ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Unexpected Knitting, by Debbie New: An Unexpected Treasure

Updated on October 1, 2014
Debbie New
Debbie New

Is There Such a Thing as a Knitting Scientist Artist? Read On to Find Out!

Unexpected Knitting by Debbie New proves that science, fine art and knitting go together beautifully.

Knitted brain hats, licorice socks, knitted Wedgewood teacups , a lace boat ... these are only a few of Debbie New's projects. Her book shows photos of these and many more, and includes patterns for many projects and ideas for many more.

The book is beautifully produced by Schoolhouse Press, in a large format that will look good as a "coffee table" book. But this is a practical book, too. It fits perfectly with my idea of the perfect book to give a knitter: stunning photographs of incredible knitting that knitters will want to study even if they don't knit any of the projects.

For more details, read on!

This is part of a series of knitting book reviews, of my favorite knitting books. For more, follow the Previous and Next links below.

All photos in this article, except for the photo of Debbie New to the left, are from a set of note cards featuring Debbie New's work. You can order these from: Philosopher's Wool The photo of Debbie New is from the same web site.

Unexpected Knitting, Debbie New

Knitted teacups, perhaps Debbie New's best-known work. Patterns are in Unexpected Knitting.
Knitted teacups, perhaps Debbie New's best-known work. Patterns are in Unexpected Knitting.

What's Unexpected About Unexpected Knitting?

Many years ago, I heard about a knitter who made a set of knitted teacups. Later, I read about a sock knitting contest. One of the winners was an incredible pair of swirly knit socks, but that same person submitted socks of green "licorice" strings, with black for the toe and heel.In a book about lace knitting, I read about a knitted lace boat. Debbie New is responsible for all of these, and this book is about her work.

Ms New is a scientist by training, and a lover of math. She is also an artist, using knitting as her medium. Unexpected Knitting shows some of her impossible to reproduce art work, as well as garments anyone can knit, if they are willing to explore the unusual, and yes, the unexpected.

Methods and Patterns

Ms New explores a number of different knitting techniques in Unexpected Knitting. A few of these are:

Log Cabin knitting, where one knits joined strips like a log cabin quilt block;

Scribble Lace, where the contrast between extremely fine yarn and super bulky creates ethereal, fragile lace;

Cellular automaton knitting, where a mathematical rule determines the patterning;

Labyrinth knitting, where an extremely long strip of garter stitch is knitted, with internal mitered corners, which folds into a sweater. This is something I have to try ... imaging knitting an entire sweater with 12 ridges of garter stitch! Ms New actually had custom extra-long circular needles made for this, though she found that a series of regular long needles worked just as well.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you knit anything from this book?

Work by Debbie New

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cellular Automaton, Pattern in Unexpected KnittingGranny Squares, photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)Knitted Lace Coracle (boat), photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)Triple Exposure, photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)
Cellular Automaton, Pattern in Unexpected Knitting
Cellular Automaton, Pattern in Unexpected Knitting
Granny Squares, photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)
Granny Squares, photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)
Knitted Lace Coracle (boat), photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)
Knitted Lace Coracle (boat), photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)
Triple Exposure, photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)
Triple Exposure, photos only in Unexpected Knitting (no pattern)

My Opinion of Unexpected Knitting

Unexpected Knitting is a big, beautifully-produced "coffee table" style book. Even if you never knit anything in it, it is what I call eye candy, and a book to impress your knitting friends. I brought this book to a knitting seminar at an education conference, and nobody looked at the other books, they all wanted to see this one.

But it's not just a book to look at. Many of the patterns, though unusual, are not difficult to knit, and Ms New provides standard instructions for those patterns. I wouldn't expect a beginner to find much to knit in this book, unless she was highly motivated, but most patterns are well within the ability of the intermediate knitter.

I bought my copy of Unexpected Knitting as a holiday present for myself, and I'm very glad I did. If you buy it, I'm sure you'll like it, too.

Rate Unexpected Knitting

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

Other Books with Debbie New's Work

Debbie New's patterns have appeared in other knitting books and magazines as well.

Socks, Socks, Socks

This book has several of Debbie's patterns for socks, including the cover photo, Licorice Socks, and The Emperor's New Socks

Long Circular Knitting Needles

Some of the projects in Unexpected Knitting use very long circular needles that Ms New had custom made. I can't give you links to those, but here are some 60" long circular needles, and a kit you can use to make to make long needles.

Other Math & Science Inspired Knitting Books

Debbie New's work is heavily influenced by math and science. Here are some other knitting books that also have math and science inspirations.

Wooly Thoughts

This book is written by two English maths teachers who explore the geometrical properties of knitting, and come up with some great designs.

The knitting is very simple, as are the garment shapes, but the geometry ... oooh!

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop

In addition to using math in her sweater designs, Elizabeth Zimmermann knits Moebius scarves, Pi shawls, and other math-y patterns.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image

      Kevin Wilson 2 

      9 years ago

      Fascinating! Now I have to look for this book on Inter Library Loan...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)