September 2010

Lena Maikon, "Knitted Comfort for the Sole"

I don't want to demean the work that an author and an agent and a publishing house and a stylist put into creating a knitting book.  I really don't.  I know full well that bringing a knitting book to term is an awful lot of work.  No one would do it unless they believed passionately in the project.

And yet.

And yet, I am puzzled by this book.  I had my first inkling of trouble when I read in the introduction that "If this is your first time knitting socks, you'll find the Anatomy of the Sock Section (page 12) particularly helpful." 

Debbie Bliss "Simply Baby"

I have a long history of wrestling with Debbie Bliss patterns.  Why do I keep coming back to them, over and over again, when they are so cruel to the knitter?  Because they are FREAKIN ADORABLE. 

Unfortunately, no other designer has Debbie Bliss' sense of style.  I say "unfortunately" because Debbie Bliss patterns are made preposterously difficult to knit. 

I have a theory that in order to accommodate those big beautiful pictures, Bliss habitually goes through and prunes out a third of the words in her patterns.  This leaves behind a clipped, brusque pattern which offers little in the way of explanation or assistance.

"Knitting For All The Family"

The first odd thing that struck me about this book, after I got it home and started perusing it, is that it has no author. 

The introduction was written by a credited human (Una Stubbs) but the rest of the book apparently sprang fully-formed from the Conran Octopus publishing company.

The second odd thing I noticed is that the book is copyright 1980, and oh, it looks it.  As soon as I realized how old this book was, I flipped through looking for intarsia. 

Hilary Burns, "Cane, Rush and Willow: Weaving With Natural Materials"

This is the second book I checked out in my sudden strange urge to weave baskets.  (I've learned to just go with it when this happens.)  Of the two books, Cane, Rush and Willow is by far the more technical. 

It is also, as the subtitle implies, dedicated to weaving with twigs and grasses from the wild.  Whereas many weaving books, I have found, will incorporate just about every material, from nylon tubing to organdy ribbon and everything in between.

Stitch 'n Bitch

I think I have found one of the greatest knitting books ever. It’s called Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbi Stoller. The book was written for beginner knitters but in terms beginner knitters can understand. There are pictures for everything including techniques, what the stitches look like when done right, what they will look like if done wrong and pictures of all the mending and binding techniques. Debbi Stoller was raised by a long generation of knitters but it wasn’t until she was an adult that the love of knitting truly clicked for her and in a world of feminism, she felt it was time to bring knitting back.

Jane Patrick, "Time To Weave"

For reasons unknown, I have been smitten with the idea of weaving stuff.  I live in a wooded/rural area, so there's plenty of raw material lying around.  The vine maples alone send up enough canes to make a thousand chairs a year, and that's just the ones that insist on sprouting out of my lawn.  Not to mention the willow tree in the front yard.  The less said about which the better.  ("Unkempt" is probably too kind a word.)

Baskets.  Room dividers.  Plant supports and trellises.  I don't know… neat stuff.  What else do you do with basketry?  I'm not really sure, but I'm itching to try it.