Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another book review.

I've been on a book-buying frenzy lately, haven't I? I think it's because, with the yarn already sitting here for my next five or six projects, my brain immediately thinks "ooooo, books". Plus I quit buying knitting books a couple years ago, thinking everything useful was already published. Boy, was I wrong. So now I've got a bunch of titles to catch up on.

Anyway, books.

"Poems of Color" by Wendy Keele.

This is the book I knit the Blue Shimmer from, and am giving a copy to my mother-in-law along with the sweater. It's got a detailed history of Bohus Stickning, and sixteen patterns, most of them adapted for pullover, cardigan, hat, and mittens. With a little creativity you could do socks or scarves. (With a magnifying glass and some mathy tinkering, you could probably skim off another three or four patterns from the photos in the book.) Only six or seven of the patterns-in-the-back are what I think of as classic Bohus designs, but they're all pretty cool looking. All are done with stranded color knitting.

"Gossamer Webs" by Khmeleva and Noble.

Contains the long and rather depressing history of the ladies of Orenburg and their lace knitting. The main thing that makes an Orenburg shawl what it is, is material; they use 'goat down' that I imagine is close enough to cashmere as makes no difference (they're right over the mountains from Kashmir, on the Russian/northern side). They ply it with silk (!!!) and knit one or two color shawls with it. Other than the way they put on edgings (which is pretty damn clever, and I'm using it for next year's state fair entry), it's all fairly standard lace knitting. I'd skip this book unless you're really really really interested in esoteric lace-knitting skills or esoteric textile history, or both.

"Anatolian Knitting Designs" by Betsy Harrell.
(Fucking Blogger is refusing to upload the picture, so here's the link.)
Turkish sock patterns, baby! (Yes, I realize Turkey and Anatolia are not quite the same thing; if I said 'Anatolian socks, baby!' would you know where I was talking about?) I could knit a year on the stuff in this book. Deceptively simple-yet-complex-looking two-color patterns are the order of the day. There are about ninety of them, plus some text in the back about where the patterns come from and the folk traditions that created them. If you want it, move fast. I think Schoolhouse Press is the only place to get this book, and they're going out of stock.

"Celtic Charted Designs" by Co Spinhoven.

This is the one Alice Starmore ripped off to do "The Celtic Collection", but there's about a thousand more very cool charts besides the ones she used. (Okay, three hundred and eighty.) This is another book I could knit out of for a year, at least. It was originally created for cross-stitchers and needle-pointers, but since stranded color knitting is 'square' (the row and stitch gauges are the same), you can knit from the charts easily, though some charts are a little large to use the whole thing (even I am not going to knit a sweater a thousand stitches wide, sorry). Looooove this book.

I love getting books like the last two, because they motivate me. All those fantastic patterns make me want to finish everything I've got on the needles so I can dig into those and knit something new and cool and fascinating.

Now if you excuse me, I have to go break up a cat/baby brawl. I think the world domination plan is off again.

1 comment:

Bells said...

esoteric textile history sounds so enthralling! I'm serious. That's the book I want most out of all the ones you reviewed! But, hey, I studied Russian, I love that parat of the world and it'd be nice to read something about russia other than gulags, famines or whatever. Another angle. Nice.

And if you said Anatolian anything to me I'd go, oh cool, that sounds interesting/exotic. :-)