This is not your standard "Knit me! Knit me now!" book of enticing patterns. It's more a technical knitting book on how stitches work to shape and bend themselves into design features. For those of you who enjoy branching out from written patterns and creating your own designs, or who want to get into the "physics" of knitting, this is for you.
The information in this book goes over how stitches bend and shape (ie, motif knitting, mitered squares, modular knitting, and entrelac) and how color affects design (ie stripes) as well as a discussion of lace. There is also a discussion of how to take advantage of colors in strands of yarn (dots, bands of color that are repeated over the skein) and implement them in design. And there is information on grafting and joining as well as finishing, which is helpful for knitting strips or making a design that employs parts that are joined to make a whole.
The good news: many beautiful photos of motifs and their details. There is a lot about modular and entrelac. A lot of ideas here. The bad news: this book is over-ambitious, though I am sympathetic to the problem. Knitting knowledge is VAST. The authors have made a huge foray into the absolutely diverting subject of how to manipulate stitches, motifs and colors to achieve fascinating results but they obviously wanted to do it all, and ...well, you cannot do it all. There is a little about a lot, but not a lot about every single subject (ie, lace.) I think the author bit off more than she could chew in a subject as broad as this--for instance, I would have left out entirely the history chapter, even though it's interesting and important. There just isn't time to do it justice and it's not as germane to the subject as how stitches work to create shapes and designs. Ditto info on ethnic knitting traditions. This subject is a vastness unto itself and again, though relevant, not central to the book's intent.
If you love knitting design, however, or like modular or "domino" knitting and entrelac in particular, you are going to LOVE this book. It lets you get ideas to play around, to "bend and shape" your knitting, playing with small motifs to get exciting combinations and ideas. But I'd use this book in concert with other design books (among many others, Deborah Newton, Vivian Hoxbro, Anna Zilboorg and Susanna Lewis' book Lace Knitting ) if you want more depth into designing knit motifs and patterns. I do like this book and I'm going to play with many of the ideas in here, but it would have been a better book if the author could have restricted the subject just to stitch, motif, color and design. Believe me, if I were writing a knitting book, I'd face the same dilemma of wanting to put it ALL in my book, because knitters just love their craft and all its aspects, but sometimes, less is more. Hence, four stars.