My usual trip to the library on Saturday yielded two knitting books that I haven’t seen before. I had put them on hold some time ago. They were both published in 2008. The first one I opened was Knitting on Top of the World by Nicky Epstein. The subtitle is, “The global guide to traditions, techniques and design.”
It’s a very large glossy book with 48 patterns inspired by different geographical areas. I would say that you’d have to be an experienced knitter to knit most of the designs in this book. Each section has an introductory background explaining the origins of knitting in that area of the world.
I know people’s tastes differ, but whilst I would perhaps consider wearing a couple of the items, some of them are what I’d call “Vogue-ish”, which means somewhat outlandish and limited in their appeal.
The Cowichan Vision Wrap Coat is lovely – a very bulky oversized version of the Cowichan sweaters of British Columbia – but why is it knitted in pieces and sewn together? I can imagine that the seams are very bulky and it should have been knitted in the round.
The Galway Bay Shrug Shawl is also very lovely – from the front. It’s a chunky knitted wrap that looks like a jacket from the front, but the back curves high and leaves most of one’s back uncovered. So you’d be toasty warm in front and cold at the back!
I think my favourite, and one of the most wearable, designs has to be the Celtic Hooded Coat. A huge cabled coat which is knitted in an affordable yarn…much better.
The book, Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, was instantly more attractive to me. These days I prefer patterns that are knitted in the round and as seamlessly as possible and this book delivers. The subtitle is “Unleash your inner designer with top-down and improvisational techniques.”
The book offers designs knitted as top-down raglans, top-down set-in sleeves, round-yokes, and further information and chapters on adapting the patterns to suit yourself and designing your own.
I could see myself wearing many of the sweaters in this book, maybe with a few adaptations. The sweaters are mostly seamless with minimal finishing. I like the Backward Cabled Pullover which has a cable up the centre front and a scoop back – or you can switch it around and wear it the other way. There’s a Slinky Ribs top which I would just love with longer sleeves, a basic sweater called Tang, and another with a retro wide neck called Ingenue.
I could see myself buying Custom Knits, and that’s high praise indeed because I rarely buy knitting books.
I am VERY thankful that the pieces for Pinup Queen are all finished. I washed them today and laid them out on towels in my sewing room, where they won’t get tripped over. I didn’t bother to pin them out – I didn’t want to stretch the ribbing too much anyway. I’m hoping that the bamboo/cotton/acrylic yarn will dry quickly and then I can get the sewing up done. (Yes, I know I said before that I prefer seamless knitting, but this was an exception to my rule and what with all the ribbing and now the seaming I think it has hardened my resolve to stick with seamless construction in future!)
It’s the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere – the summer solstice – may you enjoy it however you spend your time.