January 2010

Ann and Eugene Bourgeois, "Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified"

If you have any interest in knitting Fair Isle (or, to be technically correct "stranded knitting") then Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified is a perfect resource.  

Like most small press dedicated subject books, this one skips all the "learn to knit" and "this is what yarn is" nonsense, and goes right for the meat.  From steeking to their unique two handed two color knitting style, Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified does just what it says on the tin.  And it includes a wonderful group of sweater patterns, as well.

Loani Prior, "Wild Tea Cosies"

This is indeed a collection of wild tea cosies, just as you would expect.  It does not disappoint from the title!  In order to complete the patterns you will need a vivid and varied collection of yarn, and a bag of Fiber-Fill for the bits which need to be stuffed.  (Or if you have plenty of yarn ends and bits saved up, those will work as well.)

I found myself thoroughly charmed by Prior's book, which is - despite the ridiculously wacky designs and topic - utterly common-sense.  For example, Prior advocates not knitting a swatch (why bother? By the time you've knit a swatch you're practically done).  Later she describes your ideal gauge in the following way, "Knit up a little square.  If it's too loose it will fall about all floppy.  If it's too tight you'll get a stiff straw basket."

Debbie Stoller, "Stitch 'N Bitch"

This book, first published in 2004, may as well be officially called a classic.  I know so many knitters who began with Stitch 'N Bitch, myself included.  Although the knitting craze officially hit the mainstream after the events of September 11th 2001, to me it feels like it all started with the publication of Stitch 'N Bitch.  Suddenly everyone I knew had a copy, and was talking about their trials and travails with yarn.