books are sweaters, jackets or vests. The exact size and style of the garment is up to you. You are instructed to create a paper pattern based on an existing garment and try your knitting against the pattern from time to time to see what to do next. So these books are not for everyone (even if you could get them now, which appears to be expensive.)
It was these books that inspired my Koigu vest that I showed you pictures of a while ago. Here is a closeup of the front of the vest:
This is a very simple design of strips in seed-stitch, knit together as you go. You can see that there is a small ridge between the strips which is a result of this joining technique.
Here’s the pattern on the back:
This has a little patterning in each strip, and the strips run diagonally, so the appearance is quite different, but it really isn’t that different from the front. There isn’t a pattern exactly like these in Mr. Schulz’s books, but he gave me the information I needed to make up my own pattern. I got the feeling, both from the books and from his presentation, that this was what he was after. I liked that a lot about his approach.